Archive | October, 2015

Florida Keys here I Come

blog-Oct-31-2015-florida-keysWith a trip to San Francisco this Friday November 6th to be the keynote speaker for the Henry’s Fork Foundation Reception Dinner then to Africa for three weeks on Monday November 9th, squeezing in two days of fishing in the Florida Keys tomorrow and Monday didn’t seem logical.  But then it seemed less logical not to go.  This is a fully sponsored Simms fishing photo shoot that includes a half day of reef dredging with the 700-grain and a day and a half on the flats with my long time buddy Capt. Bruce Chard whom I haven’t visited in years.  What was I thinking – of course I’m going!

 

This was a last minute trip.  These are always the best!  A special thanks to Simms for inviting me along.  Stay tuned for what I hope is a great fishing adventure!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Annual Thermopolis Trip with the Boyz

blog-Oct-25-2015-1-grand-teton-national-parkFall is the time for get togethers with my friends whom are guides, fly shop employees, fly fishing instructors and those who are just too dang busy to spend time with in the summertime.  Fall is the time when fly fishing people do less working and more fishing.  These last two days was the end of the year party with my old fly shop staff.  Even though I’ve been out of the fly shop and guiding biz exactly six years almost to the day, I’m happy to say they still bring me along.

 

blog-Oct-25-2015-2-scott-smith-fishing“They” is now Grand Teton Fly Fishing and its Scott Smith who is the main owner and founder of Grand Teton Fly Fishing.  Scott worked his way from fly shop employee to casting instructor to guide and eventually to be my head guide by the time I left.  It was an amazing process to build the company and acquire some of the best fishing permitted water in North Western Wyoming.  Now four years in Scott has it under control.  For the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park fishing trips, Grand Teton Fly Fishing is who I recommend.

 

October 25 – Day 1

 

blog-Oct-25-2015-3-togwotee-passSunday morning six of us met at 9 AM in Jackson and carpooled four hours to Thermopolis, Wyoming where the Wind River becomes the Bighorn River.  Minus a couple stops along the way to take in the incredible October scenery, we arrived directly at a boat ramp and pushed off the boats before 2 PM.

 

blog-Oct-25-2015-4-josh-gallivan-fishingEveryone was stoked to be fishing together and there was a lot of goofing off and fun times in order as we put the boats in.  But we were quick to snap into seriousness when we noticed big rising trout in all the likely spots on each bank.  Josh Gallivan (Sicket) went into action and on the first cast hooked and landed this proper brown trout on a size 20 purple Comparadun.

 

blog-Oct-25-2015-5-trico-flyOur weather was fantastic.  There wasn’t an ounce of wind and the temperature hovered in the low 60°s.  Most of the leaves have left the trees so it’s sort of weird having leafless trees but such nice weather.  The water temp of the Bighorn is warmer that it should be for October as well but fortunately it didn’t stop the tiny Baetis from hatching.  I grabbed a size 20 Trico and tied it on without readers – something not many 50 somethings can do.  Though not a perfect representation of the Baetis its small size was what was needed and the Trico went on to catch its fair share.

 

blog-Oct-25-2015-6-bighorn-riverDay 1 was productive as long as you could see a tiny fly.  If your eyesight was at all hampered the going got tough.  While Scott, Sicket and I had a respectable afternoon of dry fly fishing the other guys didn’t do as well.  But they stayed more with big ants, streamers and nymphs and the trout just weren’t into those flies.

 

blog-Oct-25-2015-7-jeff-currier-shooting-poolWe overnighted in Thermopolis and Scott treated the crew to an evening of dinner and beers at the Safari Club.  The Safari Club is a unique hotel and bar that suites multiple day fishing trips to Thermopolis perfectly.  We had a great dinner and I was able to find my long lost billiard skills for a few games.

 

October 26 – Day 2

 

blog-Oct-26-2015-8-bighorn-riverThis morning charged in fast but luckily it doesn’t get light till almost 8.  Ben Brennan and I got an early breakfast and watched the rest of the group limp in for coffee around 9.  I guess some of the guys didn’t spend last weekend celebrating someone’s 50th so they took it a little further than normal last night.  Like every day this October, temps were unseasonably warm early in the day but there were a few threatening clouds drifting in.

 

blog-Oct-26-2015-9-thermopolis-wyWe floated the least fished part of the Wyoming Bighorn today.  The stretch doesn’t see the pressure of the rest of the river due to two diversion dams.  Both dams have taken their share of drift boats over the years due to rogue waves, hidden sharp boulders and the actual waterfall like drops in both.  This time of year the level of the Bighorn is so low you can’t float over the diversions and need a few crazy guides to wade and drag the boats.  This part was not a problem for our crew.

 

blog-Oct-26-2015-10-flyfishing-wyDealing with less boat traffic wasn’t the only reason we chose this stretch today.  We were looking for some less pressured fish that would be easy to catch.  We caught them yesterday but it took patience and small dries.  We wanted to do some streamer fishing with hopes of tagging a few big browns.  Our choice paid dividends and not only did we stick a few browns on streamers but the risers ate the big summer Chernobyl ant patterns as well.  Fishing was on!

 

blog-Oct-26-2015-11-wind-riverThe best fish of the trip came on my last cast.  I’d been going back and forth from dry to streamer hitting all the mid river troughs where big browns hold in October.  I smacked my double streamer rig down and let it swing (a good technique in fall).  On the first strip I got a yank and downstream without a jump went what I quickly guessed to be an oversized brown.  At the same time Scott hooked up as well and his leaped and it was a rainbow.  All this happened as the takeout ramp came into sight.

 

blog-Oct-26-2015-12-jeff-currier-scott-smithScott and I battled while Sicket steered and gradually beached the boat by the ramp.  Then he netted Scotts rainbow and seconds later my brown.  The net had over 5lbs of trout – 2/3rd brown trout and 1/3rd rainbow.  What a way to end a trip!

 

That’s likely my last trout for a while.  My travels start Friday with a short trip to the Florida Keys for a Simms shoot.  Then one night to San Francisco to speak at the Henry’s Fork Foundation Banquet then off to Africa.  Stay tuned. . . .

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Turning 50 on the Henry’s Fork

Twas a late blurry night at the TroutHunter on the banks of the Henry’s Fork celebrating my 50th.  I wasn’t alone.  More than twenty held it down till the bitter end of 2 AM.  You would suspect a quiet morning today but instead we got up because of a drastic change in weather.  The temps came down and it was raining.  These are ideal conditions for blanket Blue-Winged Olive hatches in October.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-2-flyfishing-henrys-forkI won’t lie and tell you we jumped from bed.  But everyone was at breakfast by 8 and after heaps of coffee for some and mimosas for others, we wadered up under the awning in front of TroutHunter to hide from the rain.  By 10 AM we found ourselves walking into the Ranch much earlier than yesterday.  There were less of us.  Several friends had to fly or drive long distances to return home for work tomorrow and shockingly some went home to bed.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-3-jeff-currierThose here were ready for action.  I felt especially ready.  I always catch a fish on my birthday and today I had high hopes for a lunker Ranch rainbow.  How cool would that be – catch a donkey on my 50th?  But things would start slow and things would end slow.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-4-fishing-the-henrys-forkThe dream hatch never happened.  Seriously, today’s weather normally brings on the bugs.  They came, but they came at around 4 PM and lasted only an hour.  And it wasn’t the “blanket hatch”.  Prior to the hatch there were some sporadic feeding fish and I had my chances.  I cast intensely at three pigs.  The first, a mover, I chased up and down a 100yd stretch of river through coots and weeds for an hour.  He was in a mere foot or less of water so he had to move to find his food.  These shallow water cruisers are the toughest of all.  I’m not sure I ever drifted my fly over him before he finally quit.  Defeated, I returned to the bank.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-5-derek-mitchellOn the bank I relaxed with Mike LaSota (Mike fished Dubai and Sudan with me in April), Derek Mitchell (friend of 25 years and many trips together) and Mark Johnston (friend from Iowa).  All arrived Thursday and have been hanging through this fun event.  The rain dropped and the Ranch light was surreal.  Derek, Mark and I sipped a beer and smoked the last cigars of the trip.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-6-birthday-fishMy second chance was at a brute nestled in a weedy nook.  The only way I could get my fly to him was to drift it over a smaller rainbow (we call these small trout bodyguards) first.  The bodyguard ate my fly on the first cast.  I held back the hook set but naturally I stuck him anyhow and he jumped and ran spooking the big fella.  At least I got that birthday fish.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-7-rising-rainbowThe last fish was the biggest and nine times out of ten, a Henry’s Fork rainbow feeding like this is a guarantee.  But not today.  I’ll blame the wild week and utter exhaustion.  I’m not 100% sure but it appeared the giant sipped my fly twice and my set was off both times because I was looking at a natural BWO instead of my fly.  Oh these fifty year old eyes are starting already!

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-8-jeff-currier-on-the-ranchAt 5:30 there were still some fish up.  But I had one more thing on my birthday agenda – be sitting at the TroutHunter bar for first pitch of Game 2 Cubs vs Mets.  I reeled it in and marched for TroutHunter and had a beer in hand and a basket of scrumptious chicken wings with Granny for first pitch.  Unfortunately, like me failing to get a monster on the Ranch, the Cubs would fail to take the game in New York adding a bit of stress for Tuesday at Wrigley.  Where were the birthday gods today?

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-9-henrys-forkThe last four days have been some of the most enjoyable of the year.  Yes if you read the day by day accounts the fishing has been tough – no doubt about it.  But surviving half a century and celebrating it with such great friends is irreplaceable.  I’d go fishless ever birthday to hang with these guys in such a magnificent place.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-10-henrys-forkA special thanks goes out to the TroutHunter for taking such good care of me and my friends here on the Henry’s Fork.  You couldn’t ask for a better venue when you have a large group all celebrating.

 

Believe it or not we hit it again tonight.  We’re addicted to hanging out and talking about old times and making new ones.  In the morning everyone returns home except my college buddies.  They’re fishing Box Canyon.  I’ll take Granny back to Victor so she can head back to work.  I’ll catch up in my office then I suspect there will be even one more night in Victor before I start resting up for the 60th.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-11-jeffcurrierhenrys-forkTime to kick off the second half. . . . 100 years here I come!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Party Time on the Henry’s Fork

blog-Oct-17-2015-1-jeff-currier-birthdayWe stayed up late again last night but it didn’t slow us down an iota.  Nine of us sucked down coffees at 6 AM while organizing our gear for the next part of our trip.  We were headed for the Ranch on the Henry’s Fork to celebrate my 50th all weekend.

 

blog-Oct-17-2015-2aAt 8 AM we left the house and after a quick photo stop at the famous Pillsbury silo we arrived at the Last Chance parking lot before 10.  Several more pals were here including Scott Sanchez, Sammy Vigneri, Derek Mitchell and Greg Gaddis, all whom I worked with in the fly shop back in 80’s.   If you added these guys with my college pals and local friends there were fifteen of us at this point.  I’m a lucky guy to have so many great friends to come celebrate with me.

 

blog-Oct-17-2015-3-jeff-currier-fish-artThere was no doubt fishing was secondary to catching up amongst friends.  I’ve seen most of these guys within the last five years but many of them haven’t seen each other in over twenty years.  Naturally the beers and chatter was flowing and I started drawing trout in the dust of cars in my new Cubs shirt the guys gave me.  It took us almost till noon to get wadered up and ready to begin the walk into the Ranch.

 

blog-Oct-17-2015-4-tricoFor the third day straight the weather was insanely summery.  Today the temps touched the low 70°s.  There was no wind and there were few bugs on the water.  Evidently while we were assembling in the Last Chance parking lot in the morning some Trico’s trickled off and a few big fish rose.  In fact when we first went out I came across two different big fish.  I managed to fool each with a micro size 22 Parachute Adams but I’m sorry to say I missed both.  The second was a true monster and when he blew up his spook-splash nearly sprayed me!

 

blog-Oct-17-2015-5-fall-on-henrys-forkThe slow fishing but exceptionally nice weather led us all too frequent stops along the grassy banks of the Ranch for beer and cigar breaks.  In a sick way lousy fishing was what I was hoping for.  This weekend is really about visiting with my best friends whom I don’t see enough these days.  This is me and Howie my college roommate.

 

blog-Oct-17-2015-6-henrysforkOn occasion we’d find that random riser.  All of the ones I found were by Ranch standards too small to bother with.  But I finally gave in and plucked a few little guys off just for fun.  Honestly, the small ones are tough also and after missing the big dudes earlier the practice won’t hurt a bit.

 

blog-Oct-17-2015-7-jeff-currier-50th-birthdayOver the years, especially on my annual “Henry’s Fork Marathon” (today was this years), there have been many times where a dozen of us settled in a nice spot for beers, cigars and good stories.  Today may qualify as the finest bank party of all.  We sat in one place for over two hours and carried on reminiscing about the good times we’ve had together.  Incredibly, a big fish rose a few times in front of us and not one of us got up to try for him.  As strange as this may sound, no one wanted to miss a minute amongst the best of friends.

 

blog-Oct-17-2015-8-henrys-fork-sunsetEveryone cast to a few more fish throughout the afternoon and evening.  A few clouds rolled in at sunset making for the usual spectacular Henry’s Fork sunset.  We’re finally expecting some weather to arrive and perhaps tomorrows fishing will give us excellent hatches and hungry monster rainbows.

 

blog-Oct-17-2015-9-trout-hunter-bar-and-grillI cranked up the Cubs Game One playoff with the Mets at the parking lot while waiting for the true diehards to return.  From there we headed up to the TroutHunter.  If you ever want to have a fishing party I highly recommend doing it at TroutHunter.  It’s conveniently located on the Henry’s Fork and has everything you could need.

 

blog-Oct-18-2015-10-jeff-currier-at-trout-hunterWe rented eleven TroutHunter rooms, ate like kings and they kept the bar open for us way longer than we needed to be there.  But I’m glad they did because this weekend will go by fast and this way less time will be wasted sleeping.  When the clock struck 12 I officially turned 50.  I think we were winding down about then but naturally the official birthday date energized us back up.  We’ll see how fishing later today goes.  The Henry’s Fork Ranch requires you’re game face and I’m not so sure many of us will have that in a few hours!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Building up to the 50th Bash

blog-Oct-16-2015-1-fall-fishingI’d be lying if I said I woke up feeling like a million bucks this morning.  I had seven of my best friends in town at the house last night and more arrived today.  We’re more like brothers than friends.  We’ve lived together, fished, hiked traveled and you name it.  Some from college, others worked the fly shop with me in the 1980’s and a few taught fly fishing or guided with me.  Most I haven’t seen in as many as five years – thus came the reunion celebrations last night and likely more to come over the next few days.  This get together is for my 50th birthday Sunday.

 

blog-Oct-16-2015-2-flyfishing-the-south-forkWith seven of us today we needed a wade fishing venue to accommodate all.  I went with the South Fork of the Snake.  The South Fork rarely gets wade fished these days and is rather a flotilla of drift boats.  We fished along the dirt road from Ririe to Black Canyon.  This rugged road offers plenty of stop offs on gravel bars and provides access to numerous side channels.  I’ll be honest, I haven’t wade fished the South Fork in a few years so today was refreshing.

 

blog-Oct-16-2015-3-southfork-riverMissing were hatches.  Normally in October afternoons provide blanket hatches of Blue-Wing Olives (BWO) but the weather was once again, too nice.  The hot sunny day was perfect for Mahogany duns and caddis but I’m afraid they hatched out in September and now somewhere down in the rocks and weeds the BWO’s are waiting for the cold weather we normally get in in October.

