About Me

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Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
I am an attorney in my early thirties with a serious fly fishing problem. I work at a large corporate law firm where things move pretty fast. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of corporate America, I try as often as possible to get away and enjoy a quiet stream. My blog attempts to detail the adventures I have both on and off the water in "My World on the Fly."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Catching up....

It's been a while since I've posted. It's definitely not for a lack of things to say. I been fishing quite a bit. I caught my first bonefish (and almost a permit) on my honeymoon in Belize. I fished the Little Red River in Arkansas for the first time. I had a great second half of the '09 duck season, and spent numerous hours in a deer stand with both a rifle and bow.

I'm not real sure why I haven't felt the urge to write. I think once I get behind on posting, I get intimidated by the thought of having to catch up. I'm still embarrassed that it's been a year and a half since I got back from Alaska and haven't written about it (although, I did manage to post the pictures on Facebook). I haven't even written about the fishing I did in Jackson during my wedding week. I need to catch up!

What follows is my attempt to get up to speed (minus Alaska). This is the abridged version of what's been going on. I'll try to be better about keeping this more current.

Jackson, WY

I got married on July 11, 2009 in Jackson, Wyoming. Sara and I were out there for almost two full weeks so there was NO WAY I was not going to wet a line.

The most memorable fishing day was our guided trip on the South Fork. We fished with Worldcast Anglers and I would recommend them to anyone headed that way. Salmon flies were the bug of choice and we ended up boating several nice fish on dries before the day was over.

The highlight of the day was landing a 19 inch tagged cutthroat. I was in the boat with Davis and we were both very excited and surprised when we got a glimpse of the tag. We basically equated the tagged trout to shooting a banded duck. After netting, photos, and release, I could tell Big John was a little jealous as this was something he had never done.

It did not last long. John, who is basically the luckiest person I know, hooked another tagged fish just 10 minutes after I got mine. It was an amazing turn of events. Seriously, imagine shooting two banded ducks with your best friend within ten minutes of each other. Not bad. Our guide later told us that he had not seen a tagged fish in his boat in the past five years. It was pretty cool. JD and I plan to get a dual mount with both fish and their tags attached. Yes, we kept the tags.

I would have posted some pictures of these fish but, unfortunately, shortly after returning from Jackson, my hard drive decided to fry itself and I lost all of my pictures. The official diagnosis for the 8 month old desktop was "defective hard drive." Thanks Dell!!

Deer Season '09

Let me give you a quick breakdown of deer season:

Rifle Hunting: Ryan sits in the stand and doesn't see a deer. Ryan climbs down and drinks with the Holtsman boys.

Ryan gets back in the stand and sees a non-legal buck. Ryan gets down and drinks with the Holtsman boys.

Ryan gets up in the stand, takes a bathroom break and misses a chance to shoot a doe. Chris shoots a real nice 8 pointer. Ryan gets down, drinks with the Holtsman boys and talks about Chris' deer.

Ryan sits in Chris' stand, doesn't see a deer. It starts to pour down rain, Ryan goes duck hunting.

Bow Hunting: Ryan sits in a stand at Eddie's farm and sees 50 deer at about 200 yards. Ryan gets burned by a doe while watching the other deer. Ryan watches Davis kill a deer through his binoculars.

Ryan sits in a stand at Henry's farm and doesn't see any deer. Davis kills another deer in his fucking yard while sitting on his patio with a beer.

Ryan sits in a stand at Sara's dad's house, has 4 doe trot under his stand, draws his bow and the arrow falls off the string.

I don't know if I just suck at deer hunting or what. Hopefully I'm saving all my karma for turkey season.

Duck Season '09

While it started off relatively slow, I would say the '09 Duck Season ended with a bang (no pun intended). I had some of the best duck hunting days I've ever experienced and one day that I will never forget. The day of the year (and my hunting career thus far) came just days after a pretty slow hunt that I had at Raccoon Ranch with Stone. The reason I remember that, and the reason I will never forget the slow hunt, is because I managed to go for a swim submerging my entire body, gun, shells, and camera. My Barretta was on the bottom of the slough, twice (I fell a second time while trying to recover from the first fall). When I got home that night, I was very meticulous about taking my gun apart, cleaning every moving part, and letting it air dry.

Just days later, a front moved in. A big front. We had 20-40 mph Northwest winds gusting up to 60 mph. Snow, rain, sleet, and a shit ton of ducks came with it. JD and I geared up and headed out to Duck's Rest. We climbed into D-3 (name of the blind) just in time for first shot. Sure enough, right as we loaded our guns, a dozen mallards dove in. With the wind howling like it was, these ducks were basically stationary in the air as they tried to land, hovering about 20 yards from our blind. Davis quickly tripled. I aimed, squeezed the trigger, and all I heard was "click." I cycled my shell and pulled again---"click." The third shell finally fired and I dropped a mallard.

I thought it was a fluke but this continued to happen. Pack after pack of ducks dropped in like they were on strings but my fucking gun would not fire. Davis tripled again and had his limit plus two bonus ducks in about 30 minutes. Eventually, I gave up on my Barretta and used his Winchester to get my remaining mallards. We went back to the "Duk Bus" and I soaked my gun in Gun Scrubber. I guess I didn't use enough solvent the first time because after dousing everything a second time, I didn't have any more problems. What a day in the blind! I learned the hard way how to properly clean my gun.

Belize

My duck season was cut short when Sara and I left for Belize. I was fine with trading cammo and waders for swimsuits, sunscreen, and salt water fly rods. The trip to Belize in December was our delayed honeymoon and, like the wedding, it had to involve a little bit of fishing. Sara's blog really details the trip well. I strongly recommend checking out the pictures and stories:

CLICK HERE

Scroll down to the Belize posts. I promise you'll enjoy them.

At the risk of avoiding redundancy, I will defer to Sara's post for the pictures and most of the details. I do have two comments however. First, I need to talk about my shots at permit. My first guided day, we had perfect conditions and saw a ton of permit. Unfortunately, things were not going my way. The last section of my rod kept falling off when I was casting--I needed wax for that ferrule. My fly line kept getting knotted at my feet--I should have changed it out prior to leaving. Twice I hooked bonefish out of the middle of a school of permit--good cast, bad luck. One permit, a good 15 pounder, actually struck and missed my fly altogether--I hope he starves. Literally dozens of fish chased and chased and chased and chased but they did not eat. I guess the elusive permit won the day. Conditions on the second day of guided fishing were terrible for permit. We ended up seeing one or two but nothing like the day before.

The second comment I have, and no this is not just ass kissing, is that I have a pretty amazing wife. She really supports my fishing addiction, as evidenced by the fact that I fished at my wedding and on my honeymoon. She's a wonderful companion and I'm really lucky to have found her. Seriously, I fished almost everyday of our honeymoon. Even if it was on the beach in the morning while she was asleep, I got out just about everyday. Trust me when I say that my best catch was back at the room in bed.

Little Red River, AR

JD, Stone, Joe Scott and I threw together an impromptu trip to the Little Red to fish with Jamie Rouse. This was the first of two trips to AR this year and I am already jonesing for # 2. For the second trip, we are headed to the White over Valentine's Day weekend. Again, evidence that wife = awesome.

Fishing on the Little Red was pretty slow but the trip itself was nothing short of spectacular. First off, we flew to Heber Springs on a twin engine Navajo Chieftain. The flight was bad ass and enabled us to get a full day on the river on Monday. Jack Jackson, our pilot, was great and got us to and fro safely.

In Heber Springs, we stayed at a place called Fat Possum Hollow. This is a 250 acre farm on the banks of the river that is normally reserved for timeshare holders. Thanks to Eddie P. and his buddy Paul, they let us rent a place for the weekend that was perfect. The lodging was great. We had three bedrooms, a nice fireplace with unlimited firewood, a flat screen with DirectTV for the football games, computer and Internet, full kitchen, grill, etc. The place even loaned us their Mule (the ATV, not the animal) for the weekend so we could cruise around and get to the river for night fishing. They also had a little BYOB bar on the property with a pool table / ping pong table, poker table, and another great fireplace. I gave the crew a lesson in ping pong until Stone finally took a match off me. Once he found his stroke, he was tough to beat. Thanks to Eddie, Paul, and Maurice for letting us crash at the Fat Possum for the weekend. The place was great.

Our guides for the weekend were Jamie Rouse and Matt Milner. They did an excellent job and I learned a few new tricks that I will have to implement locally. Unfortunately, the fish did not cooperate. Due to all the rain that's hit the area, we had three days of full generation. Jamie warned us prior to coming down that the Little Red is the hardest of the tailwaters to fish on high water. He was right. Normally, one would think the high water would be perfect for streamers but the fish were just not moving. We fished hard for three days and caught some fish but nothing picture worthy. Hopefully, we're just paying our dues for the White. Can you say Walter II?

Upcoming Events

I've got a lot to look forward to in the near future. This Sunday I'm quail hunting with Diamond Joe and Davis. We did this two years ago and it's a great way to spend the day. The quail meat is great and I use the feathers for tying flies. Two weeks after that we go to the White. This is our classic, annual trip with Stu, Billy, Stone, and Davis. We're trying a new lodge this year closer to the dam and have Jamie, Matt, and a third guide, Chris, taking care of us for the weekend. Hopefully, we'll see some low water and get a chance to do some night fishing. In April, I turn 30 and there's talk of going to Vegas. May brings turkey season and Location X. Summer is somewhat up in the air but Sara and I are already discussing plans to return to Jackson for our one year anniversary. It's only fitting that we float the South Fork several times.

I love my life....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ducks....

So far the duck season has been pretty darn slow. The word on the street is that not many clubs are killing large numbers of ducks and that certainly holds true for the few times I've been able to get out. I have bagged a couple, but it's been nothing like years past.

One reason is the weather. Aside from one large rain storm that moved through last week, it's been bright, sunny, and calm. Although I am definitely a rookie when it comes to duck hunting, I think most would agree that 65 degrees with a light East wind is not ideal for moving birds around.

The hunting did pick up a little during the storm that moved through. John, Peter and I took advantage of this and managed to have a great hunt where the group got 13 birds. The ducks were decoying very well with a little help from the calls of JD and Peter. In fact, one pair of Gadwall dropped in while a vehicle was on the access road right near the blind. They didn't seem to mind the mini truck or the three guys standing there on levee. We killed the first bird and the second one circled around and locked up again on our spread. Needless to say, he didn't survive the second pass. Not a very smart bird.

Actually, there were very few passing shots that night. I think every bird killed was cupped and coming down to our decoys. Such a cool thing to see birds locked up and diving down toward you. It's also pretty cool when the guy standing next to you in the blind has been hunting for over 70 years and he smokes a bird before you have a chance to pull the trigger. Nice work Pete! He still doesn't miss a beat.

JD got very lucky that evening and managed to drop a black mallard which, I'm told, is very rare for the Missouri flyway. It was awesome being there for this. Apparently, the first duck John ever shot was a black duck with his dad when he was 6 or 7 years old. John has been an avid hunter ever since and this is only the second black duck he's killed since he was out there that day with his father. A great story, great bird, and great evening in the marsh:



There's some weather coming in this week: 15 - 20 mph Northwest wind, rain, and colder temperatures. Wednesday and Thursday are looking ideal. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Duck Season is Here!

Duck season opens Saturday--I can't wait! Of course we have had a miserably rainy and cold October and now that it's time to hunt, we've got 65 degree days with no clouds or wind. Oh well. I am still pumped to get in the blind again. All reports suggest that the duck numbers are up this year and many local hunters have told me that the birds are here. The old Baretta is cleaned and ready. I've got my calls in my truck and have been wailing away for the last few weeks. I can't wait to gear up this weekend.

Hopefully, I'll have some feather-filled posts in the near future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Current 8/23

Stoneman and I put in a long day on the water last Sunday and it paid off. We left STL around 4:45 and were fishing by 7. The morning started with this rainbow that Stone stuck on a large stonefly nymph:



I stuck a few fish on tricos but couldn't seem to get them in hand. I was using a size 30 black trico pattern and I think the tiny fly was causing problems. I've caught nice fish on these before but it was not working for me on Sunday.

As we fished, we had some park dwellers mosey on down the river. I moved down stream in an attempt to block off more water for Stone and I (a standard trick when dealing with crowds), but this husband and wife team did not get it. They just popped right in between us and started casting. You gotta love trout park etiquette. J and I are about 20 yards apart and they don't even think twice about hopping in there. Anyway, it turned out to be a good thing. They were nailing fish on nymphs. The woman, who was decked out in a green Montauk hoody, stuck a good brown and Johnston netted him for her. Thank god she didn't keep it. Stone's kind gesture turned out to be well received and the woman returned the favor by telling us what fly she was using. She said the fish had been crushing scuds all weekend. She was right.

After our friendly encounter, we headed down below Baptist to get away from the crowd. It was a pretty cool day and we thought there wouldn't be too many canoers. I actually don't think we saw any canoes. I hope this means the season is done.

Stone and I started fishing right at the parking lot. There is a nice long riffle where we spotted several good browns. I struck first with this 17 inch male:



After releasing this guy, I went back to the truck to get out of my waders. I was going to wet wade for the afternoon. When I came back, Stone had slid down stream a bit and I started spotting fish from the higher vantage point on the road while he casted to them. At this point, Stone was throwing a tan scud under an indicator.



After a few casts, stone stuck the big fish I was looking at but, unfortunately, he spit the fly after a short run. There were four other fish in the same riffle that I could see from the road. Stone kept casting. I watched his fly hit the water. Actually, I could see his split shot shine in the sun. The indicator landed slightly upstream of the fly so his scud was actually leading the drift. It was right on line to pass by two browns. When I realized that the drift was in line, my eyes turned to the fish. The first brown turned his head and opened his mouth right at the time Stone's fly was in the kitchen. SET! I yelled before the indicator moved. Stone abided and stuck this good brown:





The teamwork was awesome. Stone had no idea the fish ate. He couldn't see the fish from his angle. The only reason he knew to set was because I had a bird's eye view and watched the take. It was very cool.

The day pretty much continued like that. We stalked the lower section of the river spotting fish, casting to them, and watching them eat. They ate hoppers, caddis, scuds, stone fly nymphs, and PMDs. The lower river is really serene when there are no canoes. In fact, Stone and I had a pretty large doe sneak up on us and cross the river right next to us:



At the end of the day, we found ourselves in a nice PMD hatch and were able to stick several fish off the surface. It was a great day. 12 hours on the water and, aside from the first fish of the day, I think we caught almost all browns.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Current River, 8/16

I fished with "The Hen" on Sunday. He almost ditched me. He was supposed to be at my house by 5 am. I was up and ready but he was not picking up his cell. I was pissed and left the house without him. He's lucky I stopped at the QT by my house for a coffee. As I was walking in, he called alerting me that he was awake and ready to fish. I was a little pissed that we had to waste 45 minutes on the front end of the trip, but it turned out to be a great day on the water. He also had a decent excuse for being late, although I probably shouldn't mention it on the web.

We got to the river around 8. Conditions were money! I can't believe how many fish are in the river right now. I also can't believe how fat all of the fish are. Just about every fish we caught had a swollen belly. I don't know if it's because the river is higher and healthier than normal, or if it's because the park is being heavily fished and lots of guts are drifting down stream for the fish to munch on. I would like to believe it's the former, more natural reason, but either way, I love it.

The Hen and I did pretty well, although Henry needs to work on line control and LANDING FISH. Seriously, he stuck a bunch but could not get them in hand.

The fish of the day was a pig brownie, but she required a lot of patience. I spotted her first thing in the morning in a shallow riffle. I fished to her for an hour or so but couldn't get her to budge. I'll bet I showed her 20 different flies on 7X tippet but she wouldn't move.

I finally gave up, and Henry and I fished downstream sticking some nice rainbows. For some reason the browns were being a little pickier. At about 3, we headed back up to our original position. I wanted a second shot at that porker that I stood in front of all morning.

We got back to the spot, and sure enough, that beauty was in the same little slot in the riffle. Unfortunately, I was met with the same reaction. I tried fly after fly and and she didn't budge.

Eventually, I decided to try some big dries. Hoppers didn't work, stimis didn't work, neither did a size 10 caddis. The first fly that enticed a reaction was a Chernobyl ant. She came up off the bottom for a look and a chase, but did not eat. This at least kept my interest. After the ant, I decided to go subsurface and tied on a big stone fly pattern. After two drifts, she ate. I fought her for about 15 seconds and she threw the fly. I thought she was done for the day but, despite the fact that she had been stuck, she moved right back to her comfortable spot in the riffle and seemed to relax again. I walked away for about twenty minutes to let her cool off and returned again with the same fly. The first cast she ate again. I yelled down to Henry to come grab the net which was sitting on the bank behind me. He causually strolled up and scooped her:



She was a dandy. Right at 20 inches but had some serious girth. My uneducated guess was around 5.5 lbs. Awesome fish and a great reward after working so hard for her. I'm headed back this Sunday. I hope she's still sitting there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bass

I was able to get my fix last night by sticking a few bass on dries. Sorry for the blurry picture. I guess the lens on my camera phone needs to be cleaned. I can't wait to hit the river on Sunday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Confessions and Congratulations.

I must confess that I joined the ranks of those that I hate this past weekend. I was a drunken floater on the upper Meramec. In my defense, due to the sheer volume of people on the river (thousands, not hundreds), I can safely say that I didn't disturb a single fisherman. In fact, no one in their right mind would try to fish this section of river this time of year. I have never seen anything like it. At no point throughout the day could I have walked across the river without having to dodge at least 5 to 10 boats, beers flying through the air, or bodies flying off bluffs and rope swings. I can't beleive how much of an industry floating has become. It's almost depressing. I remember when I was a kid, floating on rivers like the Black and the Meramec and not seeing more than 5 other boats all day. I think the good old days are gone unfortunately. Maybe I'll just have to find more remote rivers where Sara and I can take our little ones in the future (assuming we are blessed with little ones).

Anyway, this past weekend was the annual float hosted by two of Sara's friends who are really awesome people. Thanks to both of you for organizing the trip. Sara truly has a great bunch of friends and no matter how obnoxious those around us got, I enjoyed spending time with this group. I am trying to convince everyone to do something a little more tranquil next year. Perhaps mid September on the Current where we can camp alone, fish, and enjoy our surroundings as well as friends. It would truly be the best of both worlds.

On a different note, I also need to say congratulations to my boys Eddie P. and Mike H. Both hit the Meramec yesterday and both stuck real nice fish. I wish I could have been there gentlemen. Strong showing:





After this past weekend, I'm ready to get a fly rod back in my hands. Bass fishing tonight anyone? I know of a great golf pond.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Meramec River Fishing, 7/26

It's been a while since I've fished the Meramec during the summer primarily because there are WAY TOO MANY canoes to deal with during float season. Seriously, if you're on the water before 3 PM, there is a constant flow of drunken canoers which makes fishing all but impossible. Especially if you're interested in catching big fish. That said, I decided to head to the river this past Sunday later in the day hoping to avoid the aluminum hatch. Joining me on this excursion were John, Eddie and Doug. Eddie and Doug are now on the official "fishing buddy" list which is great becuse both are showing a lot of interest in the sport.

John and I rolled out of St. Louis around 1 and were fishing by 2:30. Eddie and Doug were leaving around 2 and meeting us on the water. When JD and I arrived, we were pysched to see no cars in the parking lot at Cardiac hill. What were the chances of that on an 80 degree Sunday afternoon? To our disgust, however, the canoers didn't get the memo to stay off the water.

Despite the fact that it was as late as 2:30, the canoes were still passing every 10 minutes or so. It's interesting because I believe there are still 6 or 7 miles to get to the pull out at Scott's Ford from Cardiac. These folks were definitely a little behind schedule probably because most were awful oarsmen. One boat actually hit John while he was fishing. The guy in the stern, covered in ink, was screaming at his wife not realizing that it's his job to steer the f*cking boat. Unbelievable! I thought we were gonna witness some domestic violence right there on the water. If I didn't think the guy was armed, I would have probably told him that he was the reason the boat tipped earlier, he was the reason they lost all of their beer, he was the reason their cigarrettes got wet, and he was the reason they ran into John who stood motionless in the riffle. Great stuff!

Anyway, being that John and I were the only fisherman on the water, we decided to fish the first riffle at the bottom of the hill until Doug and Eddie arrived. I believed that our best shot at cathing fish with all of the canoes would be in the fast water. Whether or not it's true, I think the fish are less likely to spook from the canoes in riffles. With the noise from the current, the broken water obstructing the fishes' vision, and the fact that the canoers move through the fishable water quickly, I think less of the fishes' attention is spent worrying about the hoosier hatch. The problem with fishing the fast water is that a lot of the local canoeing talent, like our boy mentioned above, can't seem to handle even the easiest of white water and the fish certainly spook when beer cans and tattoed bodies float through their feeding grounds.

Aside from the drama above, John and I were lucky enough not to witness any boats go under and managed to pull 5 or 6 fish out of that first run within the hour by literally casting in between canoes. As the day progressed, the canoes became less and less prevalent and the fishing turned on a bit.



When Eddie and Doug arrived, we headed upstream to my favorite hole on the Mac.



To my surprise, the contours of the river above my favorite hole had changed quite a bit and offered a new, long stretch of very fishy water. Doug and JD nymphed the fast water, and Eddie and I headed up to this new stretch and stung a couple fish on hoppers.



All in all, aside from our encounter with the "necks," we had a good day. We caught fish on nymphs, dries, and streamers (even sticking one smallmouth). While nothing was huge, it was nice to get in the cold water and put a bend in the rod. It's also nice knowing that the Mac is still fishable.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Current River Camping & Fishing June 2009

I hit the river for a short float (Baptist to Parker) this past weekend with two of my Alaskan co-horts, Eddie and Doug. I am always in search of new fishing buddies and both Doug and Eddie are new to trout fishing in Missouri so it was a good opportunity to show them the river. We rolled out Friday after a half day of work with our canoes strapped to the car and with a ridiculous amount of gear. Seriously, we probably could have survived out there for at least a month with the amount of food and gear we brought.

One reason for the abundance of gear was the weather. Weather.com was forecasting a 60% chance of heavy thunderstorms Friday night and, having learned from experience, it's always nice to have extra gear when you're camping in heavy storms. Fortunately, the storms stayed to the South of Missouri Friday and, despite a pretty good chance of rain each day that weekend, we managed to avoid any inclement weather.

The fish also decided to cooperate, especially considering the high-water conditions. The river was up, 1.8 - 1.9 on the gauge below Montauk (200 - 220 CFS), which made floating absolutely fabulous, but the heavy stain, depth, and speed of the water had me concerned that we would not be able to get down to the fish. Each of us was prepared with 300 grain sinking lines but we ended up not using them.

Friday evening, Eddie and I both got on the board via the streamer. After floating and setting up camp, we only had about an hour to fish but the fact that we were successful excited us for Saturday's float.

Saturday, streamers and large nymphs were the ticket. The fish seemed to be charged up and were more than willing to rise in the water column for our flies. In fact, one really large brown (in a spot that will remain anonymous), jumped about 2 feet out of the water taking an emerger or some other bug on or near the surface. Despite several attempts to coax this 20+ inch fish to re-surface, he out smarted the three of us and was not seen a second time.

Despite not sticking the pig, we did nail quite a few average sized browns and bows and moved a couple really large fish. Streamer fishing is really one of my favorite ways to chase trout. There's nothing cooler in my opinion than watching a brown just explode on a streamer, especially when that streamer is a bright color and riding just below the surface. Everything is so visual. It's a similar feeling to tarpon fishing watching the whole attack take place.

On Saturday, my man Doug stuck his first Missouri trout and managed to pull in at least two entirely on his own (i.e. he chose the fly, tied the knot, picked the spot, and sealed the deal). Here's a shot of one of Doug's first Missouri trout:




Eddie, who was fishing like a veteran, was also having no trouble putting fish in hand:




We finished the float on Saturday at Parker around 5 PM and planned to quickly head into the park to re-load our ice supply. The plan was a quick stop followed by fishing until dark. One cool side note, while loading the boats on the car, I found a really cool bird point (or arrowhead) that was in perfect condition. This is the second one I have found on the Current. I guess the heavy rains and high water moved enough gravel and dirt to expose some new stones. It's somewhat humbling to think that American Indians were living in and around the Current River hundreds of years ago. If they only had trout back then....

Anyway, we loaded the gear and headed toward the park in a hurry to get back out on the water. Perhaps we were in a little too much of a hurry on those gravel roads because after buying our supplies, Doug's tire was almost completely flat:



Enter the "pit crew," Eddie and I. The following exchange was quite humorous:

Ryan: "Damn, this is going to cut into our fishing time. We need to change this sucker as quickly as possible. Doug, do you have a spare?"

Doug: "No."

[Eddie looks under the rear bumper].

Eddie: "You definitely have a spare."

Ryan: "Doug, where's your jack?"

Doug: "No idea. I don't think I have one."

Ryan: "You definitely do."

[Ryan locates the jack and tire iron in rear compartment].

Doug: "I'm gonna head into the lodge. Little bear, you're in charge."

After struggling with the tire for about 30 minutes, Eddie and I had the truck back on four full tubes and we were ready to hit the road. At that moment, almost perfectly timed, Doug walks out of the lodge with a six pack of cold Bud Light.

Doug: "What can I do to help?"

You'll notice the shit eating grin on Doug's face as he posed for the picture above. Eddie and I grabbed beers and we hit the road. Doug's penance was to carry the back pack for the remainder of the evening.

We ended up fishing for an hour or so until dark. Doug stuck a decent brown on a streamer as he was giving me casting pointers and various other fly fishing instruction.



The three of us fished our way down to camp on foot and called it an evening.

On Sunday, we broke camp and fished a mile or so upstream. Again, streamers were very effective as were large nymphs. Being that we were upstream where the river was running slightly clearer, I decided to try the "go to" method that I prefer on the Current: the dry-dropper combo. Fishing fast, shallow riffles I tore it up landing five fish in 30 minutes. Unfortunately, right when I cracked the code, the boys wanted to head for the hills. I was on board with this idea as our two nights on the river with Anheuser Busch were starting to catch up with me.

We pulled out of Montauk around 1:30 and pulled into the driveway in STL around 4. Great weekend. Thanks for joining me fellas.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chasing Silver at Location X

I don't know if anyone has seen the movie. If you fly fish and you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. In any event, three years ago Sara got me one of the best gifts I have ever received. It was my birthday and, after my frustrating trip to the Keys where I failed to land the big one, she wanted to organize a tarpon fishing trip. At the time, "Chasing Silver: Location X" had been recently released and I was borderline obsessed with it. Sara's mastermind in gift giving immediately went to work. She contacted a friend of mine who works at one of leading fly fishing companies in North America. It just so happens that my buddy knew the guide from the movie and the guide had two days open that season to fish. My friend told Sara "this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to fish with one of the best salt water guides in the world. You need to make this happen." She made it happen and my friend was right. It's like nothing else I've ever experiended.

Two days of tarpon fishing at Location X with the guide from the movie. Unreal! Every year I get the best gift a fly fisherman could ask for. Seriously awesome. Yet another reason I am not letting Sara get away.

This year marked my third year fishing at this mysterious location. The first year I jumped several tarpon the first day and was poised to land one the second day. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate the second day. High winds, clouds, and rain muddied up the water to the exent that we had zero visibility. Day two was cancelled.

Last year marked success. I fed numerous tarpon, jumping upwards of 12 and landing 5:







This year was another great year despite the fact that we didn't boat any fish. I fed 19 tarpon in two days, jumping 6. Little things were not going my way. Several fish simply threw the hook when jumping. One big fish bolted away from the boat then decided to make a u-turn and come right back at me. There was no way I could pick up line fast enough to keep tension on the fish. I thought about putting my rod tip in the water but before my mind could process what was happening, she was gone. Another fish ate twice right in front of the boat and took off for the deep. I cleared my line out of the bucket but the last bit of fly-line wrapped around my reel handle and the fish snapped my 60lb tippet like it was nothing.

Despite not putting any fish in hand, I learned a ton and am ready to get back out there as soon as possible. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! I suppose I can hold off for another year. For now, swimming tarpon haunt my dreams.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

April Reports--Current / Meramec

April was a pretty good month for outdoor activity. Despite getting a lot of rain in Missouri, I was able to fish the Current with a few buddies on the 5th and had my first turkey hunting experience on the 26th. After the morning hunt, we hit the Meramec for a high-water attempt at smallies and trout. Not a bad day if I do say so myself.

Our day on the Current was interesting. The morning brought warm temperatures and sun. Caddis were popping and we stuck 20 or so fish early on on caddis dries despite the high water (1.6 on the USGS guage just below Montauk). I fished with Stu, Billy, and Eddie, a friend who I met on my trip to Alaska. This was Eddie's first time on the Current and I wanted it to be a good experience so he would not shy away from an invite down the road. Eddie was all over the morning hatch. He probably netted upwards of a dozen fish in the first two hours all on dries. Needless to say, I think he'll be coming back.

As the afternoon approached, a storm front moved through and the temperature dropped probabyly 20 degrees. The caddis turned off and the fish started eating streamers. Olive was the color of choice and the group continued to have success into the evening. Unfortunately, there were no big fish to speak of but our numbers were good. It was also fun getting a taste of dry flies followed by heavy streamer fishing.

My day turkey hunting and Meramec fishing was slow. This was my first turkey hunting experience and, despite the fact that we did not take a bird, I really enjoyed it. I hunted with my buddy Henry on some property he owns about 45 minutes outside St. Louis. We saw 8 birds and had some gobbles in pretty close range but cound not get a male bird to come out of the woods. We had a hen approach our decoy and cluck a few times but no toms.

With no love from the turkeys, we headed to the upper Meramec for smallies. The river was almost blown out and our attempts to catch bass were unsuccessful. From there, we decided to move downstream below the park to go for trout, a species I am much more familiar with when fishing high water. I ended up sticking a handful of rainbows. Henry moved one large fish and Johnston, who met up with us on the river, stuck a decent rainbow to close out the day.

Hunting and fishing was a blast. I look forward to going for turkeys again this weekend.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Current River 3-29

I crushed it on the Current this past Sunday. Absolutely phenomenal day of fishing. Saturday night and early Sunday morning we got 1-2 inches of rain followed by a few inches of snow. I was a little hesitant to make the drive as I was risking a blown out mess of a river, but I really wanted a good day of streamer fishing and I knew the bad weather would keep the weekend anglers away.

Another motivator for me to get out was the day my buddy had the previous Sunday. Stone, my padawan fly flinger, decided to go fishing with Han (Solo) and it paid off. He ended up netting a 24+ inch pig all by his lonesome. The hog was verified by photos so I know he's not telling me a fish story. Plus, while he has been known to exaggerate, he understands a fish like that is not something you fabricate. It's too great a feat to make-up. It would be like claiming you shot a banded duck or hit a hole-in-one. You just don't do it. Anyway, it was a beautiful fish and I couldn't be more proud of the fact that he caught her by himself. He picked the fly (with some direction I offered prior to his departure), he picked the spot in the river, and he was able to land a huge Current River brown on 7x tippet. Congrats Stone! He also allegedly netted about 40 other fish on the day. I needed to have a day like that for myself.

So I got on the road early Sunday with hopes of matching 24 inches of brown. The entire drive I monitored river levels on my phone. The gage just below Montauk read 1.78, then 1.79, then 1.80 while I fished. I actually think it got a little higher while I was on the water but that's a good thing. I always tend to have better days when the water is coming up as opposed to falling.

Anyway, my concern was not how high the water was. I have fished the river at 2.20 so I knew 1.80 would not be an issue. The question would be clarity. If it was completely opaque with mud from run off, I would be in trouble. I was hoping for a moderate stain. Enough for the big browns to come out of hiding to feed on bait fish.

Driving through Rolla and crossing over the Little Piney, I thought I had gambled and lost. Usually, the Little Piney is a good indicator of what the Current will look like and the Piney was over its banks and fully stained--chocolate milk. My heart sunk as I figured I would be turning around as soon as I arrived. Nothing like spending 5 hours in the car to start off your Sunday. Maybe I could still catch fish if I stayed up high in the Park. I was going to give it a shot.

Turning the corner on 119 and heading down into the Park, I was seriously nervous. I know that sounds ridiculous but I was really excited to fish and did not want to give up my day. To my surprise, the water looked perfect. Slightly off color, enough to conceal the fish and me, yet clear enough for them to still feed. It couldn't have worked out better. The weather had scared off mostly all of the weekend anglers (although the Park was still a circus) and the conditions were ideal for streamers.

White was the color of choice on Sunday for whatever reason and the fish did not mind moving for the fly. The pattern I chose (which will remain nameless) rode very high in the water and each presentation was very visual. This proved to be good and bad. It was awesome to see the take but I had a little trouble early on not pulling the fly out of the fish's mouth when it attacked. I'd better get my shit together before I go tarpon fishing in May.

I use the word attack because that's exactly what they were doing. Some fish were feeding but others just seemed to strike out of pure aggression. It reminded me of salmon fishing in Alaska. When the salmon spawn, they stop eating and the only reason they strike a fly is because they're pissed that a flashy bug is invading their spawning ritual (at least that's what I've been told). It's pretty cool. Raw aggression. The browns on the Current were acting the same way. Fish were swimming across the river to hit my fly and some would come fully out of the water when they struck.

Fishing downstream, I covered about 2 miles of river with my streamers and I must have stuck over 100 fish. I burned through 6 of the pattern I was using simply because fish were destroying the fly. Some fish that ended up short striking the fly actually ripped the tail right off the streamer. I probably netted 50 or 60--mostly browns in the 12-14 inch range. Oddly enough, I think I only hooked two or three rainbows the entire day and two of those were caught on nymphs as I headed back up stream toward my truck.

I moved several very large fish on the streamers. The big boys were excited enough to chase the fly but most would either short strike or roll on it without actually eating. Unfortunately, I lost the two monsters that did decide to fully commit. One of the browns performed two great aerials before throwing the hook. Just enough to get me excited about how big he was before disappearing in the mirky water. This fish could have given Stone's a run for its money but I'll never know. Regardless, it was a phenomenal day and it was exactly what I was looking for. I can't wait to get out again on a rainy day. What's the weather like this weekend?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Current River, March 7, 2009

I hit the Current last Saturday with my buddy Steve. Steve is a phenomenal fisherman and he is largely responsible for my obsession with the sport. It's always a pleasure spending time on the water with Steve. He works as a product developer for Orvis and he always has the latest gear and definitely has his ear to the ground with respect to the fly fishing industry. Not to mention the fact that he's nasty with the fly rod and a pretty decent guy to hang out with to boot. We had a solid day sticking fish.

The weather was a beautiful, 50s and sunny, and of course the river was crowded (especially now that trout season is open again, yay!). I hope you can sense the sarcasm. Steve and I did our best to avoid the circus but depsite taking a long hike in the afternoon, we still bumped into other anglers all day.

All in all, the fishing was pretty slow and I don't really have any fish porn to post, unfortunately. We stuck a few rainbows early on varying nymphs but nothing was rising and the fish weren't taking any pattern on a regular basis. Steve and I both worked through our boxes in the morning and really didn't crack the code until the afternoon. One thing that's nice about fishing with Steve is that I am confident if fish aren't eating what he has to offer, it's not the right pattern. It's great to fish with someone who can really work water effectively. Essentially, it doubles the water you cover and flies you can present.

Steve finally stumbled on a hot pattern, the "Bread Crumb," which is essentially a Hare's Ear with a brown soft hackle collar. I'm almost certain the fish were taking these as some sort caddis immitation as the caddis were comming off pretty thick. I tied on a #16 Hare's Ear and the game was on. We both stuck quite a few fish in the afternoon and I had the opportunity to cast to a pig brown but couldn't seal the deal. Oh well. It was a blast site fishing to 12-15 inch browns and watching them eat my fly. Also, I know exactly where the big one lives and as long as some local yokal doesn't pluck him out of the river, I plan to get another shot at him.

Great day on the water and great catching up with Steve.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Arkansas, February 25 - March 1

The boys and I took our annual trip to Arkansas the last weekend in February. This year there were 5 of us: Davis, Stone, Stuart, Billy, and me. The weekend was supposed to start with a Thursday departure, however, as usual, Stone, Davis and I got the itch early and ended up leaving on Tuesday, 2-25. After work we piled into big John's RV and headed for the border. The plan was to sleep in the RV Tuesday night and park it wherever they were not running water. There was no question we were going to wet a line Tuesday night.

We were loaded and on the road by 7:30 PM. We parked the "Duk Bus" and fired up the the generator just below Norfork Dam by about 12:30 AM. After grabbing a bite to eat and gathering a little inspiration from "Duck Commanders," we wet our lines at about 1:30 AM.

Night fishing was slow compared to what we usually experience. Actually, Stone was the only angler to put a fish in hand. Davis went for a swim right off the bat and, with the 30 degree temperatures, he was a shivering mess by 4 AM.



I have no excuse. I simply couldn't get it done that night. For whatever reason, Stone put about a dozen trout in the net, I was skunked, and Davis was frozen.

At about 5 AM, Stone and I went back to the RV for a hot drink and re-rigged our rods for some daylight fishing. The sunrise was close and we were not planning on sleeping. We didn't drive 5 hours to sleep.

The sun ball rose and, like clockwork, they started running water on the Norfork. Unfortunately, Tuesday night provided the only low water we would see all weekend. Because we were without a boat, we decided to pack up and head over to Rim Shoals, our permanent lodging for the long weekend.

We rolled out of the park around 6:30 AM. Davis hit the rack and Stone and I navigated our way to Rim Shoals. After a brief check-in period, we rented a boat from Gary Flippin (owner of Rim Shoals) and hit the water. They were running 8 units and fishing was not easy--especially since none of us had ever fished at Rim or even seen Rim Shoals on low water. Regardless, Stone and I were on the attack.

Stone hooked up on our first drift with a SJ worm. I was at the motor, entertaining myself by working on my guiding skills. They proved to be pretty weak because we didn't hook up again until we headed down stream to some islands where we could wade fish. On high water, the trees on these islands created some really nice pocket water where there just had to be fish. This turned out to be true. Stone and I each netted a handful of rainbows here and I stuck one good 21 inch brown. I was pretty proud of this fish because I had never seen this water before and because I caught him on a number 16 sow bug pattern that I sort of made up. I'm not going to pretend like I re-invented the wheel here, but I'd like to think that my little additions to an otherwise standard pattern helped seal the deal.



After that brown, we headed back to the cabin to grab lunch and to pick up Davis who, at this point, had logged about 5 hours of sleep. The rest of the day was good. Stone and I were in kind of a daze having stayed up all night, but the three of us managed to put another dozen or so fish in the boat each. Not bad for having never seen the water and for working on zero sleep.

Day two we fished out in front of Rim Shoals with guide Jamie Rouse. Jamie normally guides on the Little Red, where he lives with his wife and daughter, however, he was nice enough to make the two hour trek over to Rim to tend to us for the day.

The idea for Thursday was to catch a big brown. We sacrificed numbers by throwing sinking lines and big streamers all day. The color of choice was white. Probably because of the shad that had been coming through on a fairly regular basis.

Our first drift was excellent. Davis landed four browns and, between the two of us, we moved some really nice fish. As the day progressed the action slowed a bit (as far as number of fish landed) but strikes came pretty regularly. Had we landed every fish that struck the streamers, it would have been one for the books, but that's the way it goes with streamers. Sometimes the fish commits and sometimes they short strike or just roll on the fly.

At about the half way point, we ran back up to the cabin to reload the coolers and grab lunch. As we sat there, our guide embarrassed all the angler's in the boat. He re-rigged the rods and, with an anchored boat just several feet from our cabin, he stuck this beauty dead drifting a shad pattern just off the side of the boat. Nice work Jamie!!



Lucky for Jamie, the clients had the last laugh. Toward the end of the day, I stuck this 23.5 inch, fat female brown:





Jamie was a phenomenal guide and a great guy to spend the day with. I absolutely recommend him to anyone that wants to fish in AR. I look forward to spending more time on the water with him in the future.

Thursday evening Stu and Billy arrived fired up to party. We enjoyed a few adult beverages, played a little poker, and attempted some night fishing from the bank with no success. The high water was killing us! We were all looking forward to Friday with guides John Gulley and Jimmy Traylor.

We awoke Friday morning to two chipper guides ready to head up to Bull Shoals Dam. Gully was actually a half hour early and forced the the heavy-headed crew out of their comas. Needless to say, the anglers required Bloody Mary's and some breakfast casserole to get moving.

Stuart was the big winner on Friday. For whatever reason, he decided to bring a fake mustache along. I wouldn't have mentioned this, but he looks absolutely ridiculous in the pictures and I had to explain why. I don't know what prompted this, but it's not too far off if you know Stuart.



Unbelievable!

Anyway, from Gulley's boat, Stuart netted 3 fish in the 20 inch range before lunch and Billy got a sore wrist from hauling in what must have been upwards of 25 shad-filled trout. The shad that were coming through the dam like I've never seen before.










Traylor's boat did not enjoy the same action. We fished further down river. I landed a few rainbows on egg patterns, as did Stone and Davis, but we had nothing of any size. The two boats rendezvoused at lunch and we changed up the chemistry a bit.

The second half of the day, Stone and I fished with Gulley and enjoyed some of the action that his boat was experiencing. I stuck an 18 inch brown and a rainbow to match, and Stone probably caught 45 fish in the span of four hours. It was pretty ridiculous.



Jimmy T's boat again was not keeping up. His boat caught some fish, but for whatever the reason, Gulley had the formula that day. Thanks to both guides for a great day! I wish we could have seen some low water (and I wish I could have out done Stuart) but, we can't always get what we want. I really hope he doesn't attribute his success to the stupid mustache.

Our final fishing day was Saturday because Sunday, as usual, is reserved for travel and recovery. A weather front moved in on Saturday and Stone and I were the only ones to make the morning shift (no surprise there). For the first few hours of our morning, we fished in almost white out conditions. It was very cool. We stuck a few decent bows in the morning and then decided to go rouse the crew.

All of the boys were on the water by about 10. Unfortunately, the fishing was slow. Perhaps it was the weather, the high water, or lack of knowing where to fish around Rim Shoals. I don't know. I really wish I could have seen the features of the river without 15 feet of extra water. Oh well. Everyone managed to stick a fish and some of us hit double digits. We cruised up crooked creek and caught a few bows which was fun. All in all, I will say it was a slow day fishing but a great day on the water with friends. I am looking forward to my next visit.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Alaska, August 2008: The Prelude

I feel somewhat remiss about the fact that I have yet to report the details of my adventure to Alaska this past August. It was the angling trip of a lifetime. Five species of salmon, rainbow trout, greyling, dolly varden, pike, and lake trout were all in abundance everyday, all day, for seven glorious days.

Perhaps I have been intimidated by the idea of trying to capture the stories of every great fish, every great flight, or every great friend I made on this trip. Or, perhaps I was just lazy and didn't make the time to sit down and verbalize all of the thoughts and memories I have filed away in my head. At this point, however, it doesn't really matter. I have decided to try to capture, in words, my experience in a fly angler's nirvana.

Instead of banging all of this out in one sitting, I have decided it's necessary to categorize my stories. Be it by fish, by fishery, or by fly pattern, the Alaska chapters will take shape as I recall the fish-dreams that remain in my head months after returning from the bush. The fear I felt setting foot for the first time onto a float plane; the unrest of watching brown bears off in the distance never knowing what I'd do if one decided to take an interest in me or the struggling salmon on the end of my fly line; the profoundness of stepping into a glacial river with millions of spawning salmon that had traveled hundreads of miles without food in search of their birthplace just so they can continue the bloodline; the solitude of realizing that no other human footprints dressed the banks of river I was about to fish. It was a land both wild and unknown to anything I had ever experienced.

