Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Goodbye Spokane...

Goodbye Spokane.

It's been an weird interesting past year and a half in this town, and I sure as heck won't miss the snow, crappy roads, plethora of tweakers, nor will I miss the under-abundant cultural offerings.

I will, however, miss the good fishing friends, awesome co-workers, the Spokane River, and the fact that I lived in a jumping off point to famous/wonderful fly fishing waters within just a few hours.

Since the next day plus will revolve around finishing packing and loading a moving truck, I decided to get some final urban river time in with good friends and my Dad who is in town.

First up, was a Monday walk and wade on the Spokane with Wayne, the Trout Jedi. I cherish every opportunity that I get to fish with Wayne because I try to observe the way he inspects water, fishes it, and how he truly loves and respects the resource. If I was told to choose one fly fisherman who I look up to the most, I'd answer Wayne without a doubt.

Anyways, Wayne and I did some hiking, missed a few fish, fell in the river minutes apart from each other, and then proceeded to hook into, and land, some sweet Redbands. Urban gold as I like to call 'em.

A Redband in the net with my Prince nymph still attached. 

Wayne with some morning gold on the Spokane River.

After Wayne left for work, I returned home to prep for the move and plan the evening's float with my buddy Blake.

Blake had a raft on loan and we decided to put it to use on the Spokane. We launched mid day, and within 10 minutes on the water I had quickly hooked and lost two fish. The strikes were short and I was far from surprised considering recent reports from this stretch of water. Slow fishing, soft strikes, and warm temps were the reports from friends floating the river...

Sure enough, my luck changed. I hooked into a PIG. It flashed hard and turned right into the current. A good 20 seconds of fight were for naught though as it came loose. I landed a scrappy Whitefish in the same run minutes later but Blake and I talked about the lost fish the rest of the float.

After another nearly fruitless river mile, we beached the boat and began to fish the bank. Bingo. Double. I landed a healthy Redband and Blake netted a fat Whitefish.

Blurry shot, but a nice Spokane River Redband. 
Back to the raft, I switched spots with Blake and took the sticks. Disclaimer, I had only once before rowed a raft and I was TERRIBLE at it. For the first 100 yards or so, I felt that a repeat of my previous rafting experience was occurring, but something miraculous happened. I figured it out. That's right, I took the sticks for most of the rest of the float, skirted by some nasty water, got Blake into fish (I got a few more myself...) and developed some sweet blisters on my palms. The best part of it was the fact that I now feel comfortable running a raft and can be of some use to my float fishing friends besides the obvious gas money contributions.

The evening was a success and I had a great time fishing with a good friend. But onto my last Spokane River experience of the year...

My Dad came into town this morning and I had a few surprises for him. First off was a shiny new fly rod... nothing fancy now, but still a good, fishy piece of graphite. Second off, was that I was going to work with him on his casting and get him on the water.

After a nice lawn cast with the Old Man, I got him out on the Spokane. In the first run, I managed to hook (and land!) a feisty, and very nice Redband. Dad was a bit new to the throwing junk game (double nymph rigs on big water are not the easiest things to manage as a new angler) but he managed to up his game throughout the day.

Showing the Old Man how it's done in Spokane. 

We fished hard in several spots, but being that it was mid-day, I wasn't expecting much. Our last spot of the day yielded another gorgeous Redband to my rod, and another fish that when hooked went aerial and came unhooked.

Sweet fish coming unhooked? On my rod? On the Spokane? No way?!?!? I see a pattern developing...

Needless to say, it was a great experience taking my Dad out to water that has meant so much to me over the past year, and showing him how to fish it, and why the Redbands that I rave about are so special.

When I landed the first fish and showed it to him, he remarked at how it was such a beautiful trout... yeah Dad, rub it in. Those trout are now going to six hours away from me.

On to new waters, and new adventures.

Thanks Spokane. You've actually been pretty great.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's Been Awhile...

Life has been crazy around the house lately. Packing to our hearts content for the big move, applying for more jobs everyday, getting an interview (!!!!), and working 40+ hours at the restaurant has kept me off the water to a degree.

I did manage to sneak in a trip to the Thompson River nearly two weeks ago. I can say, with some certainty, that I'm not a fan of high-summer fishing. Water temps get warmer, fish are less active, finding them isn't necessarily hard, but fishing responsibly (read... not when water temps are over 68, fight 'em fast, bring 'em in, release them after plenty of fishy CPR) becomes more paramount. It all has me longing for June and early July. I don't mind a little run-off when fish are accessible and ravenous.

Big Rainbows like this guy will be much easier to fool come Fall.

It's truly become a "dog-days" of summer routine with temperatures in the high 80's-90's in Spokane. The Thompson River has experienced the same type of temperatures that we've gotten here in Spokane with the exception of slightly cooler nights. Needless to say, my trip over there was slow going. I found fish yes, I found some very nice fish (seeking refuge from the Clark Fork and warmer water temps) but there weren't as many players compared to previous trips over the pass. 

Typical Thompson River Rainbow. Feisty and beautiful. This one had someone else's fly embedded in it's jaw. I removed it and let it go... no more extra lip jewelry for you.

Biggest Thompson fish for me yet. Caught 300 yards above the confluence with the Clark Fork... wonder where this Lacustrine looking guy normally lives? 

Gorgeous fish... it really worked the four weight. 

CDC Caddis emerger patterns were the hot ticket for me. Hoppers and Chubby Chernobyl's caught a few fish, but the big boys were working the caddis. Nymphing wasn't the winner that it typically is for me on the Thompson with just a few fish to hand sub-surface. 

I can't complain when I'm in Montana, catching trout, having to work harder at it (and learning new skills the whole time), but hot dang do I miss my trips of early July. It makes me wish that I had taken an extra-day off work to fish more before life got crazy (or to have just avoided the whole bat incident...). 

Speaking of bat bites, rabies, and other stupid fortune, I received my last post-rabies exposure vaccine this week and am done with treatment. We're just waiting for the first bill to arrive at the house, and for reality to sink back in again. Until then, I'm happy to be safe, rabies free, and not extremely poor... yet. 

I sure hope to get out before we leave Spokane at the end of the month, but work will likely dictate otherwise. Aside from a few short jaunts to the Spokane (thanks Upper River for the HUGE hookup and lost fish the other day...) I'm about done over here. It'll be Steelhead and Oregon trout in the near future for this Trout Bum. I'm excited to move back to the area and see what kind of fly fishing opportunities exist over there that I may not know about. 

Keep reading, please follow along regularly, and most importantly, keep on fishing. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back in the Game

After a way-too-short trip to the Oregon Coast, I returned to Spokane the other afternoon...

It'd been over a week since I'd landed a fish and I was getting understandably antsy. I needed a fix. Despite the warmer water temps, and the fact that it was 94 degrees when I hit the water that evening, I had a good feeling that I was due for some urban Redband action.

The first few holes I hit (spring fed areas with heavy oxygen) are typically good producers for me... this day, they didn't surrender a single strike.

My disappointment was tempered though as another favorite spot delivered.

Gorgeous Male Urban Redband
A Bastard Prince pattern under a Pat's Rubber Legs was the trick. This fish fought like heck and despite being sub 16" he is probably my favorite fish of the season.

I'm hoping that I can get out for a bit Thursday. I've been packing up, checking on job apps, and working since I've been back in town. Spokane and its' myriad of fishable water is no longer going to be easily accessible to me so I need to get out and fish asap! And so should you! What's your excuse?