Sunday, July 31, 2011

Childhood Experience Could Make and Angler for Life

I can’t believe we are at the end of July. Summer is ripping by way too fast. July started with unfishable rivers and the highest water in recent memory. With the exception of the Henry’s Fork, we were limited to lake fishing. But after three weeks of extremely hot temps and very little rain we end July with nearly every fishery in the Yellowstone region about to explode with the best fishing in years.

This past week a very exciting fishing experience occurred with my four year old niece Sierra while dangling a night crawler below a yellow and orange bobber off the
Goodhue & Hawkins boatyard docks of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee (The very docks I fished heavily 40 years ago). Her bobber went down and with the help of my sister she hooked what is usually a pumpkinseed sunfish, a yellow perch or a rock bass. This particular time the greedy worm eater was a rock bass.

When you’re four and fishing a Barbie outfit, a rock bass puts up a fairly good fight. However this fight got serious. As the
rock bass battled he attracted the attention of a nearby sunning largemouth bass. The easy target was too much for bass to handle. After a quick dash he spread his mouth wide and engulfed the rock bass. Sierra who now had two fish on watched the entire exciting event unfold. Without stopping to scream, she continued to reel and with the help of my sister she landed both fish!

Well, that’s a great story to end with for July. The cool news is Sierra will also bring on the first fishing story of August. It just so happens that my sister and her husband Don and Sierra are on their way out and Granny and I will be meeting them at
Blackfoot Reservoir in Idaho to do some carp fishing. Stay tuned and see if Sierra brought along her luck!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Can't Wait No Longer for the Nunya

The craving for a good overnight float trip with Granny could no longer wait. Even though waters are still high, they have dropped enough. The last two days we spent floating the Lower Nunya (Lower Nunya 2010) in search of a few nice fish, spectacular wildlife, remote camping, the ultimate in relaxation all immersed in the most gorgeous scenery imaginable.

I spent Monday rigging rods, packing camping gear and organizing the boat. That evening I met Granny at the grocery and we loaded the coolers with plenty of good food, beer and ice. The drive to the Lower Nunya was long and hot. I drive too fast for the windows to be down and our air conditioner has been broken since 1994. Once there we downed some food and crashed out hard in the back of the rig.

Tuesday morning we were pumped so at the first glimmer of daylight we were up and making coffee. The truth of the matter is the mosquitoes don’t usually get up till sunrise so in order to enjoy coffee it must be made and drank by sunrise. Then just as the sun rises and hoards of mosquitoes attack, we push the boat off and begin the two day 30 mile float.

Granny’s greatest enjoyment comes from fishing huge dry flies from the front of a boat. She is by far the finest dry fly boat angler I’ve ever seen (I’ve seen a few) When chucking two flies spread five feet apart (a Currier method), she can literally land the
point fly ¼” off the bank and the dropper upstream of it about a foot off the bank. Then she can float and twitch them like that for more than twenty feet. All the time they drift she can sip coffee or slug some beer, spot an eagle a mile away or kill not one, but two horseflies at a time before getting bit. And she rarely misses a strike!

Granny began working her magic with two large
red winged Chernobyl ants. It’s been nine months since she trout fished from the boat and sure enough she missed the first strike of the day. The miss surprised me like the strike surprised her but from then on the fish paid dearly. It wasn’t a minute later where with here coffee mug in her left hand and the rod and line tight in her right hand, a quality brown indulged. She lifted the rod and set him perfect. As the brown screamed downstream with line zinging under her trigger finger, she slammed the rest of her coffee, carefully put her mug down and just as the fish hit the reel began fighting the fish with two hands. Within a minute Granny was netting a brown trout that would take the average angler five minutes to land. Then in a blink of an eye she slid the barbless hook out and the brown took off not even realizing he’d been caught.

When fishing big dry flies we use very heavy tippet. I rarely go lighter than 0X. Yes you heard me correct, 0X. We have several reasons. Big dry flies are famous for twisting lighter tippets while false casting. The heavier the tippet the less likely you will get twist. Therefore, I fish at least 2X. Then figure in the twitch factor and you realize these trout have no time to study your offerings. If you twitch the fly properly to look like a natural swimming stonefly, the trout either have to eat it or lose it. They usually chose to eat it. They don’t have time to see tippet. That’s why we drop even further to 0X. Best of all, 0X allows you to land a fish so fast that they use little of their energy to fight but rather save it for their release. In hot summer months it’s crucial to land and release fish fast.

