Month: November 2016

Oregon Outstanding!


We’d been to Oregon several times before starting our River Ramble.  It was always flying into Portland for meetings/R&R, hitting Salem for state capitol confabs and occasionally, an education conference on the Oregon coast.   In other words, we were always on the western side of the Cascades.  It turns out, the four Trout Unlimited Top 100 Trout Streams are on the eastern side of the Cascades in what is “high desert” country.

This area has incredible beauty from the basalt cliffs that line the Deschutes and Crooked rivers to the tall pines and redwoods found near the North Umpqua and Metolius rivers.   While we toured these four trout streams, we’d always look up and see the majesty that surrounded us.  It seemed we always were seeing the snow fields on Mount Jefferson, regardless of which river we were on.

From a fishing perspective, we caught acrobatic steelhead in the North Umpqua, native Redband trout in the Deschutes and Crooked and one measly fish from the mysterious Metolius.   I know, I know, “It’s Not About the Fish” and it truly isn’t.  But we have to talk about our “excuse” for our River Ramble sometimes.

Once again, we met some incredible people and had the best guides.  Tony Wratney steered me into holes on the North Umpqua, after I’d fallen in the river on my third step in, at 6:30 am, and caught and landed 4 steelhead, in one morning.   I thought this was just a typical steelhead fishing day, but, I learned that it was not typical at all, but an epic sort of day.   Tony said he’d not brought along his net because he was going to be surprised if we needed it.  Little did we both know!

All along our trip, we’ve been blessed with finding a fly shop that really goes above and beyond in helping us.  In this case, it was Fly and Field Outfitters in Bend, Oregon.  We met Jasper, Gabe, Dave and Griff the first day we were in the shop.   Griff is the lead guide and instructor for the shop and we were fortunate to have him as our guide.  Griff gave us a most memorable day on the Deschutes.  I cannot recommend him enough for his instructional techniques, his manner in working with us on the water, his knowledge of how to fish the water and most importantly, his humor and outgoing personality that kept us laughing and having a great time all day.

A few days later, Eddie Mack from Fly and Field, took us on a trip along the Crooked River.  The setting for the river is simply spectacular.  The fishing, both nymphing and dry fly fishing, was great.   Eddie was incredibly helpful in getting us into spots on the river where fish were holding, and helping us with the flies and best techniques to catch them.  Again, many thanks to the entire team at Fly and Field Outfitters for a great time.

We did our best to sample the food and drink of the area as well.  We loved our time around Sisters, OR,  and Camp Sherman.  The Camp Sherman Store is a must stop, given its setting along the Metolius.  Sisters is just 25 minutes away and also a must stop at the Sisters Bakery and Three Creeks Brewing.  While the secret of Bend has been out now for a while, it’s still a place you must visit;  breweries practically on every corner like Starbucks in Seattle.  Bend has this outdoor vibe that sucks you in and makes you want to bike, hike, kayak, float, fish, board, ski and even surf right in town.  As we were heading up to Washington, we even stopped in Maupin, a little town on the Lower Deschutes.  Great fishing…. great food… great flyshop in the Deschutes Angler with three great fly shop dogs: Lupin, Nelly and KD.  We’ll definitely be coming back to Oregon.

We hope you enjoy these “highlights” of our time in the great state of Oregon.  It truly was outstanding!

For years, we’d heard from our son-in-law, Chris Drake, of the difficulty in fishing the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River near Island Park, ID.   How the fish all had Ph.D.’s and were easily spooked.  How perfect presentations and drifts were essential to catching fish.  Well, we saw these clear, flat waters outside the TroutHunter fly shop in Island Park, ID, but decided our best bet fishing was in sections where there was a little more current and structure that would lend itself to having better luck.

We’d also heard about the local charm of Island Park, ID.   According to wikipedia, “the city was incorporated by owners of the many lodges and resorts along U.S. Route 20 in 1947, primarily to circumvent Idaho’s liquor laws that prohibited the sale of liquor outside of city limits.  It is only 500 feet wide in most locations and, at 33 miles (53 km), claims to have the longest “Main Street” in the world.”  TroutHunter’s fly shop, lodge and restaurant/bar are one of the highlights along the route.  We were fortunate to have booked our guide from the shop and to have met friends for dinner at the restaurant/bar. More on that in another post!

