Its not all about the fishing

I think alot about the cliche fisherman often throw around “Its not all about the fishing”. For me it truly does explain how I feel about my whole fishing experience. I love to catch fish as much as the next guy. But I have to say that there are so many facets that come with fishing that I enjoy too. It really does connect us to the outdoors and the world we live in. The friendships, comradery, art, skill, and challenge. One of my favorite parts of that list would be the friendships.

Allot of fisherman I talk to in my travels all seem to have that one trip a year they take on an annual basis that consists of old friends and traditions. Mine is in March when I go chasing steelhead in northern Idaho, with buddies that I have had since middle school. These are the kind of buddies you may not talk to since the last trip and the minute you see each other its like we never missed a beat. Get the first insult or two out of the way and off we go. All of us love to fish but for whatever reason the rest of the year we don’t seem to connect, be it, different schedules,

cold (1 of 1)different preference for fishing locations and species. Or maybe we just really don’t like each other as much as I think we do. Whatever the reason I am happy we have this trip.img_2610

This years trip was cold with blizzard conditions.Snowy Salmon (1 of 1) We got up and left Utah at 3:30am and what is normally a four and a half hour drive turned into six hours because of driving conditions. Fishing was slow the first day and with Dustin on the sticks he almost ran us into a rock and succeeded to get us caught up on a sweeper tree that had fallen across the river. In his defense it was a tricky situation but I am sure we could have navigated through this spot allot better had it been the first part of the day with a full cooler and not the end of the day with an empty one. The best part of this day, since no one caught a steelhead, was Travis Doxey catching a twenty-nine inch Bull Trout. img_6397

The second day started off a lot better. Doxey out of the gate caught the first steelhead of the trip at the boat launch and that seemed to boost moral amongst all of us and get us excited for the day.

An hour later Brian Neilson hooked up with our boats first steelhead of the trip.

Then a little while later Dustin Gilbert connected with this beauty

After which I finally hooked up

The action tapered off midday and it got slow going. But later in the afternoon we caught a few more and ended the evening on a good note. All in all I would say it was a good day. We caught five or six and Travis Doxey and Lance Henniger caught ten.img_6375

After a full day of fishing we were ready to drink a few, eat something and get to bed. There is a bar/restaurant at the dive hotel we stay at that in its hay-day I am sure was a great place to stay. It had nineteen seventies, early eighties wood paneling. An old pool table, I am sure was from the same era. Old chandeliers hung from the ceiling, old beer signs hung on the wall. I could see Hank Williams JR, Merl Haggard, Willie Nelson, and country music from that time frame being played over and over on the jukebox. Guys with beards, cowboy hats with feathers stuck in the headbands, wearing bell bottom jeans. The only problem is, that was forty years ago and the place hasn’t seen an upgrade since. Don’t get me wrong, I like the place. It has just seen its better days. By the time we got there to have dinner. The only people in the room were two drunk guys at the bar(really drunk guys) arguing about who loved each other more. Not sure that they ever got it sorted out by the time they stumbled out of the place. I should have gotten pictures of the joint but I was to tired to even think about it.

Just like fishing goes, the next day none of us caught a steelhead. We worked the same spots hard to no avail.fullsizeoutput_64b

The bummer part of any fishing trip for me is the afternoon of the last day. It feels so anti-climatic. Fishing trips never feel long enough. The beer is gone and its time to get home to the real world. The only good part is getting home to our families.

I haven’t seen any of the guys since the trip. We have talked about getting some trips together this summer and I hope it works out. But if it doesn’t I’m ok with it because I know we have next years steelhead trip to get together and catch up on all things important.

strip set3 (1 of 1)

