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A Relaxing Return to the Nunya

September 16 & 17, 2014

 

blog-Sept-16-2014-1-mooseGranny and I plan to have a nice relaxing fishing fall.  This week was back to the Nunya starting with a filling dinner at the local pub, a few of their home brews then a good night sleep in the back of the Exploder.  We were up early and pushed off our blue boat next to a few curious Bull Moose in extremely warm sun for September.

 

blog-Sept-16-2014-2-fall-in-idahoThe water level on the often mighty Nunya was scary low.  We had a wet summer so why it’s so low is of mystery.  The river was so skinny even our high riding boat hit bottom frequently, undoubtedly scaring the fish we hoped to catch before we got to them.  Furthermore, this always slow moving river was like a lake in many areas.  With Tuesday’s high sun and no wind it was extremely difficult to fool resident lunkers before they spooked.

 

September 16, 2014

 

blog-Sept-16-2014-3-granny-currier-fly-fishingThe float began without a cast – very un-Currier like.  Granny and I sipped our coffees and drifted.  The silent drift allowed us to jump a few more moose, several mule deer, sleeping coyotes, eagles, a great horned owl, a rabbit and a porcupine.  The animals were extremely active so as the last sip of coffee went down I got Granny casting.

 

blog-Sept-16-2014-4-granny-currier-with-cutthroat-troutTo our amazement the fish weren’t active like the rest of the animals.  On Tuesday we caught only about a dozen fish, and most of them small for the Nunya.  The fish of the day was this cutthroat Granny fooled on a brown drake.

 

blog-Sept-16-2014-5-granny-currier-living-largeWhen fishing is slow Granny and I are pros at kicking back and taking it in.  We love the wildlife and also the fall.  Our foliage is at its peak.  The cottonwoods are on the verge of exploding in gold and all mountainsides glow in orange from the aspens with dashes of reds and yellows from various smaller shrubbery.  I must say, we did more drifting while sipping cold ones and looking above the waterline than fishing.

 

blog-Sept-16-2014-6-granny-currierAs always on the Nunya, our camp was remote, quiet and the views spectacular.  The temperature remained warm for an hour after sunset and there wasn’t an ounce of wind.  Granny prepared a marvelous Thai chicken dinner as we took in the sounds along with a bottle of fine red.

 

September 17, 2014

 

As always when backcountry camping, I slept light.  Someone should always be on guard for an unwanted visitor in the night.  Last night a frightening bull (cow) blew his horn repeatedly as loud as he could a few hundred yards from our camp.  He undoubtedly saw our tent on his turf and wanted it gone.  I never got up to see him as to avoid any sort of confrontation, but he threatened for an hour before he left.

 

blog-Sept-17-2014-7-sunriseThere were plenty of coyotes howling, owls hooting and I heard what I assume was a moose crossing the river in front of camp.  Just like during the day, the animals were on the move all night.  Then the real surprise came at 5 AM with flashes of lightening and distant thunder.  All weather reports I read called for back to back bluebird days in Nunya country.  Lucky for us the rain never reached before it was time to get moving.

 

blog-Sept-17-2014-8-porcupineWhen I finally popped out from the tent my attention was grabbed by a porcupine sniffing our dry bags.  No harm done there but if he found our food it could have been different. Before bed I wisely put our cooler and dry food container in the boat and anchored it a good twenty feet out in a side slough.  Luckily the porcupine nor anything else made a midnight swim.

 

blog-Sept-17-2014-9-jeff-currier-staying-dry-in-simmsWe had another nice coffee drinking drift in hopes to see something really special like a mountain lion.  There’s numerous lions along the Nunya but you must be lucky.  Several years back Granny and I watched a bobcat family hunt the cliffs above the river, but no kitties today.  The first storm of the day hit us just as we got ready to fish.

 

blog-Sept-17-2014-10-rainbow-troutStorm number one was minor.  It blew and rained light for about fifteen minutes.  Then the sun came out and it was as humid as it gets around here and hotter than the hottest day in August.  Fishing remained mediocre at best until I dragged the boat into a reliable channel I keep in my repertoire.  Granny hoisted in five nice fish in a short time.  One was this muscular specimen of a rainbow that gave Granny and my 6-weight Boron III X a run for their money!

