Archive | August, 2010

Bring Boots to the Snake

August 26, 2010

blog_Aug_26_2010_1[1] There are few living legends these days, but Boots Allen is one. Boots has been fishing the Snake River in Jackson Hole Wyoming his entire life and guiding since he was old enough. He is truly one of the best fishing guides on the river. His grandfather, also Boots Allen, and father Joe Allen, pioneered much of the fishing in Jackson, Wyoming and surrounding areas. They also designed many proven fly patterns including the famous Double Humpy. I have the good fortune of being friends with young Boots and even knew both of his elders. In fact, when I first moved to Wyoming back in 1987, one of my favorite things in the winter was to pick up sucker meat for ice fishing bait from his grandfather Boots. The quick stop for bait would turn to hours of incredible stories from the old days of Jackson Hole. I also sold Double Humpies for his father Joe; he too had more than his share of incredible stories.

Today I had the good pleasure of taking a seat in Boots boat. Gary Eckman, whom you should know by now, invited me to join him on a guided trip with Boots. Each year Gary hires Boots a couple weeks before the One Fly Contest in order to pick up any new secrets that may have evolved since last year. Boots guided us on the Moose to Wilson stretch. This stretch starts in Grand Teton National Park and ends outside the Park at the Wilson Bridge on Highway 22 just west of Jackson. It’s one of the longer floats – about 14 miles. And one of the more demanding stretches in that you better know how to use those oars or you could be headed for disaster. We saw two sunken boats today.

blog_Aug_26_2010_2[1] Like Gary and I, Boots is gearing up for the One Fly. The Snake is one of those rivers that changes from year to year. Spring runoff on the river itself annually creates new channels and removes some of the old. Hatches can vary from year to year and the overall feeding patterns of the cutthroats can change. In other words, even though Boots knows this river inside and out, noticing and adjusting to the Snakes subtle changes is what makes a guide and angler more successful than others.

Rarely do guides in the Jackson Hole area get customers capable of effectively fishing streamers. It’s too bad because streamers can be murder on the biggest Snake River Cutthroats in the river. With that in mind and knowing that Gary and I can toss a streamer, Boots asked us to give them a whirl to start. I had already planned on starting with a streamer and was rigged and ready.

We drifted and pounded the banks with streamers most of the day. As expected we moved many quality Snake River Cutthroats. For me, it was one of the best days I’ve seen on the Snake in recent memory. It would not be an exaggeration to say we landed more than a dozen cuttys over 15”s with several of those over 17”s. We even landed one that Boots measured at 19”s – a true monster for the species. As preparation for Boots, he floated us down several channels he had not tried yet this year. We also walked into a few spots that are often overlooked by the average angler. Now Boots also knows what to expect in these locations and doesn’t have to explore during the tournament, an ultimate no no.

blog_Aug_26_2010_3[1] We finished up the long float just after 5 pm. It was a superb day and as always fun to fish with Gary. As far as Boots goes, this was my first time I his boat. I’ve been with hundreds of guides over the years and many good ones. I can tell you, Boots shines with the best of the best. It’s not only his knowledge of the Snake River but also his own desire to catch fish. The One Fly is exactly two weeks away. It’s time to start crossing the fingers in hopes that one of our team members draws Boots on Moose to Wilson.

To learn more about the Snake River – read “Snake River Fly Fishing: Through the Eyes of an Angler” by no other than Boots!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Uncle Jeff the Fishing Guide

August 23-25, 2010

blog_Aug_23-25_2010_1[1] My nieces Sammy Currier, age 8 and Montana Currier, age 6 have been fly fishing a lot longer than most kids of the same age. In fact, Sammy has been around fly fishing since she was 3 years old when she spent an afternoon reeling in the fish I hooked. They aren’t proficient casters yet but they understand rivers and where fish live. They can also help you choose a fly and if it’s a dry fly, they will watch it like a hawk and tell you when to set the hook.

My brother Greg and his family live in Massachusetts. Once a year they make it out to visit Granny and I and we camp, hike, relax and of course fish. The last few years Sammy and Montana have fallen in love with a place we camp at up the Gros Ventre blog_Aug_23-25_2010_2[1]River. The Gros Ventre flows gently here and the girls can swim on their own and whenever they feel like it, fish with their Uncle Jeff.

These past two days was our annual Gros Ventre camping trip. Granny and I met my brother and his family at our scenic site on Monday night. We wasted no time and began the weekend with a hot fire and cooked up some delicious burgers. As the sun set temperatures plummeted for the first time since spring. We were shocked at how cold it felt and accused ourselves of being wimps. Once it was totally dark wolves howled from a distant butte. Then another pack answered back. Surprisingly, the only blog_Aug_23-25_2010_3[1]other times I’ve heard howling wolves was camping in the boonies of Mongolia. It’s a spectacular sound and we listened and hoped for more but they were silent.

