Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing’

Just checking out wordpress from my phone. Heading to Florida to chase Silver Kings / Tarpon in a few hours. Wanted to set up mobile blogging from my Blackberry. Consider this tested.

Read Full Post »

Simms Ice Out Guide EventIce Out is more a state of mind than an actual occurrence this year in Montana.  Simms has a great motto: What’s the weather forecast?  Who cares…  When it comes to being ensconced in the best gear in the industry, Simms has us covered.  If it was December, I’d be fine with today’s weather, but I’d really like to fish in some water that at least pushed into the mid 40s.  It’s been snowing since I got back yesterday evening. This morning, my truck looked like a cripple with a white shuck that would not break free.Madison River Brewing Company

This years event started on Thursday with a stop at Simms for registration and factory tour followed by an open house (with Montana Beer) at the The Rivers Edge Fly Shop.  The Hop Juice IPA works for me.  Then it was on to the Ellen Theater for an evening with Brian O’keefe and Todd Moen from Catch Magazine.  If you fly fish, you likely know about Catch Magazine, but if you don’t, here is an example.

On Friday, we had several morning sessions and then it was off to the Copper Springs Ranch for the Guide Olympics.  No one was really quite sure what to expect and there were a few spectator only guides.  I tried two events and made it to the final round of the rod rigging.  Thanks to Eric Neufeld for heckling me and saving me from a possible win.  As it turned out, there were great prizes for each event and a gold, silver, bronze award for the most points accrued. Congratulations to Mike “AG” for being the 1st guide gold medal winner.

Saturday was packed with informative sessions and a product feedback working group.  I submerged the urge to sneak out and fish the Gallatin and attended all the sessions throughout the weekend.  I also talked with Andrew Bennett from Deneki Outdoors.  Who wants to join me at Andros South March 24-31, 2012?  The final evening wrap up was again at the Ellen Theater.  It included the Simms Shootout, co hosted by Tom Bie and The Drake along with the awards for the guide olympics.  There were also a few articles of flying swag.

RA Beattie took first place, but all four films were great

Adopose Boat WorksAfter the films, we hit the street in Bozeman for late night fun.  Mike Ward from Adipose Boatworks brought along the wheelchair from his Project Healing Waters Driftboat to keep things interesting.  My friends  Stephen Paulding and  Natalia Aulenbacher from Cooper Landing, AK managed to duck out about midnight, but I was still ready to take them fishing by 8am.  We cruised up past Helena and walked into some good water on the Missouri.  I got a chance to break in my new G4Z waders and River Tech boots. Missouri River Rainbow It was fun watching Steve and Natalia catch fish in Montana.  My Sage 6119 has been officially broken in and is sweet with either the Rio 6/7 Switch Line or a 425 grain Rio Skagit Flight.  We fought some wind, but caught plenty of fish to polish off a great Ice Out weekend.

Read Full Post »

Simms Ice Out Guide Event 2011

On my way down to Bozeman.  Might drop a line in the MO for a few fish first.

I had a great time at Ice Out in 2010.  I’ll be meeting up with a few fellow Alaskan guides and plenty of folks from Montana and across the states.  The beer will flow, the flap will be interesting and the energy will be fishy.

Tonight’s program is an “Evening with Catch Magazine” hosted by Brian O’keefe and Todd Moen.

Its guide fun time before the work begins.

Read Full Post »

Spring is finally winning the battle in Montana.  Yesterday, I went out to help my friend Brian get familiar with his new boat.   I plan to help him get familiar with it as much as possible over the next month or so.

Now What.

No Oars? What do I do?