Day one for us was outstanding. We caught approximately 15 good fish. I’d say we even had one monster that was 20”. All but two were browns. Granny managed one spectacular rainbow that escaped the net just before I flicked the pic. And I landed a nice cutthroat. Nearly all these fish came on the Chernobyl rig while I landed two browns on the screamer streamer.

Our campsite couldn’t have been better. We found a spot sheltered by cottonwood trees yet the area still had a steady breeze which helped keep down the mosquitoes. Our view of the mountains and buttes was perfect and best of all; we found a flat soft spot in the tall grass to set up our tent. This little gem was about 10 feet from the banks of the Nunya. And would you believe, after dinner there was a rusty spinner fall that brought out stacks of rising browns. We took turns catching a few right in front of our tent!

It was a grizzly bear free night around camp. I can’t tell you how much I like grizzly free nights when sleeping in the tent. We definitely had few visitors but the ones I saw included a nice mule deer doe and a yearling moose. The moose always annoy us because they like to trip on our tent ropes - kind of like I often do after two glasses of red before bed! It was a cold morning. Shocking really when you think about how hot the days get. Therefore, we didn’t get up as early as normal. We waited for the sun to rise and warm things a bit. Of course, we drank coffee soaked in Deep Woods Off in order to conserve our blood from mosquitoes. We pushed the boat off at a lazy 8:30 and Granny started pounding the banks with her dry fly rig.

Wednesday was slow to say the least. We had lots of river miles to cover so we drifted most of the day with few stops. In this lower part of the Nunya, several tributaries enter adding heaps of water. Although most were clear, one of the major entering rivers was high and off color. We’re not sure if there was a thunderstorm upstream Tuesday night or if there’s a heap of snow hidden in its headwaters. The bottom line is, this tributary pretty much wiped out our fishing after we passed it.

We also experienced some high wind. You know the wind doesn’t bother me for the most part, but when rowing a heavy boat full of camping gear for two days, it can mess you up. And sure enough it did. In fact it got so bad, we had whitecaps blowing upstream so strong that even with the current it was hard for me to row downstream and keep Granny in range of the banks to catch fish.

Despite the challenges from Mother Nature, today topped off one of our favorite weekends of the year. We squeaked out five good trout. Four were quality browns and Granny got a cutty. As always we saw plenty of wildlife. Worth mentioning was this enormous bull moose that was an incredible sight with his antlers dressed in full velvet. He will be a true beast by fall.

I’m not sure if I’ll sneak out again this week. I’m really enjoying my art right now and preparing for an art show at the
Wyoming Gallery next Friday August 5th. But you never know so keep an eye!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Peacock Bass Fishing

I will be hosting my annual peacock bass trip to the Amazon in Brazil February 11-18, 2012. That’s a Saturday to Saturday. The trip will have 8 anglers including me. The cost of the trip is $4395 based on double occupancy. This price includes one nights stay in Manaus at the Tropical Hotel Manaus, travel to our camp in the Amazon, guides, accommodation and food. It does not include international airfare (expect about $1600), your Brazilian Visa (about $160), tips to fishing guides, camp staff, taxis or food while staying the day in Manaus.

The outfit we use is River Plate Anglers. I had a couple options as what trip or type of trip to do. Based on my previous trips, I booked what they call the “Floating Tent Camp – Regular”. You will not be disappointed. You can see exactly what this is on the River Plate website. It’s truly incredible! You may also check out photos and stories from my past trips at my Blog and my website.

All I can tell you is that peacock bass are one of my absolute favorite game fish on the planet and on this trip you have a chance at several different species of peacocks! That’s not to mention the many other kinds of fish you will catch.

I have four spots left so don’t wait too long!

Contact me at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Water on the Rise Again

Monday was a great day on the water even though river conditions bordered on too high. The day was the first from the boat and we were pretty psyched about decent fishing. But if you look at my entry for this day, you see that all afternoon we experienced heavy rain and thunderstorms and before we finished our day the river rose 6 inches and lost its clarity.

Granny and I planned to wander around Fremont County and wade fish Tuesday. However it rained in Victor much of Monday night and we could only assume river conditions everywhere got worse. So, instead of heading out Tuesday morning, I worked on a brook trout painting all day and we left about 5 PM.