Sunrise couldn’t arrive soon enough. Granny and I shivered most of the night in our summer sleeping bags. It wasn’t just an unseasonably cold night, it was flat out freezing. It turns out we aren’t wimps. We awoke to thick frost and frozen water bottles – it’s August for crying out loud! Thankfully the sun warmed us fast and by the time the coffee was flowing the temps had risen to the upper 40ºs and it went on to reach the 80ºs by afternoon.

blog_Aug_23-25_2010_4[1]You know how kids are; they’re immune to the cold if they want to play in the water. Unsurprisingly, Sammy and Montana were ready for a swim with Uncle Jeff before the temps reached 60º. This weekend is all about hanging with Uncle Jeff so I had to think fast or make the frozen plunge. Being the quick thinker I am, I turned a stroll down to look at the river into a one hour hike. The hike was a thrill for the girls as we found cool rocks, water striders and water beetles, a dead moose not completely cleaned to a skeleton yet and some amazing wildflowers. Then we finished it off by summiting a butte with a view of the Teton’s that even six year old Montana appreciated.

blog_Aug_23-25_2010_5[2]Normally the girls fish with me for about an hour in an entire weekend and we end up swimming and goofing off the rest of the time. However, while I was sitting in my camp chair drawing up some trout tattoos for a friend that works for RIO and watching the girls play in the Gros Ventre, Granny strung up a rod. I noticed as she hiked to the pool above where Sammy and Montana were swimming they stopped playing and followed her up. Granny  began fishing and the girls watched attentively. Then Granny missed a fish that ate her dry fly and I heard Sammy give her some instruction so it wouldn’t happen again. I chuckled and then headed on down to join the fun.

blog_AUg_23-25_2010_6[2]Sammy and Montana weren’t just amused by the fishing but rather they loved it. I arrived on the scene and the girls asked Granny to give me the rod. I nailed the first cutthroat. Then a second. And in less than an hour I caught at least 10 cuttys and a few whitefish. Some were very nice size. The girls took turns reeling each fish in. They posed for pictures and giggled unstoppably when they released them. It was great fun for all.

We fished at least three hour long sessions in the pools around camp just on Tuesday. Then the minute we finished breakfast today the girls had Granny and I fishing again. They loved catching and blog_Aug_23-25_2010_7[1]playing with the fish. They just couldn’t get enough of it. Between hook ups they played in the river, rescued minnows and collected rocks and busted up shotgun clays.

It was hard to beat the fishing but there was more fun to be had. I really was drawing up fish for tattoos. Naturally the girls were fascinated and before I knew it their camp chairs were parked next to me and their sketch pads were out. For hours we nibbled away on our projects until finally even Sammy was done. Then we posed for a picture with our masterpieces and it was back to the river.

blog_Aug_23-25_2010_8[1] Fishing with kids is something we all need to do more of. This summer I’ve done more than ever. Watching my young pal Cooper Eckman become a deadly angler and now my nieces is about as cool as it gets. The good news is that my sister and her family visit next week and there will be more fishing with kids for the Currier’s – good stuff. What a summer!

Normally the girls fish with me for about an hour in an entire weekend and we end up swimming and goofing off the rest of the time. However, while I was sitting in my camp chair drawing up some trout tattoos for a friend that works for RIO and watching the girls play in the Gros Ventre, Granny strung up a rod. I noticed as she hiked to the pool above where Sammy blog_Aug_23-25_2010_9[1]and Montana were swimming they stopped playing and followed her up. Granny  began fishing and the girls watched attentively. Then Granny missed a fish that ate her dry fly and I heard Sammy give her some instruction so it wouldn’t happen again. I chuckled and then headed on down to join the fun.

Sammy and Montana weren’t just amused by the fishing but rather they loved it. I arrived on the scene and the girls asked Granny to give me the rod. I nailed the first cutthroat. Then a second. And in less than an hour I caught at least 10 cuttys and a few whitefish. Some were very nice size. The girls took turns reeling each blog_Aug_23-25_2010_10[1]fish in. They posed for pictures and giggled unstoppably when they released them. It was great fun for all.

We fished at least three hour long sessions in the pools around camp just on Tuesday. Then the minute we finished breakfast today the girls had Granny and I fishing again. They loved catching and playing with the fish.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Cooper Chuckin Streamers

blog_Aug_20_2010_1[1] Today was Friday on the South Fork of the Snake River with Gary and Cooper Eckman. Cooper is the 14 year old fly fisherman and son of Gary that I introduced last Friday. He loves to fish and I enjoy watching him in action. This week Cooper showed up with a plan – he was going to throw streamers in search of a “River Monster”.

Prior to today, Cooper only dabbled in streamer fishing. He’s already a very competent dry fly angler. He can feed a big bushy dry fly down a grassy bank and he can present a tiny Pale Morning Dun pattern to a selective cutthroat on a riffle with the best of them. But he knows that fishing a streamer is its own art. He also knows that larger trout are often times more likely to prey upon small fish rather than tiny insects. That’s how they get big. So in turn, if he’s going to get that River Monster, he needs to learn how to fish streamers effectively.

A good place to catch trout on streamers is the canyon of the South Fork. This is a 26 mile stretch of water that can be broken down into two stretches, the Upper Canyon blog_Aug_20_2010_2[2]and the Lower Canyon. No matter what section you do, it’s an awful car and trailer abusing shuttle because part of it is a fifteen mile washboard dirt road to a place called Cottonwood. If you do the whole canyon you avoid the washboard dirt road altogether and shuttle drivers simply move your car down the highway and there’s little fear of your car and trailer being tortured. In order to do the entire canyon you must do a two day overnight trip, bring a motor or row your butt off a portion of the day. We opted to do the whole canyon and row our butts off a portion of the day.

That meant an early start to the day. Fridays are a tough one for me because Thursday nights are “Music on Main” in Victor Idaho. It’s a heck of an outdoor concert at the park only a rocks throw from our house. We do “Music on Main” whether we like it or not, fortunately we love it.

The boys picked me up at 7:20 am and we were launching at 8 sharp. I grabbed the oars and while Gary and Cooper got rigged up I pushed us downstream. I rowed for about 90 minutes or to a landmark known as “Hole in the Wall”. “Hole in the Wall” is blog_Aug_20_2010_3[2] just that, a huge hole or cave high up on a rocky cliff. It’s about a third of the way down through the entire canyon. It’s an absolutely gorgeous place and one of the most beautiful floats. Like fishing in Grand Teton National Park the other day, it’s hard to watch your fly and not just stare at the scenery.

It’s tough to row past good looking water. I know Cooper and Gary were ready to fish five minutes into our long row. But everyone just kicked back and enjoyed the scenery and wildlife. Cooper made a cast on occasion just to check if we were there yet. When we started, we were all ready for it. I watch with anticipation as Cooper made his first few casts. To start, Cooper was casting his two streamers like a dry fly. However after a little coaching he put a little more authority into his cast and put the flies where they needed to be; now we just needed a fish.

We easily went a mile without seeing a single fish. Cooper started second guessing the streamer like any 14 year old kid would. I kept saying fish it through this bank. Then blog_Aug_20_2010_4[1] the next bank would look good and I’d suggest he do it again. Finally Cooper was ready for a break. But there was one bush he just had to throw his flies too. I promised him this would be the last one he had to cast too. And sure enough, he hooked up to his biggest fish of the day.

Cooper landed a fat cuttbow. It was his River Monster and boy was he satisfied. We took a few photos and then as you can imagine, the streamers were back in the water most of the remainder of the day. Sure Cooper threw dry flies on occasion, but for the most part he stuck to the streamer. Cooper can fish a streamer superbly after one day in the South Fork Canyon. He ended up with several cutthroats and even a nice brown. We finished up our long float at about 7 pm. As always we had a great time.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Twisten Art

You may remember that last week I finished up a huge 22” x 30” Snake River Cutthroat watercolor painting. Well, it never made it to the Wyoming Gallery in Jackson Hole. In fact it never made it to the framer as I’m excited to say it was sold, packed and shipped to Georgia!

blog_Aug_19_2010_1[1]In the meantime I have been working mornings and nights on this Yellowstone Cutthroat watercolor of the same size. Just like last week, this one is headed to the Wyoming Gallery. It’s the biggest Yellowstone Cutthroat trout I’ve ever painted and I’m very thrilled about the way it turned out. I plan to catch up on some commission orders that I received from my website next and soon start another big painting. I’m thinking a Henry’s Fork rainbow.
blog_Aug_19_2010_2[2]

Carp for Trout This Week

blog_Aug_17-18_2010_1[2] It’s been an unbelievably great season of trout fishing in our area. In fact it’s been so good that if you’re not careful you can start to expect it and perhaps even take it for granted. That’s why this week Granny and I rested the trout gear and went fly fishing for carp. While many trout anglers still snub their nose at such a diversion, we like to mix it up. Chasing a variety of species keeps our life interesting and because each species requires a few special tactics, I think it makes us overall better anglers.

Some fantastic carp waters exist right here in Idaho. While carp are classified as warmwater fish, the truth of the matter is that they are like earwigs, rats, house sparrows, whitetail deer and red foxes, they seem to thrive just about anywhere they blog_Aug_17-18_2010_2[1] happen to live. Two hours from Victor Idaho we have Blackfoot Reservoir and a few surrounding lakes that have heaps of mirror carp and the occasional common carp.

Granny and I have camped almost every Tuesday and Wednesday (Granny’s weekend) all summer long. This weekend was no different. We packed my rig, bought some food and drink and off we went. These carp lakes work like this. Blackfoot Reservoir has big smart carp and it’s tough to land them because there are lots of weeds and protruding willow bushes in the lake. They average about 10lbs and 20lbers are common. Granny and I have taken several fish over 30lbs! The surrounding bodies of water to Blackfoot Reservoir have small dumb carp. blog_Aug_17-18_2010_3[2] Small meaning 2lbs to the biggest I’ve seen, 16lbs. Seeing that I haven’t chased the carp around since our annual tournament last May, we chose to start with the easy guys.

