Fishing Reports for Out of Area
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A little recap from a recent trip I made to Pyramid Lake. I got to reconnect with two of my 2016 Confluence Outfitters Guide School alumni; Aaron Silverman and Robert Maldonado for an epic weekend of cutthroat fishing. Aaron is a Reno native and Pyramid Lake insider, providing Robert and I the good fortune of having our own personal guide for our fist time on the lake. Simply put, Pyramid is a strange place with strange fish. I'm hooked. We didn't rope in any monsters, but we all had a great time and each of us landed some nice fish. The only downside? Our brother Dylan Hartsell coudln't make it out! Next time.
Aaron braves the cold hoping for a tug
Aaron with a specimen
Battle ready. These fish are like nothing else
Yours truly, getting bent
Robert with a colored up buck. Post blizzard
Back they go, to feed and grow.
Katie and I spent the day on the Henry's Fork with Alex Kohn from Henry's Fork Anglers. We floated Ora to Chester, a lower stretch that I had never done before. There are a ton of floats you can do on the Henry's Fork and they are all different. I really liked the float we did today. The river was mostly shallow with great riffles and structure. The scenery, while not very vertical, was great. At the bottom of the float we could view the Grand Teton mountains from the river. That was cool because we are headed there for a family vacation tomorrow.
Katie and I were really impressed with the fishing, even though our guide Alex said the river was fishing merely "OK". The Henry's Fork rainbows and browns are hard fighters. We hooked quite a few fish and landed fish up to 20". We fished a dry-dropper rig almost all day, using a chubby chernobyl as the dry and various beadhead nymphs underneath. Most of our biggest fish ate the dry. I guess we're right between the giant stonefly and golden stone hatches right now. Katie's big fish of the day, a 20" brown, chowed her big dry fly on a little seam near the bank.
Katie's big brown
View of the Tetons from the Henry's Fork
Katie Harris making some casts underneath the Ora Bridge
My biggest fish of the day
Katie's big rainbow
I just returned from a great trip to the East Cape of Baja California with my buddy Mark Tompkins. We fished with Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja. Jeff has lived on the East Cape full-time for 17 years and is an expert on the fly fishing opportunities in the area. He set us up with accommodations at Rancho Leonero, a comfortable fishing resort with great food and a great location right on the beach. We dealt the best we could with some challenging conditions. The first day we went boat fishing because the sky was overcast, which makes for poor visibility. We landed several species that day, including skipjack, jack crevalle, and a small roosterfish. We also hooked and lost a dorado. The 2nd day we spent on the beach. The swells were a little big and we only had one shot at a fish that day. Fortunately Mark nailed it and hooked and landed a 45 pound roosterfish from the beach! He almost got spooled, but managed to wrestle the fish back in. That is a fish of a lifetime from the beach. Our 3rd day we boat fished again in hopes of casting to some larger roosters that were working bait offshore. We didn't connect with the big fish, but I managed to land my first roosterfish ever, about 10 pounds.
The day of beach fishing was the most fun, partially because we used quads to drive around and look for fish. You can travel countless miles of beach from the resort on a quad or side-by-side. When the light is good there is always a chance to find roosterfish crashing bait near the beach. It's a really fun game to play, especially if you enjoy sight fishing. It's also very different than wading the flats and other saltwater fishing scenarios. The range of the roosterfish is large, but the East Cape of Baja is the only place in the world where you can catch them on flies from the beach. I look forward to my next trip down there!
Mark Tompkins with a big roosterfish
Mark with a jack crevalle
Rancho Leonero is a great place to stay
This is a really fun way to fish
Jeff deBrown explains the strategy of beach fishing
Mark about to get spooled!
Who needs a boat trailer?
Andrew with a skipjack
Jeff deBrown releasing Mark's rooster
Andrew Harris with his first ever roosterfish
Close-up of a roosterfish - they're pretty cool!
I had the good fortune to fish the Wood River today. The Wood River is a classic spring creek in Oregon located north of Klamath Falls. This is a challenging fishery and a must-visit fishery for dry-fly aficionados. The mahogany mayfly hatch started around 11am and was still going strong when I had to head home around 2:30pm. The Wood can be floated in a drift boat or pontoon boat, but I was on foot today. I had about 3 hours of head-hunting for risers. For the most part I had to stay low and sit or kneel while fishing to avoid spooking the fish. I saw some fish that were in the 18" range rising regularly, but they were very smart. I landed several fish in the 10-15" range on dries today. All but one were brown trout and every single fish jumped multiple times. If you like technical dry fly fishing you should book a trip on this river with one of the regular guides up here. It's pretty sweet. Summer is hopper time and spring and fall is mayfly time.
Wood River brown trout
The Wood River, a classic spring creek
Wood River rainbow
This past Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting a trip with Travis Johnson and his company All Waters Angling. We floated and camped on the Lower Deschutes river. This river is regulated for bank fishing only, which meant fishing from the boat was not an option. No problem here! With the big water and bouldery riffles, spey casting is by far the most effective way to fish this water; not to mention the most fun.
Travis is the world record holder for spey casting and an excellent guide and instructor. The river conditions were excellent. With Travis' help and that of fellow guide Caleb Lockyer, everyone was able to improve their spey casting, learn more about the river, and have some fishy encounters. Not to mention excellent cuisine and lots of laughs. I know I'm already looking forward to next year!
Even I got to fish a little....
Gorgeous scenery is also included.
Chris with a hog!
Early starts mean being the first on the best runs
Zach with another fish on.
Travis landing a beautiful hen.
A well hooked chromer.
Love that tail!
Dave was a first time spey caster, his casting really progressed though out the trip
I've spent the last 10 days touring around the amazing Skeena System in British Columbia, where I have been hosting trips for the past 5 years. I am expanding my hosting operation this year, and will be offering multiple location and trip options in the future to better suit time and financial concerns for the avid steelheader.
The fishing has been fantastic since I've been here, with rainy steelhead days and cool temperatures. This is a drastic change from the hot dry weather this summer I experienced in California, Washington, and Oregon. The steelhead seem to like it too. I've seen some amazing fish landed this week from 8 to 21 lbs, and saw some larger ones hooked and lost. This place is truly amazing.
Darcy Bacha with an insane specimen
I had the opportunity to spend a few days fishing in the Boise Idaho, Eastern Oregon area and the fishing was great.
Spent the first day on the Owyhee River in Eastern Oregon, and the fishing was incredible. Big Browns mixed in with a few rainbows all day long. I caught fish on drys, nymphs, swinging streamers, and the big thrill of the day was stripping salmon fly dries on the surface and getting crushed. Huge grabs! The scenery was incredible. An unbelievably beautiful river in the middle of a high mountain desert. What a unique place to spend a day fishing. Definitely a busy river this time of year.
Day two sent me into a whole different type of fishery. I drove up the Payette River canyon. The area was referred to me as the "Tahoe" of Boise. This was a beautiful river separated into a lower section that was more of a meandering meadow stream, winding its way through pastures and ranches, and an upper section that was a beautiful alpine river. I drove to the upper stretches, and although the river was flowing at whitewater rafting flows, it was a great evening chasing rainbows with a dry fly in the slow edges.
Day three was still another unique fishing experience. I decided to wear the hat of Urban Angler. Woke up, got my Starbucks, and walked into the Boise River minutes from the state capitol and right behind Boise State University. Had a great couple hours pulling up rainbows on various nymphs, and as the weather got warmer, I had a nice PMD hatch to enjoy.
Overall, a great trip to a great part of the country for anglers with a fly rod. I definitely will be back.
Crushed a skated salmon fly! 10 of these in two hours. Whee!
The beautiful Owyhee!
Did they film Stand By Me on the Payette?
Fishing in the shadows of Bronco Stadium.
Gorgeous way to beat the heat.
Had to check out my "other" job.
Lots of these on the Payette & the Boise!
Nabbed a tagged one on the Owyhee...of course not worth $.
Venti rainbows to go please.
This is apparently not a river.
I just got back from a last-minute trip to Bay Flats Lodge in Seadrift, Texas. I got them all set up with LodgeRunner.com, my software package for fishing and hunting lodges. The lodge owner, Captain Chris Martin, treated me to a day of fishing and I had a blast. Bay Flats Lodge is located about half-way down the Texas coast, about a 3 hour drive south from Houston. They have over a dozen guides that specialize in redfish and sea trout. The fishery down there is incredible. There are endless shallow flats that are teeming with redfish, sea trout, and many other species. I spent a day wading and started off on an ankle-deep sand flat and would have sworn I was casting to tailing bonefish. They were actually tailing redfish, and I started hooking them as soon as I put on a shrimp pattern. The tailing fish were mostly small ones 16" or so, but there were a few mixed in that were much larger. I landed one about 21" and broke off a really big one. Later in the day I saw a lot of fish crashing bait on the surface, so I switched over to a small saltwater popper. I had a ton of action with that thing. The skipjack, which look and act like baby tarpon, would hit it before I even had time to strip it. I landed a few of those, broke off another big redfish, and landed a sea trout on the popper. I almost always had targets to cast to and made blind casts the rest of the time. The wading was pretty easy. There are a lot of sand flats and a lot more weedy flats. You could wade for days on end out there. The guides say that the fishery is productive throughout the entire calendar year.
I wholeheartedly recommend this fishery and Bay Flats Lodge. The accommodations are very nice and the lodge has great food, a great management team, and excellent guides. I can't wait to go back.
They use pretty sweet boats down here
I recently took a trip to majestic Utah with my raft in tow and floated and camped my way down the Green River near Flaming Gorge. I love the scenery on this river. It is absolutely breathtaking with red cliff canyon views, gin clear water, and lots of fish. Not sure if it was the cicada hatch that brought all the sports to the river, but the river was extremely crowded. At any given moment on the A section, you could look up and count 14 boats in one half mile stretch of water. And I thought the Trinity could get crowded!
Despite an enormous amount of pressure and crowds on the A section of the river, the fishing was still great with proper rigging, line control and a good reach cast. The cicada hatch was popping in the morning with fish hitting big bugs on top, but by mid afternoon, the fish were eating sub surface. Sight casting streamers to fish hanging near the bank was very effective and it was nice to pull over and let the crowds drift by.
We camped at Big Pine II campground (float in access only) on the beginning of the B section, and this part of the river was much less crowded. Fish in this section were much grabbier, and you could tell they had seen quite a few less flies recently. Less dry fly action (this could have been the stormy weather and less of a hatch), but they were eating nymphs very consistently. In the slower water, a spring creek nymph rig caught fish almost every cast. Bellow red creek the river was murkier, and the streamer bite in this section of the river was insane. Some of the best streamer fishing I have encountered. The camp/float section of the trip was a huge success.
Up in Wyoming, the fishing on the Green was also great. Despite a recent increase in flows, the fishing bellow Fontanelle Reservoir was excellent. I brought my spey rod and swung streamers with quite a few grabs. There was even an epic thunderstorm late in the afternoon that kept things interesting. Nothing like brandishing about a 13' metal composite rod in the midst of a electric storm....
The first chunky 'bow of my trip.
This fish crushed a streamer and then put up a serious fight!
You can see where the river gets its name
One of my favorite Scotch's cooling to perfect temperature
A nice brown landed at the camp home water
Rainy days in Wyoming!
I spent the evening shad fishing with Wayne Syn from Chico. Wayne is a guide with Orland Outfitters, an all-tackle guide service. Wayne is an outstanding fly angler and he guides shad, stripers, and salmon on the Sacramento River. We fished in the Chico area and the shad bite was really good. I landed a pretty big hen, the biggest he's seen so far this season. I've been in trout world for so long it was really fun to do something different. Shooting heads on 8wt rods are really smooth and easy to cast. Shad put up a great fight on an 8wt rod. It was a ton of fun.
lots of shad like this tonight
Come say hi to Gino, Leslie, and myself today at the big Spey O Rama event at the San Francisco Golden Gate Casting Club in Golden Gate Park. Watch the best distance Spey casters in the world compete for the world championship. It's a very cool event and free to the public.
World champion Travis Johnson helping out Leslie with her cast
Katie and I just spent the day with guide Ed Tamai on Oahu. Conditions were tough with high winds and overcast, but we still got some shots. I connected with a great fish - my first Hawaiian bone fish. These are beautiful fish and they are big! The sight-fishing opportunities are also much better than I had anticipated. We did a little bit of blind-fishing, but only because of the marginal conditions. With less wind and more sun you could sight fish all day. Katie even had a shot at some tailing bonefish today.