Tuesday night brought more rain and thunderstorms. Our entire drive towards Pinedale, WY was through rain. Like it often does however, skies cleared for sunset and Granny made us an awesome dinner over the campfire. We literally sat in the smoke to avoid being dinner ourselves to mosquitoes.

This morning all the rivers were a foot higher than they were on Monday. The clarity was gone and Granny and I opted to go hiking in the desert instead of fishing. We’ve hardly ever roamed around the buttes of central WY. The day turned into a really fun arrowhead hunt. Although we mostly found chips, I found one decent looking piece.

With the new surge of water, I’m painting all this week while Granny works. I’ll monitor water levels on all rivers this week, particularly the South Fork of the Snake. The South Fork is a good indicator of what goes on overall. If the water drops about a 1000 cfs by next Monday, Granny and I just may have to go on a great adventure Tuesday and Wednesday.

Last, sorry about my delayed entries this week. My internet went down and it’s been hell. Luckily, thanks to Milkfish (computer guru and angler alike!), I have a new network card and I think its all good from here on out.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fishing in Special Company

The word on the street is that things down around Pinedale, WY are starting to improve. The rivers are still high; however clear enough to catch some fish. Today I joined Tom Montgomery and John Simms for a float. You’ve met Tom Montgomery on this blog several times. He’s a longtime fishing guide and fantastic photographer. I fish with Tom on the South Fork frequently in November and December. John Simms is a long time friend that somehow we haven’t fished together. John is truly a legend in fly fishing as he is the man who in 1980 started the company all fly fishers have grown to love, Simms Fishing Products. Now in his mid seventies, John is a very well known metal sculptor and even continues to guide fishing in the whitewater section of the Snake River Canyon when he has time.

I met up with the fellas at 6 AM in the Albertsons parking lot in Jackson. We hopped in Tom’s car and enjoyed catching up on the hour drive to Pinedale. At 8 am we were pushing the boat off. It’s been unusually hot here and already it was in the upper 70ºs. The water was obviously high. All three of us are very familiar with all the waters of this area and we were a little concerned. However, high as it was, clarity was not bad. There was no doubt that fish could see a fly.

I’ve been craving twitching big dry flies along the banks immitating stoneflys. Normally by this time of year I’d have ten days under my belt. But this summer conditions have not allowed so with the chance of it working that’s how I started. John was rigged up with a dry and nymph below and it didn’t take long for him to lay into his first fish. The fish was a 13” brown trout and during the first two hours John caught several similar. I fished the dries unsuccessfully for an hour and then switched to streamers. My streamers were on my usual rig, my Ross 6-weight rod with my SA Stillwater line. Rather than fish my usual three flies, I fished two. I had a brown crystal bugger on the point and a black screamer up about five feet. I caught only one fish in an hour but it was good brown of about 18 inches.

One of the reasons for today’s float was for Tom to check out the river for his upcoming guide trips. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been guiding a certain river; you always need to check it out without clients to start the season. Rivers, particularly after a major runoff, change considerably. Side channels relocate, ranchers sometimes run a fence across a stretch of river, hatches can vary and even boat ramps can get damaged. Because of this, Tom held the oars most of the day. It was probably best anyhow because this rock filled river is a dangerous row in such high water. There are also a few diversion dams, one in particular that John and I not only got out of the boat to reduce some weight but we were a little nervous as we watched Tom navigate through.

By mid day we had the river solved. We could catch the few fish we saw rise with gray drake patterns. On the real soft water inside turns we could turn fish on the streamer with some reliability. But the best fishing came from the nymph below the dry. I’m not big on the nymphing these days but I succumbed and actually mended nymphs along the banks without and indicator. I guess you could call it a European method that I tweaked for fishing out of a boat. And with a little practice works quite well and today was no exception.

The afternoon brought in some nasty thunderstorms. At one point the lightning got so bad we pulled over to get away from the water and graphite rods. I hate these electrical storms more than running into bears on a hike. Once the worst storm passed by we were able to fish continuously and for awhile fishing was unreal. Everywhere you dredged your nymph you caught at least a respectable brown trout. But we had some huge wind to contend with and some torrential rain. The rain was the worst part. We were protected in our raingear and getting wet was nothing to worry about, but the river quickly became noticeably off-color and rose several inches. Once river conditions got really bad our fishing was over.