Let’s just say the easy guys weren’t so easy this trip. The temperature around here is in the 90ºs. We see it this hot about once every three years. The heat doesn’t hurt the carp fishing, but it makes you do stupid things like try to fish in shorts and flip flops. That was our first mistake at the small carp lake. Naturally we were slipping on rocks and the first time I wandered out to retrieve a snagged nymph I got so stuck in the mud that I nearly lost my flip flops. I may as well have because now they are so stretched out blog_Aug_17-18_2010_4[1] they are basically ruined. The end result was, Granny left to read a book and I put on an old pair of leaky duck hunting waders and sweat my way around the lake.

Water clarity was poor. We’ve had lots of storms and this shallow lake was churned up from weeks of major wind. One thing about proper carp fishing is that you sight cast to them. I like to watch them mull around the weeds and drop offs looking for nymphs and crayfish. Sometimes they tail like a redfish or create muds from feeding aggressively along the bottom. Either way, I always observe them a few minutes before I make my cast.

blog_Aug_17-18_2010_5[1]Due to the lack of clarity, I wasn’t seeing the carp soon enough. I was basically standing  on them when I saw them. Then, all I had to do was wave my rod to cast and they spooked. It doesn’t take much to spook a carp. Gradually my eyes got tuned in and after an hour instead of spotting the carp next to me I was able to pick them up when they were twenty feet or so away.

They still weren’t easy by any means. Not as easy as they usually are on this particular lake. But after botching up three in a row I hooked and landed a nice mirror carp of about 6lbs. Carp always give you a good battle but this guy really took my 5-weight to the test. Real quick, if you’re wondering why the 5 instead of a heavier rod, blog_Aug_17-18_2010_6[1]it’s because heavy lines hit the water harder then that of the 5-weight. If they hit too hard you spook the carp. Sure, with a 5-weight it’s hard to turn a big carp but at least you get  the hook up and then it’s a heck of a lot of fun trying to land them.

By 2 pm it was so windy that my chances of spotting even a tailing carp became unlikely. I managed one more carp that was one of the smaller ones I’ve taken. Granny was around so we popped a few pictures of the little guy. Then we packed it up and drove to Blackfoot followed by a treacherous drive through a mile of tall grass to my secret carp camping spot.

The wind was really cranking by the time we got to Blackfoot Reservoir. Whitecaps blog_Aug_17-18_2010_7[2] covered the lake surface except for the tiny bay where we staked out camp. Granny decided on a nap and I wadered up and made a slow walk around the bay. These are big carp! Blackfoot Reservoir carp always amaze me when I haven’t seen them in awhile. For the last month I’ve been trout fishing and the biggest one I’ve caught was about 20 inches. One pass around this bay and I saw five mirror carp near 3 feet long with girths like piglets! I didn’t catch any though. The wind and chop on the water was too much. I got only one decent cast for most the brutes saw me before I saw them. And the one fish I cast to refused my offering. I was done for the day and Granny and I kicked back and grilled up a feast while listening to Cubs baseball on my XM radio. All blog_Aug_17-18_2010_8[1] the time the wind settled and at dark there were tailing carp everywhere.

Falling asleep to tailing carp got me up early this morning and eager to land one of the Blackfoot beasts. The problem was we had clouds, some rain and no tailing carp. It was completely opposite of the forecast we expected and spotting carp in such conditions was near impossible. Luckily clear skies loomed to the west and so while we waited Granny whipped together a superb breakfast and we had our second feast of the weekend. By 10 we had clear skies and calm waters.

With conditions near perfect we wadered up and made a death march to one of my blog_Aug_17-18_2010_9[1]favorite points for sight casting to carp. It was hotter than yesterday and both of us  nearly died in our waders. It didn’t matter Gortex or not, it was brutal. Normally we wet wade but not in the weeds and mud of Blackfoot Reservoir. Once there it appeared the walk was worthwhile. The water looked good and there were cruising carp and a few muds to attend to.

Granny opted not to fish. She climbed up on a ridge viewing the lake, ditched her waders and kicked back to enjoy the day. I prowled along the shoreline like a blue heron. The carp were difficult as always. The wind from yesterday and earlier murked the water more than I thought and it was difficult to spot carp. I startled a few right off the bat before I blog_Aug_17-18_2010_10[1]figured out how far from the bank they were cruising. Once I had that down I never took my eye off there again and started to see them. I cast to at least six cruisers and dropped flies into muds with no takes. I used several flies that normally do well for me. My favorite is a red Copper John but I also do well with rubber leg hares ears, tan Crazy Charlie’s and some of my Vladi Trzebunia nymphs. But the carp paid them little attention.

Three hours into it I was really scrambling for ideas. My sightings of carp were dwindling and the wind and clouds were making their way back. I was running out of time. Finally I met the cooperative carp I was looking for and he was at blog_Aug_17-18_2010_11[2]least 20lbs. I twitched on of Vladi’s woven body Euro nymphs in front of him and he destroyed it. He didn’t follow it or scrutinize the fly, he simply attacked. I gave him the metal and I laughed at the shocked expression on that carps face. His eyes bulged with surprise and he opened his mouth and flared his gills to the max trying to blow my fly out of his soft mouth. He failed and the game was on.

I love my 5-weight Ross fly rod for carp fishing but it is the drag of my Ross Evolution LT Reel that makes it all possible to land a 20lber on a 5-weight. This big carp was a hot one. He smoked me straight out about twenty feet into my backing and started a big sweep to the right. He knew exactly what he was doing, because to the right was a patch of blog_Aug_17-18_2010_12[1]willows protruding from the lake. I put an unbelievable amount of pressure against him both with my reel and the bend of my rod. It was like I was putting the heat on a speeding saltwater fish. I even started backing up on shore trying to force him away from the willows. By now Granny was at my side. She had a look on her face a lot like the carp did when I hooked him – shocked and surprised. Then, that sick feeling of instant slack happened. The carp was gone. It didn’t look like he made the willows but evidently he got me onto something. He broke me off. It was over.

Granny looked at me with disgust. It was if I totally screwed it up. Evidently she blog_Aug_17-18_2010_13[2]wanted that carp bad. But there was nothing I could do. The carp of Blackfoot are tough. Blackfoot Reservoir terrain is unforgiving. And this big-ole-boy kicked my butt. I’m a sick man. I love the agony of defeat. I’ll want it more next time. I love the challenge. I’m not sure Granny will be charging back with me anytime soon, she likes her fast and furious trout fishing. Next week I’ll take her to the Gros Ventre and she’ll catch more trout than you could ever dream of!

blog_Aug_17-18_2010_14[1]I love my 5-weight Ross rod for carp fishing but it is the drag of my Ross Evolution LT Reel that makes it all possible to land a 20lber on a 5-weight. This big carp was a hot one. He smoked me straight out about twenty feet into my backing and started a big sweep to the right. He knew exactly what he was doing, because to the right was a patch of willows protruding from the lake. I put an unbelievable amount of pressure against him both with my reel and the bend of my rod. It was like I was putting the heat on a speeding blog_Aug_17-18_2010_15[1]saltwater fish. I even started backing up on shore trying to force him away from the willows. By now Granny was at my side. She had a look on her face a lot like the carp did when I hooked him – shocked and surprised. Then, that sick feeling of instant slack happened. The carp was gone. It didn’t look like he made the willows but evidently he got me onto something. He broke me off. It was over.

 Granny looked at me with disgust. It was if I totally screwed it up. Evidently hing I could do. The carp of Blackfoot are tough. Blackfoot terrain is unforgiving. And this big-ole-boy kicked my butt. I’m a sick man. I love the agony of defeat. I’ll want it more oth with my reel and the bend of my rod. It was like I was putting the heat on a speeding Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

The Snake River Heating Up

blog_Aug_15_2010_1[1] We should have known our day would start slow when some kayakers asked us how big the fish in the Snake River can get. As we floated by them Chez answered, “My biggest ever was two feet.”

One of the kayakers responded, “Is that 23 inches?”

I picked up my rowing pace and off we went. I was floating with Gary Eckman and Scott Sanchez (Chez) and we were on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. There are several float trips in the Park; we did Pacific Creek to Deadmans. This float is about twelve miles long and is one of the most scenic float trips you can find on the planet. It’s directly under the Grand Teton mountain range blog_Aug_15_2010_2[1]and  so strikingly beautiful that it’s hard to follow your dry fly on the water without constantly being distracted by the view. Today the view was exceptional because there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky.

By now you know Gary. He is the founder and captain of the “Good Times” One Fly Team that I’m fishing on in September. You may also know Chez. He was on my blog in June when we went to the Big Hole River together. Chez is one of the most creative fly tiers of our time and we have been friends for nearly 25 years. He too is on Gary’s team. Anyway, it was another One Fly practice day. At this point in time contestants have no idea what stretches they will draw for the upcoming tournament blog_Aug_15_2010_3[1] so we’re trying to see as much of the Snake and South Fork Rivers as possible in the next couple weeks. The three of us are very familiar with both of these rivers but it never hurts to get some up to date practice.

The fishing on the Snake River typically gets good in mid to late August. What I mean by good is that the larger Snake River Cutthroats start to show themselves. Snake River Cutthroats are late spawners and spend much of the summer in the spring creeks flowing into the Snake. But as temperatures rise and water levels drop many of them migrate back to the main river. We figured today was a good time to have a look and see if they were around yet.

blog_Aug_15_2010_4[1] The fishing started slow. Gary rowed while Chez sat up front and tossed dries to the bank and I chucked streamers from the back of the boat. It’s doubtful that I’d ever throw a streamer in the One Fly on a Park stretch but because it’s so easy to lose your fly on sunken log (You only get one fly in the contest. You lose it your done!). I just wanted to see if I could move any monsters. While I picked up an occasional 12”er the monsters were no where to be seen.

We fished hard all morning. We rotated rowing, changed flies, fished the banks then tried inside turns, but the big fish where no where to be seen. We caught numerous small cutthroat trout but our biggest was only a 14”er I took on a brown and yellow screamer blog_Aug_15_2010_5[1] streamer. Actually that’s not true because I caught a lost lake trout that measured 16”s – an unusual catch on the river.

After a relaxing lunch and a couple cold beers we pushed off for the afternoon. Chez put on one of his famous Double Bunnies, an enormous streamer capable of luring out the most stubborn big fish in a river. Again, there was nothing spectacular to mention other than the scenery. But we’d been kind of glued to fishing the main river channel all day. One thing about the Snake River in the Park is that it has plenty of side channels. However, if you’re not familiar with them (and they change every year) you need to be careful about floating them. Many are un-navigable due to blog_Aug_15_2010_6[1] fallen trees. If you float down one for a half mile then run into this kind of trouble you are screwed. Playing it safe, we started rowing up the bottom of some channels and hit the lower pools. Sure enough we got a few cuttys around 15”s.

It was evident that the larger cutthroats were in the smaller water. That’s probably because the side channels are similar to the spring creeks where these fish spent June and July. We spent the remainder of our day floating and walking every side channel we could and the end result was about a dozen or so nice fish. Our biggest was one Chez subdued with a 3” long Double Bunny. This particular Snake River cutthroat trout came from under a fallen lodgepole pine. It looked like the burly fish was going to get blog_Aug_15_2010_7[1] back in there and break Chez off but Scott wisely jumped out of the boat for a little extra leverage and managed to win the battle.

It was another great day on the river with friends. If the One Fly was to start tomorrow I think we’d do just fine. Instead, tomorrow will be an artwork day along with some packing for a Tuesday Wednesday weekend with Granny. This week we will chase around the carp. Stay tuned . . . as you never know with carp fishing!

After a relaxing lunch and a couple cold beers we pushed off for the afternoon. Chez put on one of his famous Double Bunnies, an enormous streamer capable of luring out blog_Aug_15_2010_8[1] the most stubborn big fish in a river. Again, there was nothing spectacular to mention other than the scenery. But we’d been kind of glued to fishing the main river channel all day. One thing about the Snake in the Park is that it has plenty of side channels. However, if you’re not familiar with them (and they change every year) you need to be careful about floating them. Many are unavigatable due to fallen trees. If you float down one for a half mile then run into this kind of trouble you are screwed. Playing it safe, we started rowing up the bottom of some channels and hit the lower pools. Sure enough we got a few cuttys around 15”s.

It was evident that the larger cutthroats were in the smaller water. That’s probably blog_Aug_15_2010_9[1] because the side channels are similar to the spring creeks where these fish spent June and July. We spent the remainder of our day floating and walking every side channel we could and the end result was about a dozen or so nice fish. Our biggest was one Chez subdued with a 3” long Double Bunny. This particular Snake River Cutty came from under a fallen lodgepole pine. It looked like the burly fish was going to get back in there and break Chez off but Scott wisely jumped out of the boat for a little extra leverage and managed to win the battle.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Fishin’ with Cooper

blog_Aug_13_2010_1[1] Today was fishing with Cooper day. I don’t’ get to fish with Cooper too often because he’s 14. It seems half the summer is over before we get our first day out together and then before you know it school starts again. Cooper is the son of my friend Gary Eckman whom I wrote about on August 6th. Cooper would have joined Gary and me last Friday but he got into a dirt bike accident that required a heap of stitches in his knee and was not allowed off the couch until things started to heal.

Cooper is in charge of where we fish when he goes. He recently returned from an exciting trip to Alaska in which he caught a lot of BIG fish such as halibut, lingcod and golden eye. With that in mind, today he was in search of more big fish. He’s had most blog_Aug_13_2010_2[1] of his good luck over the years on the South Fork of the Snake so we did a repeat of what Gary and I did last week – the Upper South Fork from the Irwin Slide to Conant.

The boys picked me up at 9 am. I was glad for the late start as I’ve been fishing so much that I’m behind in everything from art to paying bills. Mornings are productive times for me. Once we got going Cooper was quick to flash his injured stitched up knee to me. It must have been an ugly mess when the accident happened because even though the wreck was two weeks ago his knee still looks kind of gross.

Once at the river we launched and Gary rowed us directly to the riffle where we blog_Aug_13_2010_3[1]spanked fish last week. We were early. We pulled into our hot spot and beached the  boat on a gravel bar. We sat and watched over cokes hoping to see some big cutthroats begin to rise. I was starting to think they moved out to the main river when the first fish barely broke the surface. This big cutty took a PMD by making less than a two inch ring on the surface. It was the true definition of the word sip. I told Cooper to be ready and he excitedly grabbed his rod and made an approach.

The fish may not have been quite ready to eat yet. Cooper made some casts with one of my Vladi CDC PMD’s but to no avail. I knew it was the right fly but Cooper was blog_Aug_13_2010_4[1] having trouble keeping it afloat. With CDC flies you really need to aggressively false cast between drifts to keep them floating and looking good. Gary switched him to a beetle but even the beetle didn’t work. Eventually Cooper took a break and Gary went in there and quickly nailed one on a tiny light Cahill. Cuttys on the South Fork are not known for putting up dazzling fights but this one had us fooled into thinking he was a rainbow or a brown trout. He pealed off line and tried to wrap Gary in the log piles before Cooper finally got him netted. It was a nice fish, in fact, one of the bigger cutthroats I’ve seen on the South Fork.

Cooper took another crack at the riffle where several fish started rising more blog_Aug_13_2010_5[1] frequently, but again they would not cooperate. Just downstream of us in some slower water another trout began to feed. This trout became very consistent and even though Cooper had fish in front of him, the cutty downstream was too much for him to tolerate so he went after him. I considered talking him out of his move because often times these trout in the slower water are near impossible to catch. In such slow water they can scrutinize your fly and your light tippet can look like a rope. They also cruise around all over and you don’t know if you really got your fly in front of them or not. I didn’t want Cooper to go down stream, not get the fish and get discouraged. But then I thought better of saying anything. Cooper is a good angler and if anything, it would be a blog_Aug_13_2010_6[2] learning experience. Five minutes later Cooper called for the net.

Cooper was hooked up to the sneaky cutthroat trying feed without us knowing. Like Gary’s cutthroat, this scrapper also put on a surprisingly good fight. Cooper and his 5-weight handled the battle like a pro and then he gave me a few pointers on when to net his fish. I listened and I scooped up the heavily spotted cutthroat on the first try.

We didn’t exactly spank the fish today like Gary and I did last week, but it was pretty darn good. Between the three of us we probably landed a dozen nice cutthroats, a brown, a rainbow and a quality whitefish. My highlight of the day wasn’t Cooper catching his cutthroat from the slow blog_Aug_13_2010_7[1] water at our first stop, but rather when Cooper perfectly executed a difficult cast to a rising fish far back in a cave at the base of a rock cliff. He had to do a side arm flip cast to get his fly to the trout. That’s not to mention all the willows he had to avoid with his back cast. Once he made the cast it was all you could do to see the tiny light Cahill he was using because of the darkness in the cave. But Cooper patiently worked to this fish for at least ten minutes until he hooked another dandy of a cutthroat.

The three of us enjoyed a great day on the water and we’re all lined up for another visit to the South Fork next Friday. I really get a kick out of watching kids get into the blog_Aug_13_2010_8[1] fishing and Cooper is over the top like I was at the same age. For me I believe this was my seventh day of fishing in eight days. I don’t mean to brag but I haven’t fished through a summer like this since I was Cooper’s age – before I got my first summer job over thirty years ago!

Cooper took another crack at the riffle where several fish started rising more frequently, but again they would not cooperate. Just downstream of us in some slower water another trout began to feed. This trout became very consistent and even though Cooper had fish in front of him, the cutty downstream was too much for him to tolerate so he went after him. I blog_Aug_13_2010_9[1] considered talking him out of his move because often times these trout in the slower water are near impossible to catch. In such slow water they can scrutinize your fly and your light tippet can look like a rope. They also cruise around all over and you don’t know if you really got your fly in front of them or not. I didn’t want Cooper to go down stream, not get the fish and get discouraged. But then I thought better of saying anything. Cooper is a good angler and if anything, it would be a learning experience. Five minutes later Cooper called for the net.

Cooper was hooked up to the sneaky cutthroat trying feed without us knowing. Like Gary’s cutthroat, this scrapper also put on a surprisingly good fight. Cooper and his 5-weight handled the battle like a pro and then he gave me a few pointers on when to net his fish. I listened and I scooped up the heavily spotted cutthroat on the first try.

We didn’t exactly spank the fish today like Gary and I did last week, but it was pretty blog_Aug_13_2010_10[1] darn good. Between the three of us we probably landed a dozen nice cutthroats, a brown, a rainbow and a quality whitefish. My highlight of the day wasn’t Cooper catching his cutthroat from the slow water at our first stop, but rather when Cooper perfectly executed a difficult cast to a rising fish far back in a cave at the base of a rock cliff. He had to do a side arm flip cast to get his fly to the trout. That’s not to mention all the willows he had to avoid with his back cast. Once he made the cast it was all you could do to see the tiny light Cahill he was using because of the darkness in the cave. But Cooper patiently worked to this fish for at least ten minutes until he hooked another dandy of a cutthroat.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Time to do Some Artwork

It looks like all I do is fish, but I actually stay pretty busy very early in the mornings before fishing and then very late at night after fishing. This week I have been working on a huge Snake River Cutthroat painting. Today I finally put on the finishing touches and I’m pleased with the final product. The watercolor pen & ink is 22” x 30” in size and I sell it unframed for $1250 plus $30 shipping. Unless I sell it in the next 48 hours, it will be headed to the framer and then to Wyoming Gallery in Jackson, Wyoming (307 733-7548) where I display and sell my work.


