May 2, 2013
Opening day of trout season was this past weekend. I somehow over-looked it, damn.
See you this summer…
April 7, 2013
Winter steelhead fishing, it’s a strange game we play. Take a tough fish to catch and make it even tougher. When the odds are stacked against you, pushing it until that line tightens up. The rewards can be simply put…
John booked this day with me and brought along Chuck Volckhausen of wildwatersflyfishing.com John watched Chuck go 2 for 2, knowing John hadn’t touched an Umpqua fish before…I was putting him in the buckets, ” I just want it too bad” John says. ” Naw, she’s just making you work for it”, I’m thinking, then John sticks this guy, not bad.
Just a couple of reasons to chase winter steelhead.
Hope everyone had as good a season as I did, many thanks to all that fished with me, see you this summer!
Rich & Bo
January 14, 2013
The happy, warm, fuzzy days of summer are gone, as are the free rising steelhead. It’s time to get dirty, creepy and anti-social. Lying to friends and family about your whereabouts, listening to Tool, wading nips deep on your tip-toes to reach that pocket above a class 4 you just know there’s one in, mobbing down a cliff on the off chance there may be one living in that tail-out, T-20, XL lead eyes, 6 inch long flies. Yup, the good stuff.
Winter fish don’t come easy, you’ve got to be dedicated and willing to put in the time. Getting the skunk is inevitable, it’s gonna happen, don’t let that stop you. With the coastal rivers constantly in flux, time on the water is the key to winter success, learning where the fish hold at different flows is crucial. Winter waters hold their secrets tightly and so should you.
Wading and fishing a wild coastal river is as good as it gets for me. The beauty of both the rivers and fish that return to them are unbeatable. These are special places.
Eating good is another key.
One of the best lines I’ve heard from a gear guy in a long time, it’s a long story and I don’t feel like finger punching the whole thing, ” I saw you was a fly guy and I thought, man, are we gonna have to kick sum’s ass right now?” He also spouted off this gem, ” Not all the steelheads in this river are ocean run, there sum that are indiggness or sumpin, natives I dunno…” Just know he was a good dude and one you’d want on your side.
Go fishing with high hopes and no expectations…
Rich & Bo
November 11, 2012
The days are growing shorter, as is the fall steelhead season. Soon, we’ll be chomping at the bit for the first push of fresh winters. But until then, there are still plenty of opportunities at the last of the fall “freshies”.
The best week of the year, the “fly girls”…
It’s had to believe another guide season has come and gone for me. Where have the years gone? I remember my very first guide day 8 years ago, I was a scared young kid and we didn’t catch a thing. Much has changed since that first guide day, and so much has been learned.
The North Umpqua saw a great return this year, not sure what the actual count was but, the fishing showed that it was strong. Looking back, we typically saw multiple fish each day, of course there were some tough days in there to keep you humble. Some great fish were landed and some epic fish were lost…
It has been a little hectic the past month, a lot of travel from the North, Rogue, Trinity and the often overlooked Klamath. Dad, if you are reading this, yes I’m keeping the oil changed in the truck.
The Trinity has been a sweetheart. I think the Klamath/Trinity have the grabbiest steelhead on the planet. While any day spent on the river is special, the Trinity is especially for me. I just connect with the Trinity, can’t really explain it better. It’s kinda funny, and my clients can attest to it, when the fly is coming across through the goods, “right there, right THERE!”. That phrase comes out of my mouth without even thinking about it, sometimes with an arm motion of a steelhead turning on the fly, I dunno, I’m a little crazy about this. I do this on every river I guide but, on the Trinity, the fish make me look pretty good, ha.
Many thanks to everyone that came fishing this summer.
Rich & Bo
August 17, 2012
The blur, is when the days seem to run together, running around like a chicken that recently had its neck chopped. Getting up far too early and going to bed way too late. While no two days are the same, with a schedule of eat, sleep, fish, they tend to blur into one.
Honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, truth.
The river has shown us some exceptional days as well as days where we work our a$$es off for that one rise. What you do with that rise is up to you, let him eat it and enjoy the thrills of what make steelhead the greatest gamefish or jerk-it away from him and hang your head in shame, it’s your decision, I’ve been there too, trust me.
It’s a rare case these days when you’re surprised when you catch a hatchery fish. There’s not many places in the states like the North, probably the only one. Let’s keep it that way.
Rich & that black dog named Bo who wants to eat your fish.
June 28, 2012
So, there is an old Indian saying,”when the Dogwoods are in bloom, the salmon are in”. Tiger lilies hold the same for me, as far as steelhead are concerned, while definetiley not “in” there are usually one or two in the river. Been getting after it somewhat, it’s nice to not feel the rush to be on the water at the break of dawn. Been catching up on sleep quite frankly. This time of year it truly doesn’t matter, the matter is finding one. If you find one, it’ll eat anything really, as long as it’s presented right. Most of the fish I see in the early season are with sun on the water, cause that’s when I’m there probably.
The days are long, and getting warmer and the river is dropping into decent shape. I’m anxious to stand in the dark and watch the sun rise with a heavy anticipation for what’s gonna happen throughout the day. Nobody truly knows how the run will shape up but, it hasn’t been bad so far.
Talked Bill into giving steelheading a try for a couple of runs, he booked a trout day. Like myself, Bill hooked an amazing fish in the first run he fished. While teaching Bill the basics of spey casting, the question came up, “How will I know if a fish bites the fly, and what do I do?”. I answered, ” You’re gonna know, and don’t do a thing.” This fish hit the fly as if he swam upstream 30 feet, turned around, got a good head esteem and took the fly running, he only jumped over our heads like six times, left the pool and then another one, incredible. We were lucky to land it. The trout fishing wasn’t bad either.
Rich & Bo
There is a empty feeling in my stomach and also a sigh of relief and renewal. For me, my winter steelhead season has come to an end.
Exciting, taxing, heart-stopping, scary at times, humbling and most of all rewarding are just a few words to describe the past few months.
I’d just got done telling Rick what I wanted, a big hen, 14 or 16lbs would be nice. Next cast, the skagit dives, “there’s one” he says, not a hen but, hardly a disappointment.
Kelsey and Dean worked hard through the high water we suffered, 3 days for one lost fish. The fourth day was just about perfect, 3 for 3 ain’t so bad.
We saw many different water conditions this year, as always. But we saw a lot more low and clear on the coast than usual, which made for tough fishing at times. Even in near perfect conditions we saw some tough fishing, that’s winter steelheading, nothing good comes easy, nor it should anyways.
It has been a hell of a ride and I’m already looking forward to next year and what it’ll bring, hopefully more of the same.
Thanks to all who came fishing with me this winter.
February 13, 2012
This winter has seen its ups and downs, along with the flows. We’re at the mercy of the weather and the fishing is the same. If the rivers come up, it’s good on the drop. When the river’s stay low, the fishing gets tough. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know but, we’ve had a very strange weather pattern so far this year.
Like every winter season, no matter what mother nature throws at me, I live for this. There is no pull like a coastal winter fish. When it’s right, it’s right and you know it, feel it, breathe it. Every fish tailed is a feat on both halves. Getting tail-whipped as they swim away is as sweet as… well you know…
If you have yet to fish for these fish with the hint of the salty ocean coming in on the afternoon breeze, or have driven along the coastline imagining the fish nosing into its rivers scent, you’ve yet to truly fish for them.
So, things will change, the rivers will rise again and fall, same ol’story . Be there when it’s right, if not, know where they’ll be livin’.
River’s are full of secrets, you’ll never know one fully.
Rich & Bo
November 14, 2011
Another season has quickly faded away. They seem to fly by these days. On the North Umpqua we again had another wet spring and high-water in Steamboat Creek through June, which allowed our fish to jettison the main river to their home water, where they want/need to be. Good or bad, depends on how you look at it. For me…. as angler, that’s fine and good, for me… as a guide, eh, it is what it is. It’s a double-edged sword, lot’s a fish can bring lots of people, not so many fish and bad reports mean, fewer but less pressured fish.
Sandra Scandibar of the “fly girls” with a “little hen”(her words, small in comparison to the sea-run browns she’s been catching in TDF). This “little hen” I think gave her more than a sea-run brown woulda in the same size. Bad pic I know, maybe one of the only bad things to say about I-phones, gotta put the girls up, best week of the year no matter the fishing.
The Rogue fished well at times, other times, well, just typical steelheading, put in your time and you’ll run across 1 or 2, sometimes none, sometimes more. With Gold-Ray dam out though, the fish seemed a bit hotter, maybe the days spent trying to navigate the dam really took a toll on them?, I dunno.
With my first season of guiding on the Trinity pretty much done, I have to say it was so much fun to be guiding down there. While the fish of the Trinity may not be of North Umpqua size, they have the heart and soul of them. One of the coolest rivers on the planet, yes in California. The Trinity in my opinion offers the best chance at a steelhead on the dry you’ll ever come across. The majority of our days down there we saw multiple fish to the fly each day. It’s an exciting, wild place to fish, full of anticipation.
With my summer season done my mind begins to drift west, to the coast. I bit early I know, I tell myself that ever year but, you never know, right place, right time…
A short of shorts of sort of some video clips:
Many thanks to all who fished with me this summer/fall,