I just rolled into the house here at 9:30. I should be exhausted but I’m all pumped up after an incredible day. We had great fishing, entertaining weather and I fished with a couple great friends. This will be a short season and one needs to cherish these days.

The only bad thing about today is that river conditions have taken a reversal. We got so much rain today that the cfs charts show a rise in the waters. Not just around Pinedale but overall in the Yellowstone area. Granny and I are planning to drive back down to Pinedale to wade fish the next two days but I’ll need to check the charts again in the morning. Stay tuned. . . .

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Behind a Mountain of Work

Hard to believe I haven’t posted a fishing day since last Monday. But, I got very, very, very busy with art and other things and they have kept me off the water. I was supposed to fish on Friday. Pete Erickson and I were headed for Boulder Lake in Pinedale, Wyoming. However, Pete got booked to guide and I got asked to head up to the Henry’s Fork to meet Chris Patterson to do some voiceover for the movie we filmed in Africa last November. You may remember I went to Tanzania to film a segment of the new Confluence Film fly fishing movie “Connect”.

Basically a voiceover is simply is fixing where my voice didn’t record well and adding a few other thoughts for parts of the film. I met Chris at the TroutHunter for breakfast then we went up to a quiet spot up in Box Canyon. First of all, let me tell you, this movie will be unbelievable! I saw my segment and was very impressed. Chris got the most exciting fly fishing footage I have ever seen and the way he pieced the story together is fantastic. All I can say is be prepared to see the best of Africa, wildlife including hippos and crocs that would scare Tarzan along with some of the most impressive tigerfish on the face of the earth! This movie, complete with segments from Japan, Cuba, Yellowstone and more will be complete in October. The first showing is in Bozeman on October 7th and then it hits the road to show throughout the US and Canada. And it will be available for sale in fly shops as well as from my website by November 1st.

I got home Friday afternoon from the voiceovers and Ian of South Fork Lodge sent me an email that three of my paintings were sold out of the lodge gallery and he needed more. Heck, I’ve been irresponsibly fishing all over the last year. I don’t have back stock. Needless to say I have been painting constantly all weekend and completed two pieces, a brown and a Snake River cutthroat. However, only the cutty will head for the framer tomorrow. After about 12 hours of work, during the last seconds of completion I carelessly spattered the brown trout piece with micro dots of red ink. I am mortified. Pressed for time and 12 hours is lost! This is a 12” x 16” original watercolor that I sell unframed for $900!

It happened an hour ago and I’m starting to recover as there’s nothing I can do. If anyone wants it I’d sell it as is for $300. Honestly, if you’re further away than 6 feet you can’t see the dots. See it here and feel free to inquire to see a high res of it so you can look at it and see how bad it is.

Finally some good news, I’m fishing with Tom Montgomery and John Simms tomorrow down in Pinedale. I think after today and not fishing in nearly a week, it will be good thing. Then I’ll take Granny somewhere on Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 11, 2011


I wasn’t planning to head back to the Ranch of the Henry’s Fork for awhile after a month of hardcore fishing there in June. That was before friends Keifer and Norm Thomas of Tennessee rolled into town and asked me to show them around up there. I’ve known Norm for over 20 years. He was a customer of mine at the fly shop in Jackson and we’ve gone on to be great friends and always get together when he’s up. And Keifer is Norms youngest of 16 years. I guess I’ve known Keifer his whole life. Keifer is on his way to trout bum-hood as he’s already working in a fly shop for the summer.

The Thomas boys picked me up at the house at 8 AM and we beelined for the Fork. Norm needed a license so we got that at Henry’s Fork Anglers then picked up some famous Grub Stake sandwiches and a six pack to load in the backpacks. When we pulled in the Last Chance parking lot I was taken that there were more cars in the lot than on the opener. The reason being, most rivers in our area are at flood level and completely unfishable. The most reputable, the South Fork of the Snake is at an amazing 24,000 cfs. Many anglers are in the area to fish the South Fork because they made their plans months ago never expecting such an amazing runoff. Needles tot say; everyone is scurrying around the Yellowstone area in search of fishable water.

I peered down into the Ranch and there was hardly any room for another three dudes. Wanting this to be a cool experience for Norm and Keifer, I came up with an emergency plan. I decided we’d fish Last Chance just above the Ranch so we parked in front of TroutHunter where you may remember less than two weeks ago I nailed five nice fish here in less than an hour.

We wadered up and as we did I pointed a few small rising trout to Keifer and explained some of my personal tactics to catching fish here. One that I mentioned was that I rarely cast to small fish here. Mainly because it takes time away from hunting for the big fish the Henry’s Fork is famous for. But in Keifer case I advised practicing on a few so he’d be ready when a big fish showed up.

We walked and fished from about 11 till 3 without much happening. There were plenty of bugs on the water and lots of dinks rising, but only the odd one time rise from big fish. It was hard to get set up to seriously pursue a big boy. Late in the afternoon I finally spotted a steady rising big fish and I got into position. On about the third cast with a PMD the fish ate and I set but nothing. I didn’t even knick the fish so I made my usual several immediate casts back at him but he must have figured out his mistake before making it again. As I patiently waited in hopes he would rise again, another decent fish rose about 20 feet below me. The second time this sipper rose I waded to him while false casting. With no time to waste I fed my PMD down his lane and he ate. I didn’t miss this time and after few screaming runs I landed a gorgeous 18” rainbow.

Keifer watched my entire pursuit and catch of this fish. He’s eager to learn and this event just may have put him into gear as a future regular of the Upper Henry’s Fork. Afterwards, as we were relaxing on the bank Keifer spotted his own big fish. Now it was time for me to watch him. Within ten minutes he had his fish spinning in the air attached to his rod. Unfortunately the large bow came unbuttoned shortly into the fight. It turns out it was a rare breaking of the hook. You don’t see that too often. Keifer was hugely disappointed and I did my best just to convince him that getting these smart fish to eat is an honor in its own.

Then, the big fish I missed earlier started to rise again. I was going to succeed this time. I put on a very special beetle tied by my good friend Mick Hall of Eildon, Australia. I’ve never seen a beetle anything like this one and therefore it’s extremely effective on the Henry’s Fork. In fact, over the years I’ve settled scores with many clever fish that snubbed me earlier in a day. I waded out and on my first cast he sucked the Australian snack in. This time I stuck him and he went absolutely nuts, starting with a jump that almost took me out!

Keifer started hooting and hollering like a mad man behind me. My fish scorched my Ross drag heading downstream. I stayed tight and chased after him. Customers of the TroutHunter hotel rooms stood on their porches and watched. Thank goodness for 3X tippet, something most Henry’s anglers are afraid to use, I was able to put the screws to this big fish and brought him to the bank. The rainbow was an easy 20 inches. Then, like a rookie fish holder, as I lifted the fish so Keifer could snap a picture, the rainbow squirted out of my hands into the river and took off like a lightning bolt. I’m not doing so well with my “hero” shots lately!

Keifer and I hooked about all the fish we were going to in this spot, so we walked upstream a few hundred yards and got comfy on the bank to watch for some new contestants. Norm, who had been downstream all afternoon, soon joined us. To our surprise, a nice fish rose on the bank not more than 10 feet in front of us – a true gift from the fish gods. Keifer looked at me as if I just threw a rock in there and I laughed and told him to cast. He did and after several casts Keifer had his ant stuck in the rainbows upper lip.

Like all Henry’s Fork rainbows, this fish took off and smoked Keifer downstream. While a marmot watched from the safety of his rock, I grabbed the camera and Norm followed Keifer with the net. A few minutes later we were photographing Keifers first classic rainbow of the Fork. A moment that none of us will ever forget.

Not enough young anglers fall in love with the art of wade fishing for huge rainbows of the Upper Henry’s Fork. It seems that float fishing has become the only way to fish. In a sense I like that. Perhaps when I’m an old geezer I’ll have the Ranch and Last Chance area entirely to myself. But that wouldn’t be good. The fish would be easy to catch and I’d be bored. And who would care for the river? Who would run the Henry’s Fork Foundation?

Let’s just hope that while float fishing isn’t happening on the South Fork, more anglers will fall in love with wade fishing Last Chance and the Harriman Ranch. If they could just have a day like Keifer did I think it would all work out. Keifer is hooked!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Payback to IPR

There was a time where if I got schooled on a certain lake or any fishery for that matter, I probably wouldn’t go back again for a long, long time. But those days have since passed. Now, typically if I get skunked somewhere, I go back quickly to turn things around. I want to learn how not to get skunked again and I get excited about the chance of becoming a better angler.

It was only last Friday that I got blanked at Island Park Reservoir with my friend Rick Schreiber. We fished about 12 hours and never even had a definite bite. We tried everything from leeches, nymphs, and streamers in every size and color combinations imaginable. We tossed them with floating lines, slow sink lines and even fast sink lines, but nothing. It was a tough day to say the least. Well, today I went back for more. I took my new friend Perk Perkins whom I fished with yesterday and we met up with mutual friend Pete Erickson.

Pete and I go way back. He’s been a guide over here in the Teton Valley and Jackson Hole area for ages. We really got to be friends when we were teammates on Team USA Fly Fishing and competed all over the world together. We loved the challenge of learning how nymph up European Grayling and how to fool the spooky brown trout of Spain and France. Pete is also one of the better lake fly fisherman I know. Lake fly fishing competitions have recently become popular and Pete has done well in all of them including winning two tournaments in the last year. With all this in mind, I figured Pete could really help me catch the stubborn trout of Island Park Reservoir.

It was about 8 AM when we launched Pete's boat. I pointed the direction I wanted him to have his old motor take us and off we went. It was fairly calm and there were so many billions of midges in the air that there was a humming sound. When we got to my spot, there were plenty of insects on the water, but there was nothing eating them. I rowed us slowly along. Perk fished a floating line with a dry and a nymph dropper. Pete was rigged up like I was last week, a floating line with a long level leader and three wet flies.

Soon a few fish were splashing around. They didn’t appear to be feeding but simply making their presence known. They were here and we had no excuses. Just like I was last week, Pete was full of confidence. But slowly as time went by he realized these fish were not that easy. And two hours into the fishing, today was looking an awful lot like last week. We were getting skunked!

For the next couple hours Pete and Perk tried everything. Perk changed flies while Pete not only changed flies, he also changed his lines. He went floating line to a slow sinking tip line to a full sink line. It didn’t matter, these fish were untouchable.

At noon it was time for a new spot. Not only were we getting skunked but there were some anchored up bait fishers that weren’t catching any fish either. But as we motored off we saw a gulper (term used for risers on a lake). Then another, and another and Pete cut the motor and it was game on. Perk had a dry on so while Pete ditched his sinking rigs and dug for the dries, I rowed after the gulpers while Perk made some casts.

By now there was an abundance of foods on the water including ants, midges, Callibaetis and even some Pale Morning duns. My experience is, the test isn’t so much the fly you choose in this situation but rather getting the fly in front of a fish. These fish cruise along and you must see which way they are swimming to anticipate their next rise. Just when you think you know the path of the fish and get your fly just right, they completely switch direction. It’s a very fun fly fishing challenge.

It didn’t take long for us to get the feel. Over the next hour we landed 6 quality rainbows. Honestly we should have caught about 10 but we’re all a little rusty on our gulper fishing. Once a strong breeze kicked up our pods of gulpers went down. We went back to dredging with the sinking lines and could not get another fish. It really doesn’t make sense we aren’t catching them underneath.

Pete didn’t exactly help me crack the code on how to catch the fish when they weren’t rising. But it was likely his good lake fishing luck that brought us the hour of gulper glory. And we capitalized and my skunk of last week is in the past.

Furthermore, it’s been a great two days of fishing with Perk. I have a new fishing friend and we’re already talking about getting into something cool when he returns in August. For now, its home for a few days of catch up. There’s art to be done, articles to write, photos to edit and yard work.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Return to the Legacy Ranch

Just incase you didn’t see my Legacy Ranch post back in May, click on the link and enjoy some gargantuan fish pics. We got into some beauts! The Legacy Ranch is a gorgeous spread located in Springfield, Idaho. The spring creeks and small lakes on the property offer world class trout fishing and duck hunting and a short walk amongst the scrub and you’ll jump numerous pheasants. It’s an outdoorsman’s paradise. Best of all, this paradise could be yours and you can check out further details at Live Water Properties website.

Today was my second opportunity to fish here. Tate Jarry of Live Waters invited me along to join him and legendary fly fishing entrepreneur Perk Perkins, CEO of Orvis. I’d never met Perk before yet we have many mutual friends so it was great that Tate set the day up so we could meet.

We left Victor on the two hour drive at 6:30 AM. The temps in Idaho are flat out HOT of late. Today Springfield topped 90º! Because of the intense heat occurring from mid day on, things happen early and were happening when we arrived. The windless air was alive with bugs. There were midge clouds, dancing Callibaetis and Pale Morning Dun mayflies, damsels and dragon flies and more. But best of all, there were rising trout.

Tate brought Perk to the Legacy Ranch because he wanted to see the place as a potential buyer. Orvis has some great properties throughout and who knows, perhaps this will be another. However, look at the ranch or not, Perk is an angler. And when we pulled in and saw rising fish he said, “Let’s fish. We can look the Ranch over later”. I liked his style and I’d only known him for two hours!

The best way to fish here is by drift boat. The banks are either marshy or smothered with Russian olive trees and bushes. That’s why the trout like the place so much. However there’s one place that while Tate got the boat ready, Perk and I snuck in a few casts. At first I was a spectator. I always like to nail a few good pics for the blog before I start fishing. But after ten minutes or so, there were too many risers to stand. I grabbed my 4-wieght Ross and launched a Chernobyl ant at a fish.

Launching a slapdash cast on a glassy calm lake is not a good move at all. The water was so glassy calm that my fly hit and the trout ran for dear life. On my next opportunity I approached a little different. This time kept my cast low and out of sight and landed my fly about 20 feet ahead of the trout. Everything was looking good as the trout got close. That was until I twitched my fly. A twitch is a normal practice with a Chernobyl on a lake but the movement didn’t work here. This second chance ended in another frightened trout. Luckily my third chance came soon after. This time I led the trout 20 feet and let my fly sit. When he got to my fly I still didn’t move it. Sure enough, the rainbow pulverized the imitation and I was soon releasing the ever so common nice rainbow of the Legacy Ranch.

Fishing wasn’t as fast and furious today as it was back in May. It’s hot. We had hardly any wind, and the fish were just plain finicky. But we landed about a dozen and few were less than 16 inches. My highlight of the day was landing a true beast. It occurred when our fishing day seemed finished. The temps were peaking and there were no bugs, no risers and in fact I think it was so hot that even the birds flew for cover. This was when Tate gave Perk the ranch tour. Regardless of the non-fishy time of day, naturally I stayed back and fished. As mentioned earlier, walking the banks is difficult, but I went for it anyway. And had I not caught a fish it would have been a mistake. I sliced my unprotected-Teva-shoed feet on thistle, lava rock, sharp grass and even a blooming cactus as I snuck around.

I reached a point and there was a big cruising cuttbow. I dropped my Chernobyl his way and he hit the brakes. He elevated slightly then moved on and disappeared. He looked large to say the least but he was gone. Moments later he returned. He was huge! I had just enough time to put on a cricket, another lake favorite of mine. This time he gave me the full blown shine. He didn’t even look. Then he disappeared.

Not much happened for the next fifteen or so minutes so I changed to a Polish nymph my friend Vladi gave me years ago. Just as I cinched the knot, along came Mr. Big. He sort of ambushed me and was at an awkward angle to present a fly but I just went for it. My fly landed on his right side as he was approaching. As my fly sank fast the burley trout turned towards it. I couldn’t see what was happening. I simply watched the end of my floating GPX line. And when it started moving away I set the hook and I had him.

I must say I was surprised. This appeared to be just one of those “uncatchable” trout, but now he was on. He ran me to the middle of the lake and jumped. Man I couldn’t believe how big he was! Five minutes later I slung the monster to the shallows. It was mucky where I was and there was no where to slide the fish up and lay my rod near him for a picture. Instead I had to wade out and tail the beast like a salmon. Then I did my best to take this one lousy photo while wrestling for my camera and against the strength of this mammoth fish.

We had some great fun today. It was nice that Tate brought me back to enjoy some of the great fishing at Legacy Ranch and even better that he introduced me to Perk. We had so much fun that Perk and I are going to meet a mutual friend, Pete Erickson, up at Island Park Reservoir tomorrow. You remember last Friday I got skunked up there. Well, I don’t plan on getting skunked twice. It’s payback time!