Snake River Cutthroats are the native fish in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area and in my opinion one of the prettiest of all trout. I love painting them even though they have so many small spots my eyes start to pop out when I apply them!


This cutty took me about ten days from start to finish. That’s putting a few hours in here and there whenever the artistic mood hits. And of course when I’m not on the water!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

Thirty Fish or More

blog_Aug_11_2010_1[1] Today is Granny’s day, again. Actually it’s mine too because we went to a place we both love very much, the Piniella River. It’s a river we like to float because there’s not much fishing traffic (although today we saw three other boats) and there’s numerous fish to catch on big stupid looking dry flies. I like to twitch the winged Chernobyl Ant in the seams and along the banks. Once again, this is by no means a location for big trout but the small ones are numerous. We get several species – brook trout, rainbow and cutthroat (both Snake River and Yellowstone cutts) and when you want them, plenty of whitefish.

This was a rest day after the hike of yesterday. Granny made us a heck of a lunch and even squeezed a couple of ice cold beers in my dirty cooler. The rowing is easy here blog_Aug_11_2010_2[1] so you can kick back and drift, drop anchor or just steer all while you are fishing. We picked a particularly long float so we got a very early start. I was doing a ten mile bike shuttle before 8 am. When I finished Granny had the boat ready to rock and off we went.

On this river, the fish are generally so small that we keep count and set goals. Today we were shooting for 25 fish. Keeping count may sound ridiculous to some but for us it makes it fun. If we don’t set a goofy goal like this then we tend not to put much effort into our fishing on this river. With the high fish goal each fish means something despite their being small. We even do things like no food until we catch three and no beer until you catch five (that will make you concentrate).

blog_Aug_11_2010_3[1] Things started slower than expected. There’s hardly room for one boat on this river in August let alone the three others we saw. Naturally they had the same plan as us of starting early so right out of the gate we kept running into one another. They didn’t seem to know the river so we slowed down our pace considerably to get them out of our sight for good. We dropped anchor on a favorite bank of ours and over the course of an hour we managed six fish – an even mix of cuttys and brookies.

We never saw more much more after that other than lots of birds including a family of owls, a porcupine of which I discovered because I heard some willows getting munched and over thirty fish. To our delight, three of these trout were pretty darn nice. We didn’t get off the river until 7:30 pm and it will go down as one of our most blog_Aug_11_2010_4[1] relaxing days of the summer.

During these last two days I wore my Granny out. She always teases me when I’m tired after fishing a bunch of days in a row, but she knows. Fishing and being outdoors all day gives you the kind of tired we all need more of. Now its back to work for Granny and believe it or not, I’m going to bust out some art tomorrow. I’m excited to say that I sold some art in my galleries and received more orders from my website then ever. Good stuff!

Today is Granny’s day, again. Actually it’s mine too because we went to a place we both love very much, the Piniella River. It’s a river we like to float because there’s blog_Aug_11_2010_5[1] not much fishing traffic (although today we saw three other boats) and there’s numerous fish to catch on big stupid looking dry flies. I like to twitch the winged Chernobyl in the seams and along the banks. Once again, this is by no means a location for big trout but the small ones are numerous. We get several species – brook trout, rainbow and cutthroat (both Snake River and Yellowstone cuts) and when you want them, plenty of whitefish.

This was a rest day after the hike of yesterday. Granny made us a heck of a lunch and even squeezed a couple of ice cold beers in my dirty cooler. The rowing is easy here so you can kick back and drift, drop anchor or just steer all while you are fishing. We picked a particularly long float so we got a very early start. I was doing a ten mile bike shuttle before 8 am. When I finished Granny had the boat ready to rock and off we went.

On this river, the fish are generally so small that we keep count and set goals. Today blog_Aug_11_2010_7[2] we were shooting for 25 fish. Keeping count may sound ridiculous to some but for us it makes it fun. If we don’t set a goofy goal like this then we tend not to put much effort into our fishing on this river. With the high fish goal each fish means something despite their being small. We even do things like no food until we catch three and no beer until you catch five (that will make you concentrate).

Things started slower than expected. There’s hardly room for one boat on this river in August let alone the three others we saw. Naturally they had the same plan as us of starting early so right out of the gate we kept running into one another. They didn’t seem to know the river so we slowed down our pace considerably to get them blog_Aug_11_2010_8[1] out of our sight for good. We dropped anchor on a favorite bank of ours and over the course of an hour we managed six fish – an even mix of cuttys and brookies.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing web site

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