We bypassed three landings due to ice, before we hit one that was open.  The way the warm Chinook is howling today however, the lingering ice and snow will be sucked away very soon.  Due to increased daylight and warmth, I have been on the go (outside).  No blogging or writing this past week, so I am pulling out some notes I laid down in the middle of this cold winter (past?).  This is a trout fishing tip…

Use Your Imagination

To be successful getting bites, it helps to have an idea of where your line, leader and fly are within the water column.  Many inexperienced anglers just get their stuff out there and wait for or expect a bite.  Experienced anglers know there are many variables involved in the activity of fishing any given cast.  As a guide, I encourage anglers to imagine or picture in their mind what is actually happening under the surface.  Visualizing subsurface mysteries is a fundamental key setting great anglers apart from people who are just fishing.

Knowing when to mend to set up a dead drift or create the correct swing is important, but understanding what is happening to your fly is central to the process.  Currents are different from the surface to the bottom.  Changes in depth and structure create rivers within rivers.  Spend some time observing fish in clear moving water if you can.  Then try to target a specific fish if you can find one.  Pay close attention to your line, leader and fly throughout the drift.  Even if you can’t spot any fish, you can pick out a target and watch the drift of your fly.  Did the fly go where you expected?  Did it reach proper depth?   Watch what the current does to your fly as it drifts around rocks, over ledges and along the bank.  Build a mental file of these variables.  Now you have some background to imagine what is happening in stained water, deep water or larger rivers where you can’t see your target.

Fly tying and fly selection are both imaginative processes.  Fishing a fly should be as well.  When it comes to streamers, anglers will pick out a fly based on some criteria such as good looks or the fact that someone said it was a hot pattern.  Then they proceed to fish every fly the same way.  Flies have as many personalities as the tiers who build them. Pull each one through the water.  See what happens when the line goes slack.  Animate it with your rod.  Then cast it out there and sell it to the fish.

Winter Brown on a Streamer

I was sold out.

It was obvious I was in the middle of a fevered fish jones when I wrote this, but I think most people will either agree with these thoughts or be able to put some of these ideas into play.  Tight Lines!

Read Full Post »

Riverside Ring Tone

Answer your phone...

“Thanks for getting right back to me.”  “No problem Paul.  Sorry I missed your call, but I had to release a fish.”  “Where are you fishing?”  “On the Missouri River near Cascade Montana.”  After finishing the call and arranging a booking for several days in Alaska, I got back to work fishing.  On Wednesday,  The River Damsel posted that her android smart phone was her favorite piece of outdoor gear.  Some readers appeared confused by that, but her reasoning was sound.  For me, when it comes to justifying a fishing trip mid week, I must concur.  I specifically picked my spot knowing that I had cell coverage and could answer calls and email between sessions of catching fish in my favorite office…outside on a river.

 

Streamer Eater

Caught Shadow

I had anther reason for being on the water yesterday besides it being a better office and the fact that I have an incurable fishing jones.  Rich Strolis from Catching Shadows sent me some streamers to try out on the Missouri and the Kenai.  If the fish above taken on my first cast of the morning is any indication, then mission accomplished I will have to keep testing them.  You can see great videos of Rich’s flies on his Catching Shadows blog as well as some patterns featured on Midcurrent.

Another Ice Pick Eater

Ice Pick Eater

Thanks for the great flies Rich.  If you need to R&D any new patterns in the west and/or Alaska, I’m your man.  I’ll let you know how the caddis fish come May.

Cold and Hungry

Ice Pick Eater off an Ice Shelf

Look out for the frozen "jaws" of the Missouri River

Ice Fish - Look out for Frozen Jaws

Chomp

Get outa my face!

Splashes with Fishes

Turn and Burn

Colorful Shadow

Vibrant Rainbow

To anyone reading this post who might be momentarily envious of my office work yesterday, let me tell you about my karmic payback.  In my mad dash to quickly access the river, I plunged (glissaded) down a long steep hill to maximize my fishing time.

Bring crampons next time dumb ass

Payback Mountain

The trek back was anything but quick and accompanied by cursing and peppered with crazy giggles followed by more cursing.  I wondered if anyone across the river was witness to my madness.  I imagine a retired couple drinking tea and playing cards, suspending their game to gap in fascination at my plight.  In the time it took me to ascend, they could have called the neighbors and started a betting pool.  Will he or won’t he make it?  How long will it take? Oh, he went down hard.  Should we call 911?

