Surviving the Blob

#survivedtheblob "The Blob" No not that terrible horror movie of my childhood, but the warm mass that engulfed the west coast for nearly two years, has created quite a path of destruction. We all know warm water is a terrible thing to deal with as a steelhead smolt, add in the dams that help create the warm water and we have additional issues. MOST of these issues are of the predatory kind, warm water predators thrive and they have a taste for little smolts. As if "millions" of displaced artic terns was not enough. The returning adults have increased sea lion issues on less fish. And the unwillingness for the tribes to reduce there pressure, not stop but just reduce to what the runs can sustain. SUSTAIN there's a pesky word for the commercial kill industry. All these factors are inhibiting this seasons steelhead run. #survivedtheblob Cool Water, is the key in the freshwater environment its a huge part of the habitat theory and the Klickitat River on the Washington side is doing its best to provide. The steelhead have noticed and are running the Klickitat dipping in so to speak as they once did on the Deschutes river in Oregon. The big D, what a travesty of intentions, changing the system that worked under the disguise of wild salmon protection. we are noticing that the big D may have had a lot more influence over the survival of Columbia River fish than ever thought. SO much for fisheries Science, apparently it can be bought too.. So as a testament to WILD fish we are finding the majority of successful returns are wild fish. This is just my little observation but it rekindles the pride and hope I have long had for these fish. I know they will survive they have the genetics and the testament of evolution to overcome all that we as humans can throw at them. My service this season will be

Some things in Life we just do.

Be thankful on Thanksgiving day, say Amen when we pray, drop some coin when we pass those in need, help a lady to load her groceries, be kind to strangers, that sort of thing. Call it what you will "pay it forward" is just good ol American kindness, we often forget that the rewards of giving are far greater than not. I think there's a line on a tablet somewhere that bestows the virtues of treating others as we wish to be treated. Nate McDonough and Caleb Garrett are two guides that help make our fishing program what it is today. When not chasing steelhead in Forks, they're guiding in Montana. Last week they approached me to ask for some help donating a trip to help a co-worker in need... long-time Missoula guide, Patch Godown. Patrick K Godown who cares for two children and his long time girlfriend has been stricken with stage 4 lung cancer. He is good friends with Nate and Caleb and that's good enough for me to jump in and do what we can to help. Presently he is on experimental drugs that are beyond anything a fishing guide could ever pay for. The experience has left him without the ability to work.  Hoping on remission from Stage 4 lung cancer is a real possibility. Caught up in present day Healthcare woes he is in direct and personal need. The local Missoula Montana fishing community has rallied around him and a benefit for him is scheduled on August 20th in Florence MT at the Rustic Hut bar 2 p.m. to 8 p.m..  Here there will be a silent auction with most everything an outdoorsman could look for from camping gear and fishing trips from Missoula river Lodge to extravagant big game hunting trips in Texas. This trip package will also be available for purchase through auction should it not sell before hand. Our Contribution is a 3 day 4 night all

NEW DIGS

    Hard Work and vigilance has to pay off someday right? Well after 17 years guiding on the Olympic Peninsula, "starting in a wall tent" we have purchased a newer home in the Sol Duc valley. Christmas came early and as somewhat of a surprise beginning last summer when the lease we had going deteriorated unannounced. Never wanting to hop off the ride of life we jumped right back in with both feet. We have big plans on the conversion to more of our style in a house for entertaining guests and providing a home base and service for the guides, friends and family alike. The path that life has led us on has taken a slight change in direction but again it's a ride on a river and we are up for the challenge. Here are some of the photos of the new place and we will post as we go on the conversion that I am sure will take a while. With artwork By Jesse Purdom @pacificmetalarts on the dining table, Bob McLean steel arts of Twin Bridges MT., Tosh Brown Photography throughout the lodge, personal pics, many faces of guests and guides included have really placed a family feel to the lodge. Wonderful food enjoyed amongst friends and anglers   My own designs and building of end tables, night stands and basic amendments to the furniture and special angler needs makes it a true second home and fishing lodge for myself and guide partners. We can accommodate 8 anglers and have the guides and private catering onsite as well. Following the program developed over years of adaption. We deliver a unique in depth exposure to the culture of fly fishing for Olympic Peninsula steelhead and the guide life it supports. Gear work , fly tying, steelhead conservation all spoken in depth nightly and carried out over our favorite adult beverages. We still enforce the tequila tradition, Patron or Don Julio shots for all when a guests catches a 20 pound steelhead. Weather can be