 

blog-Sept-17-2014-11-granny-currierWe caught a few more fish.  Granny turned it on for about an hour.  Then the storms returned and never let up again for the remainder of the day.  We had several epic jungle-like downpours.  The rain came down so hard it was a laugher!

 

blog-Sept-17-2014-12-jeff-currier-learning-to-relaxGranny and I are going to keep chillin on her days off for the remainder of the fall.  I’ve played hard this year so I can use the rest and Granny likes to chill regardless whenever she can.  Next on the agenda for me is fishing on Blackfoot Reservoir Friday and Saturday.  I’ll be doing a carp flick with Mike Dawes and RA Beattie.  More on this to come.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Streamer Tactic that Catches More Fish

blog-Sept-12-2014-1-jeff-currier-streamer-fishingI didn’t expect to see the South Fork of the Snake again until at least mid-November.  I had my fill there with the One Fly.  And the way the water level has been fluctuating and the crowds enjoying the last of summer, why bother before November.  But then the phone rang on Thursday.  On the other end was my good friend Paul Bruun, the sports writer for the Jackson Hole News.

 

blog-Sept-12-2014-2-paul-bruun-on-the-southforkPaul has been wanting to do a story about my unusual streamer fishing tactics.  He’s seen my multiple fly rig work its magic for years during our fall fishing exploits.  He even saw my single streamer tricks mop up the 2013 One Fly.  The technique which I learned from competing in the World Championships is not a secret.  I’ve given tidbits on the blog but never a thorough run down.

 

blog-Sept-12-2014-3-jeff-currier-on-the-southforkThe thorough rundown will now come from Paul who is a far better writer than I.  The article will be out on Wednesday in the Jackson Hole News.  You should be able to track it on the web but for sure I’ll have it on the site shortly after it hits.  We had a great afternoon of streamer fishing!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Relaxation After the Jackson Hole One Fly

September 9 & 10, 2014

 

blog-Sept-10-2014-1-flyfishing-in-montanaAfter a heavy week casting streamers from a boat for the Jackson Hole One Fly, the last thing I wanted to do on Granny’s days off was throw streamers from a boat.  What my body needed was rest, relaxation, some easy going wade fishing and a campfire at night.  I wanted my hard working wife to catch some fish while I napped in the tall grass along the banks of a beautiful un-fished river.

 

blog-Sept-9-2014-2-fall-in-idahoOur drive to this special location where we haven’t been in years was as enjoyable as the fishing.  The leaves are changing fast now.  It seems like just yesterday I was mentioning the leaves popping on the Aspen trees coming home from a May carp trip.  Today’s scenery was special to say the least.

 

Upon arrival the air was crisp.  Not cold, I’m still in shorts but up top I wore a sweater.  And when it came time to fish the evening both Granny and I wore our Simms waders.

 

blog-Sept-9-2014-3-flyfishing-for-brook-troutWe didn’t know what to expect as for the fishing.  When Granny hooked and landed a fiery brown on a Chernobyl on about her fifth cast we were stoked.  This was exactly what I dreamed of.  She went on to land two more of these brown trout and also a 12” brook trout that we even less expected.

 

blog-Sept-9-2014-4-full-moonOur campfire kept us warm under the full moon last night as we listened to playoff caliber baseball through my XM radio.  What a game between the Royals and Detroit.  We didn’t realize exactly how warm the fire kept us until we got up this morning.  Waiting for the coffee to brew before sunrise required a lot of layers and jumping around.  The frost was thick but man was it beautiful.

 

blog-Sept-10-2014-5-frosty-simms-tackle-bagAs for the fishing – I think we caught the last hurrah for trout on big flies in Idaho.  The cold nights are taking their toll on the hoppers and soon the jumbo foam won’t work anymore.  We absolutely plastered lots of nice fish!

