December 5, 2009

There isn’t much snow on the ground here in Victor, Idaho, but the winter temperatures have arrived. It’s seriously cold and with the exception of a run or a hike I’ve been inside working on various art projects. It’s the exact weather needed to get me off the rivers and on to my work. Most of the artwork I’ve been doing is filling orders for Christmas. These include watercolors of cutthroats, brown trout, rainbow trout and even a muskellunge to name a few. It’s been great fun working at home for myself.

It would be a lie if I claimed I could go a whole week without fishing. And sure enough, a trip to Jackson Hole for a few hours of errands today turned into a quick jaunt up to the Jackson Lake Dam in Grand Teton National Park. Although most of the Park is closed to driving during the winter, the road to Moran Junction and to Jackson Lake remains open. From the dam runs the Snake River. Because the water running through the dam comes from the bottom of Jackson Lake, it’s warm enough that it doesn’t freeze. The warmth attracts baitfish such as Utah Chubs and whitefish that in turn bring in the predatory Snake River Cutthroats and brown trout. The dam turbines also blow through some lake trout from Jackson Lake itself. If you can stand the brutal temperatures, you often catch numerous fish until you’re so cold you can’t move.

Today such fishing was not the case. I fished with my friend Mark Kuhn, better known as “Milkfish” and between the both of us managed only two fish. I caught a brown and a laker. It was a surprise to do so poorly, but perhaps the fish were a little “doggy” because it was literally only five degrees.

Two nice fish certainly doesn’t call for a bad day, however, due to the slow fishing and severe chilly conditions, we opted to head home early to perhaps see some wildlife. Sure enough, our drive hardly let us down. We saw a coyote, hundreds of buffalo, elk, and best of all, several rutting bull moose. One of the bulls was quite large and I managed a few photos. Unfortunately, all I had was my point and shoot Canon so the photo you see is the best I could get. Hopefully in a few days I’ll round up a shot from Milkfish who had a nice camera and a zoom lens.

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!