Ladies fly fishing and tying class

3 day 3 night Ladies SPEY casting, fly tying and fishing class with guided fishing and fully hosted lodging package.. Full accommodations lodging near Forks Wa. All meals, rooms and transportation to and from locations included. Foot and boat access to either Sol-Duc, Bogachiel or Hoh river. 3 days instructional casting, fishing and fly tying methods: ONE day on foot and TWO days boat and on foot fishing with guides two persons per boat. Fly Tying instruction all three days. Instructional coverage:  Skagit and Single hand style casting. Long rods, switch rods, single hand. Sink tips or sinking leader selection and casting. Fly selection and casting styles to accommodate. How to fish and wade select water types. Fly tying Steelhead Flies Hook selection with rigging methods for success. Drift boat and on Foot guided fly fishing to put your casting instruction to good use. Includes two anglers per boat, lunch on the river and gear you may need. On Foot Instructional time will have  3 or 4 persons per  instructor maximum, they will be very low key no pressure, we will simply break down each casting method as you need, line selection for your rod, tip selection for conditions and fly selection. Bonus time Fly tying after each day with attention to materials, rigging and hook selection. SAMPLE  ITINARY: Arrive at the lodge sometime after 4 PM, meet and greet with house staff and instructors. Settle into your rooms and the house. Enjoy Social hour before dinner. Introduction to fly tying, optional. Day one; Breakfast around 8 AM String rods gather gear for the day. Starting off on instructions on gear selection and casting with single hand and double hand on the Lawn. Mid day lunch at the house.. After lunch we will head to the river for custom attention to details of casting 3-4 hours. Return to the house around four or five pm for social time and dinner. After dinner those that want

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Wild Steelhead, ‘er in a hatchery world…

As a catch and release wild steelhead fly fisherman I have immersed myself in chasing wild steelhead where they thrive, from SE AK to the famed Dean river in BC to the North Umpqua in Oregon. HOME WATER: I consider my home water to be all of Washington state, more precisely the Olympic Peninsula and the Upper Columbia tributaries. The Peninsula having the last remaining stocks of giant wild winter steelhead are presently undergoing much needed changes for there continued rein of supremacy. This comes with much sacrifice by all concerned in an attempt to regain our allotted 50% management criteria. Most importantly with out closing the fishery. The Upper Columbia River tribs have undergone years of closures, management changes on the state and federal levels and supported extensive study that has developed a blue print for recovery elsewhere. Here are the rivers that began my development into the lifestyle I now live. My all-time favorite the Methow the river of my ancestry. The wild run of summer steelhead has blossomed into a growing population witch has exceeded expectations. This season will be the first with a highly reduced federal bloodstock program, and zero tribal hatchery plants in the Methow itself, we will see if it takes hold. I have faith! Beyond all the passion and love we display for our sport of fly fishing, the majestic wild steelhead, fills the personal need to just fish and be happy. Catching any fish on the swing somehow acknowledges that there is still greatness in the wild environments we call rivers. Its an astonishing victory making everything feel right with the world. This summer for me, has been about that reconnection, with a twist, we don't have that many wild summer steelhead cursing through our rivers in July and August many rivers in Washington never did. We do however have the replacement players. The hatchery fish that have been labeled and demonized by so many that we have forgotten the ideal of just fishing. CORECTIVE MANAGEMENT: We are now blessed with

Summer steelhead fly fishing “a resurrection”