I'm certainly not going to pretend like I roughed it for the days I spent in the wilds of the Alaskan wilderness. I'm no Chris McCandless and I won't pretend to be. Contrarily, my adventure "Into the Wild" was due in large part to friends, lodge staff, and excellent fishing guides who spent countless hours organizing and planning a five-star fishing adventure that would leave me questioning how those who braved it alone survived without shelter, satelite phones, GPS, planes, and the comfort of gourmet meals and great wine to revive the spirit at the end of each day.

What is soon to follow are the pictures, videos, and stories of my time at Tikchik Narrows Lodge in Southwest Alaska. It's truly an angler's paradise.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

1-31-2009

Another day on the Current proved to be very successful. With sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s the caddis were at it again. I fished with Mike for the second time this month. He's turning out to be a decent fishing buddy now that he's got a regular lady friend and isn't out every weekend night on the prowl. We stuck to the river in the morning and ended our day in the park so we could fish close to the car and get on the road by 4 PM. This was my last weekend of the catch and release season in the park as I won't be able to get out next weekend. Both the river and the park were excellent.

We were on the water by 8:30 or so and started the day nymphing a hole that usually holds some large browns. I was excited to try two new patterns (one midge pattern and one caddis larva imitation) that I had tied during the week. I won't say that I made these patterns up but I did a little internet research and added some variations to what are otherwise standard, fly shop nymphs. Both new flies were effective. I stuck three or four fish right off the bat on the new midge pattern and netted a pretty decent brown on the caddis larva.



Right around 11 the river delivered what I was hoping for. The caddis starting hatching, thick. Fish rose in the water column and Mike and I fished dries the rest of the day. Again the magic pattern was a non-standard caddis dry that, to my knowledge, is not available in local stores. Mike and I slid up river into a faster run and began plucking fish off the surface. After a few casts, I got a very large brown to come up. He attacked my fly but I'm pretty sure he did not eat it. After missing "gigantor," Mike took over and got the same fish to come up two more times. Neither of us could close the deal unfortunately, but we continued to pull out smaller fish. It was great!



I got a really cool underwater video of Mike releasing that rainbow:
video

The day was fabulous. We each probably stuck around 30 fish, landing half has many, and the majority of them were caught on the surface. I am very impressed with the Current right now and I have the fishing bug, bad. Next weekend Sara and I are headed to Jackson Hole, WY to scout out some wedding venues and to "tap the gnar" on Jackson Hole Mountain. You can bet when I get back I will be looking for the next warm day to get out on the water and dry-fly fish.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Current River MLK Weekend (1/16-1/19)

I took advantage of MLK weekend and hit the Current for a three day fishing excursion. The forecast was 30s to 40s, sunny, and the water was 1.11 ft at the USGS guage just below Montauk. All in all, these were pretty solid conditions for January on the Current.

Saturday I was joined by a buddy who doesn't get out too often, Mike. He took off early Sunday morning and was replaced by John, who sticks pretty well. John and I fished Sunday and Monday. The fishing was phenomenal both Saturday and Sunday. These were the warmer days of the weekend (in the mid 40s) and I think the warmer temperatures led to the two great caddis hatches we experienced. Honestly, these were some of the best hatches I have ever seen on the Current. The bugs were plentiful and the fish were all over them.

Saturday the magic fly was a downwing tan caddis (size 16). The fish rarely refused this pattern on a good presentation. In fact, the strikes were regular enough that I was able to capture a few takes with my point-and-shoot Pentax Optio on video mode. Pardon any obscenities shouted during the video.

video

Here's video of Mikey sitting one:

video

Close up eat:

video

Mike and I ended up probably landing in excess of 20 fish a piece on Saturday. Awesome day on the river and I'm glad Mike was there to share it with me. I believe this was his first experience with a true hatch and really good dry fly fishing.

On Sunday the weather cooled a bit but the caddis were still hatching in full force. For some reason, however, on Sunday the fish were keyed in to a different caddis pattern. Maybe it was because we were fishing a different section of river or maybe the bugs were slightly different. Who knows? John and I struggled at first to find the right caddis immitation but, once we did, the game was on.

I would normally mention what fly we were using, however, this particular pattern is not sold in our local stores. It is a pattern my friend Nate Anderson taught me to tie and I think I will keep this one to myself. Perhaps this was why it fooled the fish more so than the traditional patterns. John and I had another bang up day. No video this time but I we put plenty of trout in the net. For example...





Monday the temperature dropped significantly. I doubt we saw 35 degrees as our guides were freezing all day. We stuck it out, however, and caught some fish. I nailed a large rainbow (20+) but could not get him off the bottom. No pics from Monday but stay tuned for more. Fabulous weekend! Hopefully I'll be back out soon. I've got the itch bigtime.

Monday, January 5, 2009

1-3-09 Current River Report

I fished the Current River on Saturday, 1/3, with the Stoneman. It was an overcast day and unseasonably warm (around 60 degrees). The water was running slightly high and was a little off color. The USGS gauge just below the park read 1.25.

The fishing was good early. We got on the water at about 8:30. We caught fish on pimps and caddis (18s and 16s respectively), and various midge patterns. The fish of the day came early--a 16-17 inch wild rainbow caught out of water that I usually never fish. I guess the few extra inches of water was all this riffle needed to hold a good bow. Actually, I think the abnormally high water this year has been great for the fish. Every trout we caught was fat and very healthy looking. I hope our precipitation pattern cooperates for next year.

The afternoon slowed, perhaps because we ran out of pimps, but there were plenty of fish that appeared to be actively feeding. The caddis hatch was strong and I believe the fish were eating the emergers. I threw a few emerger patterns and had some luck (i.e. LaFontaine’s pupa, soft hackles, etc.) but could not get fish to take my fly regularly. I was not armed with caddis larva which may have also proved useful. Needless to say, I need to do some tying before my next trip.

Unfortunately, Stone and I had to leave the river around 3 PM to make it back for previously scheduled events. Per usual, as quitting time approached the fishing picked up and fish began taking caddis dries regularly. We stuck several fish on standard, tan elk-hair caddis dries before hiking out. I imagine we missed a pretty solid caddis hatch. All in all it was a successful day. We each probably netted 10 fish or so and lost several more prior to putting them in hand.