 

blog-Sept-10-2014-6-granny-currierI mostly watched as Granny (have I ever mentioned she’s an incredible angler?) caught what may have very well been every single trout in a particular run.  She caught at least twenty ranging from the pesky 8 inchers to browns and rainbows topping off at 17”.  Every fish leaped several times and screamed her downstream.  I couldn’t get my nap but staying up to watch her at work was plenty worth it.

 

blog-Sept-10-2014-6b-Yvonne-Granny-CurrierThe fishing was so good that despite an aching shoulder I got in the action as well.  Soon I was going up one side of the river and Granny on the other.  Our fishing was no less than exceptional.

 

blog-Sept-10-2014-7-brown-troutThat’s it for a few days.  I’m late on my bills.  My fishing rooms have spread to the living room, bathrooms and even the kitchen. I have art to get done and plenty of September baseball to enjoy. . . . even if it isn’t the Cubs.  Stay tuned for a big trip next week with Granny!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Jackson Hole One Fly Day 2

Sorry for the lack of photos but in the tourney it’s extremely hard to put down the fly rod to take pics!

 

blog-Sept-7-2014-1-jackson-hole-oneflyThe Good Times Team had a lot of work to do to jump from 18th place to contention in the 2014 Jackson Hole One Fly after Day 1.  Individually, I was in the top ten, where I was last year after Day 1.  The difference however, last year I had a stretch up in Teton Park where there are a lot of big trout.  This year I was on the heavily fished South Park to Pritchard where there are few.

 

blog-Sept-7-2014-2-guide-ben-wilkersonI had two choices.  Go with a small dry fly and try to rack up a couple hundred points by catching numerous small fish.  Or continue with the streamer, and though big fish are rare on my stretch, cross my fingers for the unusual monster.  I went with the streamer.  The guide/judge was Ben Wilkerson who went with the flow.

 

blog-Sept-7-2014-3-jim-fisherMy opponent, Jim Fisher whom I fished with on Heart Lake in 2011, was fishing a small dry fly.  Jim is an excellent angler and capable of catching 50 fish in a day.  Not wanting to destroy his dry fly water, I stayed in the back of the boat again all day.

 

The day started out with clear skies and cold temps.  At the 8:30 start time I was shivering in the shade.  Wouldn’t you know, we pushed off and I immediately rolled a large cutthroat.  Jim, knowing his dry fly wasn’t going to get much action till it warmed up, agreed to let us pull over and allow me attempt some more casts at this fish.  Despite shivering, I wet-waded up to my belly and worked for the fish for ten minutes.  I tweaked my strip, jigged my fly, dead drifted it but could get him to eat my fly.

 

blog-Sept-7-2014-4-jackson-hole-one-flyDuring the next four hours the opposite of what we expected to happen, happened.  Jim could hardly budge a fish on his dry fly.  My streamer on the other hand, caught small fish after small fish.  Normally little guys chase but don’t eat a streamer.  And when the do try to eat it the fly is too big for their mouths.  Not today – I landed 37.  The problem however, my biggest was only 14”.  The lack of large trout was so bad that I measured three 12” fish simply to get 10 points instead of 2 points.  Jim landed sixteen and not one was measurable!

 

A big storm rolled in at 3 PM.  Strong wind, heavy rain and hail blasted us during the last hour.  Many boats reeled it in fearing lightening.  Like fools, we took our chances (even though I’ve had my close calls) and fished through it.  Each of us racked up a couple more small cutties.

 

blog-Sept-7-2014-5-cutthroat-troutI ended up with a sad 219 points for the day.  Poor Jim was worse with only 65 points.  The rest of my team went like this:  Gary fished a Chernobyl on the South Fork with legendary guide Mike Bean but fishing was even tougher than yesterday and he got 183 points.  Scott Sanchez, despite having the Moose to Wilson, a top stretch in the contest, had the wrong fly and racked up a mere 157.  Now Cooper however, fished a Chernobyl Deadmans to Moose and got 317 points – well done in his first One Fly.  The team stayed put after Day 2 and our finish was 18th place.

 

That’s all she wrote.  I’m exhausted again.  Exhausted all year in fact from fishing like a mad man.  I hope I’m tired for the rest of my life!

 

Next on the agenda, some relaxing camping and fishing with Granny – can’t wait!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Day One Jackson Hole One Fly 2014

Sorry for the lack of photos but in the tourney it’s extremely hard to put down the fly rod to take pics!

 

blog-Sept-6-2014-1-jackson-hole-one-fly5 AM came early.  Its pitch dark in Idaho at 5 now.  When I stepped out to feel the temperature our local great horned owls were chatting up a storm.  They’re about the only creatures enjoying the lengthening darkness.  It wasn’t as cold as the last couple mornings.

 

At 5:30 I headed for Swan Valley and the Angus for breakfast and to meet my South Fork guide, Cole Sutheimer and opponent Barbara Adams.  Today was day one of the Jackson Hole One Fly.

 

blog-Sept-6-2014-2-scott-sanchezI’m a sponsored member of the Good Times Team, founded by friend Gary Eckman (a frequent angler on this blog).  There are forty-four teams and each One Fly team consist of four anglers that compete with only one fly for two days.  This year our team is made up of Gary, his son Cooper, Scott Sanchez and myself.   Last year our team finished in 5th place and I was the individual champ.  I have two thoughts in mind, help move our team up in the standings and do it by remaining the first place champ.

 

blog-Sept-6-2014-3-jackson-hole-one-flyAfter a heavyweight breakfast Cole, Barbara and I launched at the Conant boat launch on the South Fork.  Even though nymphs have proven to be the most effective way to catch fish on the South Fork of late, I couldn’t stare at a bobber all day.  I went with a risky streamer.  I say risky because I practiced with a streamer here twice this week and it was extremely difficult to catch more than a few big trout.

 

blog-Sept-6-2014-4-mountain-whitefishAt 8:30 the contest began and before we left sight of the boat ramp I scored four small trout.  Small trout don’t score well but catching them told me I had the right streamer.  I picked up a few more little trout while Barbara’s nymph got little attention.  At 10 AM I had six small two point trout but no measurable bonus fish and Barbara had only one uncountable whitefish.

 

At 11:30 AM neither Barbara nor I had a single measurable bonus point fish.  All fish under 12” score as two points only.  You can measure eight fish over 12” and score bonus points (e.g. 13” scores 20 points, 15” scores 40 points and 20” scores 150 points) for the six best.  If you don’t get at least six slots filled with bonus fish each day you will do poorly.  We were way behind and running out of time.

 

blog-Sept-6-2014-5-south-forkCole rowed us into a side channel to wade fish and eat lunch.  Barbara nymph fished the main run while I walked upstream with my net.  The water upstream was skinny but each pool had a sliver of deep water.  That’s all good trout of the South Fork need to be happy.  I made a short cast in the first pool and landed a 13” cutbow.  I’d rather measure some bigger fish but at nearly noon I took my first measurable.

 

In the next pool I rolled a huge cutthroat.  He flat out refused my fly.  I cast again but nothing.  I inched my next cast up further and wham!  A much larger cutbow launched himself and ran me downstream.  I yelled for Cole and he ran my way.  My battle was a little chaotic but luckily I netted the fish as Cole arrived.  The slab was 17” for 60 bonus points!

 

Barbara’s nymph finally picked up a small unmeasurable trout but in general continued to catch only the odd whitefish.  I picked up a 16” cutthroat off a bank and we came to another wade place.  None of us had any lunch yet but with time against me I chose to skip it.  I worked my run while Barbara and Cole woofed down a few bites.  As I was unsuccessfully working my run I spotted a huge trout slowly cruising over a sandy spot in some weed beds below me.

 

blog-Sept-6-2014-6-rainbow-troutI knew this was a one shot deal.  We had some clouds overhead and the trout was about to blend back in with his surroundings.  I launched a long cast that landed two feet to his right.  The trout spun and followed my streamer.  At first he showed no aggression so I sped up my retrieve.  That was it.  He crushed my fly and this time a wild leaping line stealing rainbow was on.  Minutes later I landed a 19” 125 point trout!

 

I snuck five more nice trout from this place.  I had my six now and could have filled my card and replace my 13” but chose to leave two spots open in case I caught a giant.  The rule goes that once your card is full you no longer can measure trout.  If the card was full and I landed a 23” giant, he would count for a measly 2 points.

 

blog-Sept-6-2014-7-jackson-hole-oneflyBarbara’s fly continued to do awful.  I was shocked because I knew the nymphs were hot all week.  At last at 3:30 she landed and measured her one and only fish, a 13” cutbow.  Her lack of fish was by no means a reflection of her angling.  Barbara never missed a cast, a spot and quite honestly fished as hard as anyone of my friends.

 

blog-Sept-6-2014-8-Jacksonhole-OneflyMy last trout was another 15” and I used him to replace my 13”.  I’m not sure how many small ones I caught but my final score for today is 450 points.  All of our team kept their fly all day.  Gary scored 363 on the Snake, Cooper scored 159 on the South Fork and Sanchez scored 173 on the Snake.  Although my score is in good shape, we have a lot of work to do tomorrow as our team is in 18th place.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

One Last One Fly Warmup for Cooper

blog-Sept-5-2014-1-jackson-hole-oneflyYou need to be careful before the Jackson Hole One Fly tournament not to wear yourself out before it starts.  What I mean is don’t fish yourself into the ground beforehand by tiring out the body.  Yes, fishing hard works every muscle.  Furthermore, hard fishing exhausts your brain and a tired brain leads to simple mistakes.  In the One Fly, make the mistake of losing your fly and you’re out.

 

blog-Sept-5-2014-2-flyfishing-guide-boots-allenToday I broke my own rules by fishing for the third day in a row before starting the One Fly tomorrow.  Captain Gary Eckman wanted me to spend one more day helping prepare Cooper for his first One Fly by joining him on a guided trip on the Snake.  I so would’ve liked to rest around house but this guided trip was with top guide and friend, Boots Allen.  I couldn’t miss that.

 

blog-Sept-5-2014-3-flyfishing-the-snake-riverWe fished South of Jackson on the Pritchard to West Table section.  It was freezing cold when we started – 34°!  Luckily it warmed up fast.  I dabbled with the streamer but spent most the day kicking back encouraging CooperBoots had Cooper practice with dries and a nymph.  Cooper fished all techniques beautifully and he should be ready for the big weekend.

 

blog-Sept-5-2014-giant-waterbugOne of the highlights for all three of us was capturing this giant water bug.  This pic does not show his size.  He was enormous!  And I knew enough not to catch him by hand.  Thank goodness I stopped Cooper before he grabbed him with his hand.

 

There’s a lot more to a nice day on the Snake in September but Granny and I just got home from the kick off One Fly dinner and its now 11 PM.  I have to be at the Angus on the South Fork to meet my competition guide Cole Sutheimer at 6:30 AM tomorrow.  I need sleep.  Be ready for results and the One Fly blog Monday afternoon.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Cooper’s First Jackson Hole One Fly

blog-Sept-4-2014-1-cooper-eckmanI’ve been fishing with Cooper Eckman since he was twelve.  For several years he went with his dad Gary and me often.  When he became a teenager he got busy with more important things.  Now that he’s eighteen he’s been enjoying getting on the water again.  Gary had to replace one of our Jackson Hole One Fly teammates this year and asked me to let him know if I thought of anyone.  “I think Cooper is ready”, I responded.

 

blog-Sept-4-2014-2-flyfishing-the-south-forkI have confidence in Cooper.  Undoubtedly Cooper expressed some concern today about doing well.  I know the feeling.  I competed in the World Championships of Fly Fishing back in the day and I was petrified until I realized that all had to do was be myself and fish.

 

blog-Sept-4-2014-3-cooper-eckman-in-the-one-flyToday Ed Emory and I took Cooper out for a warmup on the lower canyon of the South Fork.  Cooper fished excellent both with dry flies and with a nymph under an indicator.  The dry flies didn’t work well at all but Cooper caught at least ten bonus sized fish on the nymphs.  Of course, we were with Bead Head Ed – who is one of the best when it comes to nymphs.

 

blog-Sept-4-2014-4-jackson-hole-one-flyI fished my streamer today.  For the second day the streamer bite wasn’t on.  I didn’t fish my normal grinder day but nonetheless, on the South Fork I can usually scrounge up a dozen nice fish fishing hard or not.  I only caught three!

 

We had the draw tonight for One Fly fishing.  I’m not too excited about my stretches.  I have the middle canyon on the South Fork on Saturday (where Gary and I took a beating yesterday) and South Park to Pritchard on the Snake River on Sunday – not the best for catching big fish.  That being said, my game face is on and I’m ready – Ready to compete!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Practice with Bead Head Ed

blog-Sept-3-2014-1-jackson-hole-oneflyWhat a treat it is to be on Gary Eckman’s Good Times Team in the Jackson Hole One Fly.  Not only does Gary sponsor me to be one of his teammates, but he also splurges on a few guided fishing trips so we get practiced up before the tournament.  Usually the guides just so happen to be pals of mine making it extra fun.

 

blog-Sept-3-2014-2-ed-emory-gary-eckmanToday Gary booked us on canyon of the South Fork with Ed Emory, better known as Bead Head Ed.  Ed is well known because he is one of the top guides on the South Fork and he’s been guiding forever.  I’ve fished with Ed many times and it so happens he was my guide in the One Fly last year on day one.  We had a tremendous day that led to me taking home the 1st Place Individual award.

 

Today was practice, but to get the best out of practice you need to identify your weakness and use the day to improve.  For me I simply needed to get comfortable with the legal One Fly set up of a floating line and only one fly instead of my usual multiple fly rig.  In addition, I tested Scientific Anglers 16lb fluorocarbon tippet to see if the fish would eat my streamer attached to it.  16lb is where the tippet starts getting thick and many don’t believe fish are dumb enough to eat a fly attached to it.

 

blog-Sept-3-2014-3-flyfishing-guide-ed-emoryThe verdict on today was that a cold front blew in.  And I mean BLEW IN.  I just looked it up, the wind gusted to 34 MPH!  It was hard to see through the white caps.  It was hard to cast.  It was hard for Ed to row.  And the fishing was slow.  The few follows we had from decent trout were for the most part, just that, follows.  I caught four fish that would have measured.  Gary caught three.  And Ed did some fishing as well and he caught three and the biggest, this handsome brown trout.

 

blog-Sept-3-2014-4-jeff-currier-artworkShe’d of been a tough day in the One Fly if today counted.  Luckily it was practice.  But then again, the playing field is the same for all.  Back out tomorrow to fish with Ed and our newest team addition, Cooper Eckman.  More tomorrow.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Snake River South of Jackson Hole

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’d think with competing in the Jackson Hole One Fly next week I’d have at least a few practice days on the Snake River in Jackson Hole this year.  But I haven’t.  I’ve been gallivanting everywhere but the Snake and in fact, my last day on the Snake was during the 2013 One Fly.

 

blog-Aug-29-2014-2-flyfishing-the-snake-riverBut that’s ok.  I’m fishing a streamer.  I think more important than fishing the Snake just because I’ll compete on it in the One Fly is to have my boat fishing streamer skills at their best.  And no doubt I could use a few days to fine tune these so today Gary Eckman and I floated the Snake south of Jackson from the South Park Bridge to Elbow.

 

Like on the South Fork last Friday I didn’t fish the way I’ll be required to in the One Fly.  I fished my Stillwater Line instead of a floater and yes, I fished two streamers instead of only one.  My philosophy is that casting a sinking line is harder than casting a floater and casting two flies is harder than casting one fly.  So, next week my casting accuracy and fly/line management will be easier.

 

blog-Aug-29-2014-3-snake-river-cutthroatOur streamer fishing was decent.  Most guides will tell you there are less big trout south of Jackson Hole than there are say up in Grand Teton National Park.  This may be true; however, in the One Fly it’s not about catching a whole bunch of big fish, it’s about catching eight of them because you can turn in your best six for bonus points.  No more than that.  And today Gary and I each landed at least six over 15” so our scores would have been solid.

 

I don’t fish on Labor Day Weekend so its paint fish, work on my book, watch baseball and relax until Wednesday.  You can’t beat that!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing