To everyone out there, have a fun, wet and memorable New Years Eve this evening. We look forward to a new year with all of you so be safe. Thinking of driving drunk tonight, sit down at the vise instead and whip up some new creations for next year, worst thing that can happen while tying drunk is you stick a 2/0 hook in your finger, just remember to debarb before you get too far into your preferred beverage.
After getting off the phone with good friend and fellow steelhead guide Marty Sheppard, our conversation continued to ring in my head for hours, even days now so here is a recap.
“How much did you quote these guys for 3 anglers? A $1000 I hope.” Marty said not very sarcastically.
“Uh, no $500, I thought that was all you wanted for a trip like this.” I was sarcastic.
“I hate doing 3 person trips, runs aren’t big enough, there is usually only one bucket in each run and if they need help, I can’t give them enough of it in a day.” Marty finally calms down and we discuss the finer points of why and why not to do 3 person steelhead trips.
Mostly it comes down to people are trying to keep the cost of a trip down and we can appreciate that. However, in the end, you are spending your money for an experience that is normally based on a 2 clients to 1 guide ratio. When this gets tweaked, so does the experience. Those of us who do this for a living and do it passionately make every effort to provide the most educational, informative, professional and memorable experience possible.
Frustrations with 3 anglers include the following:
Spreading out so far that when you are with the first person in a run you can see the last.
When one person snaps off a fly and you aren’t close enough to tell it is missing, they fish for an hour without one.
When one angler isn’t moving while the rest are and are too far away to keep them doing so without running a half mile up to them.
All the anglers need work with casting beyond the initial casting lesson done at the beginning of the day.
When someone has questions and you aren’t there to answer them, regarding casting, reading water, lunch, life, whatever.
Safety of the anglers.
On some smaller rivers, runs are small enough that only 1, maybe 2 anglers can fish at a time requiring anglers to take turns. You are paying to fish, not to watch so why do this to yourself.
In short, we want to keep trips to a 2:1 ratio for many reasons. We of course undertand that occassionally there is a 3rd wheel wanting to participate but certainly don’t think of this as a way to keep the cost of a trip down. After the upcharge for a 3rd person you are only saving a very small amount, typically less than $50 each.
Please think about some of these things before booking a 3 person trip with your favorite guide, you are just cheating yourself out the best service they can give you.
If you do find yourself in the position of having a 3rd angler in a group, consider hunting for a 4th person and get another guide or ask the guide if they have a single regular who would be willing to join the group, and get a second guide. In the end, you will be happy you did.
WDFW will be adding an additional stamp for steelhead and salmon anglers, in addition to their steelhead and salmon catch card beginning in April 2010. This fee will affect those wanting to fish on all Columbia River tributaries and the funds raised are to support the “evaluation of selective fisheries in the Columbia River Basin. Funds will also be used for other management activities, including fisheries enforcement, data collection and monitoring.”
Total cost after dealer fees will be $8.75, and only authorized license dealers will be able to sell them, or you can purchase one online.
For more information regarding the Salmon and Steelhead Columbia River Endorsement, (its official name) please visit:
For a long time I guided with Steve Brown in Telluride on the San Miguel and Gunnison Rivers. In the past few years he has established a fly fishing operation down there that is just exactly what we would have done ourselves, small, intimate and personable with some great fishing to boot.
This past year, we also became good friends with Conrad Gowell who is working towards a spectacular fellowship that would enable him to spend a year in 4 different countries, at least, studying migrating species of fish. Yep, that means he gets to fish for them as well and the entire thing is paid for. At this point he is in the final stages of selection, down to where he is 1 of 4 candidates.
Part of his process to get to this point was to spend some time in various parts of the Caribbean doing the same thing and we hooked him up with Steve in Honduras. These are his photos, please enjoy and feel free to ask as many questions as you like.
Here is Steve Brown’s site as well:
Happy Holidays to everyone.
This is the time of year where the full time anglers, and guides for that matter become separated from the rest of the pack. I don’t want to be cliche here and say “men from the boys”, not only sexist but in this photo is good friend and client Nancy Kim, ignoring every drop. Rain is a part of life outside and while it can make things a bit miserable at times, try shifting your train of thought and revel in it, embrace it and the experiences you will have will mean that much more. We promise.
3 times in a year to the Hawaiian isles for bones and unlike every other place on the planet I have bonefished, it doesn’t get boring at all.
There is so much more to look at on the various flats here, horizon plus a few things basically but the real reason is that this is really more like permit fishing, very tough and humbling work. Plenty of shots at fish but when something could go wrong, it would. My wife Natalie got to take a few casts this time as our daughter came on the boat as well which was awesome. 1 or 2 more years and she will be traveling to fish with me.
Zero bones landed, several hooked and a large handful of chances pooched with 1 small trevally to hand. In the end I have consistently had more shots at 10+ pound bones than anywhere else I have seen, by far.
Everyone in this part of the country has heard of and likely fished the Grande Ronde, mostly below Troy or just above until the road disappears up the side of the hill. The unseen and hardly fished Wild and Scenic section is left virtually untapped and the fish seem to relax a bit once past the boat ramp making for some of the most pristine steelhead fly angling the Pacific NW has to offer. No crowds, lots of fish and unmolested wilderness all amount to a dream-like experience.
This season was and still is an amazing year for the Columbia River drainage as far as returning steelhead and the Grande Ronde was just one of many benefactors of that return. 5 anglers in 4 days hooked over 50 fish in a very relaxed manner of fishing, knowing no other anglers were racing to poach the bucket while they admired wild mountain goats or enjoyed breakfast and coffee.
Wow, what a trip and you can interpret trip however you like, it would be appropriate. Such an amazing country, MUST go back soon. Will post one image here for now, look for others on our site and our expose should be in Catch in early 2010 so keep an eye open for that also. Headed out to the Sound for the next week and then to the Grande Ronde for steelhead and off to Hawaii for bones, busy fall, there will be lots to talk about!!
Had to post just one more thing here before I step on the plane.
Trip after trip, it becomes quite evident to me that those making decisions on baggage limits for the airlines clearly do not travel to fly fish. Looking at what I had to take and trust me, I paired this down to the minimum for this trip but still have a camera case that weighs 30 pounds and all of this had to fit into a bag I could zip myself into, almost. I will end up having to pay the airline because as you can easily see, there is no way this will be less than 50 pounds of gear!
Well, the day I thought would take forever to get here has arrived. I am leaving for India tomorrow for nearly 3 weeks to pursue the Golden Mahseer. This is a specie of carp that can grow upwards of 200+ pounds and live in the rivers off the Himalayas. Our target size will be in the 15-40 pound class as are fly fishing for these fish and many well respected anglers, including Jeff Currier believe this might potentially one of the most challenging fish to land on a fly rod, anywhere. Not only incredibly spooky but very powerful fighters who reside in areas where they can easily find structure to break you off.
This is an exploratory trip in that while we are going to a semi common watershed, we are beginning the process of collecting data on these fish for Megafishes Project to hopefully come in and begin to move into Bhutan in the future as well as maybe Thailand.
The idea behind collecting such data is to hopefully gather enough credible and concrete information to share with governments and resource management agencies so as to better preserve the habitat these and other fish need to survive. Similar projects have done well, such as what the Taimen Conservation Fund has done in Mongolia and high hopes exist that something similar can take place here.
Plenty of reports and photos upon my return. This photo courtesy of Misty Dhillon and Himalayan Outback.