I can clearly state that un-studded rubber soles worn smooth from too many trips by a cheap ass angler, are not great for steep snow covered hills (without crampons). I would guess that felt would work about the same, but you could not pay me enough to test that theory. To say that I slipped is laughable.  I went down at least a hundred times.  My fly reels looked like giant snow balls.  I slid around like a clown on a banana peel, changed course, post holed up a gully until I hit smooth rock, lost elevation, grabbed some prickly bushes, slid down ten precious feet on an old Bud Light can, froze my fingers, cut my jacket on some barbed wire and finally summited the meager hill, sweating like it was July.  It was great exercise.  When I tell my wife I am going to get some exercise, she gives me that knowing look that say’s; Nice try lazy fisherman.  She has no idea.

Read Full Post »

Since this is firstly a blog titled Alaska Fly Fishing, I am going to run a series of posts about Alaska fly fishing, focusing on some tips for the uninitiated.   When fishing the waters where big wild trout exist, salmon play a key role in their habits.  The salmon supply the bulk of the food and impact the location and migration patterns of trout throughout the year.   So first we are going to look at the life cycle of the salmon, so we can better understand how the trout are eating.

Spawning Sockeye Salmon

Spawning Sockeye Salmon

Which comes first, the salmon or the egg?

Without getting into an impossible debate, let’s just say the egg comes first, because for anglers, this represents the most important ingredient to prime time trout fishing in Alaska.  When salmon spawn, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden are never far away.  How close depends on the volume of eggs.  Early and late in the spawn, chances are they will be nosing right up to spawning pairs.  When eggs are plentiful, they will search out prime feeding locations where there is less concern about salmon harassment.  There is no free lunch in the fish world.  Aggressive spawning salmon will chase and attack other fish (trout/dollies) around their territory.  You can tell which trout are feeding right in the thick of things, because they will often have tattered fins, missing scales and even some serious bloody wounds.

What makes this trauma worth the price when eating eggs?  Eggs are packed with protein and they can’t swim away.  Trout are hardwired to eat them.  It’s in their DNA.  While individual fish show variables in feeding preferences, eggs are the big show in Alaska.  Salmon eggs are the premier Alaska hatch or the hatch before the hatching (all the following salmon lifecycle stages).

When it comes to matching the salmon egg hatch, it’s really no different than matching bugs.  Focus on color and size and dead drift your offering where the fish are eating.  Eggs can be matched with glo-bug (yarn) flies, chenille eggs, glue gun eggs and even claymation (baked clay) eggs.  Without question, plastic beads have become the norm and are arguably the best choice for most anglers.  They can be purchased in suitable sizes and colors and be doctored with various coatings to look very much like the natural eggs.

What do the real eggs look like?

Sockeye Salmon Eggs

Sockeye Salmon Eggs

Eyed Salmon Eggs

Eyed Salmon Eggs

Each salmon species has a somewhat unique egg in terms of size and color.  It is important to know which salmon you are fishing through, in order to match the naturals.  When eggs are first dropped, we call them freshies.  They are fairly bright in color and translucent.  In the water, they gradually become more opaque and milky pale in coloration.  Once fertilized and developing, they again brighten and become translucent, with the eyes of the developing salmon visible within.  While some anglers have literally hundreds of colors in a variety of sizes, most anglers will do fine with a few freshies and few opaque options in the suitable sizes.  Sockeye eggs are typically close to 6mm, Silvers, Chums and Pinks, close to 8mm and King Salmon eggs, closer to 10mm in size.  These are the three sizing choices most commonly used and available.

On a later posting, I will focus more specifically on imitation.  This will be the first in a series starting with the life cycle of salmon and I’m just going to have to see where it take me.  On the next post, we will look at Alevins.

Pick the correct salmon related food item and you just might hook a trout like this.

Egg Eating Alaska Rainbow Trout

Egg Eating Alaska Rainbow Trout

Read Full Post »

This title was a comment from one of my favorite guests; Matt Ruck.  It related to a quick post from last June titled “Fishing So Good; they are jumping in the boat“.  Matt had recently fished with Stacy Corbin and me and although fish were caught and fun was had, no fish jumped in the boat.  It is often funny how perception can make it seem like fishing was always better yesterday.  Hope makes one expect better results in the future.  Reality is the time you are on the water.  I’m sure Stacy and I told our guests about the big rainbows caught by Matt and his posse, while we were in the midst of catching a bounty of sockeye salmon.  They probably thought; “These sockeye are great, but I’d really like to catch one of those big rainbows.”   Here are Matt and Stacy with a Fall Humpy.  Matt’s trying to sell Stacy on the fact that its a nice fish, but Stacy’s not buying it.  Looks like you were too late on that one Matt.

Nice Humpy or Moldy Chum

Should have been here when that fish was still swimming.

 

Don’t ask Matt about the magpies.

Read Full Post »

I love the shoulder seasons.  Fly Fishing open water in west central Montana in the winter can be a cold prospect, but at least the option is there.  The paradox of my profession is that many of my summer clients are busy working hard now, so they can afford to take the time and spend the money to join me in Alaska during the “fishing season”.  I work hard all through the fishing season, so I can have some time to fish now, during the “shoulder seasons”.

What is a Shoulder Season?  According to the travel industry, it is the time for great deals, fewer crowds and near perfect weather.  I’ll buy that.  Any day I can go fish a world class river like the Missouri; I consider it a great deal.  There are definitely fewer crowds.  This time of year a crowd consists of one vehicle at a pull out or two trailers at a landing.  There may be an issue with the weather most days, but there are perfect weather days scattered throughout the late fall, winter and early spring, if one is fortunate enough to be able to pick them.

Safe Brainer

Helmets Are A Safe Brainer!

On Saturday night, the back of my SUV was filled with dripping skis, piles of jackets, ice skates, hockey gear and wet waders and fly rods.  On Friday, I took my 16 year old daughter and three 16 year old boys to Bridger Bowl.  Thanks to her helmet, the day was a good one.

On Saturday, it was mild enough to take my son Kyle fishing on the Missouri for several hours before trying to keep up with him at the Ice Plex on skates.  I was more than ready to sit on the couch come Sunday and watch Green Bay beat the Bears.

White and Brown

White and Brown

While on the couch, I was texting with a fishing buddy regarding the Packers, Bears rivalry.  After the Pack’s win and a text from Brian reading “Suck It”, we decided the game was over and we needed to go fishing soon.  How about Tuesday? Possible high of 40 degrees in Craig!

Read Full Post »

Back on September 13, (my wife’s birthday by the way) I was busy as usual, guiding daily on the Upper Kenai River.  Blood Knot Magazine posted a story I had submitted last spring.  I just noticed it while visiting their website today.  No guide trip is ever the same, but this one was a little unusual.  On Me, In Me and In the Boat Check it out and give Blood Knot a view.

Bloodknot Magazine

 

Read Full Post »

Here I sit in the depth of winter playing with photos and video of a season rich in fun and fish.  This is the time to celebrate another year gone by and to plan the details for making the next one even better.  It is also a time to face some of the challenges eroding the health of the waters and fisheries that we love.  Take some time to reflect, make plans to spend more time on the waters and I encourage you to dig a little into some of the issues that make our fishing futures uncertain.  Many of us are so busy, we can barely find the time to fish, let alone be crusaders.  Everything helps.  Consider at the very least joining organizations such as TU.  They will help keep you informed of important issues like the Pebble Mine and your dues and donations will add to the positive side of things.

I just paged through the second issue of  The Contemporary Sportsman.  Check out the “Sea-Run Angle” by Jeff Bright for an excellent and eloquent perspective.

Reflection, Celebration, Vigilance

Reflection - Celebration - Vigilance

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: