Saturday, December 27, 2014

Staring at the Vise

Well it's been a while since I've had a chance to unpack all my wicked shit that I've accumulated over the years; globetrotting and seasonal work forays have kept me away from a home base for awhile and I'm now settled back in Nelson BC for some time which gives me a chance to get around to those things I've been meaning to get to for a LOOOONG time.

Bookings for 2015 have been steady for both the East and West Kootenay and August is filling up quickly as usual but the 2nd half of July remains open on the Elk whereas the beginning and late June is filling up with Columbia and Slocan River dates....stoked to get my new Sea Ark Sled out there again!!  Equally stoked for drakes on some of the new tribs I found last year in the Elk Valley :) !!!

As I unpack and sort my tying materials out my head begins to explode with all the patterns I've mentally created over the summer and fall and with the addition of some new synthetics I'm stoked to venture in.  Problem is everytime I sit down I seem to be suffering from "tier's block".  So throughout the block I find myself browsing countless fly fishing videos from the site:  A ton of trailers in there for the IF4 coming up in 2015 and a lot of other entries from all over the world.  It's a pleasant distraction and an eye opener to just how much our digital age has broken into the natural world.  Everyone seems to be making movies these days and I think it's awesome except no new bugs have been tied!!!!

Here's one that was made by Joel Whalen that features myself, Spencer and a few others...we really like it, hope you do to:

Amongst the Kootenays  (click left for video)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

GET HERE....if you can

We got snow in the mountains and a dusting in the upper valley in the early part of September and it sloooowed things down.  That's been followed by a steady wave of high pressure and warm sunny days and the fishing is the best it's been all season.  If you're looking for a last chance to dance with some dries; ants, beetles, bwo's and hoppers will help you lace up the dance shoes.

Some shots:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ya it is....On!

First of all I suck at blogging sometimes and maintaining river reports and I've been meaning to hammer out one for a month now.  So here's the deal, fishing is awesome right now and we are slaying some amazing fish on a variety of streams with 95% of that on top.  People are happy and beyond and the fish are making us look like stars out there.  You're only as good as your fishery allows you to be and I feel fully supported by the cast of rivers we dip our lines into.

Hatches in the tributaries have been solid since mid July and the Elk has been in recovery mode on mayflies but has been supplemented by caddis and terrestrial.  The mayflies are there in moderate numbers, but last years flood has cut into the population a fair bit.  That being said the PMD's have been moving most days and size 14 duns, spinners and emerges have been crushing it.

Some of the tribs are giving us abundant caddis, pmd and drake hatches and we've been railing 'meat' in tight fast freestone water...exciting times to say the least.

I could go on about all the awesomeness but I need rest has I'm on the river everyday and getting drunk on watching flies drift

 Below are some photos taken over the last few weeks, enjoy!!!  Keep yourself and the rivers wild ;)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tying, Dying and Trying to go Angling

Well my usual foray into the woods to plant trees in the late winter/early spring on the BC coast is usually full of gruelling hard work in ridiculous terrain.  My efforts are rewarded by a good wage but it comes in one of the most difficult ways imaginable and at times can be quite soul sucking.  Currently the soul suck is on and to top things off I sliced my heel for 7 stitches loading a quad on my pick up and am now relegated to laying down with raised foot for the next 5 days....good time to tie, so out comes the vise and the assortment of synthetics and random dead animal parts.

Assorted Feather Carnage
Obviously the early tiers were hunters and gatherers, how else would one decide to use deer hair, pheasant tails and moose mains for bug imitations.  It's a bit strange to think of that these days as we are surrounded by an endless array of plastic shit in all shapes, sizes, colours and textures.  The petroleum industry has 'gifted' us with a multitude of new materials to create a pattern that we inevitably plan to stick deep into a fish's jaw.

The legacy of carnage that went into the original flies and further into the trout is really quite amazing.  Animals parts were apparently our 'plastic' of yesteryear; stretched intestines were used to make the leaders!!  How twisted is that?  Now I know I may be sounding a bit cynical here and really I should have no business doing so because this was another time, but think about being the inventor of the parachute hare's ear for instance.

You've realized the local lake is spitting out an enormous number of spotted winged mayflies on the local lake.  The trout are up feeding on them with amazing fever so you lightly swat one of the mayflies and bring it back to the farmhouse where you take a seat at your tying bench.  It's not a problem to put this one together because in the last few months you have shot, butchered and tanned the hide of a deer to create the tail of the fly.  The chickens in the coop out back have shed a few feathers for you and fortunately enough the cow had a calf and you slaughtered it for a quick meal and now have an endless supply of highly visible white hair to make your posts with.  The snare you placed in the back 40 managed to snag and strangle a bunny to supply you with rabbit stew and excellent body material for your fly.

Then came the industrial 'revolution' and with that the petroleum bi-product megalution.  Plastic changed how we live, from how we store food to how we deal with massive non-biodegrading landfills.  Without plastic the oceans would look a lot cleaner but without plastic's first cousin foam, we wouldn't have a Chubby Chernobyl or  Fat Alberts....nor would we enjoy hi vis orange/pink posts.  With the ugly comes some good and I often battle with the pluses and the minuses of the petroleum industry and it's products, but I am definitely greatful to have a multitude of tying materials in a plethora of flashy colours.  Nature has a way of creating some amazing colours, especially those created by the feather bearers but I'd rather see those colours stay on their wings and bodies and prefer using the synthetics when I'm looking for colour....except when it comes to peacock.


The colour spectrum within a peacock herl is vast....from turquoise to brown to iridescent green and it's found it's way into so many patterns and can simply not be replicated by any synthetic material.  Thankfully it's readily available in Southeast Asia and is easy to raise so we don't infringe on it's survival as a species as some other birds such as the jungle cock were threatened due to the value of it's feathers.

A lot of tiers have a preference to using natural products; the traditionalists who like delicate presentations with bamboo rods often fit into this group.  The newer generation of fly anglers don't seem to mind throwing a combination of anything as long as it brings fish to the hooks and I'm an advocate of that.  Hats off to those who developed the traditional patterns but as more materials are discovered the more diverse fly patterns become and I'm all for a multitude of fly boxes filled with an endless amount of's brought the fly fisherman to the craft stores.

The Perfect Blend of Old and New
PMX by Doug Swisher

Spring has been limping in on the coast and hasn't really shown it's head in the Kootenays.  Some of the lakes are open but the mountains are still holding a fair bit of snow.  The snow pack itself is a little bit less than where it was last year and we're all hoping for a moderate release.  We're having our boats worked on down in Idaho Falls so some angling there and back is in order and we're  seriously looking forward to throwing some line in Montana were spring seems to be a little further ahead.  Will keep you posted on how that goes; in the meantime I'm wrapping bugs booking some trips and watching Bubba Watson fend off some kid who was bold enough to wear a green shirt on day 4 at Augusta!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Diaper Clams

I got back from Thailand with my guts wrought with cholera…that's right cholera.  That hideous parasite that hooks itself into your intestines and multiplies causing a purging of your body fluids.  Basically drains you to the point of complete dehydration and leaves you bound to the proximity of a bathroom for days.

I first went to visit Bali two years ago and was quite charmed by some of the places I visited particularly Ubud and the many little villages along the Bukit Peninsula's surf breaks.  Pretty amazing little island with some really lovely people.  Flash forward 2 years and the veneer is rapidly peeling.  Swimming in the ocean now includes wrapping your bare flesh in plastic, not just in the popular beach ghetto of Kuta but almost everywhere we went.  I was snorkelling in the waters of Blue Lagoon near Padang Bai and I was a bit put off when I first entered the water as I saw quite a bit of suspended plastic throughout the water column.  But there was coral and quite a few colourful fish around so I got over it and began my ocean viewing.

Nature has a way of making colour that no petroleum bi-product could replicate.  The iridescence and brightness of these fish are truly magical, they are a testament to the perfection of nature.  Has I lost myself in the visual paradise I slowed down over a part of the coral bed where the it was a bit deeper and recognized the curved shaped lips of a giant clam.

Old Curly Lips

Ive always loved the shape of these overgrown scallops, they almost look like they're smiling at you when you stare at them for a while.  I felt a strong urge to get closer to my recent discovery so I took a deep breath and dove down towards the coral bed.  As I approached it began to occur to me that the "clam" was not as well formed as I thought and when I came within three feet of it I then realized my great discovery.  There stuck amongst the coral lying there peacefully with ridged leg wraps, was nothing other than a sick old bag of poo.  That's right, the shitsack, a diaper!!!

You may wonder how I perceived a diaper as being a giant clam and hopefully the coral reef your diving or snorkelling on  isn't concealing these non biodegradable discards but I was initially fooled.  After that first one, I began spotting a few more and by the end of the session, Diaper spottings outnumbered giant clam sightings 4 to 0.  BUMMER!!   HAH!

Really not funny at all and quite sad in the overall picture for this little tropical paradise.   It's not news to anyone that the ocean is full of plastic but in parts of Bali you are really swimming in it and it really takes away the pleasure of floating in a tropical paradise.  The problem stems around excessive tourism with excessive development and a complete disregard by the folks with the $$$ which includes the Indo government to back an infrastructure program that deals with the trash.  The locals love plastic too so that really doesn't help.  In fact most SE Asian countries are purveyors of 'fine' plastics.  They have a bag for everything in every shape.  I bought a couple of bubble teas (I have a weakness for them) and they handed me a bag specifically designed to carry two large plastic a double bagger.  This is when you realize that education is paramount if people are to change their habits and we in the Western world really do make an effort to reduce or use of plastic bags.  That being said we also consume a grossly disproportionate amount of energy and over our indulgent lives we amass an empire of wicked shit that includes thousands of plastic and metal parts that break down and get tossed....somewhere.

Your probably wondering why the *$@! I'm going on about this.  This blog is supposedly dedicated to the pursuit of trout and other finned creatures yet the last two blog entries have gone into depth on the life of cockroaches and sea garbage.  What the hell is wrong with me!!!  These non-sequetor entries need to stop.....Shit!

SO let's talk angling already!!!!  Snowpacks are about average despite a real lack of snow lately, that's mainly due to the quick start we had this year.  I'm done prognosticating what's the best time to come to fish the Fernie area so snow pack or not I'm steering people away from booking there until the third week of July and suggesting the Columbia or Southwestern Alberta.  We have a few new ideas on how to make things work in both destinations.

I'm currently shopping for a jon boat with a jet engine (or not) and will be using that to navigate the huge water in the Columbia.  It will give us the ability to get back up on runs that are producing well. It will also allow us to hit both sides of the river as well as getting a little further downstream into the Genelle braids and beyond.  Will also be checking out the Pend O'reille River for it's smallmouth bass fishery; apparently there's some 4 to 5 pound fish swimming around in there and it would be nice to get back to my fishing roots by stalking bass....except this time around with a fly rod.

A Healthy Smallmouth Hanging Down Low
For the Fernie and SW Alberta region we'll be looking at more remote waters to fish and are going to spend the first few weeks of the season doing some recon on some of those waters which includes some new floats on some different rivers.  Will keep you posted on how that goes after mid June, we've look forward to introducing you to some new waters aside from the Elk which will still remain a large part of our program but I think a lot of you who have been coming to the Elk Valley will be more than willing to check out something new and productive.

Looks like we're getting some new launches put in on the Elk and we're pushing for some more along the mid-runs on the river to spread out some traffic a little bit as well as some others on the upper floats.  We also have had some reno's on the existing launches so it won't seem like a work of fine geometry to back the trailers in and out of the river.

Looking forward to a good season and some angling on the coast in the next few months.