Sunday, November 23, 2008

Putting up Food

Last week was spent putting up food--pretty appropriate considering the economic climate. The tomatoes were picked green and they're finally red...and in the freezer. The photo is of the few of the gorgeous Brandywines that made it. I roasted them in the oven with garlic, salt, and pepper...they smelled delicious and provided a little humidity for the house. I can't wait to make sauce out of them!

I didn't get any pics of the pumpkins, Connecticut Pie Pumpkins and Hubbard Squash. They are more delicious than you could ever imagine--perfect for meringue pies!

And it still hasn't snowed...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Spey Fly Still Life

It's slack in Sun Valley, which means lots of fly-tying at the shop. Above are some pics from my busy day: watching spey casting movies while tying spey flies. Pretty exciting stuff.


I think I'm becoming a steelheader--ugh. I just ordered a Patagonia Stretch SST jacket so I look official and I'm testing out Spey rods on Tuesday with Carl and Paddy in Salmon on the Salmon. We're hoping to shoot a photo essay while we're up there. Above is a pic of my jacket.

El Poco Tiempo

Paddy and I went to New Mexico last week to visit his mom. It definitely was not el poco tiempo, but we did get a little fun time in. We managed to escape to boulder a little, though we didn't make it to Hueco Tanks (I was really looking forward to it). We also went hiking in the Organs, which was awesome. I had never been in mountains like that--there was really interesting foliage and lots of cool bugs. Fortunately, we didn't see any bears! I'm back to the cold now--burrrrr.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Photogaphy

Silver Creek could not be more beautiful right now. Check out:

Photos by Glenn Oakley.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Modeling, Fishing, Keeping College Students Captive

Wow is the best way to describe what happened last weekend.

So, to start...Paddy and I were offered large sums of money to "model" on Silver Creek on Friday night. Getting paid to fish? *&%@ yeah! It could not have been a more gorgeous night--the foliage could not have been brighter and the sunset was amazing. I definitely don't get to fish the creek as much as I'd like.

While we were de-wadering after the photo shoot, we started talking to some dudes who just got off the creek. Nice guys from NC--seniors at Wake Forest. Invited them to stay the weekend since they didn't have anywhere to stay and they ended up being a blast. Paddy fished with them on the creek and took them back at night--how 'bout some 30 inch BBTs?!?

On Sunday, we all went to the Lost--freakin' amazing! One of the best days of fishing I've ever had. Between the four of us, we figured there were 150 fish, and we all caught at least one big one. We took LOTS of pics!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chix with Stix

Rogue Angels is an awesome blog in Oregon (i.e. the Rogue) that posts pics of chix...with big fish, that is. It's like Page Six Chicks every day instead of twice a year in The Drake. So, not only am I repping this blog because it's awesome, but I'm Monday Morgan from this past Monday with a Steelhead Mafia shot.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Climbing, Finally!

I've been climbing in the gym the past few weeks, but it's not very exciting. Paddy and I finally made it to the City of Rocks and Castle Rocks this weekend and it was awesome, as always. We climbed with some Canadians and did some classics that I had never done before. The photo is of my sweet new car at Castle Rocks.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nothin' Much

It's fall here--as you can see in the pic I took on the river yesterday. A few Hecuba and Tricos and lots of fish. I'm still guiding a few days a week, but things are definitely slowing down. It's time for some serious carp fishing and hopefully a few nights mousing on the creek before the Mahogs make an appearance.

New fish to add to the wish list: Yellow Fish. Cross between carp and bonefish, these fish sound freakin' sweet...oh yeah, they're in Africa.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Crazy week as you can see. From top to bottom:

Driving towards the house and realizing that Silver Creek is very much on fire.

After I packed up my things I took pics of the fire.

My car, Maurice, which has been replaced with a black Honda Element.

The burned portion of the preserve from the hill. Scorched earth, fo sho.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fire, Fishing, Snow, and a New Car!

Lots of excitement this past say the least. Wednesday afternoon Silver Creek caught on fire and rapidly burned towards my house in Picabo. It was interesting to make the list of things that you need to pack before evacuating...the list is as follows: Fly rods (all the extras that aren't in my car), skis, guns, climbing gear, photos, and computers. You'd never be able to tell that I have a preference for toys.

Then, a norther blew through on Sunday that made fishing the Lower Lost on Monday quite miserable. There was an ice storm in Arco, snow while we were buying a Coke, and howling winds. All of the peaks were white when the clouds lifted. The fishing wasn't even that great--I'm totally not ready for winter--burr.

Last night I cleaned out my car, Maurice. I've had Maurice, a 1999 Toyota Camry since I was a Senior in high school (seven years!) and he has 183,000 miles. There were golf balls and a variety of other items I have not seen since I could legally drink (I always cleaned the beer cans out). He's driven through river beds, been mudding, survived blizzards, and most recently transported lots of clients to and from the river. I'm getting a little misty-eyed, but I'll probably forget him as soon as I slide into my new Element and I'll never love him like I loved Bob. My new car may be too shiny for a name--we'll see.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Living the Good Life--Summer in Sun Valley

Summer has been busy, of course. But the past few weeks have been beyond busy, but I've been living like I'm in Sun Valley.

The Land Trust had their donor party that was definitely one of the nicest I've been to in a while. It was out Greenhorn in a party barn (barn is quite the exaggeration). Paddy was the event photographer, Cristina's did the catering, and there was plenty of vodka to go around.

The following day I guided for our state's non-bathroom perusing senator's fundraiser and had a great time before and after at a she-she ranch in the Triangle.

Then, I had an unexpected day off and strolled through expensive linen stores and finished the weekend up with Fly Girls. I guided hard and then enjoyed cocktails in the evenings.

It's a hard life.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Paddy's discovered that burning powder is fun--really fun. He just bought a 20 guage Remington 870 and we've been tearing it up. The pic above is of Kathryn and me posing with our arms last Saturday. This Sunday we found an awesome new spot to shoot on top of a hill with an unbelievable view. Sunset up there was really awesome.

Oh yeah, then fishing's been good too.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Super Duper Sunsets on Silver Creek

There's a mouth full.

The past week, the fishing has been super sweet. With a couple of days off, I've been able to catch up on sleep and even fish with Paddy 3 days in a row--unheard of in the summer.

Paddy discovered a sunset PMD hatch on Silver Creek before he went mousing last week and it's been awesome. Tonight we were harassed by a moose in the trees, saw a wonderful sunset, and even successfully harassed some fish.

Paddy caught the most beautiful rainbow we had ever seen and I managed to catch to smallest fish on the whole creek.

What really amazes me about all of this is it never ends, I never have to leave, and I usually have it to myself.

It makes me cry sometimes it's so awesome.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wexford Highland Rod and Gun Club

For the past two weeks I have been touring lovely Sun Valley, Idaho, with the family and O'Connor Crew. Most importantly, we fished almost every day: on the Wood, Silver Creek, and even Copper Basin.

We went out twice on Silver Creek for Tricos and it was amazing. Though some of the most difficult fishing of the year, seeing the unbelievable number of bugs, as well as the fish, is really awesome. Notice in the photo how early we were out by the expression on my face!

There were also two expeditions up to Copper Basin during the stay. We mostly caught brookies, but we also harassed some rainbows, whitefish, and Yellowstone, Fine Spot, and West Slope Cutties.

Most of our trips were on the Wood in the evening. We got into some awesome Caddis hatches along with some Yellow Sallies (they're really green). The last night we were out, everyone caught well over a dozen fish each in just a couple of hours.

It was a really fun, but exhausting couple of weeks. Can't wait 'till next year!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Save our Wild Salmon

The fishing's been excellent! Tricos are hatching daily on Silver Creek by the billion, the fish are hungry and accessible on the Wood, and the brookies are jumping on anything in Copper Basin. The Kokanee should start running any day on the Lost as well.

Though the fishing couldn't be better, I've had the most fun going to the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery to watch the Chinook Salmon completing their 909 mile journey from the ocean. These fish are huge...and gorgeous. Because of dams and other ridiculousness caused by man, just a few thousand fish are able to complete this journey up the Salmon River.

The determination of the chinook (and other anadromous fish) to swim upstream is unrivaled and it awesome to see. It was unbelievably sad to see them make their last leaps into a hatchery instead of clear gravel spawning beds.

I did find a super sweet bag at the Smiley Creek Lodge covered with Salmon yesterday, though. Made by Granite Gear, proceeds from this bag support Save our Wild Salmon ( You can buy this bag on Ebay--search Granite Gear--Everyday Reusable Tote Save Our Salmon. Photo Credits Ebay, Granite Gear, and Save our WIld Salmon.

Remove the 4 Lower Snake River Dams. No to Pebble Mine.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Little Wood Fun

Until 4th of July weekend the Wood has been too high to safely fish so I've been exploring elsewhere. The upper Little Wood is about 15 miles north of Carey and provides some awesome "Wilderness" fishing. Fishing above the reservoir produces some enthusiastic fish. This is a great stream to venture out to when there's spring runoff elsewhere and gets a little exciting with lots of moose and bear tracks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Artistic Shots

Shadows. Photo by Morgan R. Buckert

Nothing better than a big brown trout on a Winston. Photo by Paddy McIlvoy.

Brown Drake fish porn can be seen at

The Proof to the Stories

Piles and piles of spinners!

Spinners close up.

Yumm...Spinners are delicioso!

All photos by Paddy McIlvoy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More Brown Drakes!

Tonight will be night six of the brown drake hatch. I'm actually doing better than I was a couple of nights ago, but I noticed the bags under my eyes this morning are pretty offensive, as is the state of my house.

It truly is the best week of the year and it has lived up to it's reputation once again. Sunday night was the most insane spinner fall of all time. There were clouds of spinners in every direction as far as you could see--at that point you are out-competed by nature. The four of us managed to land an amazing number of +20" fish, including some leaning towards 30".

On the way out, we stumbled upon a pile of spinners in an eddy that was about 3 feet long and a foot deep. The photos do a much better job of explaining this feat of nature.

On Monday night, I fished with Ketchum on the Fly and managed to land a feisty +20" brown on my second cast. You can call me Old McDonald, though, because I farmed about 20 fish the rest of the night. The spinner fall was great again, but there weren't as many fish as there were in my secret spot. We finished with a picnic spread and some wine--something I can always count on with KOTF.

After tennis this evening I'm heading out for maybe my last night. I better make it count.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Brown Drakes

I'm writing this on Saturday morning, but won't be posting it until next week because I don't want anyone to know how the fishing is and I don't have any photos to post yet. As the title suggests, the elusive brown drake hatch is finally happening!

Thursday, the first warm day we've had, we went looking for an emergence, but we only found BBT (Big Brown Trout) that were willing to eat mice (I know, we're spoiled).

On Friday, we were pretty tired from the previous night's excitement, but we drove out to check on things around 8 and found bugs in the air. After a quick trip back to the house to gather appropriate clothing, we went out to Larkin with this summer's Silver Creek interns, both new to fly-fishing.

The water was boiling with fish when we finally arrived and we got after it. Most of us fished the awesome comparadun and I caught my first fish on a cripple I had tied several years ago (therefore very ugly). I switched to the extended body Brown Drake, which had always collected dust in my BD Box, and managed to hook a 20"+ brown on my first cast. While I was waiting for Paddy and the camera I broke him off, but I did get to see him--WOW! I switched to the mouse rod around 10.30 because I was tired of missing strikes in the dark and had two explosive strikes, but no connections.

Ryan landed a 2 foot brown, which was his first fly-fishing fish--insane! That boy's spoiled! Everyone caught fish, but we all missed hundreds of strikes. I'm so tired already and we're only one night in. I think I can make it; I have to make it. The best fry fly fishing in the world for one week of the year; I'm lucky to say the least.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Finally...It's Fishing Season!!

Well, I've been waiting to report on the fishing until I had some photos, but I'm a week into the season and I haven't managed to take my camera out of my bag. The first week of the fishing season has been interesting. It's been very cold and rainy which has affected the evening fishing--when I get to go out.

I managed to fish on opening day and though it was slow after the BBQ at Silver Creek, I did manage to land the requisite brown. I went out again on Tuesday night, after another party at Silver Creek and managed to miss a few strikes on a Brown Drake, though I didn't actually see any flying around. There have been a few sporadic Brown Drakes, but they don't seem to be an indicator of the hatch appearing soon. I was able to float the creek on Thursday with some scientists and we saw lots of evening midges, of course, and about Size 15 PMDs hanging around.

On Saturday, I taught my favorite fishing class of the year with the Magic Valley Fly-Fishers in Twin Falls. I love working with them--they're such a great group of people--enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and fun. There were about a dozen ladies in the class and they all seemed to be excited about fishing.

On Monday I'm finally going to get to fish the Creek in the morning before coming into the fly shop for more fly ordering--whew! I understand the fishing on the Wood has been good as well with high-water nymphs, but I don't know why anyone would fish in a flood when the Creek is down the road.

We're only a week into "summer" and I'm already so busy. I am trying to fish a few times a week to soak it all in before things get REALLY busy. Hopefully Brown Drakes don't happen while I'm in San Fran this weekend--keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spring Climbing

Paddy and I were lucky enough to go on an eight day Southwestern adventure. We started in Vegas, spent most of our time in Prescott, and headed north to the Grand Canyon and Utah. I had not really spent any time in that neck of the woods and I couldn't have loved it any more! Vegas was pretty disappointing, but considering I don't like tourists, or average Americans in general, I wasn't surprised with my reaction.

Prescott was amazing! It reminded me a lot of the Texas Hill Country, actually (except for all the mountains). We climbed there five days and went to all of the major climbing areas like Groom Creek, the Dells, Sullivan Canyon, and my favorite, the Promised Lands.

We started to head north...through Jerome (awesome mountainside town), Sedona, and spent the night north of Flagstaff. The next morning we arrived at the Grand Canyon before seven and started our march down the Kaibab trail. We went about three miles down (that's how much water we had) and then made it back out in about the same amount of time. It was gorgeous, of course, and great people watching.

Next we went north to Zion. The drive over the Glen Canyon Dam and through Grand Staircase-Escalante, eventually to polygamous Kanab, and to Zion was beautiful. We had to turn around at Zion, though, because the campgrounds were full. I was pretty sad, but as we continued driving, I got to see some of Bryce Canyon.

We finally made it back to the Wood River Valley Monday night...just enough time to prepare for the opening day of fishing season on Saturday. I'm off to tie flies now!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Steelhead Mafia

I was unemployed this past weekend, it being slack and all, so I suggested an overnight trip to Stanley in search of the elusive spawning steelhead. The car was packed with Carl's family tent, extra quarts of oil, standard camp fare (pasta), and some Robert Earl Keen.

Paddy and I fished all day, spotting most of the fish before casting. It's an exercise for your eyes to see the fish in fast moving water, but I'm definitely getting better. We landed a few that afternoon before I demanded to fish with the Spey Rod. I learned the "Snap T" and proceeded to catch a thousand smolt as well as a bull trout--my first. Pat Barrett, great lover of all things Spey, apparently says, "The tug is the drug." Boy is he right.

The camping experience was one I will try to forget. It wasn't particularly painful, but awfully cold and my new crashpad (for bouldering) was probably harder than the ground was. Needless to say, I was beyond grouchy when forced to enter the river on a cold Sunday morning.

The first cast of the morning (Paddy's) resulted in a fish on a dry fly--a rare occurrence on the Salmon. I then found a fish for myself and missed the first eat (they eat dries like cutthroat), but managed to hook her on the second. She was a beautiful wild hen and it couldn't be a better photo opportunity with the Sawtooths as the backdrop.

I was then left at the fabulous new coffee house in Stanley while Hunter and Paddy pursued their own fish for a few minutes. We continued to fish and work on Spey casting, only returning to Picabo after more fish and more stinkiness.

I can't wait until opening day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Turkey

On the Clip Board 'O Fun for my trip to Texas was listed "shoot a turkey." I wasn't particularly confident after failed attempts on film, nonetheless, results were successful.

After work on the ranch, Pop and I went out to call a long beard in. We sat, dozed, and filmed each other chewing the fat for about two hours with only one gobble. We left in search of another turkey, ran him off, and returned to the original spot where we saw four Jakes.

Pop called and they came running. We barely had time to sit down before they walked a quarter of a mile towards us and the decoy. Directions were to shoot as soon as I saw one and in less than five minutes out of the truck, I had a clean shot at eight and a half yards. I didn't even have time to get nervous.

It was quite tasty and I have enough feathers to tie flies for the rest of my life.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Stanley Steelhead

It was cold, windy, and of course there was snow. Yes, it was my one day of steelheading on the Salmon. This was my fish of the day and though it was pretty impressive, I'm still not particularly enthusiastic. I'll try to go back this month, however.

The best part of the day was actually watching a hen build a redd. She was huge and it was really interesting watching how she could move gravel while lying on her side. I hope she has lots of babies and the have a safe voyage to Japan and back. I may like to catch them in a few years.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Steelheading--Bah Humbug!

It's steelhead season. I haven't shared a meal with Paddy in over a week and I will only see him once or twice this month. Camping in -10 degree weather is only something a crazy person would do...or a steelheader. I'm not such a fan's often cold and wet, it could be hours between fish, and I feel really bad for them since they have been swimming upstream without eating for over 900 miles. Below is a great article by Bill Schneider about the craziness of steelheaders. I'm going to Stanley on Thursday--hopefully I don't catch the fever.

Steelhead Fever

By Bill Schneider, 4-01-08

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Last Day on the Wood

I played hookey on Monday so I could fish one more day on the Wood and it was well worth it. The fishing was slow to begin with, but the sun ducked behind a cloud and the midges went did the fish! They were getting picky and once I realized they were only going to eat a Size 18 black Zebra Midge with red wire, I caught a fish every cast. My last fish of the day was a cutbow that was about 20". It was definitely the biggest fish I've ever caught on the Wood.

Friday, March 28, 2008

End of Season on the Big Wood River

The fishing's been phenomenal in the Wood River Valley--as always--but the end of season on the Big Wood is especially spectacular. There are tons of midges, and the fish are strong, hungry, and pretty dumb. Yesterday, I went out for a few hours and it was so good I've rearranged my work schedule so that I can fish on Monday--the last day of the season. The fish look healthy and are getting ready to spawn and run-off is starting to look better every day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Early Spring on the Lower Lost

Skiing was great this year and I feel like I made some major progress. There was too much snow to ski for a while (I know, sounds fishy), though, and my thoughts drifted to fishing. I've been really excited for well over a month now and it is starting to pay off.

Last Thursday was my first day on the Lower Lost since October. It was very sunny, but cold. Nymphing produced lots of fish, but when midges started appearing around one, things got really exciting.

Paddy and I giggled like schoolchildren. We caught a LOT of fish. On dries, on zebs, hell, they probably would have eaten anything. I was most excited when during a frenzied exhange of rods and mittens I hooked and landed a pretty big cutthroat. Cutthroat don't exist on the Lower Lost. I was beyond excited. The included photos are of one of my dry fly fish and my cutty.

I can't wait to go back!

Spey Casting

I've been fundamentally opposed to spey casting because of my dislike of steelheading. Steelheading means cold, wet, wind with not much action. On a recent trip to the South Fork of the Boise, it was perfect steelheading conditions and I spey casted for the first time on water.

And I liked it...

It is very difficult, but I enjoyed the motions and even hooked a couple of fish. Post spey casting, there were some huge fish, including a Whitefish that took Paddy into the backing. Whitefish are is spey casting...and several people are trying to convince me that steelheading is too.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fishing and Literature...

Spring has been good. The fish are eager to eat my fly, but I'll wait for further reports on the fishing until I have the photos to accompany them. Spey casting, the Lower Lost, and the excitement of steelheading with one of the best female guides have filled my dreams and kept butterflies in my stomach.

I've been reading a lot about fishing, though. After I tie a few flies, it's a way to wind down before I go to sleep and I've been trying to catch up on some classics.

Roderick Haig-Brown's A River Never Sleeps occupied my time for the last week or so. I was expecting the worst; not only is Haig-Brown British, but the book is a classic. Added together, it usually means boring, pretentious, and wordy. I was surprised, however.

The author's chapters were by the month of the year, which is most logical, and something I don't think I've ever seen in a fishing memoir. He shares stories from his childhood in England, his adult life in British Columbia, and shares a few hunting stories in between. His love of fish, fishing, and the rivers is evident throughout the work.

Something that I found particularly interesting was his fishing literature review at the end of the book. We all love a good fishing book and all know about The Compleat Angler and Dame Juliana, but it's nice to know that someone like Haig-Brown cared about fishing literature like I do.

Now I venture into one of the most important novels in fly-fishing history. I can't disclose the title because I'm too embarrassed that I have never read it. With time change, I'll be spending more time at the creek and more time on the Lost. No fishing haunts my dreams like Brown Drakes, though. They're coming.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fly Shop Guy

I found this in the Humor Section of The Drake Magazine's website: Though I am female, I was definitely the Fly Shop Guy for a couple of years. My stint at a southern university was only three years, but Number three could not be more true! BBT are PFP (have no idea what I'm saying, huh)!

Fly Shop Guy
1.Fly shop guy is staunchly heterosexual, twenty¬something, and uncertain of his politics.
2.Fly shop guy spent six or seven years at a southern university and is named Justin, Jeremy, Jonathan, Gifford, Trevor, Tripp or Tristan.
3.Fly shop guy will say things across the river when fishing is poor like, "Holy shit, dude, even the choice runs are total bunkweed schwagg water!" No one knows what the hell he is saying.
4.Fly shop guy lost last month's rent on a roulette wheel in Reno.
5.Fly shop guy has guided "half a season" on the Bighorn or the Snake and he drinks Fat Tire, not Budweiser.
6.The recipe for fly shop guy's fly shop sales attitude is: 1/4 marijuana attention deficit disorder, 1/4 morose indifference, 1/4 chronic exaggeration, 1/4 wassup dude.
7.Fly shop guy, will sometimes pin his sparkling new dory against a concrete bridge piling of a large western river. He will swim ashore, thumb a ride back to town, then hours-sometimes days-later, attempt to remove said dory with lengths of climbing rope and a luxury suburban. Generally, he is unsuccessful.
8.Fly shop guy thinks every foul-hooked whitey is a twenty-inch brown.
9.Fly shop guy is organizing $8.99 Rainer 18-packs, TJ's Exxon Station goodies, two dozen dogs, and a pile of other fly shop guys for a party float down the Madison during your favorite stonefly hatch.
10.Eventually, all things-even fly shop guys-merge into one, and a river filled with their empties and discarded fishing equipment runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some rocks are timeless fiberglass markings from fly shop guy's rowing mishaps. Under the rocks are the frequently stoned, inarticulate, nutrient-leaching words and some of the words are his. I am haunted by fly shop guy.
-Andrew Steketee

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Idaho's Big Brown Trout!

Check out Idaho Nature Notes' January 14, 2008 entry:

Come catch a big trout in Idaho!

Texas Women Fly Fishers

Check out the article I wrote about Brown Drakes on Silver Creek in the Texas Women Fly Fisher's October 2007 Newsletter below: