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-

Saturday, January 15, 2011

April 16th Situk River Alaska

Here's a little tidbit from last spring, every year I fish the Situk river in Yakatat Alaska. It was a pretty rainy day.. Fished with the river on the rise, fishing has been better in years past, but it was a great day, the one with me on my knees is just about the feistiest fish I've ever caught.. it was all I could do just to hold him to get a picture.. you would think he was a chromer by the fight he gave. The Situk is an amazing steel head river, and if you have a bucket list... this river should be on it. The fish Ray is holding was his 4th hook-up in ten minutes... amazing-

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fly rod kit contest

well, here it is.. my submission. Many thought have passed through my mind on how to win the Hook and hackle xi fly rod kit on owl Jone's fly fishing the southern blue ridge blog.. cofisher took the competition to the level of truth... scoundrel.. so I choose to compete against him with... heart
I don't know what makes you a fly fisher, magazines much like Cosmo, us, and hustler make a person stare at photos, wondering, how can I be like that.. have that.. live like that... and much the same salmon and steel header, outdoor life, and flytyer make us wonder.. can I ever look that good in my Remington waders as that guy looks in his Sims pro guide navy seal Kevlar lined u.v protected waders?... is that a sage xxryple 789 fluid stoke hmg fast action rod.. with a Hardy 3487 retro anti reverse titanium reel with lee wulf pentagon tapered line that can cast 4 times as far as I can set the hook?.... sometimes fly fishing makes me feel ugly.. but I'm not.. I'm real, often I fish alone, I prefer it. I am not a teacher, perhaps I fear an apt pupil will steal my mojo.. take what has been earned by me, through time, error.. failure.. teach yourself you little poacher, this is mine. I love fly fishing. I wasn't going to use love.. but its so appropriate, broke my heart.. yes, sent me to the wolves with unrealistic expectations...yes, given me the best memories of my life.. yes. Some say fishing is like religion, I say no, fishing is like marriage.. I have put too much heart, too much time, money, effort... but yet it has given me the finest challenges and memories of my life. Do I deserve this kit.. of course not. No one who has reaped the rewards of fly fishing as much as I have deserves anything but what they have already harvested.. but yet I ask.. do you want my address? I come from humble beginnings, I have fished and casted the worst Cortland and Shakespeare rods on earth... and I have cast the best, hardy, walton powell, and Thomas& Thomas.. and all I can say is its still you against the fish, and you can't buy what I have.. fly fishing is the only thing eloquent and beautiful I do, it is the only art I have in me.. I will never stop learning, and will only grow.. I will never be satisfied with my cast or mends, I will never tie an ant small enough, I will never present a nymph slow enough.. I am a constant student, clay that will never harden.. a rod that will never bend far enough to break.... so I have to admit that I am often hypnotised by a four count rhythm.. and the hope that a fish will rise.. "the river was carved by Gods great flood, and flows over rocks from the basement of time.. on some of those rocks lay ancient raindrops.. and underneath lie the words.. and if we listen closely all our lives we might hear those words.......... I am haunted by waters",................. I hear those words

Friday, January 7, 2011

Coming up in a time of worms Part 2

In the spring of 1984 I was proudly employed as a carrier of the Spokane daily chronicle. My route consisted of mostly elderly customers, in those days you had to collect and sell subscriptions, some customers I truly loved to collect from.. others, well not so much. One of my favorites was an older gentleman in his 80's, his home was a museum of outdoor memorabilia, antlers, gear, hides... you name it, every time I would visit I couldn't help but eyeball the 5 ft tall stack of sports afield, outdoor life and American rifleman magazines in the corner near the door. He must have noticed because soon every few weeks there would be one in the paper box, the first one had a note... " thought you might enjoy this" it was a sports afield from 1933... awesome. So over the next few months I regularly received a new old magazine, and I wore them out reading about Alaska, Canada...and sometimes places I never even new had hunting ( like California.. yeah I actually didn't know they had woods still back then ) then one day.. a sportsman's journal, dedicated to dry fly fishing... and my whole world changed.. forever. After two months of ripping out pages of brown trout with green drake flies clinging to their lips like jewelry, decorating my walls, school locker, peechees, and absolutely boring the living shit out of anyone who would stay in the room, a miracle happened, the chronicle had a subscription drive, and one of the prizes was a fly rod package. This was the first time in my short life I had ever truly focused on a goal, it was everything to me, I had to have it.. and after two weeks of hustling like the last couple to join Amway... it was mine, well almost.. every Monday I would go to the local McDonald's for the paper meeting and it wouldn't be there yet... not that I didn't ask, a million times.. the fourth of July was closing in fast and I needed it. My family had planned a rare trip to a different camping location, the N Fork of the St Joe river in Idaho. I had already made all the preparations.. multiple trips to Kmart had secured me 3 packages of mosquito flies, and 2 packages of Danielson wet flies, the Elton john blue Gordons quill variant had my eye every night as I rearranged them in the folding metal fly box I had purchased to keep them safe in ( in hind sight and much field testing... gay blue flies from India don't catch shit ) One evening just days before the trip my managers car pulled up, Gary stepped from the cutlass and I saw it.. my rod, my weapon.. the hand of god. Without so much as a thank you I blazed straight for my room, tearing the rod from the plastic and shoving the two pieces together I started reading from the top of the package, Shakespeare 2 piece 6 wt fly rod, Graphite reel, my mind went crazy, Graphite yeah! no more flimsy metal that can rust..the best! foam grip for added comfort and less fatigue, Yeah! less fatigue and probably warmer too! included 1 level floating fly line ( bumps and imperfections included) backing and one 4x leader already assembled...Yeah! already assembled, now I can throw away the copy of the Curtis creek Manifesto I had purchased to learn the knots... what omg a pamphlet with all the Knots and casting guide included! this fly fishing thing is gonna be easy........ to be continued