SUMMER STEELHEAD FLY FISHING As an angler of all fishes my true love are steelhead, everything about them fits my persona and lifestyle follows suit. In the 80's they were common place on the rivers of the Puget Sound namely the Green river flowing through Auburn and we fished in the Gorge. Although, according to WDFW Biologists they was never a wild run in the green, it sure seemed like a riverine habitat that would of supported them. Now with the hatchery systems falling from grace even non-wild rivers go unplanted to a large degree. We commonly fished the run all summer with the cooler times being best as water temps rose above 60 during heat waves. Many of my days would be played out hiking the George and fishing skaters/wakers and dry lines in tail outs then riffles and then any shade as the day progressed. In those days location was key, and secrecy a must. I admit having some coveted private access into the Gorge was helpful. Those runs as with many Puget Sound summer runs will only return to fishable levels with the resurgence of hatchery plants. Programs that have been deemed the devil by some special interest groups. I get lucky once and a while dogs are a fishing must have Loving the summertime Its been since the early 90's that I have pursued the summer run steelhead in actual summer. I have whittled the season down to concentrate in the fall when the Columbia river tribs would be open and fishable numbers existed. Last summer I started fishing a few times a month on the Cowlitz, and again this year quite a bit more. The resurgence of fresh run summer steelhead is addicting and the hard fighting fish are running strong in most of the Columbia tribs and even in the northern Puget Sound tribs are seeing some return of hatchery and wild steelhead. I have dropped the trout rods and picked up the 6wt spey far

Responsible Angling part 2

As we progress or gain experience in reality we learn things that are only discovered with LOTS of time on the water. Some in business call it the 10,000 hour thresh hold. There comes a point in experience that many thing become second nature. In the fishermen guiding field its as simple as effortlessly dodging rocks on a rapid, seeing and fishing current seams un noticed by most others or when to dip the net and when not to. All these things take time and understanding. Many go unshared or even un noticed by others. The other and most important aspect in experience is Responsibility. We as guides are responsible for the safety our guests, there enjoyment on the water and sometimes there effectiveness in catching the quarry. Perfect hook point, upward and to the corner. But what I feel the need to SHARE with you is the responsibility we have as guides and all anglers alike the care of our sought after prize. It used to be that just the style of angling was often considered and effective tool in lowering our effect OF angling on Salmon Trout and Steelhead. I choose these as there in the hot bed of topic and also what I know about the most. We as anglers really don't know how effective other styles are unless we have done that or experienced that. Many guides have never swung a fly for steelhead, many others have never floated jigs or hung bait under floats or experienced plunking. But we find it so common for the general fishing public to assume what is happening in a day on the water with alternate methods. At this juncture we can say the most common problem with the management of our iconic species is KILLING them. Plain and simple, we don't want to kill the ones that are least in volume or the ones we cherish the most. This post wont be about tribal issues or WDFW management

Summer Steelhead Fishing Reports

  Its official, there is real good steelhead fishing to be had at the right place at the right time... This being Labor day week end fishing pressure was pretty substantial to say the least, with a little elusive timing and split floating mixed in with long ass fishing days we are managing double digit success with regularity. Seeing quite a few wild steel along with the smoking type; their fin challenged hatchery cousins. Cooler temps and a little rain has helped immensely, even finding  few fall chinook I the mix. The Chinook run is looking epic and their size range is over the top, un-land able at this point! super clear water for the Klickitat has brought on some troubles for the private crowd Andy and I have been doing well on the normal techniques with a low water adjustment.. Been getting some goods grabs at the fringe hours right in front of the house here on dry lines and wakers or sub surface, yet to complete the task but its only a matter of time.. UPDATE: The BS road mining project is finally over so we wont be seeing any out of the normal blow out from the past two seasons. On the positive side the digging has made a very good dry fly skating run... Some good dates available, call us in the evening at the house here in Klickitat @ 509-369-1018 Email jeff@Brazdasflyfishing.com   Thanks for subscribing, Steelhead fishing reports, Jeff