Sunday, December 25, 2011

Washington Razor Clamming

Every Year around Christmas Washington state has a clam dig, in our family going is a tradition. I love the beach in the winter, dusk, and all the exited clammers digging for some of the biggest razors around, some up to 8 inches! I cannot applaud the state of Washington enough for the amazing job they do managing this resource, thats not something we get to say about goverment agencies very often. Living on the Washington- Oregon boarder, and the very reasonable fee for a non resident shellfish license allows me to enjoy one of the best managed clam digs probably in the country. I wish Oregon would adopt the same managment plan for our clams so we could enjoy the same qaulity of expirence and resource, by only sacraficeing a little bit of opportunity. When I see the photos of Grace so small standing amongst all those holes, and know that this resource will be here healthy and available for her to share someday with her children.. makes me smile. Merry Christmas, Brad

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why Steelhead don't die when they spawn

One of the most common questions new Steelheaders ask me is why they do not die like other anadromous fish after they spawn, Ive heard alot of different opinions on this subject.. but this Salish Legend has always been my favorite explanation. Enjoy-

Many Steelhead survive spawning, and here is why; One winter when the Salish people were starving, Raven searched for help, and came across salmon woman and her children, Sockeye, Chum, King, Humpy, Coho and Steelhead. Salmon woman married Raven and gave her children to the Salish so they would not starve to death.

In time, and becouse salmon were abundant, The people forgot what it was like to be hungry. After the Salish began to abuse the salmon, the salmon woman reclaimed her children and fled with them to the longhouse of her father the Salmon Chief under the ocean. She vowed never to return and starvation soon returned to the people.

But Raven begged his wife to forgive the people and return to them with her children. She did, but not without changing her childrens lifecycle to teach the Salish a lesson.

Before, the salmon lived year-round, at the mouth of the river, near the Salish village. But Salmon Woman changed it so that the salmon would spawn upriver, then return to live in the ocean, and not return to the Salish untill spawning season.

The people also were ordered never to go up river to harvest the salmon. They could only take the salmon during the harvesting moons.

However, the message did not reach everyone, especially Bear- the brother of Raven. During a year that Bears wife was pregnant, Raven did all the hunting and fishing for Bears familybecouse a woman pregnant with the gift of life was powerful and treasured.

During this time, Bear became restless. He went up river and began to harvest salmon. Each species he touched died off and floated down stream. Worried about starving, the Salish called Raven to come find his brother. Raven knew that Bear was up river in the salmon spawning beds and Raven quickly raced to stop his brother. But on arrival, Bear had touched every species of salmon exept the steelhead.

So, unlike other salmon, steelhead can survive the full life cycle while other salmon return to spawn and then die in the spawning beds-

Friday, October 14, 2011

O.B.N writing prompt "save Bristol Bay"

"wild and wide are my borders, stern as death is my sway; From my ruthless throne I have ruled alone for a million years and a day; Hugging my mighty treasure, waiting for man to come, Till he swept like a turbid torrent, and after him swept... the scum.

This weeks writing prompt asks us how we feel about the proposed pebble gold mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay, Well cop a sqaut and I will tell you a little more about who the Riverkeeper is. 23 years ago I was just 17 and a high school drop-out, my life was going nowhere. My Father a veteran of the Vietnam war decided that I would join the military and become a responsible young man.. I had other plans. I borrowed $300 from my best friends mom and caught the next flight to Dutch Harbor Alaska, the plan was simple, get a job on a fishing boat, make a grip of cash and head into the interior and look for gold. I wasn't green by any means to prospecting, both of my grandfathers had made a respectable living at it in Idaho and Nevada and had taught me much about it... fishing I was green at, and it took me 2 years to make only 30 thousand dollars.

"No theres a land have you seen it?
It's the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it, to the deep death like valleys below.
Some say God was tired when he made it;
Some say its a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there's some who would trade it,
for no land on earth-and im one.

4 years later I was working on a combination vessel trawling flatfish and king crab fishing, and knocking down 6 figures in 8 months a year. Sounds good huh? well the 30-50% by-catch rate trawling was taking a toll on me, and I found myself having too many beers one night and contemplating the fact that my soul was in danger. I made a comment to a federal observer that "why shouldn't I do it.. its legal, and someone else would just take my place.. me taking a stand means nothing" he placed his hand on my shoulder, smiled and said, "every snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty" The next morning I headed to the airport after quiting a job that made me 4 times the money my own father made a year. At the airport my flight was delayed, once again drinking like a sailor I struck up a conversation with another patron, told him my story and whoes... and flew home. 2 months later the same guy called me at home and offered me a job as a sablefish and Halibut longliner.. a sustainable fishery he called it.. I took it, now Im a member of the crab coalition, and the deep sea fishermens union and I am politicaly active in protecting the fisheries from others.. and myself, I work 4 months a year and unless the sky falls will be retired at 45 years old. I did not speak with my father for 13 years, and now he is proud to claim me as a son. Alaska has given me a life, futer, friends a home, and redemption, it is my real home.

"lofty I stand from each sister land, patient and wearily wise,
with the weight of a world of sadnessin my quiet, passionless eyes;
Dreaming alone of a people, dreaming alone of a day,
when men shall not rape my riches, and curse me and go away;
Making a bawd of my bounty, fouling the hand that gave-
Till I rise in my wrath and sweep on their path and stamp them into a grave

Alaska and her fisheries have given me everthing I have, I worked my way from a "neck-down unit" to a citizen in my industry. I owe Alaska for everything I am, my character, values, and the ability to call myself a man and an outdoorsman... she is like a mother to me... You ask "how I feel about the pebble mine and what it will do to Alaska"... my name is Brad Melville, and I AM Alaska- ( a special thanks to Robert service for my shameless use of his prose)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fly Only Water North Umpqua

Ive been wanting to get down to the North Fork of the Umpqua for quite a while. So on monday I headed down. Arriving at the river at 6 a.m I parked and waited for the sun, hard raindrops pelted the roof and windows of my car adding fuel to the exitement of a day spent alone steelhead fishing probably the most famous steelhead river in the world. At 6:30 I decided to gear up, as I

rigged my rod I realized that I had brought nothing but 8lb fluoro leader, the fish here are natives and often large so I was a little bummed to have to work with less than 10 or 12.. but ive done it on many clear water days so I didn't worry about it... this would come back to haunt me. Walking down the river trail that runs basicly the whole upper length of the river I dropped down into a likely spot and whipped my black muddler minnow out into the sexiest tailout ive cast to in a while, third cast, as the fly began to lift in its turn "fish on"! and then fish off, oh well I though.. 8 more hours to put something together. I moved down the river and 45 minutes later Big fish on! I played him to the bank but stumbled in the landing, dropped him and the 8 lb line, too tight of a drag and the telephone pole like action of my IM6 Sage 8 wt and I was out another fish and my only black muddler. Tried some other intrueder style flies only to go back to the bull pen for another black pattern, lets make it a stonefly nymph I thought.... very good move, 4 more steelhead and a line cut just about to the bone by dark, and about 8 12-20 inch cutthroat.. but never put my hand on a steelhead, and also never saw another fisherman.. I love the North Umpqua this time of year, nobody above steamboat, I owned the joint. I just can't help but think if I would have used 10 lb fluoro and one of my glass rods there would be a picture of a steelhead here for you to enjoy, love that tippet protection. But I did enjoy sending my flies all the way to the warning track with some 9' graphite.. I loved im 6, but my arm reminds me just how much heavier it truely is than a new z-axis..enjoy the pictures

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A post for utahfish84108

First off, thanks for reading, second, isn't that Naha something! So you asked me if I had any suggestions for fall steelhead fishing, its occured to me what a great post Idea, the Riverkeepers fishing forcast-

The summer steel run is just heating up again in Oregon, in the next 4 weeks I would bank on fishing the Deschutes above sherars Falls, these fish are not the biggest fish by size but the run numbers make up for the smaller fish, but not to say their won't be some slabs in the mix.. just the average fish is smaller.. the go to river in Oregon in the next 30 days will be the North Fork of the Umqua.. the natives are returning to the fly only water and the fishing is gonna be off the hook for steel in the teens and possibly even heavier. With the rain comes the opportunity to fish big intrueders, the Deschutes is a spey and intrueder river but nymphing and skating produces also. the Umpqua is a nymphing river for the most part but swinging chicken size flies will always produce something. In low clear water you can use any size and color you like as long as its black...and small, green water opens up the spectrum and one can risk getting creative with brite and bigger presentations.

The Alaska outlook is pretty much the same as always, last week of October untill snow prohibits access is where its at. The Situk river is one of my favorites, boasts a solid run of big fish and virtually no one goes to fish the fall run. The Naha once the silvers die off will fish both trout and steel untill weather prohibits access.. I love the Naha and may return in November. There is also the Thorne and Karta, both amazing rivers. On a side note; The Kenai river and Russian rivers are starting to fish very well for trophy rainbows up to 20lbs, this will continue into december with its peak being before halloween. If anyone needs contact or travel, or guide information feel free to ask- Brad

The Sky Is Falling!

Its happening, There is a crack in the sky and rain is falling. In the coast mountains just to the west of me the rocks crusted with dry mud and alge are slowly dissapearing beneath falls first real rain. In the salt the Kings are stirring, in the Columbia the hold-off summer steelhead can finally smell the redds of their birth... follow the scent, get in the river, Im coming for you. The Riverkeeper is going fishing, saturday Kings on the coast, monday, The most celabrated 22 miles of steelhead water in Oregon, if not the world, and im coming. And a bonus river in between with a very special guest. I can't barely stand the wait..............

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nomad Fly Fishing Net Contest Entry

Cameron over at the is sponsoring a writing contest for a stunning guide net from Nomad Fly Fishing. These nets are works of art so I decided to submit this story as my entry.

My son and I have shared a love for flyfishing now for about 9 years, he caught his first brook trout at the age of 8, but since he was 14 I had been trying to hook him on "the Steel" but to no avail, he was growing tired of watching everyone else catch fish exept him. 3 years ago when he was 14 we headed out to the Kilchis river on the Oregon coast to try for some early steelhead action, the whole way that morning he talked about dry flies and light rods and how he really felt that was his zone, and that big rods and flashy flies really didn't "speak" to him. We pulled into the parking spot at first light and rigged up, the whole time he kept telling me about the new flies he was building and how we should head east for some trout next trip. We walked down to the river, a perfect cresent shaped run about 300 ft long starting with a fast water shute, settling into slow long green water and then a super bank tailout into another shute, holding water. As we stood on the bank I asked Mat what he thought.. copper john and an indictor, I said sounds good as I tied on an articulating bunny leech. We worked apart him moving to the tailout an myself taking the weaker water towards the head, I felt a solid bump and pulled up a little hard rocketing my line over my shoulder and around my neck, a touch emabaraced I looked down to see if Mat saw ( yeah us dads actually care if our sons see us screw up ) An I was shocked by what I saw.. Mat, both hands holding my sage 8wt clear up by the stripping guide, engaged in battle with a steelhead of undetermined caliber, now I know what your thinking.. did you yell "get those hands back on some cork" and the answer is no. I let it ride.. sliding my rod down through my hand and feeling the fighting but strike the rock I just stood and watched. Sometimes dad has to just shut up. The fish was peeling line and running hard for the tailing shute, Mat was in trouble and frankly I wasn't sure if he even knew it.. yeah I fought the urge to scream chase it... no, I did'nt start barking fishing brilliance and instuctions, I just watched. Mat finally palmed the reel and lifted and the fish responded with an explosive jump.. a teener, probably about 13 or 14#... nice fish I thought..and then instinct and that that cannot be taught kicked in, the fish got in the fast water and the backing cleared the first eye... and Mat started running.. but too fast, he slacked the line, and then and there he learned that as fast as they come.. they go. Defeat.. or victory? label it how you wish... but I saw it, as all guides, dads, uncles or whoever..see it, the tug.. the run.. the failure, that which will haunt us our whole lives... later, as we pulled onto the asphalt and headed our way home Mat started dialing, dialing anyone who would listen.. he did it, he had it down... he hooked the beast, but I just smiled, becouse I knew.. no matter how much victory he felt, it was not him who hooked the beast, it was the beast who hooked him... and he will never recover from it-

Monday, September 19, 2011

Up close and personal

So the Outdoorblogger network has a writing prompt this week for photos that are up close and personal, I took a picture of the flower on Hat creek in california near Lassen park, it was so pretty I just had to. The native rainbow was caught this spring on the Naha river in South East Alaska.. two of my favorite tight shots.. enjoy!

A change of direction

Well now that I'm home its time to get down and do some Oregon fishing. I have to admit a more than just exited, I miss my coastal streams. Since the riverkeeper blog started I have often received emails asking why I do not include more info on the how, where and what. My hope when I started blogging was to keep it pure, no hype, politics, peddling or should I say pushing gear. Well, allot of opportunity has come my way in things to review and I don't think im gonna pass on them anymore. I also plan to take a direction as a more informative learning blog, much like southeroregonfishingreports. Theres gonna be some ads of course, gear recommendations and I might even give up a few honey holes.. and of course the mainstay of the blogger.. video and give aways... so stay tuned, cause this winters gonna be a good one- Brad

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Heading Home

Well after 35 days in Alaska I wrapped up my last day on the Russian River this morning tossing beads to roe and flesh stuffed Rainbows... the grass is turning yellow, and the fireweed is dead, soon termination dust will powder the high country and winter will come in a day.. so its time to turn the bow towards the barn. Shot some amazing video and visited some stunning locations and I can't wait to write about and produce my first video report.. should make it home in a week, wonder if the John day has any steel in it yet.. maybe the Deschutze...??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Don't call it a comeback!

Well in less than 16 hours I will board a plane returning me to Alaska for 6 more weeks, so home and family has been a priority the last few days.. but when Nate over at "confessions of a ninety percenter" e-mailed that he had a hot Chinook lead it was hard to hide. Caron as always picked up on it and asked what my deal was, I told her and surprisingly she said "you really should go" as nice as that sounds of her I really believe she is just trying to get one step closer to meeting Nates wife in hopes of finding a fishing widow shop-a-holic friend... and I guess I endorse her motives. Anyway 3:45 a.m came extra early and I stumbled into the truck with high hopes and headed for the Sandy river an hour away to meet Nate. The morning started with a slow Oregon drizzle that progressed to a blanket hatch of rain, which Oregon salmon fishermen pray for. The morning started slow with us checking out a few spots but ending up where were started. we split up and I bush whacked upriver for about a mile, gave up and returned to Nate to hear the story of a hook up, a battle, and a spit hook.. OK, theres fish around. I walked upstream a bit of Nate and stood there for a moment and noticed he was re-rigging so I did what all good fishing buddies do, I swung ny vibrex right through the slot in front of him and was greeted by a solid hard pulling thump...Fish on! I sung out with a slight tone of guilt in my voice.. played a chrome brite hen for who knows how long while Nate video taped it ( check out his blog later this week for the premier ) Finally landed her and the day was mine. Nate actually had more action but the fish just wouldn't stick.. some days your the hammer... and some days your the nail I guess. So as the monsoon turned the water to bait only quality I headed home, with a feeling of redemption.. have had some bad luck the last few weeks, hopefully the worm has turned-

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Calling all readers!

Ok, this is a little shameless but I have entered a caption contest on the Hopper Jaun blog, some sweet montana fly co. swag goes to the winner... and I want to win! The blog is a sweet blog and ive been lurking on it for some time, but finally made an attempt at one of his contests. Soooo, if you feel like going over and checking it out please consider voting for my comment " throw your purse at it" or I guess if you like one of the other 4 finalist better, vote for them... but check it out if you have the time. You can find the post at Thanks and tight lines-

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gearing back up

Well the grieving time has passed and its time to move on. With my departure back to Alaska only 6 days away I'm in need of a few new rods. I plan on hitting Cabelas tomorrow for a new 5 or 6 wt C.G.R and I'm thinking of buying an Echo switch rod for the rest of my Alaska fishing this summer, maybe its time for something new. Anyway just thought I would fill you all in on what I have in mind... stay tuned for more adventures, they are only beginning-

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Theft ends the C.G.R chronicals

Its over, my rod is gone, actually most of my rods are now gone, I don't even own a modern reel anymore. The details are unimportant.. but since the 7/8 C.G.R is gone I won't be posting any more war story's for it, I was on the verge of purchasing a 5 wt but I don't think I care anymore.. cabelas can send me a new one if they feel like it, but since the Riverkeeper only has 31 readers I doubt that will happen. So I guess I will kick around and find a new rod to flout the attributes of, I'm thinking of contacting Steffen Rods and commissioning the build of a sweet 8 wt steel head rod, but that will take a while, maybe I will win a sweet review of something on the Outdoor Blogger Network.. who knows.. the cabelas rod was worth the money and performed past my expectations and I would definitely recommend one to anyone who wants a sweet glass rod. Here the last photo of the last fish my beloved rod beached... good bye my friend.. it was fun-

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cabelas C.G.R and North Idaho Bass

Well after returning home last week from a long stint in Alaska it was time to head to hope Idaho for a few days of fishing and family time. I had been looking forward to some trout fishing on the Clarke Fork and the Pack River, but apparently the huge snow pack and the warmer weather had conspired against me by blowing both rivers out. I walked around the condos basically feeling sorry for myself when I spotted a rather large small mouth sitting on a Redd... and the whole direction of the week changed in a heartbeat. Now im not one to typically chase Bass, but I'm also not one to turn his back on an opportunity so bass fisher I became. Armed with my newer cabelas 7 wt and a box of trout flies ( the black buggers and purple egg sucking leeches were the stars of the show ) I polished off the remainder of that day with 12 small mouths and 2 large mouths.. not bad for a steelhead/trout guy I thought. I lost alot of fish the first few days to docks, rocks and weeds, the 4 lb tippet I had just wasn't enough for fish that are such talented escape artist. I managed to round up some 12 lb izor line and put an end to that problem. The glass rod was amazing, fought the heavier fish very well and was still soft enough in the tip to make the smaller fish enjoyable. I know I have always called them ditch pickles, but I have to admit they were worthy adversaries in a time of need.. no Bass were killed in the making of this post- Happy Independence day-

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Well I realize I have been MIA for a while here on the Riverkeeper, Very tough working conditions, poor Internet connections and some depression have had me just not feeling the blog mindset. 2 weeks ago I also lost a 15 year friend who died in his tent of cardiac arrest after a grueling 20 hour summit day on Denali, he was 52 and in excellent health.. its been haunting me a little. But I'm now back in the land of the living and currently taking a vacation in a great fishing spot and hope to put a couple of exiting post together in the next few days. I'm gonna include some shots from the last month of fishing, everyone loves a good photo, right? no stories though.. can tell every tale I guess- Brad

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Its Coming!

The Alaskan suns rule of the sky is becoming longer by the day, Break up and springtime may be days if not hours away. I spent a day casting my cabelas C.G.R into an empty and barren Quartz creek just to get the feel for her... by next week the lakes on the kenai will break up and the kings will enter the rivers... and tens of thousands of hungry Bows will fall back into the rivers... and then I will present the greatest Glass rod review ever written ( by me ) here's a few pics to get you all by until then. I'm also gonna give my old glass eagle claw convertable pack rod a few hours in the sun... should be good-

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Naha River Alaska steelhead 2011

We all have our favorite place, sometimes its simply the end of a dock on a quiet lake, sometimes its a river that enchants us, the Naha is mine. Access is plane or boat only, no road scars the river bank, garbage is non existent, and once again I believe I was the first to fish it this spring. Unlike years past the snow was gone due to a very mild snow winter, as nice as the walking was due to the lack of snow the down side was the bears so fresh out of their dens you could smell them long before you saw one... I saw 4 in 6 hours. One of the greatest things about the Naha is the fact that the river is home to both Big steelhead and some of the prettiest fat rainbows you could ask for. I was hoping to shoot a video but constant SE Alaska rain made that idea too difficult. Dustin an I started out on the lower river and fish were scarce, within 30 minutes he had landed the first fish of the day, about a pound er and dark. That would be the only fish landed in the first 2 miles of river, and the only fish my lead bouncing friends would hook. Ray and Jim caught up to us and declared some real estate at a nice cut bank and started to fish. I watched for a bit, then faded into the timber to the trail and started humping up river as fast as I could. The fish were most likely higher in the system in my mind so I had to fight myself to pass up dozens of likely spots and keep going.... and it paid off. 3 hours up the river produced 6 landed steelhead ( one cracking the tape at a staggering 37 inches ) and none of the others smaller than 30 inches. I swung a black sleech for a bit and then switched it up to an articulating trailer trash fly, and the trash was the star of the day. I also used double bugs free drifted to bang about 7 or 8 of the most stunning rainbows you could ever hold. I have included the few pictures of fish I took, without a partner it is hard too take pictures without risking hurting the fish, the rain was falling hard and the rocks were slippery and wet so a snapped a couple quick ones, some are poorly exposed because I rushed it. When I finally headed back down river I just joined the guys where I had left them and we decided the tide was right to leave. Back at the boat the numbers and cameras came out.. gear fishermen- 1 Fly- 6 steelhead and the trout for extra credit.... Man I love Alaskan steelhead and road less rivers! I will be in Alaska for two more months so hopefully many more posts will follow-

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I write.......

This weeks OBN writing prompt is the question " why do you write a blog " well.. here's an answer..

29 years ago a young man named me had a stack of ancient outdoor magazines, and like most boys I would use a flash light to read well past my bed time stories that fascinated me and got my mind wandering to far away places I though I would never go. One of the writers name was Jack O'conner. Jack loved elk hunting and 270 rifles, and so did I, so he quickly became my favorite. Elk season at the time was about 2 weeks long, Jack got me through the other 50 weeks by taking me hunting to Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and unfortunately sometimes Texas. Jack was my very first hero.
So one day I was sitting reading Hemingway on hunting, I had just finished reading The short happy life of Francis Macomber and suddenly it dawned on me WOW this guy made a career out of telling Lie's.. er I mean stories. I though back a bit and realized I knew a great deal about lying, after all everything they tough me as a child in school was a lie, I had dated enough women to be considered a specialist in lying, I'm a fisherman... heck, maybe someone would want to read my lies. So I started. Suddenly I realized I could lie pretty good but couldn't work my computer or form a sentence to save my life, so I guess for a while I will try to be Hemingway dressed in John Grishams clothing, and maybe I will actually be able to write a decent story some day, but for now I will probably just keep writing when I'm drunk and using spell check and maybe I will get a few more followers over time. Writing is one of the only things that truly challenges my mind, I often feel lost when I sit here.. and I like that feeling. someday this may all come easy, but frankly I kinda hope it never does. But if I'm lucky I will be able to give the same gift that Jack gave to me so many years ago to some fella in a cube farm on a tenth floor office in Jersey..and then it will be worth it to me-

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Birthday Trip

Well today the Riverkeeper turned 39 years old, or young I mean. So as tradition holds in our family we all got together and fried halibut and razer clams while drinking high balls and laughing at the jokes my wife made about my age. Later in the evening after things wound down a bit her mom pointed out that my wifes dad turns 60 next year, and I turn 40, and that Tom and I should go on a big fishing trip somewhere. I smiled and said it was a nice thought. Later I found myself out on the deck, elbows on the railing staring down on the columbia river a few miles away, looking at a double rainbow, new zealand, northwest territorys, patagonia, argentina.... nice, all very nice, but if I could go anywhere on my 40th birthday its to a place that is gone forever... the past, a Time machine to 1982, Deep lake in nothwestern washington state.. I would be 10 again, and I would take my son, and he would be 10 again aswell... 2 shakesphere flyrods, graphite reels and level lines, leaders cut off of spools of blue tinted eagleclaw line.. and a coleman scanoe.. and 5 pound native cutts just after an april thunderstorm.. I can still smell it, I will always be able to smell it, and mabe just mabe, my son will finally be able to hear the words, like I can-

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sturgeon Saturday..

Well after chasing winter steelhead basically since the day after thanksgiving I could honestly say I needed a change for a bit, well or at least a day. I used to have a passion for fishing for sturgeon, after all there is probably a 12 footer swimming less than 300 yards from my house as we speak, so its a very convenient target with a very low cost for me, but in the last few years the politics of sturgeon, sea lions, native American gill nets and increased fishing pressure have kinda snuffed the flame for me. last Friday night a light went off in my head... sturg.. must catch sturg! so I sent a message to my friend Nate to see if he would be willing to sit in a pouring rain and not catch fish with me, he was game so the next afternoon we met for a couple hours of fishing, and it didn't rain as fore casted.. and Nate caught his first sturgeon, we only caught little fellers but it was fun just the same, fishing is always fun with the right company-

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Of Bluebloods & Walmart

So here it is, this story did not find its way to your screen without much deliberation, but it is my wife's favorite.. so for Caron and of course Howard.. I offer you this-
The world famous outdoor blog Wind Knots & Tangled Lines has a competition going for the possesion of a handsome new fly reel, so I have decided to throw my hat into the ring. The subject, simple.. why are you a legend in your own mind, am I? well recently I heard the term false modesty, and I like it, after all we all have a story that for a day.. or eternity granted us the lofty status of legend, This is one of mine-

In the summer of 1998 I had found myself jobless and barreling towards broke, I was in a slump and I needed to get to work. A friend of mine in the small Alaskan town I was living in offered me 12 days of employment as an assistant fishing guide for 12 days with a very important client, The heir to a world wide cosmetics fortune and her husband who if I remember right sat on the house of commons in England, Now my Scottish linage with an Aries back doesn't really fit the guide profile of such nobility.. but I figured since the Brits have been hammering on the Scots for 900 years it wouldn't hurt to carry on the family tradition if it meant paying my rent. I will call the two clients the madame and Pip to protect myself from the Ministry of defense kicking in the door of my sensible split entry home and killing me to save the face of the crown. Madame and Pip arrived in the early afternoon on a private jet, I will never forget them coming off the plane, Pip stopped at the top of the ladder and surveyed his surroundings, then with posture in which I have seen never before or again gained purchase with his feet of the state of Alaska, he was obviously kind of a big deal.. I.E legend in HIS own mind. The head guide met them and performed the introductions and jetted them off to their hotel leaving me with a convoy of bags that could kill a unit of Sherpas, I regretted my decision already. I arrived at the Bed and Breakfast and was immediately confronted with an issue, they had brought 600 changes of clothing but no coolers, I told the head guide I would go to walmart and pick some up.. before I could even finish my statement Pip exploded with excitement " I must go!" I said sure, then Pip turned to madame and insisted she accompany us. she said no, then he turned to her and in front of 6 born and bred Americans said, " you simply must come, Ive heard its like America.. all under one roof" she reluctantly agreed. As we headed out into the parking lot she started heading for the crew cab super duty truck she had been in earlier, I smiled and said "no, over here" she stood and stared at my white 1987 ford ex public works truck, sans the tailgate and most of the paint.. I could just feel her crushing anxiety, Pip quickly fired out a come on it will be fun and he opened the door and climbed in, she followed but couldn't shut the door, I walked over and lifted up on the hinges and slammed it twice and it took.. Kinda a tricky door I said with a smile and we were off. We arrived at wallmart a few minutes later and Pip just about knocked Madame down getting out of the truck, I said a short prayer to god, who I was sure had abandoned me.. please don't let him want to ride the elephant ride in the foyer.. and god heard my prayer. We headed into the gut of the beast turning right and walking past cosmetics, and at the end of an isle Madame froze in a stare, we kept walking but she just stood there, as if catatonic, we returned and as we approached she looked at Pip and roughly stated.. " did you know of this?" he looked and said he would have their people look into it.. but the damage was done, and she looked sickened. We walked back to the sporting goods section and started shopping, the whole time Madame stood on the other side of the isle gently touching the fabric of $10 dresses.. and she looked even sicker, we had to get her out of there or find an ephi pen for allergies to repulsive cloth.
That evening Pip decided to take us all out to dinner at the nicest restaurant in town the Best Western hotel. We all sat at a long table in front of a fireplace, Pip and the Madame both ordered the Elk steak and King crab legs. The food was delivered and Pip struck into his crab legs, he was having a "bugger" of a time with it, I sat running my finger around the rim of my empty Jameson and 7up glass.. watching I couldn't take it any longer.. Getting up and walking over to the bar I ordered another then turned to the bartender and said "double in a pint glass" Got my drink then walked over to behind Pip and reached over his shoulder grabbed his steak knife and a crab leg, making an incision in the leg like cutting firewood bent it broke it and shook the giant piece of crab onto his plate. Pip loudly exclaimed " brilliant!" then went about it himself and I returned to sit at the bar. Moments later Madame excused herself to go back to their lodgings. Shortly after everyone else slowly disappeared as well, except Pip, who had taken up court telling a local drunk about Africa and Hunting.. then he was sitting next to me, what are you drinking? Jameson and 7up.. he ordered one as well we sat for the next few hours getting drunker and telling lies, I lied and said I killed a brown bear with one shot from a 243, he lied and said he got two rhinos with one shot, I called the 303 British a piece of shit and he told me I shopped at walmart. At 2;15 we were blurry eyed drunk, the bartender said we had to go, now in some Alaskan towns the bars don't close till 4 a.m, and Pip wasn't done bullshitting, and frankly he was buying so neither was I. So where to ole Boy Pip exclaimed, I told him I would take him to a real Alaskan Bar.. but he had to promise to not be so goddamn British.. he looked at me with a stern face then started to laugh, lets go he said. We stepped out of the doors of the hotel into a 40 kt breeze with sideways rain, hood up and face down I walked down the street with each step feeling like it was denting the sidewalk. As we walked I tried to coach him on how to act, but he just kept insisting that a Russian boar was nothing to mess with, so 50 paces from the front door I stopped and grabbed his shoulders and said listen! these guys are commercial fishermen and navy seals, rogue coasties and drunks.. and they will kick your ass if you insult them, he appeared to get it and sobered up a little it seemed. One more time I insisted that this was the wild west.. nothing to kid around with, then I opened the door..... 25 grown men sat at the bar or were standing around, and all you could hear was them singing.... " highway run, into the midnight sun.. wheels go round and round, in my mind.. desperate hearts we belon........." we drank until 4 a.m.. and Pip bought every drink in the bar... and Pip was astonishingly popular.

This was only the first 12 hrs of a 12 day trip... maybe someday I will be inclined to finish the story.. it gets better-

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Would you like to fish with the Riverkeeper?

I would like to introduce an opportunity to fish with me, as a member of the McCloud rivers Bollibokka club I have an opportunity this fall to let my blog friends fish with me on one of the most famous rainbow trout rivers in the world, if you are interested please go to and check it out, I hope you find it to be something you would like to do- Brad

Friday, February 25, 2011

जुस्त अ लित्तले इन्फो फॉर अ कोउप्ले friends

so I received a message from an older gentleman who told me he enjoyed reading my blog but the white letters on the black background hurt his eyes, so the blog got a face lift... hope its easier on the eyes.. thanks for following. the photos in this post are of river x... need to show them to a friend, so enjoy if you wish but no back story... but it just might lead to one- happy weekend folks.. now go fishing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

By the seat of my pants....

I didn't have to be at the creek long to see that in the previous weeks floods God had his way with the fishing spots I had finessed and tuned into my play book... a bowling ball sized rock sat cradled in the crook of a tree like a scared cat 6 feet over my head as I stared at what used to be a honey hole, now rearranged into a pocket of strainers and an old road culvert. I stood, realizing the magnitude of the storms and the fact that it was now a new game.. square one. Out of the corner of my eye on the far bank ( 30 feet away ) a log struck straight off the bank into the creek provided the cover of some broken water.. and a fish rose, maybe a big cutt I thought, then again, this time revealing its identity... steel! I turned and ran back to the truck ripping open the back door $5000 worth of gear fell out into the muddy road.. I paid it no mind.. bead box bead box where the hell is my bead outfit!? under the seat revealed the small plano box full of beads, hooks, peg its and... 3 black stimulator's I used for strike indicators. half running I put my rod in my mouth and tied on a foot of fluorocarbon and the stimulator then sliding down the bank crashing hard at the bottom I was already stripping line.. first cast, too short, second cast hung up behind me, I was hemmed in by alders and bank, so I gave her the old single hand snap-t cast and money.. no dice.. again, this time the fly sank in an eddy.. so I started stripping line only to see out of the seam a black phantom chasing my fly! Bam! fish on! It didn't take long to realize I had screwed myself in the set-up of actually being able to land the beast, he shot straight for the strainer down stream of me and I palmed my reel and desperately tried to hold him out of it.. and he turned and ran back to the cut bank side of the creek. That's when I pulled an old king trick on him... I quit pulling and gave him some of his head back, then walked out and around the fallen tree through 4 feet of water got below him and finessed him down, pulled him into the fast water and chased him down to a long slow stretch I could land him in... and the day was mine. He was old and colored up so I revived him and sent him on his way.. he was a fine opponent. ( don't worry folks the blood on my waders is from a fish the night before..but that's another story )

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A slight Distain for the art

I can't stand it one more day, I cannot lie to my family or friends any longer, I need to come out with this.. and today I will.. I hate tying flies. What? yes you read it here first, the RIVER KEEPER hates tying flies, always have too. I started tying flies because the materials and tools came to me free, and the next 500 flies were free, then I was given more free material.. 300 more free flies.. then I made the mistake of purchasing materials in bulk, next thing you know.. poof a whole room dedicated to it. The problem is purchasing flies like ants, scuds, woolly buggers, and x caddis all of which I can crank out at an astonishing pace doesn't make financial sense at 50 cents to a $1.50 apiece a fella saves alot of money building his own. But the other side of the coin is the Adams, Drakes, pmd's wool headed sculpins.. the flies I use but prefer not to waste my time when I can just buy them. Too many fly fishers think you have to be a tier to be a real fly fisherman and that's just a bunch of crap, tying and fishing are two completely separate arts and talents, tying flies is just that, and fishing is just fishing... neither one requires the other to justify it.. I have reached a point financially in my life where I buy the flies I don't feel like tying, and Always buy flies when I'm on expeditions to new rivers since each river has its own twist of flies.. and I feel just fine about it-

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cabelas C.G.R 7/8 wt trout field test

Well I couldn't resist, so I headed out this afternoon to a friends stocked private pond and tried to give the rod the old put a fish on the end of it test, and I'm impressed. I caught around a dozen Kamloop Rainbows in about 3 hours, the average being about 14" and the two biggest ( both beat my tippet ) in the 22-25" range. The rods tip is sensitive enough to make playing small fish fun, while still having the testicular fortitude to fight a 5 lb fish, not sure it can handle an 8-12 pound steel yet, but my hopes are higher than they were at the table review. I will just have to drive down to the Rogue on Sunday ma be and see what I can kick up. I forgot, being a 9 footer fan how fun a shorter rod is, and what you can fish around.. this is in my opinion a spectacular commando rod meant for trekking in for average fish but having the reserves to do battle with a trophy brown or bull trout... its a Yellowstone cutthroat rod at is core. I will definitely be carrying this rod to Alaska to do battle with some Kenai rainbows... as the glass gives you the best of both worlds... the ability to enjoy the Dinks... and rock the brood stock.. Get some! stay tuned, gonna throw a sink tip and a rogue river special on her and take her to the Big Show-

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cabelas 7-8 wt custom glass rod review table review

Note... this review has been re-written after 75 days of on the water fishing, most of the comments following will not be valid to this post anymore- Over a year ago I read on T.F.M that Cabelas would be introducing a new line of Fiberglass fly rods to commemorate the 75th aniversary of their company.. I decided I needed one so I ran up to Lacy Washington and gave them a wiggle. My intentions were to purchase the 5/6 weight but the half wells grip and the sliding ring reel seat were a turn off for me so I chose the 7/8 wt rod with the locking reel seat. I have since purchased the 5/6 but havent really fished it much. I tried several lines on the 7/8 and came to the conclusion that the rod prefers a weight forward line and does not carry a long belly style line well at all. I found the scientific angler mastery series lines to fish the best. while steelhead fishing I tried an 8wt Royal wulff ambush line and was suprised how well it roll casted it with such a short length. While the C.G.R is labeled a 7/8 wt ( and casts both sizes of lines well ) in the ability catagory this rod is simply a light 7 wt, I have landed and played dozens of trout, several sockeye and at least 20 steelhead and numorous small and large mouth bass. The C.G.R is capable of fishing summer steelhead and smaller winter hatchery steelhead but is way to weak in the power department for larger native fish. It is a very nice summer steelhead/ trout / bass rod. I personaly felt that Bass really brought out the character in the C.G.R, and would highly recommend it for that application. Ive for the most part enjoyed this short little rod, my only real complaint would be that both of the 7/8 wts ive purchased had issues with the reel seat nut cross threading and getting stuck, and the case is pretty much trashed, missing the zipper, torn, and the strap falling off within a week of purchase. The rod has been on sale twice for $75 and I suggest waiting for it to do so again. I started out with a pfluegar Trion but have since started using a Lampson Konic on it and I prefer that pairing. All in all the rod has held up to rugged fishing, and is well made in my own opinion and I expect to have it and fish it for many years to come. If you have any questions you would like to ask about the rod feel free to email me at

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


It was still dark as I nudged the Dodge into the canopy of the road side trees, 2 hrs until day light and Mat was sound asleep in the passenger seat.. so I punched his arm like any loving father and said... thanks for keeping me company on the drive.. he growled and then smiled and asked are we there? I said no, we are just done driving, still have an hour and a half walk in the dark... he looked stoked but tried to hide it under a tired scowl, I smiled and said.. you can't fool me, I know your stoked.. he smiled and said yeah, just tired, I played ps3 until 1 am. I laughed and said that's nothing, I sat up drinking until we got in the truck.. he looked at me and told me to knock it off, I laughed because there was a time ( 20 years ago ) that I actually used to do it. We walked in the dark, talking about guitars and fly rods.. and cars.. Mats 16 cars are still quite magical to him, life will cure that I'm sure. We arrived on the banks of the upper Lewis and Clark with daylight still just a twinkle in its father eye, and started to rig, I lit a smoke to contemplate just which soldier I would put my faith in for the magic hour of half light.. Mat huffed and told me he wished I wouldn't smoke, I told him I wished he would shower at least once every 7 days.. and the woods were quiet.. what fly dad, I told him to go black and small, gin clear water and native steel would demand it on this day. we sat on the Bank together and watched the crescent of dawn swallow the stars, he wanted to start, he was fidgety and it made my heart smile, I told him to wait for it, so reluctantly we did. We fished hard for the next 6 hour without so much as a strike or denial, as the sun began to cast shadows in the canyon I felt the stop... tap... pull.. and set! and the Brawl was on.. the fish took to the air immediately...and then as fast as he arrived he was gone. I reeled in my fly and placed it on the hook keeper, It's time to go, Mat did the same and we struggled through the Oregon rain forest back to the logging road. We walked in silence for about a mile when mat offered the conversation of the lost battle, doesn't that upset you to fish for that long and then lose it? I said lose what? the fish dad, you lost the fish, I patted my heart and said no, I have him right here, he said you know what I mean. I stopped and we stood on a high ridge looking back down on the canyon, You know Mat.. If I could choose my heaven I would wake up at 3 every morning scrape the ice off my windows, buy $60 worth of gas and a gas station machine mocha, drive for 3 hours listening to Bob Dylan... hike and cast all day, rip my waders, smoke a pack of cigs and dine on spam on white bread.... mustard only, the last cast of the day I would hook up and lose the fish within seconds, then the next day I would get up and do it all over again, and I would consider God a fair God, a loving God. We stood in silence, and he started to walk again, then turned to me and said.. that's easy to say when you've caught thousands of fish, in my Heaven I would fish all day in the sun and catch a fish every five minutes. ................... with you-

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Naha River SE Alaska

Spring... for me spring means the Naha, its called a river but more and more as I read maps and charts I see that is a loosely swung term, the Naha is a large creek, at best. When I arrive in early april my tracks are usally the first over the roughly 2-3 feet of crust rotten snow that hold on for dear life... but feeling springs warm air, you might say that winter is in its winter of life. In the summer the Naha delivers up some of the finest football shaped trout I have ever seen, but its April, and steel head is the headliner on my menu. On this glorious day we started the portage early, one must first push their launch up and over 35 yards of snow, into a lagoon in which you travel for about 3/4 of a mile before hitting the river itself. You can see by the puffy look on all of our faces that Ketchikan had its way with us untill 4; am.. and 3 1/2 hrs later fishing. You can use any color of fly on the river you want, as long as its small and black, on this day a very small black bead head wooly bugger put 4 fish in my hand in 3 hours.. not too shabby, enjoy the photos... and may God someday bless your feet to touch the snows of the Naha... the lonely river-