 

blog-Oct-16-2015-4-50th-birthdayUsually even when hatches are sparse blind fishing with hoppers raises some cutthroats along the banks and off the riffles but today they were few and far between.  The guys chucked some streamers and Mark nymphed but the catches were light and most of the trout small. We resorted to extra beer drinking.

 

blog-Oct-16-2015-5-mike-neuman-flyfishingThe highlight was when Mike and I broke off from the group and hiked to the South Fork swamp.  That’s what I call the place but really it’s an area of several springs and spring creeks manipulated by beaver dams.  It’s a struggle to get in there and the fish are very difficult to catch.  I warned Mike he may not be able to fool one here as a beginner but he was all for the adventure anyway.

 

Let’s just say Mike almost made it happen.  We waded past the weeds and Mike cast out his BWO and we stood like herons and waited.  Sure enough a hefty cutthroat swam by and without any hesitation sipped Mikes fly.  Unfortunately Mike set and the big mouth wasn’t closed enough to hook up.  He had a couple other eats but connecting wasn’t meant to be.

 

Eventually I left Mike on his own and put my Winston into action.  Spring creek fishing is my favorite and I spotted a decent cutthroat on the hunt.  Rather than cast right on him and risking spooking him I led him about ten feet and waited.  Sure enough he ran into my dry fly and soon I was holding one of the nicest cutties I’ve caught all season.

 

Despite the mediocre fishing it was another great day with my friends.  We’re headed back on the town for another fun night out.  We’ll take it easier because we’re shooting for an early departure to the Henry’s Fork in the morning.  I’m spending my 50th with twenty of my best friends on the Ranch!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Let the 50th Celebration Begin

blog-Oct-15-2015-1-jackson-hole-airportA long anticipated get together with some of my best friends began when I collected college buddies from the Jackson Hole Airport this afternoon.  100 miles away several others were landing in Idaho Falls and two others were entering the Yellowstone Country by car.  There’s another group coming tomorrow as well.  The celebration of my 50th has begun four days early and we are going to fish, eat, drink and smoke just a few stogies between now and Tuesday.

 

blog-Oct-15-2015-2-flyfishing-jenny-lakeWhile the Idaho arrivals fished the South Fork on their way towards Victor, I led the Jackson arrivals up for licenses in Moose, Wyoming then marched them into my lake trout spot on Jenny Lake.  While moving water is more appealing than a lake to most, these flat landers (Mike Neumann from MN, Matt Norton (Howie) my college roommate from WI and Mark Reesor from IA) could hardly cast when presented with the shear stunning Teton view that can’t hide while fishing on Jenny Lake.  Just imagine this view when you come from a place with no mountains!

 

blog-Oct-15-2015-3-jenny-lake-lagerThis October weather continues to be more like early September.  The only thing that says “October” are the late sunrises and it gets dark way too early – now about 7 PM.  But really, it’s ridiculously warm, mostly calm and we haven’t seen much in the way of clouds in two weeks.  These conditions aren’t helping the lake trout fishing but luckily my spot always produces at least one and most importantly, even in summer the lake is cool enough to chill the beer.

 

blog-Oct-15-2015-4-flyfishing-jenny-lakeOf my three college pals, Mark and Howie have done quite a bit of fly fishing.  Mark guided two summers in Alaska in the 1980’s and Howie dabbles when he has the chance back in WI.  Mike on the other hand has been more of a “hardcore walleye” guy for the 25 years that I’ve known him. That is until Mark and Howie took him trout fly fishing in southern WI two springs ago.  Since then Mike’s gone over the top and this summer he got the warmwater bug and pumbled the smallmouth of MN on fly.  To say he’s hooked is an understatement.

 

blog-Oct-15-2015-5-flyfishing-for-lake-troutWhile I kicked back, still recouping some, the guys fished but Mike caught the only Jenny Lake Mackinaw on a pink squirrel nymph.  For Mike it was his first lake trout experience with the fly.  Unfortunately he’s a little rusty in his hero shot poses!

 

Once the sun set behind the Tetons we rushed out and caught the last thirty minutes of daylight for a short drive around Grand Teton National Park to see some animals.  I hoped to find us a grizzly but instead we settled for moose, deer, elk and antelope.  Not bad considering where the guys began their day back East.

 

blog-Oct-15-2015-6-flyfishing-grand-teton-parkWe just joined up with the rest of the guys at the house and we’re headed downtown Victor to begin the celebrations.  Today is the first of five great ones.  Tomorrow its wade fishing on the South Fork all day then Saturday head up to the Henry’s Fork for some Ranch time.  This is shaping up to be a birthday to remember!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Finally Back to doing My Thing!

blog-Oct-12-2015-1-flyfishing-jenny-lakeI’ve been getting lots of necessary “indoor” chores done the last two weeks such as organizing my winter speaking tour, some artwork and I packed for some upcoming adventures.  I got the tasks done only because I was grounded after going under the knife in late September.  Recovery required taking it easy and no fishing.  I’ve never taken it easy and I normally fish all the time.  If it wasn’t for playoff baseball the last two weeks would’ve killed me!

 

blog-Oct-12-2015-2-jeff-currier-teaching-kidsToday I went back to being my old self.  My great day started with a trip to the Jackson Hole Middle School where I entertained eight graders with a custom PowerPoint program I called “Other Amazing Places and Other Amazing Fish”.  The theme was conservation of fish starting with the Snake River Cutthroat of Jackson Hole and from there I took them around the world for tigerfish, arapaima and golden mahseer to name a few.  It was exhilarating to see youngsters so into fishing and more importantly their interest in protecting the environment.

 

blog-Oct-12-2015-3-flyfishing-jenny-lakeI was in a terrific mood after classes and went from school to Jenny Lake with friends Gary Eckman and Rick Schreiber.  Jenny was gorgeous as always and I could hardly handle the excitement of being back on the water.  The conditions were the worst you could ask for lake fishing – calm and sunny.  Furthermore, fall has yet to arrive so the lake trout aren’t in shallow in the huge schools that they normally are.  Nonetheless we caught about a dozen small lakers in three hours then called it so I could make it home in time for the Cubs game.

 

blog-Oct-12-2015-4-jeff-currier-flyfishingThe blog will be back to normal starting this weekend.  I’m fishing a ton and all over the place over the next two months.  First on the books is my 50th birthday bash.  I have several of my best friends from college and old fishing pals from my early Jackson Hole days flying in Thursday and Friday.  We’ll fish near Victor Friday but then spend two days celebrating and fishing on the Harriman Ranch on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday will be the official “2015 Marathon” seeing it was impossible to schedule it in June when it normally takes place.  As always – if you’re around you’re invited.  We’ll meet in the Last Chance lot around 10 AM.

 

The following weekend I’ll be in Thermopolis then two days in the Keys and most of November will be back in Africa fishing with my friends from Tourette.  This time we’ll be fishing smallmouth yellowfish in Lesotho.  More on all these adventures in the near future.  Stay tuned – I’m back to doing my thing!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

“Currier” Art Featured in This is Fly Magazine

blog-Oct-2-2015-pheasant-artwork-by-jeff-currierI’ve been cranking up the art the last ten days.  I’ve been decorating a few Cliff Fly Boxes and doing some painting.  I’ll have some flashy new fish species such as bluefin tuna on mugs, steins and all my products for that matter on my web store and now I even have a pheasant.  I already have a pheasant coffee mug of my own and can assure you he looks killer!

 

What I really wanted to highlight today however is an article in This is Fly Magazine.  Editor Paris Fleezanis contacted me in August to ask if I’d be the featured artist for the fall issue.  I was honored and the piece recently hit the press.  Enjoy this and the many other excellent articles.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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