Sunday, November 18, 2012

Photographic Inspiration

This post is short and sweet because I don’t want to distract from the photo. I took this shot last week on the Klickitat River, a tributary of the Columbia River in Washington State. Aaron O’Leary (Angler’s Obsession), Jeff Brazda, and I had a rare day off and did some scouting and goofing off. Once the hangovers wore off a bit, many nice fish were hooked, and we landed a few in some new little pockets each of us had been wondering about. 

This is a photo of a fish Aaron landed and it was the very last image of the set. In fact, the session involved a series of normal grip and grins, then AO went to release the fish as I was putting the camera away. The buck’s gills flared in the current with each breath and Aaron proclaimed, “Wow look at that cheek-patch!”

I turned around to see the late afternoon sunlight beaming on the fish’s head. The scarlet cheek-patch, though not as large and defined as that of some of the other steelhead we land, was highlighted with brilliant hues of pink, purple, red, and orange. The fish’s eye, full of life and ready to be released back to the river, complimented with teal colored “eye-shadow” as we call it. The image was inspiring enough to take my camera out of the case once again and snap a few quick close-ups. I hope you enjoy this photo as much as I do.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Get 'em on the swing! A November update...

Bob L. with a true Methow toad
The Methow has more water than the Klickitat right now but fishing has continued to be pretty insane despite a raging river. Targeting steelhead on most rising rivers is tough for many reasons. Poor visibility becomes an issue, places we normally hook fish become far too deep and fast to hold fish, and steelhead are so focused on moving upriver they don't use holding water as much as they would during normal conditions. However you look at it, fishing the rise is a tough deal all around.

High water chromer on the schwing!
Adapting to the river conditions and changing our tactics has helped us do really well during this period of high water. As holding water has spread out with the rise in river levels, swinging flies with various sink-tips has proven to be a very effective way to cover water. In addition, swinging narrow moving lanes has been deadly... especially when anglers learn to listen to their guide and not cast 50' past these zones! It's tough for many devoted swing anglers to tame their casting and only focus on the 30' of water directly in front and below. These lanes are often easily swung with a light switch rod lined with a compact Skagit or other similar head.

Fish your fly! I tell my guests to fish almost every bad cast that's made. Obviously if you end up with a giant bird's nest you may want to strip in and redo things a bit. If a cast piles up- fish it. If it lands too far upstream- fish it. These are the two most common errors I see people grumble about as they strip their line in and attempt to achieve the perfect cast. The reality is, casts that pile up or land too far upstream will sink better anyway! Get a big mend on it, sink the fly, and fish it!

"Fish yo fly!"

I'm finished up on the Methow for the fall and will be finishing out my season on the Klickitat. I have some open dates next week if anyone would like to join me on the river... please call my cell at 509-460-9519 or email me at

Also, I will be hosting several spey casting/swing clinics in December and early January before our winter season gets rolling over on the Olympic Peninsula here in WA. This will involve 4 days of lessons spread out over the month of December. Dates will be December 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30th. I am pretty flexible as well so if these dates don't work out for anyone who is interested please let me know and I'm sure we can work something out.

Senior Brazda and a purty buck on the swing...

For more information regarding the clinics, cost, etc please call or email!