Monday, November 28, 2011


This will be one of the shortest blogs ever as I’m a little pressed for time. I floated the South Fork today. It’s possible this was the last time this year but hopefully I’ll get out in December. As usual the fish were all over the streamers. Here are a few pics from the day.

The reason for the short blog is that I’m leading a group to the Amazon starting Thursday. I haven’t packed a thing. We are faced with high water again but this time not quite as bad as when we rescheduled in March and we’re going to deal with it. That means organizing some specialty sinking lines and carefully chosen deep riding flies. And a variety of odd flies so I can take advantage of some of the smaller less sought after species that prowl around. I might even set us up for some catfishing. The Amazon has some of the largest most interesting catfish on the planet!

Even better, many of you reacted to my post about putting some “Currier” under the Christmas tree. I’ve been busy as heck drawing up Cliff Fly Boxes and filling mug and t-shirt orders. If I got your order it’s on the way. In that post I forgot to mention I also stock the new “Connect” movie by Confluence Films as well as Mikey Weirs “Soulfish 2” – both superb DVD’s at $29.95. I’ll be shipping goods again on December 13th - plenty of time for Christmas.

It’s impossible for me to report while in the Amazon. I hope to give a quick update from Manaus, Brazil on Saturday morning just before we fly into camp. I’ll write up my blogs every night after fishing but realistically they won’t start posting until around December 10th. They should be worth waiting for!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


An eye catching trend has occurred in my life. In 2009 I fished 14 days in November. Six of were in Baja. Last year in November I fished eight days. Five were in Africa. But as of today I have only four days fishing in November. Luckily I’ll raise it to five tomorrow but I believe I’m getting more dedicated to my self employment. I heard that it takes two years to blow the steam and then you get serious. That theory is right on.

What helped me most was that winter came early to Idaho. That always leads to more time indoors and less fishing. Here’s a glimpse of just a few of my November art projects.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No Other Boats & No Ice in the Guides

It’s a special time of year. I’m not quite tired of the snow. I’m not yet sick of the sun not rising until 8 AM. So far I can even handle darkness at 5 PM. Temps aren’t too cold and because it’s mid November, and I enjoy the fact that trout have normally crowded rivers all to themselves – almost that is. Actually it’s that time of year when trout spend time with me and “gurus” Tom Montgomery and Paul Bruun on the South Fork of the Snake.

It was snowing sideways when I left the house at 9 AM today to meet up with friends Paul and Tom. They left from Jackson, Wyoming towing Paul’s South Fork Skiff. After a slick drive we met at the Husky boat ramp and floated down to the Spring Creek Bridge. Despite snowy roads for each of us we met and launched with ease.

The temperature was a surprisingly warm 40º. Warm enough to row without gloves. By now the falling snow tapered off but the cloud cover was thick. It never got bright and in fact all day long it looked like the last hour of daylight – even at noon. There was a stiff breeze at our start. The wind was blowing straight downstream but after an hour or so on the water that wind stopped and the day was balmy.

Fishing was outstanding. Paul took the oars to begin. I was ready to rock with my three streamer rig (I plan to explain this soon) and three casts into the day I landed a strong 15” rainbow. Tom was up front rigging his rod. I undid my bow and three casts later I landed a 16” brown trout. This was going to be a heck of a day.

The brown trout ate my middle fly. This always takes a little extra care to avoid tangling my long level 0X three fly leader. Once I took all my precautions I tossed my flies overboard and went to cast. I wasn’t quite tight and the point fly of my loosely flying set up caught Paul about a ½ inch from his eyeball. Because it was so dark, Paul wasn’t wearing his sunglasses, however luckily he had on his normal clear prescription glasses. As always, my fly was barbless and although scary for a minute, no harm was done. Cigar time.

From there on out I tightened up my casts. I took a little crap from the “gurus” but went on to continue to tear up the fish. Tom was in the action by now too and immediately caught a lengthy colorful cutthroat.

A lot of snow melted today. After the last storm there was over a foot of snow at valley level but by afternoon the south facing banks of the South Fork were clear of snow. Red squirrels and birds were digging around enjoying a good feed knowing the opportunity to forage on snowless ground won’t last long. We had a few bugs on the water but nothing like the midge hatch last week. Often times, even though you might expect great hatches because it was warm out, the rush of melting snow drops the river water temperature and actually slows down the hatch. Today was definitely the case of that.

Other than a few whitetail deer along the banks the only wildlife we saw were the birds and squirrels. But the trout seemed happy as can be. We experienced one slow period for less than an hour but overall we caught fish throughout the day. Species were an even mix of browns, rainbows and cutthroats. Tom even snuck in a whitefish, not the usual catch on a streamer but this time of year you get about one a day.

We were in no rush to get off the river. It wasn’t exactly a summer night, but the way we were dressed we were just as warm as on a summer night. So warm that we took our time and fished right into the dark. Once we got Paul’s boat loaded on the trailer we took the time to suck down a cold one at the ramp before taking off. During the time we decided we’ll try to do this again on Monday. I’m leaving with a group for the Amazon on Thursday so it all depends on whether I’m packed for the jungle or not. This is the trip I had to reschedule from last March.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gigantic Brown Trout!

Last week my friend Doug McKnight of Livingston, Montana called to invite me to streamer fish the Yellowstone River with him. Dougy promised me that this is the time when you have a chance at some really big brown trout. He wasn’t kidding!

Unfortunately I opted out on Dougy’s offer. I’m more focused on my work than I’ve been since I set out on my self employment quest. To take four days off would surely screw up my rhythm. But maybe I should have. The very next day Dougy caught this massive 31” brown on one of his own creations, the Home Invader Streamer. Perhaps I should have screwed up my rhythm!

Off to the South Fork tomorrow. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

South Fork

I don’t know what I’ve been thinking lately. It’s November 16th and I haven’t chucked a streamer on the South Fork this month. Sure I got a heck of a lot of required work and projects done, but at the expense of some of my favorite trout fishing of the year. Not smart. As I always preach to my friends who make excuses not to fish or go places, “This aint a dress rehearsal”. Who knows where we’ll be next November.

Recent blog star Weldon Jones and good friend Andy Asadorian joined me on the South Fork today. Like many of my friends, Andy too worked for me in the fly shop for years. He’s now the main man at Will Dornan’s Snake River Anglers in Jackson, Wyoming. And may I add, one of the most hardcore young anglers I know.

The temperature was a whopping 1º F this morning. Yes, you’re reading this correct and yes we went floating. Winter has arrived early in the Yellowstone Country and believe it or not, today was about the best looking weather day in the 10 day forecast.

At 9 AM we hooked my boat up to Weldon’s truck and headed over Pine Creek pass to the South Fork. We were making first cast at about 10:30, and Weldon and Andy were cracking ice from the rod guides by 10:32. Being the oldest and wisest, I offered to take the oars first to stay warm and in hopes of a rise in temps by the time I pulled out my rod.

About an hour long session one went poorly. The boys didn’t land a fish and spent a lot of time clearing guides. After a warm up break on shore I pulled my out my Ross 6-weight all strung up with a WF6S Scientific Anglers Stillwater line. Attached was my usual rig of 16 feet of OX SA Flouro and three streamers. As always I had a heavy bugger on the point, five feet up the level leader a yellow streamer and on top an unweighted mini leech.

I don’t know if the cold effects leader material but two minutes into my fishing a modest sized cutthroat ate my top fly and he was gone. I didn’t even feel him. A few casts later I realized he’d broke me off at the knot. Being that my 0X is nearly 13lb I hardly ever get broke off by a trout. I still had two flies attached so I continued fishing and soon landed a brown trout about 16 inches and similar sized rainbow.

The morning was slow but reminded me of how much I love floating the South Fork in November. The wildlife was tremendous as always. Although not much more then a few beavers and muskrats in the mammal department, the birds were unreal. I’ll bet I counted twenty bald eagles and thousands of ducks. There were even a few robins and killdeers that were stocking up on protein from an enormous midge hatch that blanketed the rocks and snow patches along the rivers edge.

Fishing improved dramatically in the afternoon. It wasn’t because things warmed up however. The temps hardly changed and we had a downstream wind with us all day to cool things off even further. Although we didn’t catch any “big” fish, there were plenty of “quality” cutthroats, browns and occasional rainbows to play with. I even had a cutthroat double on briefly. Unfortunately one fell off when I put the heat on to get them to the boat fast. Two fish on one cast is a pretty cool feat and this would have been the second of the season – darn!

We reached the take out just at dark. The boat ramp was a glaze of hard packed snow and ice. While some daredevils often chose to back their trucks down such a ramp, we wisely dragged my boat up to the road and loaded it on the trailer before even starting Weldon’s truck. Then without any chance of getting stuck were on our way.

When I got home tonight I was very pleased to check my email and see two painting orders, some Cliff fly box art requests and two article needs. I’m a lucky guy to have all the work. But these jobs aren’t going to keep me off the South Fork several more times this month. Today was a precious reminder of how much I love it there in November with friends. Stay tuned for more fishing reports and feel free to keep those orders coming!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Little Currier Under the Christmas Tree

An entire week has passed and I did not go fishing!  I’m feeling it.  But it has been catch up week.  I’ve been working on several paintings that customers have been patiently waiting on, wrote and article for an English Fly Fishing Magazine, organized some issues on my Brazil trips and I even winterized the yard. 

With Christmas sneaking up on us it’s time to think about purchasing some “Currier” product to put under the tree.  I have excellent stock of coffee mugs with my artwork on them.  These have been very popular gifts for the angler that has everything.  These hefty coffee mugs are offered with many popular fish species on them and can be viewed and ordered on mywebsite

I have plenty of Simms T-shirts with my art on them.  There are many kinds of fish to choose from including the new brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, golden trout, carp and a few bass.  Some of these are available in your choice of short sleeve or long sleeve.

I have full stock on both my books.  I’d be happy to autograph and personalize the books for you or the person you’re giving it too for Christmas. 

If you want to remember that special catch you or someone made this year, let me paint the trophy for you.  With winter in full swing here in Idaho I’m ready to paint.  Check out my watercolors and prices on my website.

Feel free to contact me about any of these items.

As for fishing, a few more days of work at home then it will be time for the South Fork.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


When you can hardly handle the cold in your own house, that’s usually a good indication it’s too damn chilly to go fishing. You should just quit being cheap, put the heat on and stay home. But my friends Rob Parkins, Weldon Jones and Neil Chamberlin and I are idiots. We went anyhow. Why? Why not?

I’m not kidding. We awoke to snow, wind and another 16º morning. My magpies were scrambling for food – digging through the fresh snow trying to find the laker heads I tossed on the lawn from Lewis Lake the other day. The birdbath has been frozen for two weeks. Time to face it – it's winter in the Yellowstone area. But that doesn’t mean no more fishing. There are plenty of good venues still. Jackson Lake, which is closed to fishing for the month of October for lake trout spawning, reopens in November. If you can stand the cold, it can be the best lake fishing of the year. So off we went into the storm.

Jackson Lake is in Grand Teton National Park directly under the Teton Mountain Range. The lake is truly one of the most beautiful on the planet. I used to fish Jackson all the time both through the ice and open water but the last ten or so years I hardly ever get there. After the great day on Lewis Lake on Thursday, Jackson Lake seemed like a logical place to fish and spank a bunch more lake trout on the fly.

The drive to the lake was terrible. No one in their right mind would consider traveling over Teton Pass, the mountain pass that separates my house from the lake, unless you absolutely had to. The winding mountain road was shear ice and this time of year there are no snow banks to save you from skidding off a cliff. Even after we put the pass behind us, the drive across antelope flats up to Jackson Lake was treacherous. And pulling a boat on the trailer - yikes! But I already declared us “idiots”.

Once we got there is when that stupid feeling hit us. What in the world were we doing here? It was colder, snowier and windier than when we left home – just like the forecast said it would be. But there was no turning back. Then we’d really be idiots. So with fear of backing down the icy boat ramp and not being able to get back up, Rob bravely went for it. And just as the trailer entered the water, Rob’s truck started to slide into the lake. From my point of view it looked like disaster had finally struck. But miraculously there was enough bare cement where the waves were washing up and Rob’s truck got a grip. After a deep breath and a laugh boat number one was in.

Neil was a little hesitant to launch his boat. Neil is the only one that’s never been on my blog. Like most my friends, Neil worked for me in the fly shop and went on to be an excellent guide, now a school teacher and most important a great friend. Anyhow, after some encouragement Neil went for it and luckily he had no trouble. We were in and on our way, Weldon and me in one boat and Rob and Neil in the other.

It’s always an interesting feeling being on a lake and knowing that if you were to somehow end up overboard your dead. You literally don’t have a chance because of the cold. Lifejackets are virtually useless. They simply allow search and rescue to find your body. That’s kind of where my thoughts were when I looked down to see that I knocked loose the boat plug with my sorrel! Oh my God I screeched! All while scrambling to find the plug and at the same time steering the motor towards shore with hopes we’d make it there. There the plug was. I grabbed it and jammed it into the gushing stream. Just in time. We’d only taken on about two inches deep of water. Just enough to get my feet wet but not enough to sink. Weldon started bailing and we continued on.

That’s about all the excitement for the day. We fished for about three hours total. We all thought we may have had a strike but no proof. The only one to catch a fish was Neil but he cheated, he was jigging with a spin rod. Probably the smart one when you think about it. But even with this evil method he only caught one. Fishing was brutal. After freezing our hands for three hours and nothing, I pulled cigars from my Simms bag and Weldon and I spent the last hour enjoying a smoke with our hands in our gloves. The sun actually poked out and the snow stopped. That lasted a whole five minutes and the snow started again. What a great day.

Skunked certainly happens. And it usually happens right after a great day on the water. That’s fishing. Today was a kick. Another day with friends and probably my last lake day of the year. From here on out it will likely be South Fork, South Fork and more South Fork, my true favorite of November.

Friday, November 4, 2011

End of the Yellowstone Fishing Season

November 3, 2011

Yellowstone National Park officially closes its gates the first Sunday in November. Some years the first snow causes this closure to occur earlier but this year we’ve been lucky. Today Weldon Jones (my Bass on the Fly partner) and I headed up to Lewis Lake to say goodbye to another great year in Yellowstone.

There’s absolutely no sense in leaving early anymore. Heck, it’s still pitch dark at 7:30 AM. Furthermore, it’s been a whopping 16º the last three mornings in a row. I have the hands of an old Wisconsin ice fisherman so I can tolerate that, but the ice that clogs your rod guides takes all the fun out of casting. Therefore, first cast didn’t come till about 11 AM today.

Lewis Lake is an old fall favorite of mine. I’ve been chucking streamers here in the fall for over twenty five years. In fact, this is one of my dad’s favorite places too because of the memories we have fishing together here through blizzards, windstorms, ice and great fishing. Luckily today’s weather was mostly sunny skies, temps in the 30º’s but a little more wind than we’d of liked.

We didn’t just end up going to Lewis Lake; we went all the way to the famous Lewis Channel. This is a two mile slow moving river that connects Shoshone Lake and Lewis Lake. The channel is on the complete opposite side of the lake of the boat ramp. With our drift boat and a 3.3 horsepower motor it’s a 30 minute boat ride. On the way back the wind is almost always in your face and then the ride takes an hour and even on a summer day can be dangerous.

The channel was worth the trip today. Motors are not allowed in the channel so I cut the motor several hundred yards of its mouth and we drifted into it casting. It took a whole five minutes to land two handsome brown trout and a 20” lake trout. Even with our midday start our guides were freezing and it took an hour before the hands got used to the cold.

When we got into the channel itself fishing got even better. Yes that means we caught more than three fish every five minutes! It was truly unreal. One thing I noticed is that the browns are larger than the norm for Lewis Lake. By and large these guys average about 16” but today I’ll bet most were 17” to 19”. My best fall flies up on Lewis are rubber leg type flies in yellow. I caught a few lakers on this fly today but black was even better. In fact the only fish I caught on the yellow yummy were lake trout.

We wrapped up our day at around 4 PM. The temp was plummeting with the setting of the sun and we were getting barked at by five very unhappy otters. We made the long ride back to the ramp with the icy cold wind directly in our face as expected. With no chances taken we hugged the west shoreline all the way back and had the boat on the trailer at sunset.

2011 was another great one in Yellowstone. As always Granny’s and my wildlife trip in May was one of the best. But so was the one we made in October with my parents and the big griz we got so close too. But this year’s favorite was Heart Lake. Heart was an unplanned unexpected trip and those are always tops.

There’s plenty more cold days on the water and big fish to be caught in November. But first a couple days with the paintbrush and then we’ll see where the rods end up next.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tonight - Ask About Fly Fishing Internet Radio

Tune in tonight November 2, 2011 at 7 PM (MT) to Ask About Fly Fishing Internet Radio. I will be doing a live interview about fly fishing for Peacock Bass and other Brazilian Treasures.

I’ll be talking specifically about the four different peacock bass species.

The largest (Cichla temensis) better known as tunacaré, pavon, azul, striped or speckled.

The (Cichla ocellaris) better known as the butterfly.

The (Cichla monoculus) better known as gray bar or fire belly.

And the (Cichla intermedia) better known as the royal.

I’ll also talk about many other cool species you can expect to catch such as:

Pacu – this is one of many species of pacu.

Piranha – one of many species



These are just a few of the fish you could meet while fly fishing in the Amazon!

If you want to go I have three spots left for a trip I’m hosting February 11-18, 2012. For details click: