Let’s face it this Corona Virus has placed the World on “pause” until further notice.Fishing Trips requiring flying are being postponed or canceled severely impacting the Fy-Fishing Industry especially Destination Guides, Oufitters and Lodges as no one wants to risk travel and you cant blame them.I had high hopes of traveling north to Ontario to help a friend out with his Guide Service focusing on Great Lakes Steelhead,that would be a kick I thought but now the U.S. -Canada Border is closed.
So much for that great idea.A case of “Cabin Fever” has also set in and I am thinking I may have to continue to lay low and perhaps squash my guide season in Montana and Alberta which would result in me staying right here in Patagonia Arizona which for all intensive purposes is not the Fly-Fishing Capitol of the World.If that scenario becomes reality Ill miss my northern fishing season however the main thing is stay healthy and limit contact with People.
Urban Brown Trout
Hopefully this situation that we are in sorts itself out sooner than later, but in the mean time I plan on fishing local.Checking out different Bass Lakes and perhaps some Small Arizona Trout Streams,places I have never been before but wanted to go.I’m sure a lot of you are having the same thoughts and want to make the best of a crappy situation.
Great Lakes Steelhead from a river thats 3 hours of Detroit and 2 hours from Toronto
If you live in the east or Midwest perhaps its time you checked out that Smallmouth Bass River you have heard about but never fished,or that little creek that via the rumor network you heard holds Brook Trout the further up you go.East Coasters have a myriad of Salt Water opportunities and if you live close to the Great Lakes their Tribs offer shots at some decent migratory rainbow and brown trout plus various Salmon Species.Farm Ponds stocked with Bass or Panfish can be a hoot ,sure its not Rocky Mountain Trout fishing but all this could be close to your home.Speaking of which, if you live in the West generally you don’t have to go far to find a Trout Stream,maybe this is the year you get into fly-fishing Alpine Lakes or getting off the Tailwaters and fishing back country streams for Cuttys.
Small Stream Brook Trout
Of course all of the above might require some tackle and Fly purchases and rather than order everything online give your friendly neighborhood Fly-Shop a call,Im sure they would love to hear from you and need the business.A suggestion to limit your contact with fly-shop staff would be to order your flies, leaders and hopefully that new rod and reel over the phone and have everything ready to roll for pick up or maybe delivery.
Panfish can be a riot on light tackle
The people that are really going to hurt while this pandemic carries on are Guides.If you enjoy fishing with a local guide why not give him or her a call and see how they are doing ? Question them on what they have been doing to prevent the spread of this virus, most I’m sure have been laying low tying flies or fishing solo.If you are comfortable with their precautions and they are with yours perhaps book a trip.A few Caveats to add would be you would take your own vehicle and follow the guide, if you are floating have your rig shuttled also.I would suggest providing your own lunch and drinks, finally consider tying your own flies on your tippet.This would give you a chance to get out with a Pro,help a fellow Human out while at the same time ensuring social distance is maintained.
Buddy Dan with a nice Arizona LMB
At the end of the day we will all get through this.Of course taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of and catching the Corona Virus is on everyone’s mind.However you still need to go fishing and I’m hoping these suggestions help.Stay Healthy and Safe Amigos !
As far as the trout hierarchy goes nothing beats Brown Trout.Cutties are cute,Rainbows fill a void and I would rather take a disobedient Labrador Puppy for a walk than catch a Bull Trout.Opinionated ? You bet.Targeting Big Brown Trout is a lot of fun, wether its a big floatable river or a tiny creek they are a blast.Enjoy the pics from this ongoing seasonI’m sure there will be more.
Good Friend Lindsey Channel hooked up on a streamer eating Missouri River Brown Trout
D.B.O. Guide Gavin Stookes with a Bow River Brown Trout
Congrats ! You have gotten far in a guiding career by working hard and being a good person to be around on a fishing trip.However chances are the reason why you are reading this Blog Post is because Mid Life may have hit you hard. Let face it,The past 20-30 years have been a blur and perhaps now you are starting to feel it…. in more ways than one.
You’ve noticed you can no longer drink like you use to, late nights hanging out at the bar get you feeling really crappy the next day, rowing back up stream to do Merry go rounds up at the dam takes a little longer, you feel uncomfortable wearing Flat Brims,You call your clients Sir instead of Bro or Dude,after a windy day you are “hurtin” from back rowing a lot and finally the “Bobber Game” is getting really friggin old.You might feel stuck ! as it’s too late in life to go back to school and become a Doctor or a Lawyer.What to do ? Plough forward of course.Here is a few things that might help.
By now you (should) have an established clientele that respects you and your fish sense, use that to your advantage by getting them to fish how you would fish on a day off.I’m sure that’s not going down the middle of the river chasing bobbers and caching cookie cutter rainbows…No.Hopefully its throwing streamers and setting up for Dry Fly fish,targeting the “big Boys”.I find myself wanting to pick up clients either early or late, depending on what going on hatch wise.By doing so I’m either ahead or behind other boats, its an easy sell and it seems most clients are into that because most Fly-Fish via the same way you would.This also offers you ample opportunity to showcase your instructional skills by teaching your clients other methods (other than nymphing) on how to get the job done.
Aleve works wonders, the mild anti inflammatory is great for soar joints and muscles.Embrace it ! You’re older clients that you have throwing streamers might be a tad sore, they will be in awe of your mid life sensitivity when you magically pull the bottle of Aleve out from your gear bag or from your under Rower’s Seat.If you are feeling a wee bit sore pop one yourself.
Hang with The Young Guns
New Guides bring a wealth of intel and enthusiasm to the table, they are up on all the latest tactics and flies. Hang out and buy a few beers for these up and coming guides and most importantly listen ! They are on it and like all things fly-fishing chances are you will learn some things to improve your game.Become their Mentor and share your knowledge, its rewarding and you are helping out the overall guide community because of it.
Fish “new” Rivers
Be a Fly-Fishing Guide Commando by getting off your home river and fishing other stuff.Why ? The change forces you to power up and bring that wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm that might be simmering on the back burner up the front burner and to the boiling point.If other rivers are not an option, then maybe scope out potential boat ramps that will change your floats up so you it feels fresh to you and perhaps Shock and Awe your clients with your crazy tactics and enthusiasm for change.
Get out of Your Boat and go for a walk
Its pretty easy to sit in a boat all day and go with the flow.But I find I get cramped up and need to get out and go for a walk.Rather than rowing your boat up an inside bend, get out and walk it up,It’s great exercise and gets your blood flowing.I also like to spend time out of the boat working runs, side channels or risers.This is a great opportunity to show off your intstuctional skills to your clients.As the fishing season gets closer to Bird Hunting Season these little walks gain more importance.
Go Fishing !
Whether you are an older or younger guide go fishing on your days off. Why ? It keeps you enthused about the sport…period.
Hopefully these points help you get thru the remaining years of your guiding career.Enjoy the ride.
As I get ready for the up and coming fishing season my Fly-Rod inventory consists of a lot of 5 weight rods,all 9 footers. I guess you can never have enough of them, they are rods used the most in the boat by both clients and myself when I get to fish.A 5 Weight Fly -Rod can get it done.
From streamer fishing on small rivers to technical Spring Creek dry Fly fishing.For most its the “go to Hopper or Dry Fly Boat rod.It’s easy to see why 5 weights are one of the most popular freshwater Fly-Rod Models out there.The versitality says it all !
All my 5 weight Reels are loaded with weight forward floating lines,no specialty gimmick lines and no sink tips.If Im fishing streamers with a 5weight its on small rivers and usually with Clouser Style flies which get down quickly and deep enough for what I want to do.
Most Anglers have a 5 wt or two kicking around,If you don’t go get one ! You will enjoy it.
Down here in Arizona the days (like everywhere ) are longer, nights are shorter and temperatures are downright balmy.It’s almost Bass fishing time ! I’ll get at it next week.
Buddy Dan with a Arizona L.M.B
The Northern Rockies are experiencing classic late winter -early spring conditions,warm one day then snowing the next.Snow Pack is slightly below average so there should be a “runoff.
Missouri River Brown Trout
I’ll get at Trout Fishing starting in Late May on Montana’s Missouri River, the weather is stable then and so is the dry fly fishing.
Missouri River Hook -Up
From there it’s up to Alberta and British Columbia,taking advantage of some great post runoff Fly-Fishing for dumb fish that are looking for Golden Stones.Traditionally this will start in and around the last week of June,I’ll play it safe and go with the 1st week of July.
Stone Fly Eater -Bow River
My favorite river to fish at this time is Alberta’s Legendary Bow River which tends to offer up some monster browns and rainbows while fishing big foam dries and streamers.Other Rivers in Southern Alberta are also shaping up at this time.The Waterton River can be really good and is extremely scenic.This “power float” entails floating for 16 miles and again casting streamers of big dries into holding water.It’s either really good or bad … either way it’ worth the price of admission.
Floating The Waterton River
As July Progresses The Elk River starts to really turn on.Hatches of Green Drakes and Golden Stoneflies dominate, big dry flies fool the river’s Cutties ..making for some very cool eats.Streamer enthusiasts will also be rewarded by catching some big Bull Trout.
Hook up Elk River British Columba
It’s shaping up to be another incredible season.There is a lot of time between “now and then” I’ll get my boat washed out and start tying flies.