Archive | October, 2017

So Long to Summer 2017

I believe we Idahoans have stretched our Indian summer days to the brink.  The forecast predicts our high temperatures to drop into the 30°s by mid-week.  Along with the chill comes wind and snow.

 

Today however was gorgeous.  We had hardly a cloud and the temperature was in the 50°s.  No doubt it was my last day of wet wading and probably my last day in shorts until I head for Texas next week to speak to some clubs and of course, do some fishing.

 

Granny and I floated the Rizzo.  We caught about a dozen mixed bag of rainbows, cutthroats and brookies all on tiny blue wing olives.  And Granny grilled our last dogs on the river of the year.  Sad times – but winter’s coming!

 

 

 

Don’t forget Christmas is coming fast.  Check out my new fish decals.  There’s a chance for some free decals too!  And as always – my coffee mugs and beer steins are the ultimate gift for the angler that has EVERYTHING!

 

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Celebration on the Desert

October 25-27, 2017

About the time I left the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in 2009 to go full time with my speaking and artwork I supervised ten shop employees and a guide service of fifteen guides.  I enjoyed every one of those guys like they were my brothers and we’ve remained close.  Most of them also broke loose after me and formed their own guide service in Jackson Hole, Wyoming called Grand Teton Fly Fishing.

 

Grand Teton Fly Fishing has become the place to book a guide whether you want to fish the Snake River through Grand Teton National Park, the Wyoming section of the Green River, Yellowstone Park and also the South Fork of the Snake.  They also carry a tradition I started of throwing an end of the season fishing party.  Lucky for me, even though I’m not their employee, they welcome me along as a guest.

 

 

For the last eight years we’ve held this gathering on the Wind River over by Thermopolis, Wyoming.  This year however, we preferred a change.  We headed for one of the most desolate regions in the west and camped and floated the high desert.

 

 

Fishing here is as a standard is slow.  The wind blows furiously and nighttime temps for camping deter most from this idea.  It’s so harsh here few animals can survive.  This migrating kokanee salmon gave up.  But there’s a reason to torture yourself – big trout.

 

 

 

 

We arrived at noon on Wednesday.  After we set up camp we launched the boats and did our shuttles.  We pushed off around 2 PM for a short float.  The sun was piercing for late October and the temperature pushed 70° and there was little to no wind.  This was exactly the opposite of the norm I just described.  I guess that’s why Wednesday we didn’t catch many fish.

 

Thursday was different.  We awoke to 13° and shivered while drinking our coffee.  The day started so cold we had to thaw our waders and shoes and even loosen our reels beside the campfire.

 

We floated a full day’s worth of about ten miles of river.  I fished with Trey Scharp and Alex and the three of us took turns rowing while the anglers fished streamers.  Trey and I each fished multiple flies and raked the small rainbows, a few Bonneville Cutthroats and brown trout.  This normally nymph eating mountain whitefish even got in on the streamer chase for Trey.

 

Although the target for most of us was to catch a huge brown trout, the browns were far and few between and the few we caught were small.  It’s strange for here but then again, the weather has been weird.  As luck should have it however, the big rainbows were abundant.  While normally you catch these guys nymphing, Trey and I racked up a half dozen of these beauties on the streamers.

 

That’s the short blog version of our three days thanks to the fact that I am way behind in my work.  It sums it up though.  It was a fantastic three days with the fellas.  The fishing was by no means incredible but not bad either.  And it’s always a blast hanging with good friends that you don’t see often enough!

 

Don’t forget Christmas is coming fast.  Check out my new fish decals.  There’s a chance for some free decals too!  And as always – my coffee mugs and beer steins are the ultimate gift for the angler that has EVERYTHING!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Penns Creek with Joe Humphreys

We didn’t get moving too quickly today.  You can imagine getting home from the big Penn State Football game last night at 1 AM.  We were tired and took our time this morning with coffee at the cabin then a big breakfast at a little cafe.  Then Joe took us on a scenic hour drive to Penns Creek, a new river for Jerry and me.

 

Penns is a beautiful stream in the boonies of Pennsylvania.  Unlike Spruce Creek there aren’t nearly as many trout here.  Most the trout are wild browns and from what we saw today – they are few and far between come October.  I continued to fish my ant while Joe and Jerry stuck to their nymphs.

 

We fished from about 1 PM until 3:30. Not a long period of time but we’re celebrating the end of this three-day adventure with a nice dinner tonight back at the Tavern with Joes friend Ann.  Despite the short amount of time Joe hiked us along to see as much of this river as possible.

 

None of us were skunked despite the lack of many trout.  Joe and Jerry each nymphed up a couple small trout and I played with a dozen or so baby fallfish.  I used to catch fallfish growing up in New Hampshire and these were my first in over 30 years.  Not big but fun nonetheless.

 

It’s been a fantastic fun filled three days here in Pennsylvania.  A very special thanks to Joe Humphreys for inviting Jerry and I for a second year.  I could seriously get used fishing back here more often.  It’s different than back home.  It’s beautiful.  And the fishing can be excellent.

 

Jerry and I are flying home tomorrow.  We’re hoping to make a few casts at Fisherman’s Paradise on the way to the airport.  I saw a few carp there last year so I packed along a few carp flies.  Unless I catch one, this is it from State College, PA with Joe Humphreys and Jerry Arnold for 2017.

 

The next fishing for me will be Wednesday through Friday for our annual guides trip.  It should be a spectacle as always!

Don’t forget Christmas is coming fast.  Check out my new fish decals.  There’s a chance for some free decals too!  And as always – my coffee mugs and beer steins are the ultimate gift for the angler who has EVERYTHING!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Spruce Creek and a “White Out” at Penn State

It shouldn’t be this warm on a late October day in Pennsylvania but it is.  And I like it.  It was a magic morning heading out on Spruce Creek with Joe Humphreys and Jerry Arnold for our second day of fishing.  The leaves were falling and the trout were hunting.

 

I fished my flying ant all afternoon yesterday and it was conveniently ready to float again today.  The first uniquely marked brown trout I cast too was more than happy to eat it.  The day started remarkable with trout after trout falling for the terrestrial.

 

The three of us marched far downstream from the car.  It’s an easy walk and enthralling for me with the huge oaks, maples and hickory trees dropping their leaves.  We don’t have this type of terrain out west.  Every place has incredible beauty when you look at correctly.

 

I was engrossed and stood and watched my surroundings.  Joe was below and Jerry above.  Each were working a fish.  That’s when out the corner of my eye I noticed I was being spied on by a large brook trout.

 

The nice-looking char startled me at first.  I dropped to my knees as if he didn’t see me.  But my presence was long announced.  I tossed my ant pattern regardless and the trout gave me that look “are you joking dude?”.  That’s when I made a rare “Currier” fly switch to a Vladi Trzebunia Polish nymph.  It’s a dirty deed on a spring creek when the dries are on but this brookie had to be caught.  Three casts with the heavy caddis larvae and soon Joe was netting my brookie.

 

I caught a heap of nice fish this morning.  There was an oversized brown trout that had no business eating a tiny ant.  But he did.  And I caught several fantastic rainbows on the ant as well.  It was a stellar morning and early afternoon.

 

Hands down the fishing highlight of the outing was doubling up with Joe.  I was working the bottom of the pool and he the top.  Simultaneously we hooked up.  My fish was a mere 13” rainbow but Joes was a hawg.  The immediate plan was for a double hero shot together.  I netted my fish then waited for Joe to land his.

 

Joes trout was significantly larger than mine.  It took him awhile to get the beast under control.  At least four times the fish came near to me to try and net but it still wasn’t ready.  One time I made a lunge but missed and my fish jumped out of the net. I had to start completely over.

 

After a few minutes of chaos, I finally scooped up Joes big rainbow and had two fish in the net.  It was a lot of fun and the three of us laughed loudly.  When I finally lowered the net to the water to undo each fish and release them I got a really good look at the two fish.  Mine was a midget compared to Joes.  And that’s the way it should be!

 

After the double it was 2 PM.  Though our Penn State vs Michigan “White Out” Football Game wasn’t until 7:30 we had some tailgating to tend to.  We raced for the car and packed it up.  We returned to Joe’s lady friend, Ann’s cabin, that we moved into yesterday, then headed for town.

 

The Nittany Lions stadium holds 110,000 people and tonight somehow they held 110,823.  To say downtown State College was out of control is an understatement.  Luckily, Joe is experienced at this and we took the bus right to the tailgate parties.  There were hundreds of parties and I swear Joe knew someone at every one of them.  To see a man 89 years old party down like a college kid is a sight to behold.  The man is incredible!

 

Joe has season tickets to games and they are great seats.  Every single person there including Joe, Jerry and I were wearing white.  It was an unbelievable sight that no doubt I will always remember.  I love Cubs games and Wrigley Field but this was an experience!  Best of all, Penn State won and Joe and his family are ecstatic.  Tonight was a huge game for them and their season is shaping up perfect.

 

Its 1 AM.  Its back to fishing in the morning.  Time for a short sleep.

Don’t forget Christmas is coming fast.  Check out my new fish decals.  There’s a chance for some free decals too!  And as always – my coffee mugs and beer steins are the ultimate gift for the angler who has EVERYTHING!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Back to Pennsylvania for Fishing and Football

I could see the lights of the scoreboard at Wrigley Field last night as my plane took off from Chicago to State College, Pennsylvania at 6 PM.  Even a mile in the sky I was tense with excitement for the Chicago Cubs to keep up their fight in this NLCS.  Unfortunately, by the time I arrived in PA the Cubs were nearly blown out and an hour later the season was over.

 

No better way to take away my pain from the abrupt Cubs season end than to visit fly fishing legend and friend, Joe Humphreys, along with Fly Fishing Team USA leader and friend Jerry Arnold.  We’re here in PA to repeat the great time we had last year fishing and catching a Penn State College Football game.  This year’s game is a big one.  A “White Out” against Michigan that takes place tomorrow night.

 

We went straight from the airport to a delectable dinner at the Adams Apple in downtown State College.  After, the three of us retreated to Joe’s house for sleep.  We got up early this morning and with coffee in hand, fed Joes pet trout then headed to the well-known Corner Room restaurant with a few of Joes fishing pals for a hardy breakfast.

 

By noon (sounds late but this is a short vacation) we found ourselves on the famous Spruce Creek on the Spruce Creek Rod and Gun Club waters.  We fished here together in September of 2016.  Lucky for Jerry and I, Joe is a lifelong member and we have the privilege of being his guest again.

 

 

 

 

Spruce Creek is a striking little spring creek nestled between the mountains.  It’s especially spectacular in October with the hardwoods a hundred shades of red, orange and yellow.  Spruce Creek is a manicured stream much like the famous Test River in England with an easy walking trail, mowed lawn to cast from and picnic tables and benches to relax at.  Oh, and in every turn of river there are numerous brown, rainbow and brook trout.

 

Joe grabbed his net from the car and announced he wasn’t fishing and it was Jerry’s and my job to catch some fish.  Furthermore, three of the fish needed to be rainbows 13” on the dot.  These three rainbows were to be thumped as part of an onstream dinner.  Although normally catch and release guys, we did the same last year and I remembered how delicious Joes fresh trout were.  I tied on a fly that always works for me, a size 16 flying ant.

 

I believe fishing on Spruce Creek is always fantastic.  Last year was insane excellent and today was perhaps even better than last year.  While Jerry vacuumed the river with one of Joes secret nymph patterns, my ant was irresistible even to the big browns of the river.  Fishing was unreal again.

 

We only had a couple hours to fish because Joe had us hooked up for a special pregame event in State College and we needed time to enjoy the streamside meal.  Plus, two hours was fine with all the action we had.  I was just reeling in to head down and help Joe prepare dinner when I heard Jerry from the other side of Spruce Creek roar with excitement followed by a bowling ball sized splash.  I looked only to see a leaping rainbow of outrageous proportions.

 

Jerry had done it.  He’d hooked the biggest rainbow in Spruce Creek.  I picked up my pace and bolted downstream.  I’d have crossed over immediately to help but that spot was too deep and muddy.  I tossed our one net javelin style all the way across Spruce Creek while meanwhile Joe was on that side and on his way to help.  A few minutes later the boys prevailed!

 

That was a perfect fish to call it a day – for the fishing that is.  One of the highlights for me, based on last years experience, is Joes streamside picnic.   Joe’s picnic entails a table cloth, a cocktail hour of champagne with whipped cream and strawberries, homemade shrimp cocktails followed by some chef style grilling.

 

I’m not necessarily a champagne drinker but toss in the strawberries and whipped cream – the stuff is unreal!  We knocked off the entire bottle in short time.  I mostly kicked backed as the 74-year-old and the 89-year-old weaved some fantastic yarns.

 

To say Joe Humphreys knows how to put on a good streamside picnic is an understatement.  After the champagne was gone and the shrimp were devoured, Joe cooked the trout and steak to perfection under a pound of drizzled butter.  I’ve had the good fortune of a few fresh fish dinners the last two weeks but this one took the crown.  What a day!

 

Last was a rush from the river to make downtown State College for the Nittany Lions parade.  Joe said it started at 6 and we had an invite to enjoy it from a premier viewing balcony.  While we made it on time, it turns out the parade is actually scheduled for a homecoming in November.  Ha!  Joe felt bad but honestly, it made our trip to town all that much more fun.  We stopped in the Adams Apple then headed home for a good night’s sleep.  Tomorrow will be a full day of fishing and then. . . . the White Out!

 

The animal in the photo is the seldom seen shy gray fox.  We saw him on the drive out of Spruce Creek tonight.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

My Birthday on Jenny Lake

Everyone that loves to fly fish should fly fish on their birthday.  I do my best to every year.  Today Jenny Lake was spectacular.  I brought one of my best friends, Tim Brune, whose birthday is also today.  We each had two good beers and a cigar.  And we caught some lake trout!

 

Off to Pennsylvania in the morning for a few days of spring creek fishing with Joe Humphrey’s (see last year with Joe).  Should be great!  GO CUBS!  This birthday is not complete!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fantastic Oregon Trip Comes to an End

October 15

It was a spectacular day for the Oregon Coast.  No rain in the forecast.  Only miles of blue skies.  Mike and I knew already it may not be the best weather day for fly fishing for Chinook salmon but we really didn’t care.

 

Mike and I hit yet another Oregon Coast river today, the Nehalem.  This river wasn’t in the plan however our first choice had so many boat trailers in the lot we bagged it.  The next place was pretty busy also.  That’s how we ended up on the Nehalem.  There were folks here but not nearly as many as the other places.  Mike made it clear however, there were less folks because the salmon don’t come easy here.

 

Mike was correct.  We fished hard all day and got one fish.  It was smaller a sized Chinook salmon that is referred to as a “jack”.  After I quickly admired the silver king salmon I released him and reeled her in.  Mike fished another hour while I sipped down the final microbrew beer in the Yeti.

 

It’s been a fantastic week here in the beautiful state of Oregon.  A special thanks to the Flyfishers Club of Oregon for having me out to speak to them about streamer fishing.  And a very very special thanks to my longtime pal Mike LaSota for treating me to four productive days fly fishing for Pacific salmon.  On my way home-sweet-home and waving goodbye to Mt. Hood at sunrise from my flight.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Flyfishing for Chinook Salmon on the Nestucca River

There were no secrets to today’s fishing with Mike here on the Oregon Coast.  We fished for Chinook salmon right in front of the Pacific City town boat ramp on the Nestucca River.  Although the day started with a few rain showers it turned into a beautiful day.

 

The salmon were there thick.  Big fish boiled and splashed and jumped up and down the middle of the Nestucca River.  The shoreline was covered with lure chucker’s and bobber fishermen while all the boats had fly fishers.  For the amount of lines in the water few fish were caught.  But Mike and I did a good job of keeping tight.

 

We started strong.  I was moving slow after the epic game 5 Cubs series victory last night but such pain doesn’t keep my line out of the water.  In the first hour we hooked three salmon and each landed one. The one escaped only because Mike got his running line tangled.

 

We caught five Chinook salmon today.  They were all nice fish and all put up amazing fights.  That being said, my 9-weight Jungle Rod does a heck of a job on any fish and although it came close, I still haven’t seen my backing.

 

Lucky for us, one of the Chinooks we caught was a hatchery fish.  We romped him and tonight Mike took a hefty piece to the grill at our house.  I’m as stuffed with fresh salmon as I’ve ever been in my life.

 

With the Holidays coming, keep in mind that I sell great gifts for the fly fishers that have everything.  Visit my store where you can buy online both my fish art coffee mugs and beer steins.  And a friend and I are building a decal biz.  We don’t have many available yet but you can order what we presently have on Amazon.  We would greatly appreciate some reviews to help us get this gig going!

 

One more day of Chinook fishing starts tomorrow!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

My First Coastal Cutthroat

The rain fell hard last night here on the Oregon Coast.  It continued this morning as Mike and I prepared for another day of fly fishing for Chinook salmon.  So much so that we dragged our feet a bit enjoying coffee and some homemade Mike LaSota breakfast burritos before bailing out the boat.

 

Around 9 AM the rain let up significantly despite the forecast for plenty more.  Back in Idaho a rain like last night would mud up our rivers, but here on the coast of Oregon, its good news.  It gets the salmon moving from the ocean into the rivers.

 

The river Mike took me on was one he’s never caught a salmon on yet.  He got some Intel saying it might have some fish.  It was a gorgeous stream full of seals and an assortment of birds.  The attractive river reminded me more of a musky river in Wisconsin than a salmon river on the coast of Oregon.  We motored upstream for an hour or so but never saw a salmon roll.

 

One of my goals on this jaunt to the Oregon coast is to land a new species for my list, the coastal cutthroat, also known as sea-run cutthroat.  Mike suggested I break out the streamer rod and fish the banks as we drifted back downstream.  I loved the idea and went to work as the sun shot through the clouds making this river more and more spectacular by the minute.

 

The fishing was slow as if not a fish existed.  Even the seals we saw looked hungry.  Slow streamer fishing often leads me to sink my fly deeper and deeper till I’m literally dragging bottom.  That’s about when I accidentally snagged this handsome Dungeness crab.

 

 

 

 

I had my shot at a couple random coastal cutthroats and missed each one.  I was starting to think adding this species might be like adding the elusive chocolate mahseer.  Mike joined the game and neither of us could catch a fish.  That is until Mike scraped this Pacific staghorn sculpin off the bottom with his Clouser.  I must admit, this would’ve been a new sculpin species for my species list so it left me a bit jealous!

 

“Currier” persistence always pays off and near the end of the day I finally caught my first ever coastal cutthroat.  Mike says this little guy is average size which surprises me.  I would’ve guessed ocean running cutthroats would be bigger than their completely freshwater cousins.  But in this case, size doesn’t matter.  I will happily add this new species to my list.

 

It’s time for the decisive game 5, Washington Nationals vs Chicago Cubs.  Hunt for Chinook salmon continues again tomorrow.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing for Salmon on Tillamook Bay

The weather forecast looks iffy for Mike and I to go salmon fishing on the coast of Oregon this week.  When we left his house in Portland this morning it was downpouring rain.  In fact, most of our two-hour drive to Tillamook was in a downpour.  But when we pulled in the parking lot to launch the boat the rain stopped and the skies cleared.  This was a very unlikely start for a guy nicknamed “Monsoon Currier”.

 

I’m fishing the next four days with my longtime friend Mike LaSota (Michigan Mike).  I met Mike many years ago in my neck of the woods.  At the time Mike lived in Michigan.  About 15 years ago he and his wife moved to Portland and he’s been enjoying fishing steelhead and salmon ever since.  Today we tossed our 9-weights with sinking lines and swung them at one of Mikes sneaky spots on Tillamook Bay.

 

I’ve said it before on this blog – swinging flies isn’t my thing.  But I must admit, thanks to some previous trips with Mike and my experience with Ingo Helgason of Icelandic Fly Fishermen over in Iceland, I’m getting better at swinging and starting to enjoy it.  Sure enough, I kicked us off with this cute little Coho salmon (silver salmon).  All Coho salmon must be released so without pulling this guy from the water I slid the hook out and released him.

 

The fish we’re after this week is chinook salmon (king salmon).  The only place I’ve taken chinook on fly is in the Great Lakes.  Honestly, I didn’t have a ton of confidence in this week’s quest.  Seems all you hear is how the salmon stocks are struggling and runs are all but gone.  But Mike knows some places.  And lo and behold, around 11 AM Mike hooked up.

 

Mikes salmon took off with a meaning.  We were anchored near an abandoned pier and we were afraid he might hang up there.  I pulled the anchor and rowed after him.  Once we cleared the snags Mike took his time.  Soon he landed this gorgeous chinook of about 20lbs!

 

With a Coho and a chinook in the boat before noon, swinging flies had my attention.  I needed a chinook of my own.  While Mike was changing flies and lines frequently, I had what I had.  This was my 9-weight Winston and my Bauer #5 Reel.  My line was a SA Sonar Sink 25 Cold 350 grain.  Mike advised a long leader so I went with straight 16lb Flouro and simple chartreuse and white Clouser.

 

From the picture above, you know what happened.  Almost to my disbelief, I caught a chinook.  And a fine one at that!  The only thing that surprised me more than actually catching him was that this gorgeous fish never took me to my backing.  Mike attributes this to some very cold-water temperatures however his sure as heck put on a show.

 

After my catch I kicked back.  Mike bought me some fantastic Oregon brews to try and he stacked our Yeti cooler with them.  At 2 PM sharp Mike hooked up the Cubs playoff game 4 against the Washington Nationals and I lived the life of leisure.  Mike went on to land one more chinook and I took a much heftier Coho salmon giving us a total of five beautiful salmon today.

 

All our salmon were wild fish and therefore we released them all.  Our plan is to kill one this week but we are hoping to catch a “hatchery fish” for this.  Late this afternoon as the Cubs blew the game, the rain we expected arrived.  It was by no means heavy but enough to create some beautiful rainbows.

 

Mike booked us a house near Tillamook for three nights.  We crushed some sirloins and a pound of broccoli before calling it a night.  Tomorrow we’ll fish for chinook on a different river then watch the decisive game 5 Cubs against the Nationals.  A Cubs series win would really put this week of fishing over the top!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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