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.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ready to Rumble

It's snowing in Pinedale. Again. And it looks like it'll keep doing that more or less all this week. I was planning on heading to Texas to chase reds and bass but unfortunately the trip got canceled and left me stuck in the frozen north. Oh wait, no it didn't. After some last-minute scrambling, a plan was formulated. I'm heading down to Florida to meet up with my buddy Stu for an epic week of chasing whatever swims. The plan for now is to hit up big bass, tailing redfish and some hefty seatrout for a day then blast down to the Keys and get salty. We'll try to find some peacock bass on the way down in some of the freshwater canals in south Fl. Neither of us has targeted them specifically before, so it could be good or a complete disaster. Hopefully it's the former.

We're looking at hitting a few different places in the Keys. It's the beginning of prime time for the big 3 down there: tarpon, bonefish, and permit. There are also a bunch of lesser targeted fish to keep us occupied if the classics aren't cooperating. Snapper, snook, sharks, you name it. My outlook: if it swims in front of me, it gets hit with a fly. We'll end up at mile 0 in Key West and may even head out to the Maraquesas for some less traveled flats before turning around and heading north again to meet up with Stu's brother and a little offshore action in the Gulf.

That's a lot of fishing. And we've got a week to do it, which means we're going to be totally fried by the end of it. My last trip to the Keys was pretty much a blowout, with heavy winds making fishing extremely difficult. The weather outlook this time looks a lot better. Even so, I'll probably be checking the updates all day tomorrow as I'm sitting in airports. One of the big problems with living in the middle of nowhere is the simple fact that "you can't get there from here, ayuh." There's pretty much no way to get a direct flight to anywhere. Oh well. I'll post updates as we go and there will be plenty of pictures and possible video. Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blackfoot Carp Classic 7, May 20-21 2011

Ok folks, May 20-21 2011. Goldfish wrangling. Golden bones. Carpalooza. Freshwater permit (ok, maybe that's a stretch). whatever you want to call it, the seventh annual Blackfoot Carp Classic will be happening at Blackfoot Reservoir, just outside of Soda Springs, ID. This is a FUN event that brings folks from all over the place to support a good cause. Every year, the proceeds go to a different member of the fly fishing community who can really use a hand. This year they'll be going to Lyle "Ooley" Piram, longtime competitor and team captain of the Ooley Buggers, to help with some pretty serious medical expenses. If you don't know Ooley, he's a great guy who's given a lot of himself over the years. So come on out and show some support, have a ton of fun, and rub shoulders with the best and the worst in this crazy game we call Carpin.

For those of you who haven't been there in years past, here's a few things to keep in mind:
Blackfoot is huge and there are lots of places to fish. There are a ton of 2-track roads surrounding the lake that provide access from the main roads. While there are plenty of areas that are accessible to low-clearance 2wd vehicles, 4wd and a little clearance will open up a lot more options.

The closest reliable town/civilization/supplies is Soda Springs. Do not plan on being able to get gas/food/beer/firewood at any of the other little towns that show up on the map closer to Blackfoot. There are a few places around, but nothing reliable. Bring whatever you'd need to camp for a few days. There's plenty of space for RV's/campers but no hookups. Keep in mind that you may end up doing a fair bit of driving over the course of the tournament and plan accordingly.

Cell service is spotty and an Idaho fishing license is required to enter. While you can purchase a license over the phone, don't plan on doing it when you get there. Get it beforehand and save yourself the trouble of playing the "stand on top of a camper with one foot in the air to get service" game. Idaho F&G: 800-554-8685.

Weather. It's spring, it's high elevation, and it's unpredictable. Be prepared for anything from 80 degrees and sunny to 25 degrees and blowing snow. While we all hope for great weather, being unprepared can ruin the weekend faster than breaking all your rods at once. Which brings me to...

These fish are big. During the previous few years the average fish weighed in went 10-20 pounds with plenty above that. Most folks are using 7-9 wt. rods. If you don't have anything that heavy, you can get away with lighter rods as long as you're ready for a long fight (lots of backing helps). Whatever you bring, it's very advisable to bring a backup just in case. These fish aren't the most violent fighters in the world, but they can pull really really hard.

Getting your fish to weigh-in. Carp are tough. Damn tough. "Live wells" here usually consist of nothing more than a big cooler with a little water in it. While your fish don't have to be alive to count, a live fish weighs more than a dead one. For those of you concerned about the mortality rate, most of the fish kept in a cooler are successfully released after being weighed in. Like I said, damn tough. Also, carp are invasive and incredibly prolific. In past years Idaho F&G has encouraged killing them. The choice is yours.

If you can, get out and get some practice. While not doing well come tournament time will have no impact on anything at any point in your life, it's a lot more fun if you're catching fish. If you've never been to Blackfoot, maybe get there a day early and check it out. The carp here are big, spooky, can be tough to spot, and tend to be picky about what they eat. That being said, there are absurd numbers of them. If you mess up a shot at one, chances are there'll be another one (or 20) close by.

Bring cash. This is a fundraiser, remember? You'll kick yourself if you don't get in on some raffle action. Trust me on this one. Rods, lines, gear, float trips, there will be something that makes you go "damn, I shoulda bought a raffle ticket or 20"

This is a fun event. The tournament runs Friday-Saturday and most people stick around until Sunday. Why? While all the teams tend to go their separate ways during the day, the party starts at weigh-in each night. Immediately after, the grills get going, campfires kick off (bring your own wood), and it's generally a camp-wide social gathering of good people trading fish stories. A lot of folks here are somehow involved in the fly fishing industry and it's a great place to meet some new people and maybe learn a little something.

Need more info? For official rules, registration info, or anything else official, get in touch with Todd or Brooks (their info is on the poster, click on it to make it larger). For unofficial info, tips, or general "what the hell is this all about" questions, feel free to leave a comment here or drop me an email,

I hope to see you there, now get out and go fish!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Gorge - Whaaaaaaat?

Eager to get some fishing time in, Andrew D. and I headed down to the gorge early monday morning. We were greeted with bluebird skies, light wind, and absurdly good fishing. Oh wait, that didn't happen. It was bluebird and the wind was light up on the rim, but dropping into A Section we were slapped in the face with a blast rushing downstream. It never let up. Oh and the water was cranking at 3060 cfs, more than twice the usual winter flow. Wade fishing was tough. Really tough. Andrew managed four fish in one spot and that was it for the day. I batted a solid .000 unless you count catching myself with a barbed fly, pinning two shirts squarely onto my elbow. That was fun. I see lockjaw in my future. On the upside, I did manage to spend a bit more time behind the camera and have started compiling footage for a video project. Notice the bush in the corner at the end of the clip here, that's the wind we had to deal with.

After a rather nice evening at camp (despite the Utah near-beer), we decided to bail on the river and go find some carp. Having never actually fished for them in that reservoir, the search started slowly.

Dead ends, deep water, and hordes of bovine marauders met us at every turn but eventually we found some promising signs...

That's right, kids, when you're lost in the high desert looking for carp, pay attention to what you see. Signs of a bud light hatch tend to indicate suitable carp habitat somewhere close. Also, sightings of varmint cong tend to be elevated in these areas. Sure enough, we found it and it was prime habitat, however the water was still way too cold and the goldfish haven't moved into the shallows yet. We're getting there though, it won't be long....
Quit reading this now and go fishing