Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Friday Afternoon 'Bow
Every Christmas, we head up to our place on the west slope of the Tetons to rendezvous with family members from all over the country.   It's a  great opportunity to catch up with kinfolk and enjoy some good food.  My favorite winter activity, however, is heading out into the backcountry for some exercise with the goose.

The goose and I would like to thank you for keeping up with our adventures this year.

A Very Merry Christmas to You and Yours 

Friday, December 14, 2012

2012: The Fish Gallery

I will remember 2012 as an exceptional year for fly fishing in some great places - Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone National Park and Turks & Caicos.

This is a video slideshow highlighting some of the fish that made the year special.

Thanks - Brent

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Babes in Toyland

We've been given a nice reprieve from the cold this week here in east Idaho.  In fact, the temperatures made the concept of work utterly inconceivable on Tuesday.  Thus, I got out with Shane while the phone rang repeatedly all day - out of earshot on the center console of the truck.

We got into some solid 'bows all day and had a darn good time on the river.  Nymphing works a whole lot better for me when I can take the gloves off and actually feel what is going on with the fly line.

Having an opportunity to fish in relative warmth two weeks before Christmas was an absolute gift and we took full advantage - hitting every stretch of river we could squeeze in before dark.

One of the main ingredients in the recipe for success on this river is the desire to explore new places.  After all, you are probably not the only guy who has fished your favorite honey hole repeatedly for the past few years.  Complacency is not your friend - getting out and exploring new water pays dividends.

Here's some simple math:

1)  20% of the river will hold 95% of the fish.

2)  80% of success involves finding that holding water.

I was never good at math, but I find this concept holds true on most rivers and creeks.  Come to think of it, it holds true on most lakes as well.

I spent most of my time chasing carp last year, but 2012 was the year I fell back in love with trout.  While I still love carp, the complexity of rivers and the multiple dimensions of flows, depth, hatch cycles and seasonal movement are more alluring than ever.

These feisty 'bows, more than anything else, are responsible for rekindling that flame.

As the day wound down, the wind picked up dramatically - with gusts in the 30 mph range.  It was pretty clear to me our short window of nice weather had to come to an end.

Shane was off in the distance, ever the explorer.  As I turned around to check his location, I saw him approaching - bent rod in hand.  I couldn't make out what he was saying, but I could sense the urgency in his voice. 

When I approached him with the net, two words came to mind.

"Holy crap."

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Sub-freezing temperatures are a game-changer.

Fleece, gore-tex and water repellent nylon can not change the fact that humans were not designed for wading cold rivers in winter.  One misstep with numb feet could result in a very deep, cold plunge. 

Maybe your last deep, cold plunge.

Nonetheless, "not fishing" is simply not an option.  The innate urge to stalk wild things in nature carries on despite the cold.

With each drop in water temperature, the fish slow down accordingly.  Your sense of touch needs to be 'spot on,' as aggressive takes are a thing of the past. This is doubly challenging given the cold and wind.

Sometimes, however, it all comes together and you can feel exactly what is going on at the end of your tippet. 

Such was the case with this nice brown trout.  His eat felt like a dental exam. I could feel the fly moving into his mouth in slow motion. 

It was perfect.

Although I landed a few more good fish, my mind kept playing that first brown trout's take over and over  again all afternoon. 

Moments like this make winter fly fishing well worth all of the challenges.

Although our local forecast calls for single-digit temperatures this evening, I am undaunted. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

We Will, In Fact, Be Greeted As Liberators

Is there a stranger paradox than the concept of the "real world?"

Think about it.  The real world is defined by human social constructs.  Deadlines, dogma, jobs, wars, politics - these are all just fabrications.

It's been four years since my wife and I left the hustle and bustle of the big city to downshift in east Idaho.  I guess that makes this season four of my own version of the real world.

I like this version a heck of a lot.  
In the new version, the pace is set by the flow of the river. 

It's a place where nothing is taken for granted.  Every riffle, feeder creek, slough and plunge pool is an opportunity for exploration.

It's a place where you can learn a great deal by simply listening. These woods and waters offer timeless sermons.

My son will soon learn to love these rivers as well.  The lessons he learns here will provide solace and perspective when the 'real world' comes calling for him later in life.

For now, however, our little world in east Idaho is pretty exceptional.