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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Adventures of Flybum - Part 8

Well, it's been a few days now and I'm in between projects, so there's no better time than now to hit the next blog. It had been a great trip up to this point and quite honestly, we found leaving the Teton a tough proposition! Nevertheless, the thought of some Fine-Spotted Cutties (Snake River Fine-Spotted Cutthroats) was enough to entice us over the beautiful Teton divide and into the Snake River valley.

This was to be our last day before starting the trip back toward home, and we were already starting to feel the pain deep in our guts. You know the pain? It's that feeling of, the last cast is coming and I don't want to go home feeling.....yeah, it was starting to creep up on us.

Regardless, we were stoked to be fishing a new piece of water for the sixth day in a row! I love high adventure, especially when it's mixed with fishing the fly!

So, after a short drive over some beautiful mountains, we finally arrived in the well known city of Jackson, Wyoming. A tourist trap of sorts, it was cool to be there even if it was only for a little while. After a short stop at one of the local fly shops, we were on our way to a tributary of the monstrous Snake River to get our last of five species on our bucket list...this time those Fine-Spots...

Upon arrival, we exploded from the vehicle like little boys headed into a candy store. The race was on to see who could get the rod out and boots in the water first. Within seconds of arrival, the first Fine-Spots were in the net. The only problem was that they were small....really small! Like 6-7" small! Things would improve....right? Tell me they will improve Ben.....Don....Don.....Bueller......Bueller.....don't just stand there guys, say something. Tell me we didn't drive all this way for 6" fish in water we know has to hold much larger. What would become of our day? That is what we didn't know.


After fishing up stream for some time in search of some larger fish, we finally hit a point of frustration. We were seeing fish, but all of them were small. About the only thing we were seeing that was rewarding was wildlife. While fishing that upper section, we had a whole herd of mountain goats come down off the mountain to water right across the river from us. That was a real treat. I had the video camera out and filmed them at length, thus no photos to show at this time. If I get around to another video, perhaps I will throw some footage in so that you can see them up close.

There was only one problem at this point, as I saw it....and that was the thrill of mountain goats wore off way to fast and we were quickly back to the realization that small trout was our reality. We had to move and fast. The day was slipping away and with it our chance at some nicer fish. So, after a streamside meeting, we mulled it over and quickly decided to pull stakes and head closer to the confluence of the river with the Snake. Luckily for us, it didn't take but a few minutes of travel and walking and our luck would change. In the lower section we were treated much better by our swimming friends and we knew at that time that we had made the right choice.


All week, Don had a way of getting us started on the big fish in each location that we fished and this day was no different. So, thank you Don for shaking off the small fish syndrome once again. After this, it was all good!


Not long after Don got us started, it was time for me to get in the game. It was now or never and never was not an option. So, I stalked up on a nice deep seam (that you can see in the background) and worked what magic I could and ended up with one of the nicest specimens of a Yellowstone Cutthroat that we had seen in the last two days.



We continued to fish that location and others and continued to pull fish. Some were small but others were quality fish. Although no toads were landed, we did stick plenty of fish for the last couple of hours we were there....and for that we were thankful!


Many nice pools were stacked one on top of the other in this stretch of river. Each hole held fish and they would take a look at most flies presented in a decent manner. However, some of the fast and turbulent water created some very challenging drifts....I love a good challenge though!

I kept stepping it up....I fished every tough lie I could find hoping for that one trophy to explode all over my offering. Unfortunately, it never happened. However, I was out west...I was fishing some amazing water with a stunning view....I was living the dream. So, I really couldn't be all that disappointed! I mean, what was there to complain about? Wading great water, casting a Helios for Fine-spotted Cutthroats....Don't worry, be happy comes to mind : )



The day ended as fast as it started and soon we were headed back to eastern Idaho to prep for our last day of fishing....this time in an undisclosed location.

Next time, we will go to some high desert water loaded with TONS of HUGE Brown Trout. We hadn't had an opportunity at slob butter bellies up to this point, so we couldn't wait....but you will have to.

