Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Steelhead Killing Dumbass

Luke Brugnara, a businessman from Oakland, California, was sentenced to fifteen months in prison for illegally damming and killing steelhead during their annual migration in a creek on his property in Gilroy, California. This was in addition to another sentence of two and a half years for income tax evasion. Luke, the term you are looking for is, "Gay for the Stay." Courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a dedication and celebration of the lives of our servicemen that have died in the line of duty defending our great country. To many this is just an extended weekend to celebrate the coming of summer and the end of spring, while others see it as a day to reflect upon friends and family members who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that not only they but their country could be free. Though the battles fought today and the reasons why our countrymen are dying are confusing, they are still fighting to preserve this great nation from tyranny and oppression.

Though my weekend was spent with friends and family, I cannot help but think about how my family members have served this great country. My grandfather Corporal Joseph Paul Davidchik served in the Pacific in the United States Marines and though survived several island hopping campaigns, carried the scars and wounds throughout his life. While serving as a Police Captain he was killed in the line of duty while trying to prevent a Vietnam Veteran from committing suicide on Christmas Eve 1968. Not long after his son, my father was in Vietnam.

The sacrifices my family went through are no different from that of many families here in the United States. And now in this me me world, people forget there are soldiers on the other side of this planet fighting and dying for them. This is our time to remember to say thank you and let veterans of all campaigns know what their service and sacrifice means something to you and your family and that the deaths of their brethren made by too many will not be forgotten.

Thank you for helping this country stay free.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Joel La Follette's Summerberry

Tying the Summerberry from Joel La Follette on Vimeo.

About ten years ago I walked into this small fly shop in Tigard, Oregon and was greeted by non other then Randall Kaufmann. Over the first few years of stopping by this shop I helped to make sure their electric bill was paid and there is no doubt that they had a profound influence on my learning curve in this game called fly fishing. Though I had mixed feelings about this shop now, guys like Joel La Follette, Steve Lent and Randall Kaufmann had a great influence on the fly fishermen that I am today. My first attempt at tying flies were sitting behind one of their tables with Steve and a Renzetti Traveler Vice. There was numerous occasions where I would stick around and talk shop and get valuable help as a beginner from both Steve and Joel.

Over the years the shop has changed, moved and become more of a successful business rather then the local fly shop that I knew and liked. The familiar faces that knew me by first name are gone, but many of those guys are still around. Joel La Follette the former retail manager is one of them and I always looked forward to chatting with him about his annual Fall journey to Skeena Country and his love of the North Umpqua. His artistic talent at the vice encompasses both tradition, simplicity and fishability. One of my favorite ties of his is the Summerberry and I plan on fishing it in the near future. You can see more of his work here courtesy of Royal Treatment Fly Fishing and videos here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Last Wild Run

This place is awesome!!! Read more about this video here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Scenes from Catch Magazine

This awesome camera work done by Todd Moen on this segment for the first issue of Catch Magazine really makes me miss fishing the Coast in the Winter and Spring. Boulder hopping, site fishing and trekking up and down a river is what it is all about. Though skating a dry fly is what I got to look forward to now this summer, casting a line in the cold lush green wet rainforest on the coast is what its all about. The Pacific Northwest is an awesome place and I hope you all enjoyed scenes such as these this last winter and spring. Casting a dry line on the D is just around the corner now. Check out Catch Magazine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sandy River Spey Clave

Come join the party again this year at the Tenth Annual Sandy River Spey Clave, May 14th - 16th at the majestic Oxbow Regional Park. This is the ultimate party for spey junkies everywhere, not to mention the largest spey gathering in the Western Hemisphere. Admission is free as well as lunch provided. Both the men and women of fly fishing will be represented here and Friday is designated for the ladies. It is a great opportunity to get your spouse or daughter interesting in this exciting sport.

The weather looks like it is shaping up with temps in the 70's with some sun here and there. There is always the chance for a steelhead or spring chinook on the end of your line as well. Mark Bachmann puts on a grand event. Read more here courtesy of The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches. I am looking forward to seeing some of the presentations.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ass Kicking: Alaskan Style

A breathe of fresh air came this Spring after a half assed attempt at steelheading this last winter. The Seasonal Affective Disorder that hits us all here in the Pacific Northwest hit me a little harder after being laid up for most of the winter and not being able to get out like I normally do. Though snorting percocet and flexeril helped the pain and some of the boredom of sitting behind a desk for the first time in my career, it was not until this late winter I again discovered the solace of our cold clear moving waters again. The time away from the water made for an easy decision to except a mission to Southeast Alaska for Spring Steelhead.

For years I have been hearing and reading stories from Senor Gastineau Smolt from the Chronicles of Neil Creek about Southeast Alaska and though the thoughts of chasing the famous runs in Yakutat left me curious, but the exploration of seldom fished waters and locating fish that have never seen a fishermen was an easy choice.

These rivers and creeks were like something out of pictures from a history book of what many of our rivers here in the Lower 48 were in decades past. Though logging has hit many of these streams, the lack of population, access and knowledge of these rivers runs made this something that can never be taken away. Hard work and time would lead to success even if fish weren’t found. In almost a week of fishing, we did not find a single person on any of the bodies of water we fished. In fact several of the creeks didn’t have names on maps and access was found the old fashion way, hiking your ass up and down a river, boulder and log hopping as we went.

Now this was a serious ass kicking for a guy who only months before was in an immobilizer and crutches. Especially when trying to climb up and down hillsides and keep up. The reward at the end of each day was knowing I was able to push myself and cover water that didn’t have human tracks on the side of the river.

Chrome bright fish were found in some of the tannic waters we fished while others were either void of fish or found fish already on their spawning beds. The run timing was incredible. Some rivers would have fresh fish in them while others only held darker fish. Each creek and river was different and you did not know what to expect from day to day. Though dark and overcast with rain on and off, we found that there was a lot of low gradient creeks that were rain dependent lacking water, leading to spookier fish. Delicate presentations and stalking were the only way to find fish.

Rick Matney holding up Ian Majszak's first Alaskan Steelhead. Hell it was his first chrome steelhead ever. Ian was shaking for at least an hour after he landed this fish. It was Awesome!

These creeks were for the most part not spey rod rivers and some of the water fished was as wide as a spey rod is long. Almost all the water could be covered with a single hand rod. The hardest part was not being able to stick around one place for several days to figure out the intricate mannerisms of each location. A week spent in the rainforest was just not enough time, but covering many different systems and hopping from island to island led to not only different scenery from day to day, but also led to the excitement of what you might find when locating new runs or pools. I just wish I had more time to swing flies on the bigger rivers and hike up and down the smaller ones.

These agile native steelhead fought with strength and vigor. Every fish jumped, and I mean everyone. The mayhem that ensued after each hookup was worth the trip alone. We had to pull lines out of logs jams, brush piles and chase quite a few fish. After hooking up you had to put the wood to them to control them in order to not loose them in the brush, thus leading to a lot of fish popping off seconds after the hook up. As much as loosing these fish was irritating, it was still less annoying then loosing them and gear in the boulder, brush and downed trees that were everywhere. I’m still having nightmares of a buck close to twenty popping off right in front of us. But then again this whole experience of loosing so many fish takes me back to what Tyler Durden said in Fight Club, “Only after disaster can we be resurrected.” A well worthy ass kicking experience for sure.