If batman had the bat signal… I had the Wild River signal. Our friends at Wild River Guides reached out last year when one of their guides had to miss a couple weeks of their season. I gladly jumped on a flight to Bristol Bay, then spent some of the most fun weeks ever floating the most remote rivers in Bristol Bay chasing fish, camping, eating, and exploring.
At night we would day (night) dream about getting some of my favorite clients out to remote Bristol Bay to enjoy what they had to offer. Thats where this email comes in.
John at Wild River Guides spent most of the winter securing a permit to extend their season in the Togiak River Wildlife Refuge so we could take a week long trip down the Togiak River fishing for the mighty coho.
Ever wanted to catch coho on surface flies? Catch fish till your arm failed you? Have a truly wild experience in the most remote sections of America? Fly into the most beautiful rivers in the world? Or just hear dirty jokes from me WAY past the average 7-8 hr day on the water?
Let’s do it! September 2nd-9th
All inclusive (minus flights to and from Dillingham) $5600
We have been heavily neglecting this since last fall! I could make all the excuses in the world for it! However, instead of making excuses I will just let you know this! We have been slamming trying to make 2020 the best season yet! It will be a hard task after these last few years! However, I think we are all up for the challenge!
Stay Tuned and know we have some super fun stuff coming soon!
I have been on the water for the last 32 billion days and just have not had the motivation to keep up with these. However, our most popular blog subject is back… Q & A. We had a ton of questions following the last one and I just thought I would bring it back, it is fun to do and we had the questions in our inbox still!
Q.) What is the worst hook incident you have ever seen?
A.) Look, I have had a few on my boat. I saw a picture of someone in the eye once, it looked gross. But in person I was probably the victim of the worst one I have seen. I’ve yanked them out of peoples heads, arms, back, neck… But I had one go through my finger and out my fingernail while tying one on. The barb was not pinched yet and the barb stayed under the nail… It makes me think of a Game Of Thrones style toucher to look back on. It was awful… I had to just grab some pliers and rip it out, because I could not get help from the customer and I could not leave it in there digging at my nail bed. It was that or end the day… I believe it was Jesus that said “The show must go on.”
Q.) Do you hate running conventional tackle trips?
A.) No, not at all. Look, light tackle/spin fishing trip are fun. The way we fish with spinning rods is almost exactly the same as fly fishing. We fish gulp minnows on jigs or spoons, and we cast and retrieve very similar to fly fishing. Not to mention, if we are getting people interested in the fishery and showing them how much we care about it. We are effecting people the same way and hopefully tipping the narrative towards being sustainable fishermen/women.
Q.) How do you feel about politics or religion on your boat?
A.) I feel the same way about politics on my boat as I do on land. If you don’t feel the same way as I do, you are an idiot. haha
I love learning about people and politics. I firmly feel that we have tabooed the conversation for so long that we have created a false narrative that the two parties are massively opposed to each other. When really we all want mostly the same thing. We want our kids to be safer, healthier, and happier than we ever were. We want our air clean, our fish plentiful, and our economy thriving. How we get their, I don’t know. But I know that not listening to the other side is probably not going to help. So whether you are a Trump fan, a Bernie fan, or anyone else. I think it’s super cool that people would trust me enough to want to share their thoughts with me.
As far as religion goes… Pretty much the same thing. If your god tells you to hate anything… Probably keep it to yourself. Other than that I am fascinated.
Q.) I only fish a popper for cutthroat.
A.) That is not a question sir. Also… You are missing out on a lot of cool flies and sweet fish. Believe me when I say I love fishing topwater too. So… cool… I guess.
Q.) I don’t like fishing sinking/shooting heads. Do you have advice?
A.) Shooting head styles of fly lines can be frustrating. Particularly when you are not used to the way they cast or sinking lines. First, and foremost I would recommend getting used to it… Go practice casting the damn thing.
Look I get it. A type 6 sink streamer tip line feels clunky if you are not used to casting it. But if you slow down and get the timing right, it is not much different than your full length line. All floating lines are going to be smoother to pick out of the water. But a sinking line does not need to be difficult. I will tell you what. If you contact me, I will meet you somewhere and show you how to cast them. (firstname.lastname@example.org) I will also show you HOW to practice casting.
Alright, our ball is rolling and we are going to get back into updating the blog a few times a week starting now. So, we will bring the Q & A section back as soon as we have a handful of questions again!
This September fishing report is all about cooling water. All summer long, day in and day out, we are checking that water temperature and keeping the boat moving north. We start early, and plan our day around finding and staying on cold water. It is the main focus of finding fish in the summer time.
Well… All of that is over. Our September Fishing Report could be called a celebration! We have finally gotten a few big rains, cool days, cold nights, and the water temps are back down around the 50’s. The trout are pretty much celebrating right now. Cold water holds more oxygen, and lowers the stress level of our Sea Run Cutthroat significantly. So happy fish, means hungry fish! Hungry fish, means happy fishermen!
Will You Get To The Point!
Sea Run Cutthroat are using these cool waters to chase Anchovies, Sandlance, and Herring up into the shallows! Since the shallows are cold again, these fish are smashing bait up on the flats and not really caring too much about their personal safety.
The way we have been targeting these fish is to find the steep drop offs with a large flat, and hold the boat right on the edge of the drops. Casting up onto the flats and stripping the flies toward the deep water, keeping our flies in-front of all of the ambushing and blitzing trout.
From the beach, you might try to reverse this by finding a shallow shelf you can wade onto and cast into the deeper water and pull your fly up onto the shelf. Not quite ideal because you are standing where we want our flies, but you should pull quite a few fish right off the edge of the drop off.
So… What Are They Eating?
The Rio’s Nice glass is a nasty bug. The Hook is sharp with a big gap and it just down right fishes. When I saw the fly the first time I believe my reaction was “Holy shit! That is genius.” The glass beads reflect light and are translucent. They also add weight giving the fly a natural dive and dip in the water. The materials are light and tied in a way that keeps the fly from fouling while casting or getting hit by fish. I am a down right believer in this one and it has quickly become my favorite fall big fish fly.
It’s All Over
That’s it, Our September Fishing Report is over! Here are some dates and some things to look forward too!
September 14th, 16th, 21st, 25th, and 27th are our open dates coming up! We are looking forward to sharing the water with you! Have fun out there!
While we are in full swing of big fish season, we are also filled with excitement for our 2020 Tarpon Camp! Our friends at Florida Outdoor Experience invited us down for a week of tarpon, cocktails, and fun in the heart of “Ol’ Florida”.
Homosassa is a special place to fly fishermen. Not only hosting the world record for tarpon on the fly. Homosassa is home to the most amazing backcountry in all of Florida. Manatees, gators, dolphin, spoonbills, and tons of sea turtles… Oh yeah, it’s also a world class fishery for not just ‘poon, it’s home to redfish, snook, sheepshead, sea trout, tripletail, grouper, mackerel, and a variety of heart stopping sharks. All in a little shrimper town… Oh yeah… It’s also home to me. I was raised pushing off the docks at McCrea’s Marina in down town Homosassa. I cannot wait to share it with you!
Florida Outdoor Experience
This is a special week of fishing for me. I couldn’t imagine sharing it with anyone else other than the kind folks at Florida Outdoor Experience. Gray and Lacy have been nothing but great to us over the last couple of years and we are so excited to be back with them in 2020!
We will be in Tarpon Camp (our beautiful waterfront home in Homosassa) May 31st-June 6th. This is an all inclusive trip for $3000. Looking forward to sharing Tarpon Camp with us this season!
We have been out on the water just about every day for the last two months! Fishing has been great and we want to share the report with you!
Most of our fish have been found in water temperatures less than 64 degrees. This is hard to find in the high sun on much of Hood Canal. So our days have been starting very early in the Lower and Middle Hood Canal, and trying to be off the water around 12-1pm. Our last post explains our methods of finding cold water, but to sum it up, just look for the fastest deepest water you can find and there will be your fish!
Our top producing flies have been my Money Makers in Herring and Sandlance, RIO’s Just Keep Swimming and RIO’s Precious Metals. The bait balls of both Herring and Sandlance are bigger than we have ever seen. The bait is absolutely everywhere and the fish are chunkier than ever! It’s been an amazing season for big stuffed cutthroat!
Our Summer is filling up super quick. Captain Mike has a handful of open dates.
Captain Justin has just: June 29th, 30th, July 3rd, 29th and 31st
As summer time lures all of us to the water, I am left wondering about the folks who don’t fish… For instance the jet skiers and weird yacht people that never take off their deck shoes. Do they just not know? Or perhaps is it best that they never find out? Either way, I am glad that someone ruined my life by saying “want to go fishing” when I was a little kid.
Summer time brings out the best in me for sure. I love the sunshine, the cool water and most of all the lack of layers on the boat… Most importantly, pushing off the dock in the morning wearing shorts and a light hoodie with a grin from ear to ear.
Summer Time Pro Tips: Cold Water
Find Cold Water!!! Sea Run Cutthroat behave like a saltwater fish in the summer time. They crush baitfish patterns, leap through the air, and hunt like a Jack Crevalle or Blue Fish. It is easy to forget that they are still a cold water trout species. We checked the temps at the Alderbrook Dock yesterday and it was 72 Degrees! It’s still the first half of June. Here’s how to handle the heat.
Three Ways To Stay Chill
Run to the deeper fastest current- Alderbrook Resort is in the back of a small shallow bay. It is one of the warmest docks in all of Hood Canal. If you run out of the bay into the faster tidal current, the water dropped to 68 degrees. Still to warm for cutthroat fishing, however it is trending in the right direction.
Fish The Big Stuff- Hood Canal and the South Sound both suffer from warming water temps in the summer. The reason is they are at the end of the tidal exchange and much of the water does not completely flush during the tide change. If you are finding warm water and can not seem to get out of it move into a larger more main channel of water. If you are fishing Quilcene Bay on Hood Canal perhaps move out to dabob past Pt. Whitney. Or if you are fishing Eld Inlet, in the South Sound and temps are getting above 65 Degrees, move out to Dana Passage and see if it drops again.
Deeper and Faster – I think under perfect conditions a cutthroat will move a amazing distance to eat a fly. But when the surface water is warming, these fish do not want to be up high in the water column or in the froggy water. They want well oxygenated cold clean water. Where will they find that when it is 95 degrees? 6-12′ deep in the faster current. Move out of the bay’s and out on the points and fish the drop offs.
Summer Time Pro Tips – Take Care Of Our Fish (soap box warning)
If you see us on here or social media releasing a fish by hand, one of two things is happening. First, I am walking someone through proper fish handling (it is our job) and filming it. Second, I have a very experienced angler on board the boat. Our resource is always more important than a picture.
Either way we are picking perfect conditions for it, where the fish is landed swiftly, left in the water, and the hook was removed easily. If any of those three things couldn’t or didn’t happen, it is never touched and the fish is dumped from the net without adding more stress. Our guest want photos of their catch, and we have to balance that with our morals of taking care of our fish. As a rule we never fish water above 65 degrees and we never sacrifice good fish handling for a photo opportunity.
You know when a fish is released in the best condition possible, and you know when you made a mistake and the fish is swimming back in less than good condition. Ultimately we are anglers and we are harming these fish, let’s be as ethical as we can about it.
Well… I know that I am still quite uncomfortable after eating enough for about 10 people at my in-laws last night. That washed down a pretty incredible weekend of great fishing and good laughs on the water.
What’s happening out there? Let me tell you, There are giant swarms of chum fry from about Alderbrook Resort on Hood Canal, north all the way up to the bridge. The wind might be a little brutal at times, but the fishing is anything but that…
A few tips for the coming weeks!
Here’s a few things we learned throughout the week that might make your efforts a bit more successful.
If you see bait that is infact being blown up by fish, start slow and end fast on the retrieve. Just speed up as you go. The fish are not having to work hard to eat the bait, so starting slow might be the ticket to keep you in the zone. However ending fast triggers the attack reflexes of these predacious trout.
Keep looking for the eddied water. If the tide is going from right to left but the water close to the shoreline is doing the opposite… The bait is going to get washed into those spots. This is a sure sign that if you are in an area that has both chum fry and cutthroat trout, you are going to be in the feeding zone.
lengthen your leader and make good cast. If you are flailing on the water with your false cast, you are going to spook the predators out of your bait. It’s just as simple as that.
Those are a few tips to hopefully help you out in the next few weeks of this chum fry season! Good luck out there and I hope you are attempting to have as much fun as we are!
Dates Dates Dates!
We have a handful of open dates coming up in the next couple of weeks!
April 26th, 29th, May 1st, May 7th, 8th and 12th. Summer time is coming and the weather forecast is improving. Get your dates now to ensure you have em!
From the time I was a kid I was always fascinated with the idea of a good fight. My friends, my music, my movies, the sports I got into. All of it was aggressive, scary, and exciting. I remember my first punk rock concert being the smallest kid in the crowd and being picked up and tossed around the crowd and seeing the mosh pits, and seeing Fletcher of Pennywise throw his middle finger in the air… It was the best thing I had ever seen!
What Do You Mean “What Do I do?”
Just as impactful, I remember the first time I ever had a client hook a good fish. It took a Parachute Adams and screamed down stream! My client in pure panic looked at me, and yelled “What do I do?!” I was not prepared for this response and was in full on adrenaline mode. I fumbled on the words, cursed a lot, and eventually with both of our hearts pounding managed to get the fish in the net. We both laughed, high fives, and I was hooked. To the best of my knowledge he had no clue that I didn’t know what I was doing. I never looked at fishing the same way, how could I? I still to this day find guiding far more exciting than actually catching a fish of my own.
There is a lot of things I noticed immediately once I started guiding. One of the things is that most trout anglers never learn how to fight a fish. Particularly how to fight a fish effectively and efficiently as we should be. This all starts with a good hook set.
Set, Set, Set… Not Like That!
Before we can engage a fish in a fight, we have to make sure they are hooked in the best way possible. It’s sort of like throwing the first punch. If we wait to long, we get punched in the face, and thats no good. But if we jump the gun and just throw a wild haymaker out, we will probably miss and be left looking like an idiot. Setting the hook is all about timing and technique.
When stripping a fly the way we do for cutthroat, the hook set should be low, and it should start with an extra strip. The biggest reason on Sea Run Cutthroat that you want to start with a strip is the fish is a chaser, and when eating the fly is typically heading at an angle towards you. This causes slack in the line and if you yank back on your rod you are just pulling the slack out and “popping” the fly right out of the fishes mouth. So strip the fly into the fishes face, and pull to the side with the rod to get the rod bent.
The angle you pull the rod should keep the rod tip below your eyes, and should pull the hook through the fishes mouth finishing a great hook set. Adding an extra strip should set the hook into the corner of the fishes mouth, hopefully puncturing the flesh and allowing the hook to do it’s job. Yanking the rod low into it’s bent position should ensure that the hook is all the way through, and keep the pressure required to make sure it will not pop out. If you do both of these things you should have a huge head start on the fight.
Everything from here on out is about efficiency of the bend in your rod and shadowing your fish. If you are being efficient with managing the pressure on your rod, the fish will always succumb to that pressure and you will land your fish the fastest. Consistent pressure is always the best most ethical way to fight a fish.
Manage Your Bend Bro
The way to keep consistent pressure with your rod is by managing your bend. Many fish will pull agains your rod bending it deep into the blank. This is fine and fun! Allow line to feed out to keep your bend where you want it to avoid pulling the hook or breaking off. If the fish runs towards you or starts letting up on his output, bring line back in and keep the bend where you want it to avoid slack line.
Shadow Your Fish
If the fish runs to the left and your rod starts straightening out, change the angle, pull to the right and get the bend back. If the fish starts going right and lightening the load against the rod, pull left and bring that load back into your rod.
Eventually the fish will not be able to fight against the pressure that is consistently being applied. Once the fish wears out, it will be easily lead into the net. The faster this can be done, the less stress we are bringing onto the fish. The less stressed fish are likely to survive being released back into the water .
It’s our job as fishermen to be the fighter, the ref, and the doctor of these prized fish. It’s a job that requires doing all of these things at a high level to ensure the safety of the fish so we can come back every day and enjoy them. Fighting them effectively will keep them happy. Being the ref and knowing when to end the fight and put them in the net will keep them healthy. Being the doctor and deciding whether they are healthy enough to get a quick photo will ensure they survive and be there again another day.
Cheers guys, and I hope you enjoyed and I look forward to seeing you on the water!