Friday, May 27, 2011


Sammy and I have caught plenty of roosterfish this week but none have been the one of dreams. You may remember that Monday, our first day, we saw five big fish - big meaning over 30lbs. Grant has been looking at roosters his whole life and estimated two to be over 50lbs! Regardless of what size they were, they were huge to me and Sammy, and landing any one of them would have made the trip. Although we didn’t catch them, those fish gave us a lot of hope for the rest of the week. Yet to our disbelief, here we were going into the last day and hadn’t seen another big fish since Monday.

I couldn’t tell you where the heck Grant took us today. I thought I’d hit all the beaches of Southern Baja the last 15 years, but today we ended up in a very secret place. Once there, Grant ordered Sammy to follow him down the beach and away they went. I want nothing more than for Sammy to catch a beast so I kicked back and watched. Grant was firing his spin rod with a hookless teaser far beyond fly rods reach and bringing it back with vengeance. Meanwhile, Sam stayed on Grants heels, dropping perfect cast after perfect cast behind the teaser as it returned to the beach. Each time in hopes a huge rooster was chasing.

Once they were well down the beach, I meandered out and made some long blind casts. Blind casting is kind of hopeless as far as catching a monster rooster, especially fishing behind Sam and Grant, but early in the morning the sun isn’t high enough to help you see into the water so it was my only option. And like every day this week, it didn’t take me long to nail a couple small roosters, a couple of houndfish and the crazy-looking-backwards swimming-elongated trumpetfish.
One thing we’ve noticed is that it’s gotten hotter everyday this week. In fact now the sand gets so hot at mid day that it scorches my bare feet. You might suggest shoes, but I prefer to feel that my fly line isn’t tangled in my feet. Today rather than walk at all, I just staked out a good looking point where once the sun was high enough, I could see any oncoming fish for at least a 100 feet in both directions. And I stood there like a heron and watched all day.

What kept my interest all day was an event that will play in my mind for many months to come. Two of the biggest roosterfish I’ve ever seen wallowed their way into my beat. They were massive! And they were close, a mere 6o feet off the beach – an easy cast on even a bad day.

I’ve had a devastatingly good rooster fly all week. Every rooster I cast it too eats it. That’s not normal. In fact it’s unheard of. Neither Grant nor I can believe how devastating the fly has been. The bad news however, I only had two of them and by today they wore out. They have been badly chewed up by fish and even after numerous sharpening; the hook points have brushed the sand too many times. They are finished. So I was trying a new fly. The fly was similar but not quite the same.

I kept my cool when these huge fish arrived in my view. I actually had the time and sense to watch them swim along. Then I planed exactly where my ambush would take place and moved stealthily into action. Just like trout fishing on a spring creek, when roosterfishing you must limit your movement and false casts. Once positioned I waited till the roosters were exactly where I wanted them and then made only one false cast and shot my fly right into the lane of the two fish. By now I could see them clearly. They truly were enormous!

These two spectacular roosterfish were traveling one behind the other. There was approximately a 6 foot gap between them. When the lead fish was 5 feet away from my fly that was now slowly sinking into the rooster’s level, I gave two hard strips. I was crouched low to the water so it wasn’t easy to see, but the front fish turned towards my fly. It’s during the pause that roosters like to eat the fly, and I prayed that on my next strip I’d come tight. But I didn’t. Instead my strip-set turned into two more hard strips. Again the giant fish lunged forward behind my fly. At this point I could see his huge comb dorsal waving in the waves. It was truly unbelievable because the fin was extending from the water about 15 inches! But again my fly wasn’t in the rooster’s mouth. I gave two more strips and paused. Then two more and paused.

Usually when a big rooster wants your fly he eats in sooner than later. Things were not looking good. The monster was so close I could see him as if he was in my hands (right where I wanted him). His vivid paint job was bright and glowing, his dorsal comb was electric in blues, purples and yellows and both his eyes were fixed on my fly. He wanted to make a meal of it but something wasn’t perfect.

I too was so fixed on this presentation. I had no idea how close I actually was and when I stripped again, I felt resistance, but it was my leader butt entering the rod tip.

I’ve caught a few fish that I hooked with my leader well into the rod. Miracles do happen. But this time one didn’t. The large rooster simply tilted up at me and looked me right in the eye as if to say “Nice try dude. You almost got me. But not today,” and off he swam with his pal. It was the most disappointing moment of my year.

The event made me very confident for the next few hours. But that confidence left me fast. The tide rose. The sun set and soon my ability to see was gone. That was my only cast to a big rooster all five days. Welcome back to roosterfishing.

It was a challenging week. The fishing was tough and of course Sammy got struck by a Portuguese Man o” War, but somehow the week was great. I guess just spending time with Sammy and Grant is a huge portion of what it’s all about. Good things, high stakes, whatever you want to call it don’t come easy and we know it. That’s how we make it fun.

I’ll fly home tomorrow then spend the next couple days cleaning the salt off my gear that’s accumulated this winter. I’ll catch up on some art and whatever else has come into play. Then its June and time to trout fish. Expect my next report after Tue and Wed fishing on the Henrys Fork with Granny.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Life is So Good Roosterfishing is So Bad

The good news today is that Sammy got up and his jellyfish-stung legs still work. The bad news is we caught two small roosterfish and that’s it. We didn’t exactly charge back to the beach this morning but we made it there and fished hard all day. We went to one of my favorite beaches on the planet. A beach that I spent a month camping on with friends back in 1996. It’s where I caught my first roosterfish and learned a lot about how to catch them from numerous mistakes. Although the fish weren’t there, the place always brings back a lot of fond memories.

The most exciting thing all day was watching the turtles swim by. I always see the occasional but this week there’s been a ton swimming the beaches. I’ve still yet to see one come up on the beach and lay her eggs. However, today I found where one did but then a coyote dug them up and ate them all.

Unfortunately, that’s about the size of todays. Tomorrow is our last day this trip. We will dream for the best.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing Website

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Roosters are a Pain - Literally!

The last thing you want to hear from the good doc Sammy is “Get me to a hospital. I hope I don’t die”. But that’s Sammy’s exact words when we got to the truck an hour after he got nailed by not one, but two Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish (bluebottles) at the same time. It was ugly.

We were roosterfishing off a new beach. The day started calm and even though visibility was bad, we could see just enough bait that we knew the fishing would be good. There were mullet spinning in schools up and down the beach, the needlefish were fleeing and we had a massive school of the unusual milkfish, a fish I was unprepared to meet here in Baja. This is a shame because I have theories on how to catch these guys and I could have applied them well today with the right tackle. As it is, I tried relentlessly for two hours but I truly had the wrong flies and gear.

Despite my efforts for a milkfish, both Sammy and I managed plenty of small roosterfish. The roosters were extremely active and when we tossed the right fly just beyond the surf or in the wake of Grants teaser we usually hooked up. It was great. Especially after the tough day we had yesterday.

After a few hours of enjoying the fights with small roosters, and in my case even a lengthy trumpetfish, we went hardcore looking only for big roosters. We weren’t even going to cast unless we saw a quality fish or if Grant teased one in. Unfortunately none appeared before Sammy let out a shriek and panicked like I’ve never seen before. Sammy got nailed by something.

I was actually about 100 feet away when it happened. I generally let Grant and Sammy work together while I stake out an area and wait for roosters to pass by me then I sight cast. Anyhow, Sammy let out that terrified screech and I thought he got stung by these prehistoric wasps that fly around us all day. I watch him drop my rod in the ocean and run from the water swatting his legs madly. I kept watching until I realized this was something serious. I ran to him and asked Sammy if he ever got stung before (still thinking it was a bee) and he yelled no while squeezing his thigh above the knee. I thought that was weird being a fellow angler and never got stung. Then he pointed out the tentacle lines on his legs and the jellyfish lying in the sand. Ouch!

At that time Grant, Sammy and I thought the sting of the pain would eventually go away, but it got worse. Sammy was in excruciating pain. We all began a slow walk back to the truck. And I mean very slow as Sammy could hardly walk.

When we got to the truck Sammy said he was beginning to feel effects traveling up his legs into his abdomen. Then he got nauseas. Minutes later as he sat in the truck he said his hands were involuntarily contracting. That’s when he said “Get me to a hospital. I hope I don’t die”.

We were in the boonies and Sammy was in rough shape. Grant floored his truck down the beach and we bounced dangerously down dirt roads for civilization. We made a stop at a store and bought a bottle of vinegar and poured it on Sammy’s legs. Although it’s not the best thing to do, it does keep the pain from getting worse. What we really needed was some Benadryl but unfortunately it was in our room. It will never be left behind again.

Sammy suffered miserably during the ride to civilization. He could no longer move his hands. He was frightened and Grant and I were scared to death as his head bobbed in the front seat between his gasps of agony. It went on a long scary time. Finally, a half hour into the NASCAR like drive, Sammy said it stopped getting worse. He was still extremely concerned, but the pain and the hand thing stopped progressing. The best news you could ask for.

Remarkably by the time we got near the hospital, Sammy opted not to go. All he wanted was medicine which as a doc, he has plenty of. He was definitely beginning to improve. And after a dose of pain medicine and a dose of Zyrtec in his system he has managed to improve faster. We were lucky, especially Sammy.

It’s been about 6 hours now. Sammy still hurts badly but nothing like the first two hours after. We actually hobbled down a beach nearby and just had dinner and a beer. Now we can only hope a good night’s sleep will wipe away the remaining pain. Man what a day!

As you know, we will be back on the beaches in the morning, but with a watchful eye for more than just roosterfish.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Roosterfish Pimp

Yesterday at this time Grant, Sammy and I were feeling pretty confident about catching some major roosterfish this week. And I fed the feeling by hooking up with the first roosterfish I saw this morning. I lost him on a jump but he was like the ones we caught yesterday. But, other than me landing a peanut of a roosterfish and Sammy a houndfish, that was it. We didn’t see a darn thing after that all day.

It was scorching hot. At first the wind cranked but then died to nothing. It was so hot you can’t imagine. We walked about four miles of beach just scanning for a roosterfish but saw none. It was a hard day. And Sammy went nuts and became the roosterfish pimp! What a shirt and hat!

We’ll be back at it first thing tomorrow. Perhaps today was a day off for big roosters and tomorrow they will be around. I sure hope so because today was pure punishment.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Be in Shape

I’ve always been an advocate of being prepared for a fishing trip. Being in good physical shape for a trip is as important as the equipment itself. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the annual trout trip to Yellowstone, a tarpon trip to the Key’s, or like this week, a trip to Baja for roosterfish. Well, I didn’t follow my own rule. I knew damn well that I’d be running up and down the beach all this week yet I have not done much running the last few weeks. All I’ve been doing is working on the computer and painting. I could have easily taken an hour or so every day and ran or hiked up hill. I should have been on the weights and on my exercise ball keeping the body core at its best. But after today, its evident that I will have less opportunities to cast to big roosters because I just cant get to everyone I normally would. However, despite the lack of my usual stamina, I still cover more ground than most and nailed a nice rooster to start the day.

My rooster of today actually appeared while I was stripping back a cast I made to a reasonably size hound fish (giant needlefish). The hound simply turned away and as I continued my strip trying to regain his interest a rooster showed up with his comb dorsal erected. I stopped my fly, stripped again and then he ate it in the pause. Then there was that look of surprise on the roosters face as the hook sank in (probably similar to the surprise on mine). He hesitated for two seconds then took for the seas and my Saltwater Sharkskin line left the reel in a trail of backing. Five minutes later I landed a respectable “first rooster of the trip”.

It was a great day today. Grant took us to the right place. We saw plenty of roosters including several quality ones. This included one well over 30lbs that ate Sammy’s fly. He struck like he should but unfortunately the fly pulled loose. It happens. Rooster fishing in Baja is one of the toughest fishing venues you can do.

Sammy ended up catching a twin rooster to mine. We also caught Pacific Jack Crevalle, houndfish and ladyfish. A killer Day 1 despite being a little out of shape. Incase you’re wondering, I was in excellent shape for Madagascar last month. All I can say is that now that I’m well into my 40’s, getting in shape takes a long time and getting out of shape happens in a flash!

We’re back to the beach in the morning. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bound for Baja

Man it was a blurr from walking in the door last night from the carp tourney to now sitting here in SLC airport. The botom line is I got packed up, about two hours sleep and now I'm on my way. I get to Baja around 2PM and will meet up with my good friends Sammy Vigneri, (my doc buddy from Casper) and Grant Hartman, (killer fly fishing guide of Baja).

Expect daily reports from here on out and hopefully some big unusual fish.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing Website

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Carp Classic

May 18 Late

Lonely Place

After a heap of errands including replenishing South Fork Lodge with my art (I will be one of their featured artists this summer) and a stop in Idaho Falls to repair a leaky window in my Explorer, I was off to the Blackfoot Reservoir for the Fin Chasers Classic Carp Tournament (Tourney takes place Friday and Saturday). Blackfoot Reservoir is in the boonies of Idaho. The lake is literally off the map for most people, yet if you’re a carp angler you know all about it because it’s famous for its massive mirror carp.

I didn’t know it when I left home but I had a major obstacle in my route – a monster snowdrift was blocking the 25 mile long dirt road from Bone, Idaho to the reservoir. This drift must have been glacier like a month ago because here we are in mid May and it’s still bigger than a semi! Lucky for me and my old wheels, I got word of the road block just in time and drove south to Blackfoot, Idaho and took a 35 mile long dirt road to the reservoir. I arrived at 5:30 PM and teammate Ben Smith was there with camp all set up. Ben was one of my teammates last year as well.

It continues to be unseasonably cold for mid May. The elevation here is over 7000 feet and I was quick to move from my flip flops to sorrels and put on about five layers of clothes. Then a rain snow mix began to fall. Ben and I cooked up some elk burgers immediately before it really got ugly out. The burgers were scrumptious, the beer was tasty and camping was cold as . . . But we were stoked and ready to catch some carp on flies and hopefully win a tournament!

May 19, 2011

Even Colder

Yikes! It was brutal out this morning. The wind was cranking out of the northwest. The temps were in the 30°’s and not a carp was tailing. The good news however is that our other teammate (the tourney consists of three person teams), Trey Scharp, arrived in the middle of the night and today we were able to practice together.

The morning began with shivering beside our cars that we parked and angled as wind blocks. We pressed some fresh coffee and drank it for two hours while hoping it would warm up. It never did and that’s about the size of our day. Not only was it a cold one but we only saw about three splashing carp all day and caught none.

By tonight most of the carp teams have arrived. I’d say there are about 20. I know most everyone and we all settled into camp together and actually we had a glimmer of warm sun as it set. That put everyone in a good mood and we feasted around the fire till midnight. Everyone is pumped up to catch some carp!

May 20

So Much for Nice Day Dreams

It’s a good thing I don’t care about weather when it comes to a fishing tournament because we awoke to temps in the 30°s and the frigid wind was back in full force. Other than a little sunshine that wouldn’t last long, you could say it was just plain ugly out. Nonetheless me and the team were stoked to compete. Trey and I whipped up some coffee and woke up Ben then the three of us headed to tournament headquarters for a special pancake breakfast. Remember this is a fundraiser for a guide in need and for $5 you get all the pancakes and sausage you can eat. This is on top of the $50 a head entry fee.

After breakfast and a meeting on the rules and regs, all teams took off to their favorite carp lies. The problem for everyone was however, very high water. Something we will all get used to this year in a hurry. Our team, “It Could be Worse”, launched the boat on our favorite spot on the lake and fought heavy wind and whitecaps to a back bay that helped us kick butt in last years tourney. Once there we realized we would be relearning everything we knew about the spot because the water was five feet deeper and the carp weed beds, sunken willows etc were all submerged from sight.

