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Clearwater

October means steelhead season, time to make the annual drive to Idaho.  I've been doing this for ten years.  I left a fog shrouded Gallatin Valley, full of hope and anticipation, as usual. After a summer of fishing with a three weight fly rod and minuscule trout flies, it was time for a change. Big rod, bigger flies.  Tippet?  No more screwing around with 6X or 7X.  It's ten pound test Maxima.
It's a simple routine.  Up early, out late, usually.  I perk coffee in the predawn dark.  The little single burner propane stove and lantern soon warm the tent and add cheer.  Caffeinated, I drive to the selected morning spot and wait for the light.  






It usually takes me a week of wading, casting, and occasionally falling in just to catch nothing.  So, first morning, I fish a new run.  It's showery, so I don't sling my camera.  Half way through I get a pull.  Line peels from the reel.  The fish jumps, a big one.  He's going downriver, cartwheeling, taking line, backing.…

Along the Salmon

I took a drive a few days back.  Actually, during the past several weeks I've taken several drives. This time to the Salmon River country in Idaho.  I try to spend a day or two there each fall. Rather than do the usual killer day by getting up real early, driving a couple hundred miles, fishing all day and then driving a couple hundred miles home in the same day, I did the sane thing and spent the night in Salmon.  A wise move.
As they say, the fishing was good, the getting not so hot.  No real surprise.  Steelhead start to trickle into the area by the third week in October.  Bigger numbers tend to arrive later.  No excuse for my lack of catching though.  I had a couple porpoise within rod length on the second morning.  So, there were a few around.
I got to play with my "new" Meiser spey rod thats been neglected for the past few years.  Made some good casts, lots of poor ones too.  The casting was largely a success, I didn't hit myself with the tungsten conehead.  I…

Salmon River Sojourn

The Salmon, it's our home river.  At least it's the nearest with sea run fish.  By the time they make it to Salmon, Idaho, they've come some six hundred miles.  And that's not the end of the line. Some sockeye salmon make it as far as Redfish Lake, a distance of over nine hundred miles and nearly a seven thousand foot gain in elevation.  The Salmon River also supports the longest steelhead run in North America, with fish making it as far as Stanley, Idaho.
Friday would be our day for a long road trip.  We got up early and hit the road for the two hundred some mile long drive.  It pushes the limits distance wise for a reasonable day trip.  As regards comfort, it's about as much sitting as a person can take.
Along the way, we crossed the Continental Divide several times.  It's a scenic drive up through the Big Hole valley.  Then, over Lost Trail Pass and down the "hill" along the North Fork to its confluence with the Salmon.   Here, the Salmon is a &qu…

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I was going to call this piece the "Annual Report", but somehow I didn't think it right.  The title would have been borrowed from a piece that Gene Hill often wrote about his yearly endeavors.

"The annual report is a misnomer.  I don't know what it should be called, since it's a mishmash of glossed-over misadventures, distorted emphasis, selective memory, and a very human inability to face any facts that seem harsh, or unpleasant, or postponable." From "A Listening Walk, and other stories" by Gene Hill" 
So here it is, a few random thoughts about the year past and a few wishes for the next. With all due respect to Gene Hill and his fine writing.

I find ways to visit the spring creek more, yet find myself fishing less.  It's a treasure.  In the short time that I've been preoccupied with this blog, the creek has served as the subject for many posts. Few of the posts dealt with the great fish that I've caught (there have been few…

Speywater Reprise

Can anything be too good to be true?  How about this?
Autumn Sunshine Daytime temps in the sixties  Nighttime temps upper thirties to forties New friends Old friends Smiles Sexy steelhead flies A big pull Steelhead Adipose fins A morning cup of camp coffee Incredible scenery Bright starry nights Full moon Sumac Bighorn sheep Bugling elk Canyon wrens Dippers October Caddis Campfires Dining by moonlight The last campout of the year A zillion things that I've forgot

My wife Jo and I floated and fished the Grande Ronde River with the crew from Speywater Guide Service last year.  Jo had such a good time that we decided to go back.  Hell, we had to, she bought herself a spey rod. She really had to twist my arm to go back.  Only kidding, I bought a new rod too! So, we re-booked the trip last December.  Flywater Travel arranges most of the trips.
The post from last years trip is here……so, I won't rehash the daily routine.
The why of the trip.  Of course, fishing is the primary reason…