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Showing posts from October, 2012

Down The River

I'm not one to kiss and tell, but in this case I will, maybe just a little.  My wife and I just completed a float down the Grande Ronde River, a beautiful piece of water that flows through some splendid country.  It's not a wilderness trip, but there are moments when it seems so.

When we planned the trip late last winter (Flywater Travel arranged the trip and took care of the particulars), I was looking for a different experience to share with my wife.  The sublime days of autumn offer wonderful camping conditions.  What better way to spend a few days than by floating through the high desert while fishing for steelhead?

I was (and still am) a novice spey caster, Jo had no experience whatsoever.  Days before the trip I could sense the angst setting in.

"Do I have to learn how to spey cast if I want to fish" she asked.

"Well, uh, uh, of course not" was all I could manage.

Better yet, "do you think that I'll catch anything?"

Being a man of truth…

Steelhead in Grayscale

On a recent outing for steelhead I snapped a few photos of the evening fishing activities.  The clouds had moved in and brought some much welcomed showers.  The lower flatter light created a subdued, evenly lit, albeit darker backdrop.  Just for grins I did a quick simple grayscale conversion in Lightroom.  I never could get used to taking a color photo and making it into a black and white.  But, as the overall scene already lacked color I figured that I wasn't losing much.  So, here goes.

Epilogue:  Just before hooking up Dan was ready to call it a day.  At Dax's urging he continued fishing his way into the bucket and was aptly rewarded.  Moral?  Hang in there and fish the sweet spots!


There are memorable moments in every day.  And, while some days have more than others, often one will stand out, define it if you will.

I took a short float yesterday.  My little pontoon had suffered a summer of neglect.  One last trip to make things right.  One more day of defining moments.

It was warm when I got to the river in early afternoon.  I worked up a sweat just airing up the pontoon.  Off came the long johns.  No need for fleece either.

The fish wasted no time showing interest in my fly.  Several made passes and grabbed at the stripped streamer, but no lasting connections were made.  One nice brown trout gave a few pulls before showing itself with a quick jump.  It then returned my fly.

Eventually the tables turned and fish stayed hooked.  Funny how these streaks happen.  Miss a bunch and then hook a bunch.  In one nice run where a back eddy seam met the faster main current a good fish showed itself.  Again, and again, and again.  It appeared and inspected the fly on succe…

A Rat for the River Ronde

Don't tell my wife, but I've got a date.  It's with a pretty little thing, lithe with blush cheeks.  Like myself, she's come a long way for this chance meeting.

Actually, I've tied a fly that has a date.  It's the venerable Rusty Rat, hopefully destined for a date with a steelhead in the Grande Ronde River.  Better make that two steelhead, I'm an optimist.

The Rusty Rat is deeply rooted in the annals of Atlantic salmon fishing.  It has graced the kype of many fine fish.  I discovered it while leafing through Atlantic Salmon Magic by Topher Browne who indicated that:

"it's hard to beat  a Rusty Rat for sheer numbers of fish grassed"  
I took a liking to the pattern and decided to tie a few thinking that the steelhead might find it to their liking as well.

I think a swim is in it's future.  Hopefully it will grace the kype of a Grande Ronde steelhead as well.  And while I don't intend to "grass" any, a little interest from a …

To Autumn

Seasons change with little regard to the calendar.  What should have been the official first day of autumn disguised itself as just another summer day.  Sometimes the seasons are just tardy.  Summer managed to hang on for a few more weeks.  Midweek, autumn noted that it was October after all and enough was enough.  Finally realizing the error in its ways it was ushered in by a north wind accompanied by snow and cold.

It doesn't seem right to walk the grouse woods on dusty trails with sweat running off ones brow.  This at ten in the morning.  Better yet the day be cool, the woods damp.  Better for walking, and hunting.

While the changing of the season is welcomed, its abruptness is startling.  One day its shirtsleeves, the next its fleece, a windbreaker, gloves and a hat.  Just for spite the day has enough bite to leave one wishing for even more clothing.  So it was yesterday.

We went for an afternoon walk with one of the dogs. I had hopes that the sun would eventually shine and w…

A Visit to the Jack O'Connor Center

On a recent trip to the Clearwater River in Idaho I took an afternoon break from fishing and drove into Lewiston to visit the Jack O'Connor Hunting Heritage and Education Center.

I won't rehash O'Connors biography.  Suffice it to say that as a boy my curiosity in the outdoors and taste for adventure was fueled by the stories that graced the pages of the sporting magazines. A handful of legendary writers dominated the outdoor magazines of the day.  None were as iconic as Jack O'Connor.  His name graced the masthead of Outdoor Life for over three decades.  During that time he wrote hundreds of pieces about hunting and firearms.  The stories generated by his hunting adventures are an important part of hunting history and will educate and entertain sportsman for generations to come.  Out of print copies of his books fetch princely sums.  Fortunately, many are available as reprints.

The Center houses mounts of big game that O'Connor collected over a lifetime of hunting…

Clearwater Spey Clave

The Clearwater Spey Clave is an annual gathering of spey enthusiasts.  Organized by the Red Shed Fly Shop, it is held along the banks of the Clearwater River at the Lenore, Idaho rest area.  The eighth (2012) installment was held on Saturday, September 29 on a beautiful blue sky day.  It was extremely well attended. The lawn and parking area were packed with vehicles bearing license plates from throughout the Pacific northwest.  Several exhibitors were hawking their various spey wares.  An accomplished group of casters highlighted the day with their riverside casting skills.  The following images are from the morning session.

Doubtless, a great deal of work goes into planning such an event.  My sincere thanks to all who had a hand in putting this together.  Spey casters and fishers should pencil next years gathering into their calendar.