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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

Fly Fishing Talk Brings Me to Oregon

I slipped into Portland, Oregon last night and am presently staying with my old friend Mike LaSota (Michigan Mike).  Mike’s last time on the blog was when we fished in Gabon in 2016.  What brought me to Portland was to give my presentation, “Streamer Tricks for More and Larger Trout” for the Flyfisher’s of Oregon Club.  But I never come to Oregon without fishing a few days with Mike after I work.

 

My talk went fantastic this evening and first thing tomorrow Mike and I are dragging his drift boat to the coast.  It’s our intention to catch some chinook salmon on the fly around the Pacific City area.  I’ve not ever fished there before nor have I caught a “true” native chinook salmon fresh from the ocean before.  Should be a blast!!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

On the Move

Back in the day, October snow and cold meant exciting fall fishing to me.  Though it still does it also causes me to pull out the map.  Luckily, today I’m headed to Portland, Oregon to deliver my PowerPoint presentation, “Streamer Tricks for More and Larger Trout” to the FlyFisher’s Club of Oregon.  After my talk, my friend Mike LaSota and I are heading to the Pacific Coast for four days of fishing.  Not exactly sure what we’re after but I’m sure the upcoming reports will be fun!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Jenny Lake Comes to Life During Winter Squall

Friend Gary Eckman and I fished Jenny Lake today in Grand Teton National Park.  Rather than fish at sunrise when it was about 20°s we met at 10 AM at the lake.  This gave me time to enjoy the Park before fishing.  We have lots of snow up high in the Tetons already.

 

Gary prefers to fish Jenny Lake by boat.  The boat eliminates the ten minute hike to get to my spot that ends by sidestepping down a steep wet hill.  At 77 years old I’d want to skip the hike too.  However, to catch the lake trout in Jenny during October, all you need to do is wade out to your thigh and cast your streamer off the drop off.  Wade fishing is easier too because you don’t have to deal with controlling a boat in the wind.

 

When we arrived there wasn’t any wind to worry about.  Jenny was glassy calm.  There was some sun but clouds were moving in.  The weather on the lakes around here can change in a heartbeat and the clouds indicated it might.  Gary and I each waded out and cast our streamers off the ledges.

 

I was using my Scientific Anglers Stillwater WF6I line and two streamers – a chartreuse bead headed woolly bugger and a heavy nymph.  Lake trout prefer brightly colored flies so I recommend anything chartreuse, yellow or white.  Lake trout surprise you and devour nymphs as well thus my nymph added to the rig.  I also suggest stripping them slowly.

 

Fishing was lousy to start but when there’s not even a ripple from wind fishing is often tough.  Fish know they’re vulnerable to predators when the lakes surface is like glass.  This tends to put them deeper.  It also gives them a clear view of a fly line crashing on the water.  They can be easily scared away before seeing your fly.

 

October days rarely remain void of wind for long.  As we fished we watched the clouds continue to pour in.  Along with the clouds came a breeze.  Then a light wind.  Then a full on steady gust followed by rain and snow.  This change of weather happened in less than 30 minutes.  Thank god we didn’t bring the boat!

 

But one thing that goes hand and hand with bad weather on lakes is bad fishing often turns to good fishing.  I’ve noticed this to be particularly true with lake trout.  Today did not disappoint.  Although it was hell to deal in the extreme conditions, Gary and I caught lake trout on nearly every cast for a solid half hour.  I even nailed a dandy cutthroat.

 

Although I’ve taken a few big lake trout of over 20lbs on Jenny Lake, most that we catch on the fly are in the 18” to 24” range.  And although I’m a 99% catch and release guy, I always take a few of these tasty little dudes home.  When we catch the odd one over 25” it gets released immediately to keep the good genes alive.

 

Gary and I pulled out of Jenny around 1 PM.  The waves and wind were hectic.  Gary in particular was getting pummeled by the waves towards the end.  What a great day.  It’s so good to be fishing a bunch again!

 

With the Holidays charging on us fast, 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!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Frozen on Kubswin Lake

Mark Kuhn photo

Thanks to work and watching baseball I haven’t been fishing enough.  Also, our fall weather has been heinous.  On the night of September 14 our high temperatures went from the 80°s to 40°s and most days since have provided cold rain and snow.  Although todays early morning drive to Kubswin Lake was colorful, I should’ve suspected by the heaps of fidgety wildlife that we were about to freeze our butts off.

 

I was with my longtime friend Gary Eckman.  Gary is a spunky 77 year old that fishes as hardcore as most 22 year olds.  He once participated in the Jackson Hole One Fly and generously sponsored me on his team.  We fished together tons back in my early blogging days.  These days both of us are so busy we only get out a couple times a year.

 

When we arrived on Kubswin at 9:30 AM the weather wasn’t too bad.  It was exactly 31° and calm.  There were a few fish rolling near shore along weed beds on the lake.  Unfortunately, off in the distance I could see a troublesome storm developing.

 

After wadering up Gary and I both went into action.  I was fishing my 5-weight Winston with a floating line and a long 0X fluorocarbon leader.  On my point fly (bottom) I had a gray colored bead head soft hackle and my dropper was an unweighted black woolly bugger.  Gary was fishing a similar rig and in the first half hour we each landed a respectable brook trout.

 

 

 

It wasn’t minutes after Gary released his brook trout that the wind started and a snow squall came with it.  I have good resistance to the cold despite my love for warm climate fishing.  But this got so bone chilling both Gary and I retreated to his truck for more clothes and snacks.

 

The invigorating weather was actually a welcome site because this often sparks great fishing.  Plus, I love a cold fall day of fishing once I’m decked out in my Simms gear.  But the hours rolled on by slowly.  Gary and I fished relentlessly and not a fish stirred.  Not even a strike!

 

Gary was ready to surrender at 3 PM.  With my lack of fishing lately I was a bit more stubborn.  Gary patiently waited and continued fishing while I changed flies, stripping techniques and anything else I could think of to catch a fish.  Finally at 5 I landed a small but handsomely colored brown trout.  I reeled it in for the day after I released him.

 

There will be lots of fishing coming this month no matter what the weather.   I’m headed to Jenny Lake for lake trout later this week.  Then I speak to the Flyfisher’s Club of Oregon next week delivering “Streamer Tricks for More and Larger Trout”.  This event will be followed by three days of Oregon coast fishing.  There I’d like to catch my first chum salmon but more likely the new species I’ll catch will be a coastal cutthroat.

 

With the Holidays charging on us fast, 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!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

October – Best Fishing and Baseball of the Year!

Lots of catching up on art, writing, organizing for the show season is in the rearview.  Not done but enough finished to have some fun.  This past week Granny and I went to Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri and watched two Cardinals vs Cubs games.  The Cubs lost for us on Tuesday night but they clinched the division before our eyes on Wednesday night.  We had the best seats at a pro-game of our lives.  Right next to the Cubs dugout.  Playoff baseball begins with Wildcard Games on Tuesday night.  I can’t wait!

 

We are home sweet home now and tomorrow the October fishing begins with Kubswin Lake (2015, 2014, 2012, 2010).  The weather is horrific.  Snow is in the yard today.  Seems to me big brookies and brown trout should be feasting before winter!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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