Dedicated to the relentless pursuit of fish on the fly. Welcome to the obsession, I hope you enjoy the pics and ramblings. If you like what you see (or really don't), feel free to drop me an email at And when you're done, get your waders on and get out there, cause the only way to catch 'em is with your bug in the water.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


It's June in southeast Alaska and it's a bit of a change from dusty Wyoming. As I sit and eat breakfast I can look out the window and watch the cruise ships rolling into the harbor. Pretty soon the float planes are buzzing about and the docks are crawling with tourists despite the intermittent rain showers. I'm able to see all this because the house I'm in is on a really steep hill. It's so steep in fact, that our "street" is actually just a wooden staircase that runs several hundred feet up from the bottom of the hill to our parking lot at the top. We have intersections on this street, other similarly styled "streets" with mailboxes and trashcans and such, complete with street signs and everything. It's a bit of a departure from what I'm used to, as I said.

With the shop getting geared up for trips as well as our private areas opening up soon I've been prepping base camp, repairing gear, getting licenses sorted out, and checking out new water. Somewhere in all the chaos I've found the time to get into some coastal cutthroat and even a few gigantic sculpins. Actually they're saltwater rockfish, but they look just like monstrous sculpins if you ask me. The trout are keying up on the salmon fry that are recently hatched as well as a variety of stoneflies. The rockfish seem to be more interested in whatever furry bunny strip concoction you can put in front of them on a sinking line. Finding time is a bit of a joke around here, with somewhere around 19 hours of light to work with you can get a hell of a lot done in a day. Like fish in the rain or eat crabs. Lots of crabs.

The Cohos are staging in the creek mouths and it'll just be a few days now before the first fish make their run up into the fresh water and all hell breaks loose. Until then, I'm going to try to catch as many different species of rockers on a fly as possible. I know once the salmon really get thick I'll forget about the saltwater species for a while so now's the time. There are lots of them, so it could be interesting.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Little Piece of Paradise

I know of a place that is the stuff of legend. I often think of it when I’m fishing my usual waters, wondering how it is. Surely, I’d be doing much better if I was there. After a long day on the river I sometimes yearn to get back there and redeem myself for my mediocre performance today. The water is clean, cold, and gin-clear. Stalking the banks holds endless sight-fishing opportunity with hordes of rainbows and browns in every riffle and pool. You’ll rarely find yourself crowded, in fact some times of the year you can be the only soul for miles on this beautiful river. Sheer red walls plummet hundreds of feet to meet the deep emerald water. Monsters lurk in the shadowy depths and even in the coldest months countless noses lazily sip insects caught in the surface film. It may truly be a trout angler’s paradise.

Preparing for a trip there involves checking every piece of gear, tying a bunch of new flies, and setting the coffee pot for some ungodly hour. The pre-dawn departure is accompanied by hushed excitement, the anticipation of epic fishing growing with each bleary-eyed sip of coffee. The dog knows something good is coming, she can feel it. She may not know where you’re going, but she knows the truck is full of gear and that can only mean one thing.

With an arsenal of rods, flies, and other miscellaneous gear strapped all over, you’ll head down the footpath to the water and suddenly remember just how damn hard this place is. In all the daydreaming, planning, and driving you somehow forgot how badly you were beat down last time. Those hundreds of fish sipping lazily didn’t want anything to do with whatever you were throwing. Every fly you had with you was ten times too big or too small, too flashy or too dull. Every piece of fishy-looking water produced nothing but frustration, tangles, and lost flies. Your footsteps on the bank spooked fish from forty yards. You fell in the thirty-seven degree water miles from the truck. You went through every dry, nymph, and streamer on hand and the one bug that consistently got takes failed to hook up every time because the hook had broken and you never thought to check it.

Never mind all that, you think, this time it’ll be different. I’m ready for it now, bring it on. So you creep along the bank, keeping the dog far from the water. You spot the day’s first rises gently breaking the surface long before you notice any bugs. You can make out the shapes of trout just below the glare, feeding on nymphs or the occasional dry. So you’ll tie the smallest emerger you’ve got onto the longest, lightest leader you can put together and pray that just one of those fish wants it. Moving ever so slowly, you’ll creep up to the edge and make the most gentle presentation the world has ever seen. The drift will be perfect, right down the alley. And that’s how it will go all day; creep, cast, curse, repeat.

Eventually you’ll have to sit down and ponder just what the hell you’re doing here. It’s frustrating, demoralizing, and enough to drive you mad. But sit long enough and at some point you may realize that this truly is a trout angler’s paradise. Not because you can go and beat up on fish all day but because you’ve got to be dialed. This isn’t the stocked pond behind the golf course. It’s unforgiving and will shut you down more often than not if you let it. But the more you fail, the more you learn, and at some point the 7x doesn’t look so small, the micro currents become more obvious, and the 14 incher is every bit as rewarding as the 22. Well, almost.

I won't be able to get back there for a long while, Alaska is a bit too far to drive from. While I'm sure the ridiculous fishing up there will be a ton of fun, I'll be looking forward to another beatdown when I get back.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Small Fish, Big Attitude

I met up with Colter Bennett today to head down to Fontenelle Reservoir and stare at water all day. We did eventually get into a bunch of smallies that put up an insane fight for their size which was a nice bonus to add to the nice weather that has finally arrived. Aaaah yes, there aren't too many things I enjoy more than hammering fish on the 7wt. Hopefully I'll have time to get back out before heading north, but we'll see.
Quit reading this now and go fishing