First fish with a streamer

A week or so ago me and Bill Schorr decided on a day to go fishing. Our schedules finally lined up, he had an open day and it was my birthday, so naturally I was going to go fishing. As the day got closer it was evident it was not going to be a good weather day. Spring in the Rocky Mountains is as bipolar as a crazy ex girlfriend. But we had decided we were going no matter what. When we got to the pullout next to the river around 8:00am it was sunny and fifty degrees. Literally in the time it took to get geared up and ready to fish the temperature had dropped by twenty degrees and it was a blizzard. But we had come to fish and there was no turning back now. With snow blowing sideways in our face, off to the river we went. Fishing started off slow, Bill was drifting nymph’s and I was chucking a streamer. About halfway through the day we had both only caught a few when we walked up to a hole that I have always caught fish in. Since my rod had a streamer on it and I usually nymph this hole. I asked Bill if he minded if I casted a few times with his. This was my spot and I was going to show him how to catch a fish out of it. It had never let me down. After casting for fifteen minutes and not catching a fish, Bill got tired of watching me and picked up my rod and casted into the river. First cast, a nice rainbow. That was bill 4-12-18 (1 of 3)the first fish Bill had ever caught on a streamer so I told him to go ahead and use it and have some fun with it for awhile as we headed back down the river to the truck.bill 4-12-18 (2 of 3) Next hole we stop at he jerks out a fat twenty one inch rainbow. After him catching three more fish and me catching nothing he hands me back my rod and tells me to fish with it.  My pride taking a beating from not catching any fish with his rod, I hesitantly take it back. Up to this point all the fish he had been catching with my Barely legal 3-6-18 2 (1 of 1)rod were on a Kelly Galloup, olive and white Barely Legal. “Go ahead Hoov, catch a fish with this Barely of age, or what ever its called” said Bill. At this point I would like to think the story got better for me, but it does’nt. Two or three casts into it I lose the fly in the trees behind me. Of course its the only one I have left. I am sure Bill was thinking to himself what a mistake it was handing me back my rod. He could have caught more fish if he wouldn’t have. Thats what I would have been thinking if I was him

After freezing our ass’s off and not being able to feel the tips of our fingers for seven hours, we got more serious about getting back to the truck. Even though we were cold I think if there would have been more daylight left we would have reloaded on flies and headed back out. In the end we decided to call it a day and go get something to eat, we hadn’t eaten anything all day.  My wife says my needle gets stuck when I go fishing, and that I don’t think about anything BUT fishing. Weather and eating are the least of my worries. There are fish to be caught! I will say I was happy when we stopped at a Mexican restaurant on the way home and had dinner and a few beers. The food was amazing and the beer’s hit the spot. A good way to end a great day…

Not what I was thinking

Last summer I took my father in-law fishing down the Green River in Utah. IMG_5396He had never fished it and I was excited to take him. The Green below Flaming Gorge is easily one of the neatest rivers I have ever floated. The scenery is absolutely second to none. The water is as clear as an aquarium. Not many rivers you can float and see ten feet down to the bottom with twenty inch-plus fish sitting there. Contrast that with red canyon walls exceeding hundreds of feet above you makes for breath taking views. It’s also one of the most fished rivers in our state. IMG_5401My father in-law is one of the toughest hard working men I know. If you wanted a poster of a tough cowboy, he is the one you would take a picture of. To say he was a little out of his element would be an understatement. Now, I am not  saying fly fishermen can be a little snooty and  pretentious(yes I am). But on a river such as the Green there are certain unwritten rules about how to handle yourself and the fish. None of which he has ever heard of or seen. My Father in-law loves to fly fish and has fished his whole life with a fly rod. But he is more accustomed to riding his horse to the top of a mountain to fish a secluded lake, not a popular river where there are unwritten rules and etiquette.  So, after he caught a beautiful brown I wanted to get a pic of him holding it to remember the special day. After he got the fly out of the fishes mouth I asked him to hold it up. With no hesitation he puts his finger through the gills and holds it up.

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Shit! I have never taken a pic so fast. Thinking I might be able to save the fish from certain death I tell him to go ahead and release it. He turns towards the river and chucks it in! I think to myself, that fish is probably not going to make it. I had to chuckle a little as the boat across the river happened to see what just happened. I just shrugged my shoulders as they shook their heads. I couldn’t even blame him. He has never been shown how to handle a fish so the fish can have the best chance at surviving to be caught again, he has never read a fly fishing magazine, he has not seen the 10,000 pictures on Instagram of guys holding fish that I have. And he never will. And thats ok, the most important thing is I got to spend the day fishing with him, floating down one of the most beautiful places on earth…