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Guides Life

Come hell or LOW water

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Make it Rain

This is no joke. I am going crazy.  It should be the heart of the winter steelhead season in Northern California, and I should be making all kinds of excuses to be on the coast, chasing big dime bright steelhead just coming in from the Pacific.

But it won’t rain…

This time of year I am usually looking at the flows of dozens of different rivers within 300 miles, trying to figure out which one will have the magic combo, for the perfect conditions, to intercept just one fish. Judging if the last storm brought the rivers up enough to bring in fish, or if they dropped enough to clear and swing right.

But no storms have come…not even one.

I have never in my life as a steelheader seen the rivers closed due to low water the entire month of January. I have worried abo...

Twerk your fly

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Although some of our runs here in haida Gwaii are big wide open gravel bars akin to the Bulkley or Morice with enough room to carelessly fling flies in any direction, others are quite opposite. With grabby trees above your head, and looming over soft bouldery buckets, each cast we make has to be well constructed from its conception. 

Every week our guests have a learning curve to get in tune with this. No matter how experienced you are, your first time through runs like Lumberjack, or Taco stand, you are inevitably going to donate a fly to the tree gods. For the rest of the season your fly will dangle above the run like a flag reminding us of your stay. Every fly in a tree tells a story for us.

If you want to avoid becoming immortalized in the trees you need to have a plan after your errant cast. You...

ISE Sportsman show update

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It’s showtime! I have been running around dragging booths, TV’s, business cards and guides to promote The Fly Shop and the amazing places we represent for over a week, and we are only half way there! The ISE Sportsmen’s Show continues this weekend in Denver Colorado.

Last weekend we were down in Sacramanto California promoting our local guide service in Northern California and I did a presentation on Steelhead Fly Fishing for some pretty big crowds. The turnout was great this year. It seems to me like the ISE Sportsmen’s shows have been growing in popularity lately and we see a ton of people attending and booking trips at these events. Sunday was pretty slow in Sac with the 49ers playing a big game.

We just finished setting up our booth in Denver and we are excited for another great show. We are doing a lo...

2013 Bulkley/Morice year in review

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The entire skeena system is famous for having steelhead that are eager to take a dry fly and the 2013 season showed us just how good it can be. It was far and away the best dry fly season in the past decade.  

The season started out well for us as the early return in the Skeena was quite good.  For a short period of time fish counts entering the system were keeping up with the last 2 years which were exceptional runs.  These early fish are typically destined for the highest tribs in the Skeena system.  The system will backfill with the lower trib steelhead entering later.  It wasn’t long though until we realized the run size was going to be far less than what we have grown accustomed to the last several years.  

As predicted our early run of fish destined for the Morice showed...

Swinging flies for Trinity Steelhead

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The Trinity River in Northern California is my home river.  I have had the pleasure of swinging flies for steelhead all the way around the Pacific rim, from California up and around through the States, BC and Alaska, and down into the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, but the Trinity always feels like home.

The Trinity, for me, is a summer run river. We fish it in the late summer and fall, when the water is gin clear and the perfect temperature. The dime bright fish enter the Klamath first, but within a couple of weeks, or sooner, they head up the cooler waters of the Trinity. The water this time of year is scary clear and somewhere around 50-55 degrees.  Any other steelhead river in the world I would hang my head if I showed up and it was that clear, but in the fall on the Trin, I don’t want it any other way...

Justin Miller hosted trip winter steelheading

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Every year more and more trout fisherman are learning that they have been missing out for years not swinging flies for steelhead. However as more people are drawn to the sport, those of us that have been steelheading our entire lives have been in search of more challenging situations with a spey rod.  These are the trips that I like the most. I host trips around the world where great challenges equals great rewards.  This winter I am hosting a trip to just such a location.  

Winter steelhead fishing on the Queen Charlottes Islands now known as Haida Gwaii.  This trip is for intermediate to advanced anglers looking to target steelhead off the grid. The rivers are small walk and wades with fish up to 20lbs. Ever dreamed of having a steelhead river to yourself and fishing under old growth 700 y...

Low Water Steelhead Fishing

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Low and behold the Bulkley River has been blessed by the grace of God a low water year.  How does that translate to fishing you ask? When you figure out where they are hiding it is incredible.   Fishing low water has usually been pure joy for our guide team.  To see runs that we haven’t been able to fish since 2008 has been exciting, exhilarating, and very productive.

Fishing in low water is challenging but with the proper mindset you can be very successful. Fly selection is key as it is time to put away the giant squirrel tail looking  patterns and pick up the low profile, subtle colored attractors on light sinking tips or grease lines.

With higher than normal water temps the fish are still holding in fast, shallow lies and can be brought to hand with short, tight swings in the heads o...

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