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.