Our carp search began. Trey and Ben anchored off a point where we’d seen carp in the past and I walked, trying to sight fish with diminishing sunlight. The water was freezing and after two hours wading at times chest deep, I called the boys in to let me in the boat. I hadn’t even seen a fish and they had cast relentlessly but hooked and saw nothing.

There’s no sense in rambling on about a cold lousy weather day of not even catching a carp. Unfortunately that’s the size of it. We got skunked. All we did was watch the sun go away, a drizzle start and the wind went from moderate to “God awful hard”. It was a tough day.

At the weigh in tonight it was evident that carp do not love the cold anymore than we humans. There were a total of four teams that registered some carp. Most teams caught only one while one miraculously found a hot spring of some sort and caught three. It was such a tough day that we are tied with 16 teams for last place with a BIG FAT ZERO! Even worse, we cooked and ate dinner in pouring rain and now I’m bundled up in my sleeping bag in the back of my truck listening to the rain outside. Monsoon Currier strikes again!

May 21

Here’s for You Mr. Carp

None of us could believe what we awoke to this morning – sunshine and no wind! Wow! An unheard of weather pattern in these parts this year! I got up very early with Trey and as we drank coffee we watched a loon prowl the waters around camp. We don’t see loons around here often like they do in say New England or the Great Northwood’s. So when we do it’s a bit of a special event. This one was particularly unusual because he came so close to us.

At 8:30 or so Ben, Trey and I left camp to compete without the boat. Our goal was find the springs where the few carp were caught yesterday. I’m one to pry for info around a campfire over drinks and that’s exactly what I did last night. Luckily this is “friendly competition” and I weaseled out a near exact location from my friend John Nolan who was part of a team that landed two fish yesterday and were in second place. (Not tied for last like us!) John’s real cool and not only gave me some good info last night but later this morning he caught up to us to make sure we were in the exact right area. Sure enough, several others had picked up on the tip and by noon there were at least five teams casting to the hot springs.

It really paid off for us. There were plenty of happy carp jumping around and Ben hooked and landed one on his first cast. This carp wasn’t big but would easily top scales at 7 lbs and therefore we immediately moved up the ranks of the tournament. We were pumped to say the least!

After that fish, I went on a rampage and hooked and landed about five carp in a row. The big problem however, not one was hooked in the mouth. I was dragging a Benny Boy Special Woolly Bugger through the weeds and kept accidentally snagging these carp rather than getting them to eat. Snagged carp are not legal for the tourney and I was just wasting time struggling to land huge carp hooked in the tail. My luck never improved, but luckily my teammates came through.

We’ll never know quite what his technique was, but Benny went on to catch five carp. Even better, you’re only allowed to weigh one carp per person, and each one Ben caught got bigger. He released his 7lber for a 10, then a 13, then a 15 and finally he finished with an 18lber. Well done Benny Boy!

Meanwhile, Trey wasn’t even snagging a carp. He was wondering what the heck was going on. Then, out of the blue, he hooked a beast. Trey knew it was hooked proper at first, but then it started kicking him and his 6-weight around so bad that he assumed it must be fouled. I was there to help land the monstrosity but he sent me back fishing because he was frustrated thinking it must be fouled. Minutes later he was hooting and hollering like a madman. He landed a 26lber in the mouth! Congrats to Trey!

Well, it’s a good thing to have teammates like Trey and Ben because despite never setting the rod down all day long, not even for a sip of water, I never came through. I landed over twenty carp, all foul hooked, including several over 20 lbs. Have you ever foul hooked a 15” trout? They fight pretty hard that way. Just imagine a 20lb carp. All I can say is me, my Ross F1 Reel and Rx rods are very tired right now. I should be all ready for the big boys of Mexico next week!

Despite my unlucky performance, my superb angling teammates carried me and the team into a respectable finish. I’ll have to break out my famous old carp waders for next year. For the record book, Trey’s huge carp got beat our by a whopping 32lber! Anyhow, it was a great tournament for all the right reasons. And if you can handle some awful weather, rowdy fishing guides and anglers from all over, please come join us some time in May of 2012. “It Could be Worse” will see you there!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Blogs will come and they will be good in the next two weeks. It’s just a matter of being around internet. In about an hour I’m leaving to Blackfoot Reservoir for the “Fin Chasers Classic”, a fund raising fly fishing for carp tournament that takes place on Friday and Saturday. Just like last year, my teammates are Ben Smith and Trey Scharp. I’m meeting them at the reservoir at 3 PM and we will set up a sweet camp and pre-fish tonight and tomorrow.

I will try to load a report and pics Saturday night or Sunday morning. The hold back might be that I fly to Baja early Sunday morning to meet my friends Sammy Vigneri and Grant Hartman. Starting Sunday we will be prowling the beaches for roosterfish and whatever else we can get into. So time is limited but like I say, the blogs will be good once up. I won’t miss a day, and promise to load them as I can.

Time to go get em!!!!!!!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing Website

Saturday, May 14, 2011

1st 5 Day School Huge Success!

The first ever Five Day Fly Fishing School of South Fork Lodge has come to an end. The action packed week was a great success and our group of anglers who once relied on their fly fishing guides for everything can now pursue fish with a fly rod on their own. Congrats to them all and what a fun week of teaching, learning, fishing and eating!

Since I last posted we spent the final two days of school by taking our students fishing. Our task as instructors was not to guide them, but watch them apply their newly learned knowledge from the classroom to the field. When questions arose we answered and when needed we interjected advice on everything from proper fly choice when matching the hatch, appropriate casts, fish stalking and understanding fish behavior. The students did all their own knot tying, leader adjustments, reading of water and fish handling by themselves. It was the icing on the cake and now they have a much better understanding and can execute what they learned in class.

The weather actually cooperated these last two days. The rain stopped Wednesday night and temperatures rose into the 70º’s and remain there even today. Warm temps are not all good however because they have created record runoff and floods throughout the area making our fishing very challenging. On Thursday we had to take the students to some of
Zach Payton’s secret water. Even Zachs hush-hush water that normally defies runoff was murky. But there’s a difference between murky and muddy. You can catch trout in murky water and all but one student managed to land at least a fish. While most of these fish were big rainbows, there were several huge suckers landed on small nymphs. We could see these suckers and I encouraged casting to the burley cruisers. This gave me the fun opportunity to preach the “beyond trout” attitude. And let me tell you, these suckers flat out ripped some line off our reels leading to smiles as big as the suckers!

Yesterday we had no choice but to float the
South Fork. Although badly high and off-color, we floated the entire Canyon section, something that you can do comfortably in a day this time of year because the flows are a scary 20,000 CFS. Students were fully informed that catching a fish would take some talent. They all dredged streamers along the banks and nymphed likely looking areas where normally we catch fish. But the fish were almost impossible to find. By miracle, we found dribbles of clear water entering the river in several places and about five trout were caught. Stuart landed the best fish, a 19” brown trout that made everyone’s day and his trip. (Sorry no pic)

The additional highlight for everyone was the sheer beauty of the day that offered us plenty of magnificent scenery and wildlife. The birds of summer are nesting and singing everywhere you look and our trees are drooping with buds that will burst any day. We even saw an eaglette and his parent feasting on a Canada Goose. Hopefully the snows of spring are finally gone.

Once again this was a great fly fishing school and because of that there will be more to come. Whether you are a rank beginner or an intermediate ready to improve, the Five Day Fly Fishing School is an ultimate learning experience. If it’s something you’d be interested in be sure and contact
Todd Lanning of South Fork Lodge.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing Website

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5 Day Fly Fishing School at South Fork Lodge

I’m sitting here in my cabin on the banks of a completely blown out South Fork River in Idaho. We had three days of rain and the warm temps of late spring have finally arrived. Warm enough that the snow is melting at mock speed and therefore raising water levels on every river, creek, irrigation ditch and even some new waterways have formed off the sides of mountains. This year’s runoff will be a monster!

I’m not here to fish in such conditions but rather helping teach a five day fly fishing school for students here at
South Fork Lodge. If you’re not familiar with South Fork Lodge, it is located right on this magnificent river and has everything you could need on a fishing trip from a fly shop with excellent fishing guides, luxury accommodations and great food and drinks. The lodge basically offers all you need to live large and fish one of the best rivers in the entire Rockies every day you’re here. To get more familiar with the fishing here, just go back to summer of 2010 and check out my blog. You’ll find at least a story a week from of my fishing days over here because last year was one of the most productive on record.

Other instructors include Bob Jacklin,
Todd Lanning, Ed Emory, Ian Malepeai and Zack Payton. We began with two days mixing classroom time with outside casting in the rain. The students have become proficient with just about every cast you can think of, learned the hatches, knots, fundamentals of equipment and you name it. We’ve all had a really good time.

Today we actually got students on the water to fish. The day was really about how to hook and land fish. With the South Fork unfishable till runoff lets up, we were lucky to have access to some private ponds nearby. All I can say is that the fish were big and provided excellent practice for everyone. Shocking to us all was this massive cuttbow that Bill caught on his last cast of the day!

That about sum things up for now. We are so busy with this school that I probably won’t post again for a couple days. But it should be good as we are heading south to fish some not private water and on the last day sneaking into some spring creeks. Even though I wont’ be fishing I can hardly wait!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing Website

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Giant Trout on the Legacy Ranch

May 3 & 4

Last week I got an email from friend
Tate Jarry of Live Water Properties, a company that specializes in finding and selling fly fishing and hunting properties. He said they had an incredible ranch for sale located in Springfield, Idaho. The ranch is teaming with spectacular hunting and fishing. There’s ducks, geese, pheasants, Hungarian partridge, deer and etc along with small lakes and spring creeks overflowing with huge trout. The name of this dream property is the Legacy Spring Creek Ranch.

Now trust me,
Tate knows Granny and I can’t afford a ranch, but in my business I have plenty of well to do friends and clients that can afford such a place and might even be looking for such a property. So I asked a couple questions and before I knew it Tate asked if I could make the time and come on down to visit and fish the ranch. I made the time and before we knew it, he and I and a mutual friend, Scott Smith, were opening the gate to enter the premises. Scott is a long time friend. He worked for me in the fly shop many years ago and went on to be a fantastic guide for our shop, and although I have moved on, Scott still guides there.

This would be a two day adventure. We arrived at about 9 AM Tuesday morning and immediately chucked our stuff into the ranch house. Then
Tate gave us a tour of the property on four wheelers. Wildlife was abundant to say the least. The birdlife was especially noticeable starting with both a bald eagle and a great horned owl nest right by the house. A fluffy owlet peered out of the owl nest while the concerned parents watched close by. There were pheasants everywhere along with sandhill cranes, hawks and about six different species of ducks. The place was awesome. And the spring creeks and ponds – we didn’t see any fish rising this early in the day because it was cold - were so spectacular looking, you knew just below the surface trout were munching in nymphs, leeches and minnows. And for that reason our tour sped up and soon we were wadering up.

We chose to start on one of the three lakes of the
Legacy Spring Creek Ranch. The best way to approach any of these lakes is by drift boat or float tube. The three of us wanted to fish together so we hooked the drift boat up to the four wheeler (these toys come with the property) and launched. Windy and cold hardly describes the weather. This is a small lake however it was so windy that like a big lake, it was covered in whitecaps. Such conditions generally discourage most anglers, however when it comes to lake fishing, the windier it is the more chopped up the surface is, and in turn, the more fish feed securely near the surface on the stirred up food. If the fish were here, today was going to be a marvelous day of fishing.

I took the oars first and struggled with the wind trying to keep the boat steady.
Tate and Scott hooked up immediately and Scott landed a solid 19” rainbow. This bow was a wild as they come and absolutely schooled him while jumping several times trying to spit his fly. I don’t think this trout had ever felt the metal of a hook in his entire life, a characteristic rarely found these days.

After we released him we switched it up and
Scott took the oars. Scott’s a powerful dude and he rowed us into the teeth of the wind to a new area. Tate and I were casting streamers. I had two flies on, a black motor oil bugger and a small brown bugger three feet up my 0X Flouro leader. I was using my favorite lake line, the Scientific Angler Stillwater WF6I. This line is clear and sinks very slowly. It keeps my flies in the zone of the fish and being clear, it doesn’t scare them either. Soon I too landed a nice fish. Mine was a very uniquely colored and marked cutthroat.

We caught a lot of fish on day one. The wind never stopped, but we didn’t notice. The sun even broke through in late afternoon and the temperature warmed to the upper 40ºs. By then we were immune to the elements. We ended up fishing two of the three lakes on the property and landed approximately 30 or so trout almost all rainbows. A few were cuttbows and the only cutthroat was the one I caught first thing. Worth mentioning, two of these fish were monsters, while the rest would have been great fish on any body of water. This fishery is awesome!

If you look on a map,
Springfield, Idaho and the Legacy Spring Creek Ranch are located along the west side of American Falls Reservoir. This area has always been known for its great hunting and fishing, however it gets far less use compared to the nearby waters such as the Henrys Fork and Yellowstone areas. Even though it’s easily accessible and folks know about the area, it’s still sort of “off the map” you might say.

This morning the three of us hopped in the boat early. Tate had to leave by 10 AM and wanted a couple hours fishing before he left. I’m guessing he not only wanted to fish but also had a hunch something good would happen. Sure enough, with a mere five minutes left on his watch, he landed a hawg rainbow that I’ll guess was close to 7lbs!

The sun came out as Tate left and
Scott and I shed some layers and took the boat up to another lake. As we launched Scott spotted a couple mysterious surface swirls. Yesterday was too windy for us to see any trout feeding on the surface but today the lake was only slightly disturbed by a light breeze. Anywhere there was protection from the light wind, the lake was calm. Sure enough, Scott was rightfully suspicious of the swirls as several fish were eating mayfly nymphs just below the surface.

Although we’d caught a few fish already, including Tate’s monster, I felt like the random catches were not sufficient. I’d been playing with nymphs all morning with my Stillwater line trying to “crack the code” you might say. There are so many fish in these lakes that I felt we should be catching one almost every cast. An instinct I developed back in my competition days. But while experimenting I was doing even worse. No matter what pattern I used or stripping method I played with I could not figure the fish out. Finally I ditched my slow sink set up and switched over to my new Ross Rx 5-weight rod and the new floating
GPX textured line WF5F. I rigged two nymphs on 2X Flouro and casted to one of the swirls. We weren’t even ten feet from the launch. Wham! I had the first fish on – a nice 18” rainbow. I released him and as I did another swirled. To make a long story short, I caught 4 in a row. The nymphs on the floating line worked so good that Scott hopped out of the boat and took the four wheeler back to his truck to grab his 5-weight floating rig. And during the next 5 hours we landed 22 rainbows up to 24-inches long! Outstanding!

Fishing was so good that at 3 PM
Scott called his wife to get the good to stay late and skip dinner at home. All he was required to do was get home before his kids went too bed. But at 5 PM, we’d had our fill. We’d caught more fish than either of us will likely catch between tomorrow and July 1st and we were tired as heck from two days of banging them up. We packed her up and made the two hour drive back to Teton Valley.

All I can say is the
Legacy Spring Creek Ranch is one heck of a special place. I really hope I get to fish it again. And although I’m not a great bird hunter, I’m sure even I could nail a limit of pheasants there, so perhaps that’s in my future. In the meantime I wish Tate and Live Water Properties good luck in their search of new owners for this magnificent place.