We met our guide, TJ Powell, at the TroutHunter fly shop on a cold, crisp October morning and headed off for a section of the river nearer Aston, ID.  When we put in, we knew it was going to be a  great day because we immediately came upon fish.  They weren’t the giants that inhabited the Railyard section of the Henry’s Fork, but beautiful wild trout that fought like crazy.

We had a blast fishing with TJ and hope you enjoy his “Guide Talk” video about fishing on the Henry’s Fork.

Snow Day


We had an awesome week fishing, hiking and touring  Yellowstone National Park.  We stayed at the Madison Campground inside the park.  It was just a short hike to both the Gibbon and Madison rivers.  The week started with a great guide trip with Patrick Daigle of Blue Ribbon Flies (West Yellowstone, MT).  We fished the Madison, Gibbon and Firehole rivers with Patrick and got a great feel for fishing by swinging wet flies for big fish that were moving up the Madison from Hebgen Lake to spawn.

Our typical plan in an area is to go out with a guide on our first day and then fish on our own the next few days.  In this case, the day after our trip with Patrick, we awakened to white stuff dropping from the sky…. SNOW!  The temp outside was in the mid-20’s.  We’d accoustomed ourselves to fishing in the 40’s and even in the 30’s as the temp was during our day fishing with Patrick.  However, the mid-20’s was something else.  So…. we made a decision….. SNOW DAY!

We took off from the campground about 9am and didnt return until dusk.  It snowed on us all day but made the landscape of YNP so beautiful.  We hope you enjoy this narrated video of our “Snow Day” touring Yellowstone National Park.



The South Platte River is a blue ribbon trout stream famous for its most productive sections like Cheesman Canyon, 11 Mile Canyon, Dream Stream and Deckers.  We had the pleasure of fishing the Dream Stream section with Vinnie Renda of the South Platte Fly Shop in Woodland Park, CO.

We met Vinnie at our campground at 7:00am on another COLD October morning.  Lucky for us the campground didn’t have good cell service because a message from Vinnie came through from days earlier asking us if we could meet at 6:00am.  What we soon realized, as we arrived at the river just below Spinney Mountain Reservoir, was that it wasn’t because of good fishing early, but because so many anglers wanted to get the “prime” spots first!   When we arrived, there were already at least 10 cars in the parking lot.  However, we found there was plenty of water to be found.

As we fished different spots along the Dream Stream section, the winds kept howling with increasing intensity.  30-40mph gusts were common with a constant 20mph wind.  This didn’t deter us at all as we chucked our nymph rigs into likely spots and watched for the slightest movement in our strike indicators.  When it happened, BOOM… the water would explode as large brown trout would fight to expel the tiny #18 zebra midge fly that fooled them.

We really enjoyed our day fishing with Vinnie and appreciated his desire to keep people off the “redds”.   Vinnie explains this and more in his “Guide Talk” as we conducted it inside the SaraLinda due to the gale force winds outside.  Enjoy!

ArkAngler Billy


The Arkansas River starts high in the Rocky Mountains north of Buena Vista, CO.  While many come here to whitewater raft  through Royal Gorge, it’s also a blue ribbon trout stream.  We took on the Arkansas, via raft, with Billy Hicks of ArkAngler Fly Shop in Salida, CO.

As we met Billy at the fly shop and discussed the trip, we found out that he is from Chillicothe, MO, not too far from where Barb and I grew up.  We shared great stories about growing up in Missouri and when we got ready to do our “guide talk” interview with Billy, he excused himself to put on another ball cap he was carrying, as you’ll see in the video.  We also did the video BEFORE we took off on the trip, because we found a great spot for the interview as we were gearing up to put in.  We had a couple of “friends” who “video-bombed” the interview as well.

We had a great day floating and fishing the Arkansas with Billy.  We actually floated the section that runs right through Salida, stopping right downtown for a quick break around lunchtime.  This is such a beautiful river and the fish were willing along the way.  Not huge fish, usually in the 12″ range, but beautiful, hard fighting trout.  We know you’ll enjoy ArkAngler Billy’s views on fishing the Arkansas.