My antidote to 95% of the fishing videos out there. You won't have to wait 5 minutes to see a fish because the movie is only 4 minutes long! In our latest feature, we battled wild trout, numbing weather, and even a ninja in waders. For better quality watch on vimeo and in full screen HD. For more of our video shorts, check out the "flicks" page. Grab yourself a cold beverage and enjoy!
Theres only so much you can learn from a book. For most of the things that I find worth learning, you actually got to get out and do it. As fisherman we are all inherently stubborn so it can be difficult to try something new when you already know everything. Realization that an omnipotent angler does not exist can help push personal bias aside and cause you to try new things. That is something I have admittedly not been great at—trying something new, or speaking as a fisherman, messing around with different techniques. Recently, between stubborn Cheesman fish and discussions with Scott Spooner and Kevin Best, I have been almost exclusively right angle nymphing. I am usually not great at sharing any beneficial information regarding fly fishing as it is a dog eat dog world out there and some things you just have to learn through experience but for the lucky dozen or so of you that actually read this stuff, here is your reward for sticking it out. It will require you to tie more blood knots but I think its worth it. Enjoy the move from checkers to chess.
You may have been born a male, but fishing in Wyoming in February makes you a man. Have you ever needed to rely on a Toaster Oven for warmth? What about wait over 45 minutes in the morning for the “hotel’s” cleaning lady to finish up in the one communal bathroom? How about purposely try and lose a fish at the boat so that you don't have to get your hands wet? If this sounds like something you've recently experienced then I'm guessing you have traveled to Alcova Wyoming.
Jack Reis, Will Kurtz, and myself all assembled for a common goal-to take advantage of the low traffic season on the Reef while getting into some pre spawn rainbows. No weather forecaster was going to snow on our parade so Friday after work we had the boat in tow heading north. At the moment we didn't know that was going to be the last time any of us would have feeling in our fingers but even in hindsight I don't think we would have changed a thing.
To the non-angler, Wyoming might simply seem like 98,000 square miles of rolling grassland leading to a ski metropolis named after Michael Jackson’s Hole but instead it is quite the opposite. Our countries least populous state boasts river’s accessible by a boat and much to the dismay of my fellow Colorado “greenies"; the fight of Wyoming fish make Colorado fish seem like malnourished stuffed animals. I was once told to never turn down a trip to the Reef-truer words haven’t been spoken. Regardless of the season or weather forecast, if you can make the trip, do yourself a favor and go.
Naming something is hard, even overwhelming. The process can be so difficult because names stay around—from decades to life, names are permanent.
As with all things relevant, nomenclature has its place in fly fishing. It started years ago in the naming of favorite fishing holes. The infamous brown trout filled "toilet bowl" was an obvious name choice because of its notable appearance. Other near by spots did not have as distinct of features to naturally generate a name but they still needed to be called something. Creativity quickly became the driving factor and unnamed pools slowly became marks on the map. The Tom Collins Pull Off and The Morons now have an identity in my books. Whether it is simply a point of reference between friends or a highway of foot traffic like the Hog Trough on the Taylor, pools soon had labels.
Few have experience in the field of fly fishing nomenclature like the Basalt Boys of Taylor Creek. The shear number of namable features in their surrounding area has given them the practice to master this science and move from naming spots to flies. Cat Poo, Bobby Knights, Night Riders and Mello Yello are now all appetizers on a trout's menu but might not be in your Cabela's catalogue just yet.
My past weekend’s journey was no different from previous. Trips to Basalt have the required 1 hour shrimping session before the rift raft becomes exhausting and I need to move on. I was able to sight fish to one 25 incher who I managed to hook and lose before landing. It was especially nice because it seems the things that we miss out on are what we remember the most so losing this fish and then getting to see him out of the water was a fun change from the typical middle fin to disappearing act. After that the call of surrounding waters became too loud to ignore and I was soon able to enjoy the benefits the rest of the valley offers. I got to spend time picking the brain of local all stars Scott Spooner and Kirk Webb, but also learned more about the history of the area and how some names came to be.
Living truthfully with one priority in mind. 2013 Fishing license count reached 5-Wyoming, Idaho, Texas, Ohio, and of course Colorado.
I also had to include a recent Rio pic for you. 42 pounds and still growing! #thankfulshesnotaweinerdog
I’ve always selfishly thought that if I couldn’t fish, you might as well cancel the entire weekend. A particular cold front served as an exception to this a couple weeks ago. I have been accurately described as stubborn before but do know that when mother nature tells you something, you better listen because she can be pretty demanding. The first cold stretch of the season always feels worse than it actually is as I am convinced it takes your body a couple trips to build up your winter tolerance again. Single digit highs are not my ideal choice to earn back my cold weather resiliency so I took a weekend off fishing and spent some time at the bench.
I love holidays. The time off work is a major factor here but when looking at it, the true meaning behind the holiday is often one worth taking note of—I mean that is why the day is designated a holiday, something important must of happened right? Lets search our annual calendar for a recent example.
Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday trailing only the mischievous Halloween. It is hard to top an excuse for being glutinous at the result of a genocide but hey, I’m an American so I will not deny a reason to celebrate. What I try and take away from this long weekend are the values I am told originally ignited the holiday—giving thanks.
At times, we forget to look upon certain aspects of our life as luxuries and unfortunately we take things for granted. Myself included, I am not nearly as appreciative of the life I live as I should be. After another incredible weekend on the water, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some of the overlooked things that I am appreciative of.
I am thankful for having friends to create traditions with. My life is constantly evolving but having some of my best friends who also are infatuated with this incredible sport helps keep me on the water and planning these adventurous trips. The snowball effect quickly rolls. One develops relationships and learns from others as they continue to immense themselves into this lifestyle. So much of fly fishing is learned during time off the water. Beginning to tie flies, studying maps, and creating relationships with other fishermen all play an important role in maturing as an angler. One cannot help but express gratitude for the relationships developed through this sport and the knowledge taken away from them.
Next on my laundry list, I am thankful I was born a fisherman. I’ve always been wary of the expression, “you aren’t born a politic, you become one.” Well politics suck. Not trying to be a communist or anything but nurture does have some influence over nature. I am convinced I was born a fisherman and I can never express how thankful I am for this. There is never a doubt in my mind when it comes to priorities and I for one stand behind my decisions.
On a more relevant note, I am thankful for a recent Thanksgiving trip and the elusive double grand slam that it brought. This is not a turkey mixed with a ham and covered with teriyaki flavored fortune cookies. This is catching a brown, rainbow, cutthroat, and cutbow as well as sticking them on dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. That, my appreciative friends, is worthy of a moment of silence.
Although I may not think this when driving north on highway 25, people are genuinely good. Putting situational complexities asides, we should all be able to reflect on different experiences and know it is appropriate to give thanks when gratitude is due.
The Cowboy state and neighbor to my north was rather foreign to me until last year. I had countless Gold Medal streams within a couple hours drive of Denver, why would I leave those to explore someplace new? Using the never blind hindsight, I now have realized that an annual fishing license in Wyoming could be priced at 1.5 kidneys and I would still pay it. Simply put, the rivers are big, the trout are big, and you can use big flies. I hate to break it to you Texas but everything is actually bigger in Wyoming.
I’ll never forget my first trip up there. It served as me getting out of my fly fishing comfort zone, which, by definition is extremely uncomfortable. Fishing from a boat in a river that never flows less than 500 cfs has a very different approach than sight fishing a thin tailwater. Rowing is the obvious variable here and the first challenge one must overcome. The actual act of rowing is not that difficult. Trying to set up a fisherman while on the “sticks” is a whole new ball game and surprisingly rewarding as you work with a buddy to catch the elusive alligator. As my friends and I continue to learn the waters of our country's least populous state, I cannot help but smile as each trip seems to get better and better. DTF—capable of invading and occupying Wyoming. Come to think of it, I have no idea why Wyomians hate “Greenies”.
Enjoy the photos below, the goods ones were snapped by my buddy Nate Paradiso.
By now you should be familiar with the routine. I complain about being too busy to fish, you scan over the opening paragraph, and then skip down to the pictures. I fear change so let’s just stick to that. I’ve always been a believer in the concept of a picture being worth a thousand words. If that is the case, then a picture of a cute puppy is worth at least a book and a half. And that’s a real thick book with lots of big words. So grab your reading glasses, a cup of warm tea, and get ready for a future classic.
I hope you saved up because it is going to get expensive. These fish live in far away places…