Monday, June 22, 2009

"Give the Blackfoot Another Week"

A certain fishing report said last week that the Blackfoot was a week out. Hiding the ball, much?

Dry fly action has been improving on the 'Foot everyday, with the fish really munching when the sun's behind the rain clouds. Bugs galore, and coincidentally, guides galore as well. Could this be the reason for the erroneous report? Hmmmm...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day Dad and Thanks

This is Father's Day Weekend and I really wanted to just thank my Dad for introducing me to fishing. The other night, I was floating the river with some law school buddies and I told them, "You know, the only thing that makes me feel like a normal person is fishing." It's true. And without Big Bill (as I affectionately refer to him), I would be miserable.

While my Dad isn't really into fly fishing, he loves to fish as much as anyone, and smallmouth bass are his favorite quarry. We've done some troutin' too. I'll never forget my first day of trout fishing in PA. I was 6 years old and Dad said he was taking me up to fishing camp for the first day. My mom made me wear a snowsuit and a PFD, even though we were fishing from the bank with worms. I guess a big brown could have pulled me in, in which case the life preserver would have kept me from drowning in the snowsuit. I caught a 13-inch stocker rainbow and a small brown, which made their way into our freezer, never to be eaten. I think Mom threw them out when I was 10.

Fishing camp was where I was introduced to fly fishing by my Dad's buddies. I learned how to play setback, tie a blood knot, and drink before 8am. Dad also started taking me to our lake in Canada when I was a little older. I fell in love with bass fishing and wanted to be on the Bassmasters. (Mark Betourney???) I always loved the scientific aspect of the sport and I think it naturally led me to fly fishing.

I know that without my Dad taking me to Canada or to trout camp, I wouldn't be catching the trout I do now. There's nothing like sitting on the "Gin & Tonic" deck with Big Bill, watching the sunset, after a day on the lake whacking smallies. Without my Dad and his friends I don't know where I'd be. I certainly wouldn't be much of a fisherman and probably not much of a man either. I love you Dad and miss you. Thanks for everything and get your ass out here so we can get you into some trout. Happy Father's Day!


P.S. If you any of you guys or girls out there have a great fishing story about your Dad, please post them in the comments. I know they'd appreciate it!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rock Creek Madness

Headed up to the Creek with my buddy Jim Napoli today. As many already know the lower section was congested with trailers and shuttle vehicles. To be quite honest, it has gotten well as laughable at Rock Creek during this time of the season.

We opted for the Dalles and we were prepared to throw salmonfly patterns despite the fact that every yahoo being taken down the river was smacking their bug all over the place. All in all we were surprised by a few things: the complete absence of people wade fishing in most parts, the small number of boats that passed us over a five hour period (four), and the amazing bugs that were flying about in full force. Salmonflies, caddis, golden stones in small numbers, and the usual midges on the water. 

I bailed on the salmonfly from the beginning and opted for an orange bar fly, while Jim fished an orange stimulater. Early on we fished with a prince dropped off of one rig and a copper John on the other, but these were abandoned quickly because the only thing fish were concerned about was what was on the surface. Turned out to be a hell of a day with a lot of success. 

The words of the only wading angler we saw rang true throughout the day: the jokers on the boats are missing all of the pockets close to the creek's bank. This old timer had the same idea we had when we arrived. Take our time and keep the bug within 3 to 4 feet from the stream bank. Great success! I fished the same bug for five hours and brought close to a dozen fish to hand, as well as missing a few others. Highlights included sight fishing and landing a rising 14" 'bow a foot from the bank and bringing a nice sized brown to hand early on. In one pocket I pulled a cut-bow, a brown, and a rainbow from the same water. The fish are feasting, the rises and strikes are spectacular, and the bugs are beautiful. Enjoy it and get out and walk every once in a while. You may be surprised at what you find in the most unlikely spots. 

Summer is finally here!!!

It's been a pretty good week. I started my new job. The salmonflies started hatching, hitting the Creek in full force several days ago and now popping on the Blackfoot and Upper 'Root. The only downside was jumping over board to free a stuck anchor with my cell phone in my pocket. Damn.

Where was I? Oh yeah, that's right, I was talking about how much I love salmonflies. They are remarkable insects and the trout can't believe how much protein they can get per unit effort. LaNette was able to land her first big brown on a salmonfly dry today after tearing it up on the Madison last week. I'm a proud boyfriend, can you tell?

On our area rivers, it's a special time. All sorts of bugs are hatching. In addition to the salmonflies, we've also been seeing giant golden stones, several species of caddis, yellow sallies, green sallies, PMD's and Green Drakes. This is that magic moment when the rivers clear, the bugs hatch and the fish go crazy.

Entztrix is back east and should be hitting some spring creeks with our friend Aaron Barrow of E.Hille Co., so we're looking forward to that report. Out here, everything is shaping up. The Creek has been excellent, although busy. The Blackfoot is turning on and the Clark Fork and Bitterroot are on their way as well.

The Hydropsyche caddis have started coming off in the evenings, making for some incredible twilight fishing in the eddies on the lower Clarkie in the near future. However, the mosquitoes are also out in force. If you plan to be out early or late, make sure you got some bug dope, long sleeves, and pants.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I know I've been slacking, but it's hard not to just fish when it's good. Don't forget Zoo City is your one-stop shop for flows, reports, and links and it's free! Tight lines. I'll see you on the river.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Orange Magic on the Creek

Salmonflies are out and about on the Creek and we are simply waiting for more fishable conditions. It's down over 1,000 cfs in the past 36 hours. Once we fall below 3000 look for the fishing to turn around in a hurry.

I'm not a big fan of floating the Creek but I highly recommend SLOWLY walking the banks dropping your big bugs into the tiny pockets. Places will hold fish that you wouldn't even think of fishing normally as the fish try to get out of the heavy water. This is a good time to creep and use the brush to your advantage as camo. Even though the water's high, the fish will be tucked right next to the bank. I mean inches not feet. Anywhere there's an overhanging bush, there's a fish waiting for a salmonfly to drop in the water.

Remember sound travels faster through water than the air, so don't stomp around and keep your shadow off the water you intend to fish. Don't overlook the nymphs either. Sometimes they outproduce the dries, especially if you're fishing the front end of the hatch. It's about to get silly! The other rivers are still probably a week out, but the Creek should be awesome this weekend. Get out there. The salmonflies are one of nature's spectacles and not to be missed as every animal in the woods munches on the orange monsters.