Until next time...

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fly Fishing The Adirondacks

Less than a week after returning home from out west, we were already back on the road headed east. We had made plans earlier this spring to fish a few remote streams in the Adirondack Region of New York. I was still pretty whooped from my previous travel, but the thought of Brookies, Brown, and Rainbows on the fly was enough to keep us all lively through the entire 13 hour haul...

Eirik and I would be rolling into town a day early to set up camp, and meeting up with Shawn Brillon and Matt from the Orvis Company the following morning. The guys were bringing down some of the new prototype gear to try out, and as always, to hang out, fish, and have fun. John Clouser spends a lot of time in upstate New York with his family on vacation, and we can't thank John enough as he was extremely generous with his time, and showed us a few of the favorite remote trout streams he loves to fish. It didn't take me very long to understand why he comes back up here year after year!

Taking a break after a long hike through the
gorge. The scenery was breath taking!

The fishing was absolutely spectacular!

Matt with a nice Adirondack stream Brown Trout
from the pool at the base of the waterfall above.

The Adirondack Region is definitely a special place to catch trout! I have fished a lot of trout streams across the United States and never once wished I had a wading staff as badly as I wanted one here! Every stream I fished was filled with perfectly round rock, large boulders, and very little space to put a foot on even ground. Talk about breaking an ankle! I totally understood the meaning of "experienced stream wading required" after my trip here!
Tourism and camping near the mountains were at peak season and the area towns were busy. At first I thought we would have a hard time finding quiet water to fish, but during the 3 days I was fishing I had no one fishing even remotely close to us, and on some streams I never saw another soul.

Eirik hooked up with a nice Rainbow! The best position
to fish this pool was from a perch position 6 foot above the run.

Eirik poses for a close shot of the Rainbow
he hooked from the above photo.

We spent the next 3 days camping, hiking, fishing, sleeping, and eating! This was the perfect fly fishing getaway! If you like to fish remote waters, and have numerous opportunities at medium sized trout this is definitely a trip you should consider doing!

John Clouser land a nice brown trout while enjoying a good cigar.

Greg plays a nice Brown Trout.

I told you it was a nice Brown Trout!

Orvis Mirage Reel, Hydros Rod, and Adirondack Rainbow Trout.

Nymphing was key during our visit, as very few bugs were coming off. A quick look around the cliffs, boulders, and wood debris showed us that the bug biomass here was tremendous. I had never seen so many Golden Stonefly and mayfly shucks stuck to nearly everything around the stream. A no brainer idea to run stonefly nymphs through the pools put us into a lot of really nice trout each day.

A Brown Trout that fell for a rubber legged golden stonefly.

Rainbow Trout that fell for the same bug.

You know that camping and fishing trips tend to make you eat with a bit less concern for your heart health. Man its so good though! So we would eat until we were near to passing out next to our camp fire, living the good life even if it was only for a few days! We did however make a conscience effort to eat a healthy breakfast of Peaches and Cream Oatmeal, left over marinated steak, and extra strong coffee :)

Below are a few pictures from our time spent in the Adirondack mountains!

Steaks, Pork Chops, Salsa, corn, instant potatoes, and
a cold one were on the chefs menu...every night!

Our nightly camp fire, and as you can tell its almost bed time!

John with a fat Adirondack Brown Trout.

Nice trout to start the day off on a good note!

Eirik decided to let us catch the trout, as he wanted a trophy chub!
We always knew that Eirik was a chubby chaser.....

Nymphs including small caddis, worm, and midge larvae were also effective.

Greg fishes a pool we affectionately dubbed as brownbow rock.

Eirik holds the last fish of our trip! A great way to end a stellar trip!
Look at the beautiful reds on this fish!

We have a lot more still to come from our summer adventures, so stay dialed in and we'll have some more for you in the days to come!

Tight lines,

Greg Senyo
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Westward Bound Part IV; Montana's Big Creek

Today would be my last day of fishing in Montana before Theresa and I head to Las Vegas for a few days of R&R next to a swimming pool. I really wanted to fish somewhere secluded and out of the way, so after a little discussion, Scott recommended we hike in on a small stream outside of Livingston called Big Creek.

At first glance, this stream reminded me of our Pennsylvania brook trout streams, and I was really excited at the prospect of catching small to medium sized trout on attractor style dry flies. Scott had been told that the stream held a healthy population of Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Cutbow from 8 to 20 inches, but the hike in to get them could be extremely challenging, and the casting could be very difficult as well. Nevertheless, we looked forward to the challenge and packed up enough water and gear for the long haul upstream.

Montana's Big Creek

A nice Cutbow that took aTrude style attractor dry fly.

As we walked along this small stream everyone had a chance to catch a few of the smaller trout in the back eddy's and pocket water. Moving upstream toward some of the better pools that we could see in the distance required us to climb over some amazingly large boulders, and scale a few pretty narrow cliffs and corridors to be within casting reach. Most of the time we had to take turns fishing the better holes due to lack of standing room, so the peanut gallery was alive with laughter after every bad cast, missed strike, and tree snag...

Nathan with a decent Big Creek Cutbow

A closer view of Nathan's catch.

Big Creek was on a steady incline as we moved further upstream, but every so often we would come across a 25 to 50 yard section where the stream would level out with long runs and soft currents. Casting here became much easier and the drifts were maintained far longer than in the fast pocket waters of the decent. At each one of these level sections we were able to hook a few of Big Creek's larger trout.

One of the several runs we fished on Big Creek.

Scott drifts his fly in the slower sweet spot to the right of a nice run.
We all had a shot at the few bigger 12-20 inch trout that took residence in Big Creek. I was fishing in one of these spots, in which I had to cast and stand in just the right spot. I knew if I hooked a bigger fish it would be tough to land. Sure enough, I got a solid take from a fish much heavier than anything I had caught so far. The fish quickly ripped line off and headed for a fast water chute just below the pool, only a minute after I hooked this fish he was gone! Scott's eyes were pretty big afterward, and the smile on his face when he told me it was a cutthroat close to 20 inches made it even more bitter sweet. I didn't even have a chance to get a good look at the fish due to the truck sized boulder between me and the back of the pool. All I could do was smile and think of what I could have done differently.

Scott proudly poses with a beautiful Cutbow

Here's a close up of Scott's Cutbow from above.

We decided to end our day on a good note with Scott's nice trout! Besides, we had a long hike ahead, and now a severe craving for a hot pizza! I may have lost my biggest fish today, but I really didn't care! The whole day of hiking and fishing was absolutely amazing, and exactly what I needed before heading out to Nevada...

My next blog will shift gears to the East and our adventures to the streams and rivers of New York's Adirondack region. Joel Bock and Jason Gregory are on there way this week with 20 lucky anglers to King Salmon, Alaska for a unforgettable 7 days on the Naknek River, Brooks River, and Margot Creek for Silvers, Arctic Char, and Rainbow Trout! So we'll have more from them when they return.

Our steelhead season is right around the corner! Our fall dates are filling up, so if you are interested in spending a day on Steelhead Alley with us, please contact us at 419-466-9382 and RSVP your preferred dates. We look forward to seeing many of you again this fall!

We'll have more for you soon! Tight Lines!

Greg Senyo
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Adventures of Flybum - Part 7

The last time I wrote, I promised we would head upstream on the Teton in my next blog. Well, I'm keeping my promise although it has been a number of days since my last entry. The delay in getting you up river was due to the fact that I wanted to do so through the avenue of video. So, I make my return in this western adventure series with another Flybum Media short.

This section of river will be forever burned in my memory for a couple of reasons. The first being that it was the first time I had ever come across a mountain lion den (yeah, I was standing right in front of it before I realized it...pretty daunting really), second because that is where I lost the biggest fish of the day, and last but not least, it was the place where I caught my first Rattlesnake....Oh Yeah....It was a rush! You'll see more of this in the video.

Until then, here are a few more photos of fish that we caught on our day on the Teton.



Toward the end of our day, we headed back downstream to a confluence and decided to fish it up. It was a great piece of water! I only wish we had more sunlight so we could have explored it further up.


As we fished upstream in the last few minutes of light in the canyon, yet another first presented itself, and I wasn't gonna pass this one up. Some call it a bit crazy....some completely insane. I call it cool and living on the edge : )

Below is a photo of the Rattlesnake I noticed trying to climb the vertical rock face in the background of the photo above. I noticed him swimming along the wall and then he disappeared into the only crevice for quite some distance. I hollered out to Ben, "Rattlesnake" and pointed across the river. He said, "How do you know?" I said, "Just trust me, I know my snakes" and headed off for the other side of the river to see if I could get a look at him. The following photo is all I could take considering I had left all cameras but my iPhone downstream. It was the end of the day, the sunlight was disappearing and so we decided to wrap up the filming for the day....ughhh. Always happens when you need the camera(s).


Wow, that was really cool to see! However, I always wanted to catch a poisonous snake and here was my opportunity and a good one at that. Please keep in mind that I don't advise this. I spent a large part of my childhood catching snakes, learning about snakes, visiting serpatoriums, and educating myself on what makes snakes tick. That being said, this was the best opportunity one could have. Snakes are cold blooded reptiles which means they rely on the warmth of the sun to increase their metabolism. That means if they are cold, they move slow, if they are hot, they are lighting fast. This snake had just come out of 55-60 degree water, had been in the shade, was climbing straight vertical, and could not achieve a coiled position if he tried which is the position they need to be in for an optimum defense/strike posture. So, his ability to defend himself was extremely limited and his metabolism was very slow due to being in the water (and this was proven in the fact that he could barely shake his rattle). So, again, please understand that I know what I am doing, read all the available signs, and proceeded knowing the inherent risks.

So, with a little encouragement from my friend Ben, it was on! Just a minute later, I was proudly in control of one mean looking set of teeth! But to be quite honest, and I hate to say it, because it takes the "macho" out of the story.....this could very possibly have been one of the easiest snakes I have ever caught.



So, without further delay, here is the latest film I worked on. I wish I had more to offer, but when you are torn between filming and fishing, sometimes you come up short on the footage you really would have liked. Regardless of what I didn't get, it turned out decent in the end and will always be on my shelf as a part of "The Adventures of Flybum - Volume 2." Also please note that in the flick, some censoring has been done to protect names of those who shared information and also to protect the names of specific locations. I think we all understand that YouTube videos and blogs on the world wide web can be a place that puts a lot of unneeded pressure on some of our favorite haunts. Therefore, for conservation reasons as well as the need to respect the wishes of others who so selflessly helped me build a successful trip, I have added the censors early in the flick. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I did fishing it, filming it, and editing it down.

Next time, we will take a trip across the Teton divide and check out a brief stint on a tributary to the Snake River in the area of Jackson, Wyoming....home of Snake River Fine Spots!

Until then,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Westward Bound Part III; Yellowstone's Lamar River

In Pursuit Of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout

Theresa and I decided to get up, have breakfast, and check out of our hotel pretty early this morning. We would be pulling out of Buffalo, Wyoming and heading to Livingston, Montana to spend a couple of days fishing for Yellowstone Cutthroat with Scott and Nathan McClintock.

Some of you had the pleasure of fishing with Scott this past steelhead season, and he quickly has become a welcomed and popular addition to the Steelhead Alley Outfitters team. Scott and his family have spent many years out west fly fishing for trout, and in recent years Scott has been guiding clients through his RSM Fly Fishing Services and Sweet Water Travel. We'll have more on Scott and upcoming trips opportunities with our services in the very near future.

After a decent haul we pulled up to Scott's summer home in paradise. After a few old man jokes and complaints about the unseasonable heat, we unpacked and settled in for the next two days of trout fishing. We decided to start the weekend off with a good old fashion grill out. The steaks had to be at least 16 ounces and a heart attack waiting to happen, but heck we were living the good life right?

