Sunday, January 28, 2018

Day Dream

Fly tying - One of the few few activities that makes it permissible to spend hours hours alone day dreaming. You can argue it if you like, but if it really was only about filling a need in your box you wouldn't be tying hoppers in January. No, you tie hoppers in January to recall the warm afternoons of August when you we wade the stream to make the heat more bearable. The grass of the fields has turned to yellow and brown hinting at the fall to come, while the grass on the banks stays green. This brings all the bugs of the land perilously close to where the fish, an odd combo of browns and cutts, wait with their attention turned toward the surface. Ho they see it from under the cut bank is more than a mystery, but you don't spend too much time contemplating the properties of light refraction. Instead, you rinse the sunscreen off your hands before picking out a hopper to attach to your leader. Longer and lighter than you'd like, the leader is just heavy enough to turn over the tan and black Hopper Juan that hasn't been pulled from the box since you placed it there back in January when you anticipated this moment, despite the snow gently piling up outside. 

If there had been more snow, the water would be moving a little quicker and you might've gotten away with a shorter, stouter leader. As it is, you'll be banking on the fish waiting for a hopper to fall into the river with a splash, just like your fake one does when you cast it about a foot away from the bank that has held so many fish in the past. You let it dead drift back towards you, saving the twitches you'll add for later if the dead drift proves ineffective. You see her turn and follow the imitation down stream towards you and though it feels like half an hour passes, she quickly takes down your fly with a determined gulp. You wait for her head to turn back upstream before you set the hook and feel her weight. 

That's why you tie hoppers in January.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Book Review: Brook Trout & The Writing Life

Amazingly, I found time to read again despite the fact that I probably shouldn't have made time for this. From a purely practical stance, this should've been a ways down the priority list for me, but from a standpoint of actually taking care of myself and enjoying life this book found me at the perfect time.

Craig Nova's "Brook Trout & The Writing Life" was an easy read that told of his coming up in the world as a writer, a father, a husband, and a fly fisherman. Very quickly I fell into his life through the man's beautiful way with words, not only about brook trout but about all aspects of his life. This book made me want to become a better writer. A definite must read.

"One of the beauties of fishing, or spending time in the natural world, is being surprised when you least expect it." pg. 140

No, I'm not affiliated with this book in any way and I don't receive any compensation for recommending it. Just passing on the good word. Buy it on Amazon HERE

Monday, January 22, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Been wanting to make this trip happen for over a year now, but it's hard to get my brother and my Dad available at the same time. The destination in question is a place that loomed in family legend for me while I was growing up. A place where huge trout could be caught on flies in the dead of winter. I had been there when I was really little, but I didn't have the chance to fish it until I was an adult. A few years ago Weston and I decided to make the trip. Not knowing where to fish, or what to use, we started at the first open spot we came to and missed a couple fish. As the snow storm intensified the fishing seemed to get better and we began picking up a few fish. In typical "place-of-legend" fashion, I lost the biggest fish I hooked into that day but Weston made good on a slab of a rainbow. (Read the full story of that first trip HERE)

Fast forward to the present and we've managed to make a few trips there and have gotten to know the lay of the land, so to speak. This trip finally came together when Weston and my Dad got a break in their constant stream of side work and Jeff and I were ready to roll. It's a long ride, so I made the drive up to my Dad's the night before. It's always hard for me to sleep before a big trip and this one was no different. Exhausted, I pulled myself off the couch at 2:30 AM and got ready for a long, but exciting day. 

Arriving early is usually a good thing, but not so much when the temps outside read 19ยบ and it's still dark. I passed some time tying up a leader for Jeff, but it still seemed to take forever for the sun to show. Not sure if it was the cold, or we just suck, but the first stop didn't give up any fish. It's definitely one of my favorite spots (it's where I lost that fish on our first trip there) so it seemed to be a bad omen that no fish were willing to play. The second stop told a different story, one with lots of willing fish. The first few we found were small bows, but Weston found a great fish that liked what he was serving up. The fish didn't feel like coming into the net too easily though, and instead dove into the cut bank at our feet. It seemed like the fish had found a way out, but Weston didn't give up that easily. Instead, he handed me the rod and proceeded to move rocks and reach his arm down into a hole, soaking his arm, and pulled the fish out. He definitely earned this slab of a fish! After a quick pic he released the fish to fight another day and went remedy what the ice cold water had done when he stuck his arm into it. 

It was definitely Jeff's turn, but my Dad decided to cut in (mostly just joking, I think...) and hooked into a sweet tiger trout. "Holy crap he hit hard!" Tiger trout are a hybrid fish, a cross between a male Brown Trout and a female Brook Trout. They're named "Tiger Trout" because of the vermiculations which make it look like they have tiger-esk stripes. These fish seem to love streamers and I think they fight as hard (or harder) than any other kind of trout. 

Dad was happy, Jeff was not. Not knowing how fishing was going to hold up at this spot, and not knowing how many spots would be available on this holiday weekend, I was worried that Jeff's chances for a lunker weren't too good. I wandered off to check out fishing at a different pond, but came running back when Jeff hollered that he had a good one. He played it perfectly and managed to keep it out of the weeds while I readied the net. The fish was definitely one of the prettiest rainbows I've seen and I couldn't have been happier for my brother as it slid into the net. I held the beauty up for a moment and a picture before letting it go. 

I headed back to where I'd left my rod and started catching more, and bigger fish than I deserved. Well, I started out by hooking and losing three large fish before getting my first nice one in. Luckily, Weston and Dad were there to help with net because the banks were muddy and slick. 

The next good fish I hooked is definitely one I won't soon forget. It was a large fish, so Weston grabbed the net and carefully got into position near the water. Jeff came over to video the fight. When the fish pulled my line across Jeff's field of view he tried to move in order to stay out of the way, but because he was looking at the camera Jeff didn't realize he had gotten too close to the slippery bank and his feet went out from under him. Jeff landed on his back and slid down into the water, only stopping with a hand from Weston. I continued fighting the fish while laughing at my brother's situation (as only a brother can). The only thing dirtier than his entirely mud covered back and legs was the stream of profanities exclaiming his predicament. With Jeff up the hill and off to try and clean up, Weston returned his focus on helping me with the fish that somehow was still on my line. Another great fish!

A lot of great fish were caught and some great memories made. Never pass up an opportunity to be in the outdoors with family, it's one of the best experiences you'll ever have. Even if it's cold, even if not everything goes your way, even if you fall in the mud. It's always worth it.

Hope you're as lucky,

PS. I ended the epic day with another great fish!

PPS. It may take a couple of days, but watch for the video of this trip on our YouTube channel! LINK 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Last Fish, First Fish

Atley and I decided to make a video of closing out 2017 and starting our new fishing adventures in 2018 but getting started took a little more effort than we expected. 

Hope you're as lucky,