Friday, April 11, 2014

Salmon River Steelhead

Well as usual are yearly steelhead trip was a blast, warm days, good water and a few fish. I won't spend a bunch of time on the nonsense, all of our fish were caught bottom bouncing size #10 corky's with several different colors of 2" panfish grubs. All our setups are pretty similar, we run 8'6" Medium to Medium-Heavy casting rods from various company's (Fenwick, Cabela's and St. Croix) and our reels are primarily Abu Garcia's and Quantum's. I've come to really like the quantum reels, they cast a mile, have a great drag, are relatively inexpensive compared to Shimano's (the cat's meow of steelhead and salmon reels) and the low profile design doesn't give ya hand cramps as bad as the round C series Abu's we've fished for years with.

This trip takes us down the canyon of the Salmon river near North Fork, Idaho. It's big untamed country without any cell service which is a huge bonus to me. I look forward to this trip as much or more than any other trip of the year, it really kicks of the start of fishing season for me and I get to spend some quality time with some of the greatest guys I know. This marks 10+ years of Steelhead fishing for me and I've learned a great deal about it over the years, learned lots of techniques from pretty cool dudes on the river and made a few enemies also, this is battle fishing after all!! I figure pictures are worth a thousand words, Enjoy my friends!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Testing Out Some Gear!

I would really like to thank all of you that read my blog, since I started this blog almost two months ago I have had over 3,000 views and have reached over 15 different countries, I'm blown away needless to say and I hope that there is something for everyone as I progress through different topics over the next few months. As promised I was able to get out on the water this last week and test out some of the new rods and reels that I've picked up over the last few months. The narrows is one of my favorite places to fish when the river flows are ideal, usually between 350-550 CFS makes for good clear water and plenty of pockets for the fish to stack into during the colder months.
Looking Down River
With it being a holiday I wasn't surprised to see people in some of the holes I like to fish, I stopped in a couple spots that I haven't fished for years and managed to scrap a couple little fish out of them. One of my favorite spots had a few guys fishing in it, so I decided to sit and watch them and see if they was having any luck, with it being cloudy and windy it made for some cold conditions and I could tell they weren't enjoying it much, another 10 minutes rolled by and they made their way up to the trucks and down the canyon they went. I wasn't to fond of getting out of my own truck so I decided to sit there myself and enjoy the warmth of the heater and the sound of the river and some Dwight Yoakam. While I was sitting there I was contemplating what bugs to try, I've always had good luck on Hare's Ears, Pheasant Tails and Copper Johns, along with black and maroon Beadhead Leach's. Within a few minutes the sun had started to poke its way around the edges of the canyon and the warmth was felt immediately, so I hopped out tied on a maroon Leach and a Copper John dropper

12" Bow

Little Guy

Catch and Release
It took me a little while to find a strike but after switching to a Hare's Ear I had several hits and landed a few fish nothing real big but typical of the Narrows, I was trying out  new 4wt. 9'6" St. Croix High Stick Drifter (Made specifically for nymphing), this rod is paired with the new Allen Trout II reel and Scientific Anglers Mastery Textured Nymph Series line. I was extremely hesitant about this whole setup, I know everyone is going to extremely long rods for nymph fishing. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised, in fact this is probably one of my favorite setups that I have. The rod is very light and balances extremely well with this reel, it has a great backbone and nice soft tip. I couldn't believe how good it felt in my hands, it could easily roll cast a double rig, split shot and strike indicator 40-50 feet. The thing that I really like is this rod would be equally suited for dry fly fishing too! Hands down an awesome rod, it is available in 4-5-6wts and retails for $460, definitely a great price considering its other competitors have rods made for the exact same tactics that run close to $1000! Now the Allen Trout II is another surprise, for a reel that runs $140 bucks this thing blew me away, I have a couple Lamson-Waterworks reels that cost upwards of $400 and this thing is every bit as good!! Super light, amazing drag, high line capacity, quick line pick up and it just looks damn good, it comes in many different colors and two different sizes for rods ranging from 3wt clear up to 6wt.
St. Croix High Stick Drifter

Allen Trout II

Another Setup I configured over the last couple months is the Echo Ion in a 9' 7wt rod and the Allen Alpha III reel, any one that fly fish's knows that the bigger the rod the more work that is involved to get things moving. I wished I could say I've found the mother of all rods with this guy, but thats not the case. It does however do exactly what is suppose to, chuck big weighted flies with heavy sinking lines. This rod loads extremely well and shoots line with authority, I had no problem throwing every ounce of fly line I had spooled up, several times when the wind was not blowing I made it into the backing, something I haven't done with very many rods. The rod is super stout and has a great back bone and it carries it's strength all the way to the tip, I'd have no worries about rigging this rod up for the biggest trout, steelhead or even salmon in the lower 48. The really great thing about this rod is it's price tag, $190 for all this rod has to offer is a really great price, and if you want to see some brutal rod testing search for Echo rod testing on Youtube, I don't think any normal fishing conditions could break one of these rods after watching some of the videos of them using forklifts to break their test rods.  Another Allen fly reel surprise, the Alpha III is a touch heavier than its smaller cousin the Trout II but that is to be expected with a reel that has a 200 yard capacity of 30 lb backing, definitely a beast made for big fish and long runs, it has the same silky smooth drag as the Trout II but is a hair bigger, great looking reel in a variety of colors to suit your fancy and another great price tag of $150. This reel paired with any single or two handed rod could easily handle some of the largest fish there is whether its fresh or saltwater. I look forward to catching some large fish with this rod over the next few months.
Echo Ion

Allen Alpha III
Both these rods were paired up with some of Scientific Anglers Mastery Texture series lines, these are slowly becoming my favorite lines to use, they have dimples kinda like golf balls that reduce friction in the guides and helps trap air pockets when they land on the water, this really does help the floatability of this series of lines, Scientific Angler has a series called Sharkskin that is even more textured than the Texture series, its extremely noisy when casting and can really chew up your hands when fishing it all day, it reminds me of a round file used for woodworking and I haven't enjoyed these lines as much as the Texture series even though they float even higher on the water and cast a little quicker through the guides. The great news is they are coming out with a new line called Sharkwave and it blends the best of both of the series lines into one. I was lucky enough to get a couple spools of some prototypes and I gave one of them to a friend, hopefully between the two of us I'll be able to get some good info for those of you that are anticipating the release of this new line. There are so many different tapers and several different series's to choose from when it comes to Scientific Anglers fly lines that I'd probably never catch up in reviewing all of them, I've had many of them and they all worked flawlessly for the situation they were created, top shelf stuff and it's worth it to me. Thanks for taking the time to read some of my reviews, in the next few months  I'll be talking about building a custom rifle on a budget, a big review on the Mystery Ranch Metcalf backpack and a pretty substantial review on some of Kuiu's new ultralight hunting clothing.

Until next time get outdoors and god bless.

Looking down the Canyon

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Busy Time of Year!!

Well I would love to say I've been fishing everyday since the last post but that hasn't been the case. Between the weather, writing the proposal for my grad project and just life in general it has been pretty hectic. This is a bittersweet time of year for me, between the hours of researching for hunts this fall and forking out the thousands of dollars to play the tag drawing game, and prepping for steelhead and fly fishing season it sure makes it a burden on my pocket book. I've already dumped my money into the Utah, Arizona and Wyoming draws, hopefully with any luck we'll pull a Beaver Mtn. nanny tag and a late season deer tag in Wyoming in the Big Sandy basin. Don't get me wrong I love doing the research and compiling draw odds and harvest statistics but I hate the money thats involved, so I made a pat with myself that I'd start fishing more and hunting less (or just apply for points vs tags) and put that money into some relaxing time on the water. I haven't tied any flies in probably 12 years and I sat down today and whipped out 30 wooly buggers and leach patterns (I impressed myself needless to say). I've spent the last month fixing old reels, sending rods in for way over do repair and ordering new lines, rods and reels for this upcoming spring (so I went from spending money on tags to fishing gear, not time on the water).
Got to love 70's shag carpet!
I got in on a good buy at one of our local sporting good stores that was selling fly's for over half off, needless to say I went overboard and bought close to 200 flies, mostly sculpin, clouser minnows, chironomids and a few dry patterns. I figured I saved over $200 cause most places sale the clousers and sculpins for $2-$3 each.
This is gonna be a good week, The Western Hunting and Conservation Expo is this week going down for a day or two, I turned in my grad proposal and I'm going fishing this Saturday and will be reviewing 3 new rods from Echo, St. Croix and Redington and 3 new reels from Ross and Allen Fly Fishing, a bunch of Scientific Anglers new lines and some new fishing bags from Cabelas.
Allen Flyfishing Alpha II 
I was fortunate enough to snag myself a couple spools of the Scientific Anglers Sharkwave thats coming out later this spring, yeah thats right I got some prototype stuff and It's very interesting to say the least and has got some serious R&D for the fly fisherman!! If you like the Mastery Textured or Sharkskin it blends the best of both worlds into one and I will have a detailed review on it coming up in the future. I wish everyone luck in the up coming draws and watch for a blog update with some cool reviews on some great new gear for the savvy fly fisherman and hopefully a few fish on the fly!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


So I decided since we were having a nice spell of weather that I'd hit the Logan River and see how good the fishing was, I had heard some midge hatch's were coming off and the usual patterns like the hair's ear, pheasant tail and egg patterns were producing fairly well. I should note that I do not fish Logan very often, for one it's usually loaded with people, I usually fish it during the dead of winter and you usually only see a few die hards or idiots like me, second the fish, well they just don't get very big, every once in a while your given a surprise with one that exceeds 16", but normally the fish run in that 10-14"range, the selection is usually brown's, brook's, cutt's and bow's with a few white fish mixed in. After a morning of chores I loaded up and made a quick run up the canyon, It was a pretty nice day, the sun was shining and the temps were in the mid 30's. I hopped out and grabbed my rod and noticed I had left my fly bag at home, armed with only some fairly large streamers I decided to give it a go anyway, within about 20 minutes I had landed the 1st fish, about a 12" cutt which I had watched chase my fly pretty much the whole way through the pool I was fishing in, as I was releasing him I noticed it had started to cloud up, within minutes it was blowing 25+ mph and it never let up!! I fished for the next 2 hours relentlessly hitting every deep pool I could find, the wind made it extremely miserable, I got tired of digging my fly out the willow's and it can get pretty old when a big weighted streamer is continually smacking you in the head as the wind changes directions. I missed a few fish and only managed to land one more and it was a tiny a brown.

 I ran into a older gentlemen from a local town, I can't remember his name at this current moment but we fished for the last hour and half together, there wasn't much for conversation which seemed awfully strange, we talked mostly about the fish in the Logan and good patterns to use, which I didn't have much contribution to the topic, but he did manage to take a few pictures as I fished my way up the canyon. The weather looks like its going to be good for the next few days, hopefully this time I don't forget my nymph's!!

Gear used:
Simms G3 Waders
Cabelas Ultralight Wading Boots
Simms Windstopper Hooded Jacket
Kuiu SuperLight Down Jacket
St. Croix Imperial 9ft 4wt.
Cabela's Prestige Premier Reel
Scientific Anglers XPS 4wt Line
Sculpzilla size 6 and 8 Olive and Black

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thanks for the support!!

I would like to take just a few minutes to thank everyone that visits this blog, I hope that you enjoy what you see and learn. I've decided to make this my personal blog with a little more background on my life, but will still be in the context of my adventures in the wild, I am however in the works of creating my own domain name hosted blog geared towards hunting and fishing in the Rocky Mountains. That will incorporate just hunting and fishing. I'm hoping in the next few weeks that I have it up and running, so look for it in the future at

Big Country in the Selway Wilderness of Idaho
So for those of you that find this through Facebook feel fortunate that you have access to this blog, cause I will be providing more detail on my locations of the hunting and fishing areas that I will be at. Like unit's or specific coordinates to some of the places I fish. I'm sure that some of my close friends might find this obtrusive but I feel that the amount of people that this blog will come in contact with will be significantly low that it won't in anyway jeopardize the areas that we already access. And last of all I've been reported several times within the 8 hours this blog has been up and running, mostly for my pictures of deceased animals, I'm sorry if this offends anybody but its a way of life out west, so you'll just have to put on your big boy pants and deal with it.

So I'd just like to thank everyone once again and please why don't you Follow Me Outdoors!!