Ed was a fun and knowledgeable guide. He says the best time of year is when the water is warmer, from April through October.
I just wrapped up my season of wilderness float trips on the Grande Ronde in Eastern Oregon & Washington. We had an outstanding season, with excellent weather and incredible fishing. Many wild steelhead over 30 inches were landed this season, which was the best in my 4 years guiding one of the most highly regarded steelhead rivers in the states. Along with our Spey Camp on the Lower Klamath River, these are by far the best steelhead camping trips available in the industry. Contact me for booking one of these special trips in 2015, as availability is extremely limited.
My next stop on my steelhead journey will take me to the Trinity River. I am extremely looking forward to fishing and guiding on one of my all time favorite steelhead rivers. Shoot me an e mail if you want to fish.
Dramatic scenery and swing water
A superb, wild steelhead from the Ronde
Wolf skated up an epic wild hen right after I took this photo
Ryan Davey with a mega steelie
Group trips are super fun
Mist on home water
I had the chance to fish with my old friend Mike Bias today. Mike is now an outfitter in Montana, based in Twin Bridges. He guides the Big Hole, Beaverhead, and Madison in Montana and the Henry's Fork and South Fork in Idaho. Mike's website is www.setsetset.com
We decided to do something different today and fish Henry's Lake at the source of the Henry's Fork. The lake is big, relatively shallow, and home to really large Yellowstone cutthroat, cuttbows, and brookies. It reminded me a lot of Crowley, with boats clustered in groups around productive areas. We fished sly lines and floating lines. I got one fish on a brassie under an indicator, but all the others came on small nymphs on a slow retrieve. My huge brook trout ate a size 18 beadhead PT nymph. Our best cutthroat were about 18". I was really excited to fish this lake - it's been on my list for a long time. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Biggest brookie of my life
Mike with a big yellowstone cutthroat
Today was our second full day at the Stillwater River Outpost fishing with outfitter Mike Hillygus. Mike took me on a float on the Stillwater today. The Stillwater is anything but still. It's the most technical, high-gradient river I've ever seen anyone run in a hard drift boat. The rowing might be challenging, but the fishing is fun and straightforward. You can fish dry flies all day here, making quick casts to promising holding areas as you move along. Our best action came on hoppers, especially Morrish's hopper in a size 8. The fish I landed were from 9 to 16". I hooked one much larger fish on a streamer, too. This is a really fun river to fish and there are two other floats you can do when the water is higher. I want to come back in July and see what the upper part of the river is like.
There are countless places to stop and fish
A view of the three tent cabins right by the river
We boated over that in a hard boat!
Last night we arrived at the Stillwater River Outpost (http://www.stillwaterriveroutpost.com/
), a lodge on the Stillwater River near Billings. The lodge is operated by outfitter Mike Hillygus. The food and hospitality here is excellent - our first meal was rack of lamb. After a breakfast of biscuits and gravy, Mike took the whole lot of us on a float down the Yellowstone River. Mike took Katie's mom Mary, our daughter Mackenzie, and his two black labs in one boat. Katie and Madison and I followed him down the river in a raft.
Fishing wasn't red hot, but we had plenty of strikes on our dry flies. Mackenzie and Madison fished with their snoopy poles. Madison even reeled in one of my fish! The kids were pretty wiped out by the end of the float. Madison fell asleep in her chair, hands still clutching a box of flies.
Our first family float trip!
Madison with her fish
Madison passed out
I'm out in Wyoming with Billy Downs, Mike Peters, Tom April, Jeremy Baker, and Jay Cockrum. We're in Casper representing Clearwater Lodge at the Pit River at the annaul Orvis Guide Rendezvous. Clearwater Lodge is now an Orvis-endorsed lodge, and the owners of the lodge have treated us to a very nice pre-season getaway here in Wyoming. We fished the North Platte today in the strongest winds I've ever experienced. Despite the severe conditions, fishing was pretty amazing. When we could keep our lines on the water, we hooked up regularly on rainbows up to four pounds! There were a lot of them, too. The best flies were small baetis nymphs and midge patterns size 18 and 20. The Orvis Rendezvous starts tomorrow with various programs catering to guides. We'll keep you posted!
Drew with a fish on
Jay Cockrum with a toad
Tom April with a fattie