Coming up in a time of worms.... Part 1

Becoming a fly fisherman wasn't easy in Spokane in 1984.. I was twelve years old, I cut my teeth as a fisherman in the murky waters of Deep Lake Washington on the Canadian border, Fishing was good back then. Every morning of our summer camping trips I would rise before anyone else and scour the shore line rocks for as many Helgramite and dragonfly nymphs I could get my hands on and then march down the t shaped dock, My wonder rod and zebco 202 in one hand, a butter can full of bugs in the other. It was a time in the lakes history of rare native rainbow and plentiful cutthroat trout that averaged 2 lbs and often pushed 5... and I owned the lake, walking out on to the dock to the cleaning station ( don't see many of those on a dock anymore ) the water was only a foot or two deep there along the dock, I would carefully hook a nymph as to not kill it, then with no weight I would bullshit the little bug by releasing him hook in tow into the murky pollen stained water... and like the fool he was he would dart under the dock.. and as soon as he was out of sight kaaaaaaaaaaawaaaaaaaaaaam... one less empty spot on the stringer. Sadly in those days I kept everything, because much like today.. no fish- no credit, unlike the magic of today's camera it would have required a trip to Kmart and two weeks later.. proof, instant gratification for catches was big to me in those days so my first couple thousand fish appeared in photos like old west pictures of the James Gang... bloody, dead and stiff as a board. Then the resort sold, and the new owners turned it into condo style lots and my lower income family was no longer welcome at the resort, but that's OK because it ended with the lake falling into a steep decline and the fishing was starting to get a little tougher anyway. Enter the era of the middle fork calispel creek... a small stream tea colored and choked with brush, a complete mystery to me.. the nymph style fishing I had mastered so well was over, outdated... useless as a barbed hook on the Madison river, It was then that I discovered the cased caddis, one must first peel the little feller out of his rock fortress, then thread him on to an eagle claw egg hook, drifted without weight.. deadly. This was also where I caught my first Bull Trout.. and well..ummm ate him ( I have since learned what an expensive dinner that could have been ) I apologize sincerely, my Vietnam veteran dad apparently had very little use of troublesome government regulations... I'm claiming being 9 and ignorant on this one. One day while shucking caddis my dad looked at me and said why don't you just use worms... they are everywhere, and I catch more fish than you. I turned and trying to muster a retort worthy of my caddis effort.. simply said, well... because maybe I'm a fly fisherman........... to be continued-

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Too dang comfortable..

Its 10;53... I'm warm, dry, fed, and just about poisoned with protection... I need to shed this plywood, studs and windowed suit of armor and break a fly rod.. cut a knuckle, lose some gear... I need to count coup on a rainbow.. hammer a steel head..... God please send me an adventure.. I promise to get soaking wet... smoke too much... and take lots of pictures... I promise...
P.S I will give up my filson and cabellas catalogues for a week.. I swear

Monday, January 3, 2011

Washington clamming

Well there is no better way to start off a year in the great outdoors like spending some time in the great outdoors with your family. Caron my amazing wife, is only a fisherman when she thinks its going to be productive, but she's hell on clamming so when she mentioned a little long beach new years day clamming I said oh yeah! and off we went. So with wife, 17 month old Grace and grandma in tow we headed off. It was crowded, as Washington always is.. and cold, a very small tide, but we still managed to turn up 34 Delicious Razor Clams... and managed to keep adventurous little Grace out of the sea... mostly-

Sunday, January 2, 2011

7 Mile Beach Karluk Alaska

Well my recent trip to Big Creek was a bust, 0-4... just couldn't make any stick, so thought I would post some pictures of a day this past August in the shelikof strait near Karluk, just to help my ego a bit............ enjoy!