Where's The Beef!

After dinner Scott had plans for us to travel a short distance over to Yellowstone National Park. We would be hiking into the Valley and fishing the Lamar River for Cutthroat. I can say I was pretty excited, as this would be my first chance at this species of trout. My wife on the other hand had bulging eye balls after overhearing our conversations. While Scott and I were talking about the area he loves to fish there may have been a little mention of Grizzly Bears.

It seems the bear activity was at an all time high, and that the park bears were a little more confrontational than usual. Just a few days prior to our arrival Scott and Nathan were fishing the same area and came a little too close for comfort with a bear fighting with a few wolves over a dead buffalo carcass. Just recently a Grizzly with cubs attacked campers just 12 miles from where we were, killing one person and wounding several others. During our visit to the park we took every precaution to respect the wildlife and still be able to enjoy such an amazing landscape.

Navigating through a buffalo road block

Everyone rose early and was ready to hit the road before 8am. After a pit stop at Sweet Water Fly Shop for a few last minute items and a quick fishing report we were officially on our way. The drive through the park was absolutely stunning, and after a quick buffalo road block and a few pictures we reached our destination.

Scott and Nathan pose for a father & son shot. Nathan hit the
first fish of the day with an attractor dry.

Scott poses with one of several nice Yellowstone
Cutthroats he coaxed to the surface.

A close up of the amazing colors these trout display.

After a short walk into the valley, we pushed downstream to a section of the Lamar River Scott was very fond of. While walking the river banks, Wolf, Grizzly, and Bison tracks littered the ground around us. I must say it was pretty cool walking by small groups of bison and fishing for trout in this wild setting. I almost felt like I was back on Margot Creek in Alaska, but instead of seeing strictly Grizzly in Alaska, we were surrounded by buffalo.

As we arrived at the section of the Lamar we intended to fish, Scott and Nathan wasted little time putting the first couple of fish in our nets. I kind of felt like the "home field advantage" was definitely kicking in. Soon after Theresa and I were also on the board with a pair of our first Yellowstone Cutthroats. We were fishing primarily small hoppers on this day, and it was really different watching the Cutthroat rise and take flies. Unlike the sipping brown trout and rainbows I have caught in the east, the Yellowstone cuttie would rise slow, and take the fly on a roll back down beneath the surface. I missed my first couple of takes by being a little to quick on the hook set.

Theresa and I pose with a nice cutthroat that took a small hopper.

This is probably my favorite picture of the trip! The solitude
and peaceful setting made the fishing unforgettable.
There was zero sense of urgency or the need to rush!

Here's a closer view of Theresa's first Yellowstone Cutthroat.

and then the release....

We spent the remainder of the afternoon sharing good water, laughing, and enjoying all the reasons why we pursue trout with a fly rod and reel. Time flew by and before we knew it, evening was setting in. To the pleasure of my wife, we didn't see any bear on the river, and as we neared the car she let out a relaxing deep breath, and the constant looking over your shoulders was over at least for the remainder of the day.

Fishing a nice run on the Lamar River

One of the beautifully colored Yellowstone
Cutthroats I was able to glance at.

Hooked up in the Valley...

A good fish to end a great day...

I had to add this little rant and one last picture of my experiences in Yellowstone National Park! Everyone knows that the park is a vast and very wild place, many signs and warnings are posted about the wildlife here. To my amazement there were so many people that have no common sense or concern for their own personal safety, or that of their families. Anyone who would willingly run after and continue to follow a Black Bear for a simple picture is just plain retarded. So below is my Dumb *** photo of the trip! Just for the record this is why people get attacked by Buffalo, and mauled by bears each year.....

This photo was taken from the road. The people are at least fifty
yards off the road, with this bear being about 40 yards further yet.
I hope you can run in sandals when this bear finally
gets tired of being followed....

In my next blog I will be focusing on fishing a small out of the way mountain stream for small rainbows and cutbows.

Until Next Time,

Greg Senyo
Steelhead Alley Outfitters