Skip to main content


Showing posts with the label Clearwater River


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 Way

A few weeks ago, while driving back from the Grande Ronde….we stopped at a roadside rest area in Kooskia, Idaho.  There was a covered kiosk that told the history of the area.  It was pretty neat…..

The fact that fish swim so far... and continue to return... and some, few, wild stragglers remain... in spite of "mitigation"... is simply amazing.


September, here again.  We're on the cusp of another season change.  It won't change today though. It's supposed to be in the nineties. It's the opening day of mountain grouse season in Montana. Out of tradition, we may get out for a couple of hours early on today.

Regarding changes.  I purchased a domain name ( the other day.  I promptly managed to take the blog offline.  Thankfully, the folks at Namecheap got me squared away.

The new issue of Northwest Fly Fishing may be of interest.  It contains some steelhead content with a Grande Ronde photo essay and a piece on the Clearwater River in Idaho.  Perhaps of greater personal interest is a biography of Sheridan Anderson, author of the Curtis Creek Manifesto.  I've always thought it to be the best fly fishing primer on the market, and still open it on occasion, if for no reason other than a good chuckle.

I picked up some beading wire at Walmart yesterday.  I plan to tie a few simple steelh…

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.


I'm not sure where this blog thing will go or what it will look like.  I'll keep it simple for now.

I've got many interests.  To borrow from Anthony Bourdain's intro on his show No Reservations....... I hunt, fish, hike and I'm hungry for more.

For many years my outdoor activities were pretty much centered around hunting.  Sheep hunting became a passion.  It was a bad habit, but it forced me to stay in shape and employed.  After all, one must pay for his vices.

About ten years ago the flame that was my passion for hunting began to flicker.  I knew that I'd eventually get back into flyfishing.  I didn't expect it to come so quickly or completely.  Three years ago I hung up my rifle.

Coincidental to my renewed devotion to flyfishing was a niggling interest in fishing for steelhead.  Another bad habit.  Central Montana doesn't offer the most convenient access to steelhead water, but it is within a days drive.  I fished the Clearwater River in Idaho for t…

Predicting Steelhead Run Timing

It happens every year.  Come late summer Northwest anglers eagerly begin checking Columbia River dam counts in order to gauge the size and timing of the upcoming seasons steelhead run.  I've done it too.  Daily.  

I may have a more reliable predictor.  In our yard is a Mount Royal plum tree.  When the plums are ripe it's time to fish the Clearwater River in Idaho.  It's almost foolproof.  Ripe plums equal catchable numbers of fish.  This year the tree is loaded with fruit and the plums are already purple.  The signs are encouraging.

Two years ago I stood on a ladder picking the ripe purple fruit in the dark with the aid of a headlamp.  It was the 26th of September.  I'd waited as long as possible.  I had just got home from work and had plans to drive to Idaho the next day.  
Yes, there were fish.  Disclaimer...... I had help, Bryan Miller from Orofino guided me.

So, will they ripen early this year?  Who knows?  I think I'll head out on the 27th.