Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sad News

For all of you who knew Aspen, The Fishdog, I am very sad to report that she died a couple days ago.  She was my best friend and constant companion for 13 1/2 years and beat the average lifespan of her breed by a number of years.  Aspen had a great life- she made it into the newspaper, magazine articles, DVDs and even an episode of Trout Unlimited Televison.

Aspen traveled with me over 300, 000 miles calling on accounts and having fishing adventures.  We covered a lot of territory together from Idaho to New York.   Smallmout and steelhead were her favorites.  Great dogs come along once in a lifetime and I am glad she was mine.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Alaska, 2013- Put Yourself in this Picture!

Fellow Scott Rod and SA Pro, Jeff Liskay and myself are organizing a a group trip to Naknek River Camp just outside King Salmon, Alaska for July 20-27, 2013.  This will be one of the prime weeks of the summer to get the biggest assortment of species.  We will fish for sockeye, king, silver, and chum salmon, along with rainbows, dollys, char, grayling and pike.
Naknek River Camp is one of the best bargains in Alaskan fishing these days.  You visit all the same sights and fish the same waters that the high-dollar lodges on the Naknek system do.  The cabins are warm and dry, the food is good, and guides are knowledable, helpful, and keep the bears away.
For full details on this trip, feel free to give me a shout.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Morning With My Best Friend

Aspen and I did our annual Thanksgiving Day fishing trip yesterday morning with a quick trip over to the the Chagrin River.  It was likely her last trip out for steelhead.  At 13 1/2 years old, the Fishdog has arthritis in both lack legs and hips.  She showed her usual interest in hooked fish and had to give a lick to those brought to the bank. Cold water just takes it out of her really fast these days and although her spirit was willing, her body just can't handle the cold anymore.  She never complained, but best to leave her in a warm dog bed to dream of steelhead past.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Swing dat Thing!

The rain that accompanied Hurricane Sandy served to flush out the tributaries of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, getting rid of fallen leaves and bringing in good numbers of fresh steelhead.  With the still-modertate temperatures, the bite has been on all over.

Swinging flies continues to grow in popularity around the Great Lakes.  When conditions are right, it is the most enjoyable way to catch steelies.  More and more anglers are learning this technique which can be done with both single- and two-hand rods.  Flies can be both imitators of baitfish or general attractors depending on the situation.

Here is a nice Niagara River steelie I swung up on the Niagara River on Scott's new T3H 13'6" 7-wt. teamed up with a Scientific Anglers 560 gr. Skagit Extreme with 15 feet of T10 at the tip.  An Intruder-style emerald shiner streamer completed the rig.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

April Vokey in the Buff!

Here is the photo we all have been wating to see, April Vokey in the Buff!

Ok, it's actually April Vokey in a Buff.  Our favorite Flygal shows her new custom "trout dream" design available exclusively through her website,  Get one for the Flygal in your life!

Friends on the Water

It's been a crazy last couple years for anyone in the fly fishing biz.  Everyone- manufacturers, retailers, sales reps, and guides have been working double time to keep positive cash flow.  Once in a while we get to spend a day with close friends to just relax, talk a little shop, and just have fun.  A couple days ago I was able to link up with a couple of my favorite friends from north of the border.

April Vokey, everyone's favorite fly gal is in the area doing a series of classes and presentations and we were able to talk mutual friend and guide, Paul Castellano, to cross the Niagara River and spend a day chasing steelhead and browns from shore.  Fish were caught, but that really wasn't the most important part of the day.  The real enjoyment was for a trio of friends who rarely get a chance to see each other, catch up on life events, and have a few laughs together.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Snake Rolls, White Mice, and Bloody Ls

Spey casting is enjoying a significant increase in both interest and popularity on this side of the big pond from its origins in the UK.  In the Great Lakes area there are several events each year to teach beginners and advanced anglers both the fundamentals of this most interesting style of fly casting with its own unique terminology.  Attendees also get a chance to try out the latest in rods and lines and learn from a variety of skilled instructors.
One of the most recent of these events took place at Henning Park on Michigan's Muskegon River just outside the town of Newaygo.  The Great Lakes Speyfest is hosted by the Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company of Rockford, MI.  It is free to all who attend and each year provides regional, nationally, and even internationally known presenters. 

This years star-studded cast featured SA/Ross/Scott Pro Jeff Liskay, Guideline Pro Pete Humphries, SA/Ross/Scott Pro and guide Capt. Kevin Feenstra, and the Big Spey Daddy himself- Simon Gawesworth from Far Bank.  Casting, fishing, and flies for Spey applications were covered in depth by this talented group.  Quite an impressive line up considering the (lack of) cost to attendees.  Speyfest 2013 will again be at Henning Park in Newaygo, MI, the last Saturday in September.  Mark your calender now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Work In Progress

Fly fishing for musky is growing very quickly.  Whether it be river or lake, more and more anglers are starting to chase this toothy predator.  September is a prime month for chasing musky with flies as the fish have started feeding heavily for the coming winter and prey species have reached their maximum size.  Flies this time of year can range from around 6 inches to 16 inches depending on your locale and the forage base of the waters you are fishing.  Here are several examples of flies used on my recent Michigan adventure. 
To give an idea of the size of the flies, the length of the box shown here is 14 inches.  The bottom fly is tied on a #2/0 hook, the top two on #5/0.  The flies need to have flash, movement, push water to make"noise" and help attract fish, but most of all need to castable.  A 9-wt or 10-wt. rod is the norm for extended periods of casting.  Favorite fly color varies by location, but black with a visible contrasting color is a good starting point.
I have settled on 80 pound flurocarbon as a bite tippet when specifically targeting musky. It is just easier to use than wire which requires more work to rig.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September Musky Quest

I had the very recent pleasure to spend several days in the UP of Michigan with my good friends Capts. Kevin Feenstra and Jon Ray.  Both are top-notch Michigan guides looking for alternatives to the salmon-mania of September on the lower peninsula.  The search was undertaken for the apex predator of the Great Lakes area- Esox masquinongy
With 10-weights and oversized streamers in hand, miles of water were covered.  Savage strikes kept us on our guard at all times.  There were explosions to top-water patterns, lightning fast green-gold flashes to stripped flies, and several rocket-like attacks from below where Esox totally cleared the water in an attempt to kill our offerings of flash, feather, and fur.

A number of fish were hooked and fought to boatside where they were netted, photographed, unhooked, and quickly released to recover and, hopefully, be encountered again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Correction to Previous Post

I stand corrected!  It has been pointed out to me by a couple of fishy friends that Kevin Feenstra'a fish is actually a channel catfish, not a flathead.  So this turns into a big channel cat, instead of a small flathead.  Thanks John and Lou for pointing out this error.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Flat Cat on a Fly

Michigan river guide, Capt. Kevin Feenstra holds an uncommon fly rod species he caught recently.
This 12 pound flathead catfish took a crayfish pattern that Capt. KF was fishing on the upper Muskegon River.  Feenstra's wife Jane, netted the fish for him after quite a battle on a 7-wt.  The fish was then photographed and released.

Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) are one of the largest North Amercican catfish species.  They can reach lengths in excess of five feet, weigh over 120 pounds, and have a life span of over 20 years.  Feenstra's catch is just a youngster in the flathead world.  Their native range of distribution is the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River basins.  They are found into North Dakota, east to the Appalachians, west to Arizona and south to the Gulf Coast and northern Mexico.

Flatheads are voracious carnivores with a preference for live prey.  The young are cannibalistic which has precluded their use as a commercial aquaculture species.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Award Winning Line Up for Spring, 2013

The Patagonia Fish product line up has been winning a host of awards for an assortment of items that will be available beginning Jaunuary 1, 2013.  Here are awards from recent trade shows as selected by dealers that attend these shows:

EFFTEX (Europe)
  • Best Wading Footwear- Ultralight Wading Shoe- Sticky rubber
  • Best Outerwear- River Salt 3 in 1 Jacket
International Fly Tackle Dealer Show (Reno, NV)
  • Best Wading Gear- Rio Gallegos Zip Front Wader
  • Best Outerwear- River Salt 3 in 1 Jacket
  • Best General Apparel- Minimalist Wading Jacket
  • Best Eco-Friendly Product- R1 Full-Zip Jacket

Congrats to all of Team Fish pictured here from let to right- Mark Harbaugh- Sales Manager, Bill Klyn- Marketing and European Sales, Brian Bennett- Spiritual Advisor, and Bart Bonime- The BIG Fish- product designer and head of Team Fish.

Perks of the Job

Most people think I have a dream job.  I get to work in the fly fishing industry and all I do is travel and fish.  Wrong!!  Actually most 9 to 5'ers probably fish more than I do as I actually work 24-7, no real days off, and did over 40K miles driving last year.  But every once in a while things do work out in my favor.

I went out a day early for the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) Show in Reno last week.  Fellow rep and good friend, Jason Lazano, had set up a couple days fishing at the Seirine Ranch, jsut outside of Bridgeport, CA, on the East Walker River.  It is a working cattle ranch with around 2 miles of the river running through it.

 Nymphed in the morning and when it started to heat up, switched over to hoppers and had a great afternoon of surface feeding rainbows and a few browns until the late-afternoon storms hit.  Got a chance to break-in my Scott M 8'8" 4-wt.  Thanks Jason for the hook-up!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Aluminum Bars Get It Done!

I'm just back from a brief trip up to the U.P. of Michigan where I got to spend a day and a half chasing Atlantic Salmon on the St. Marys River that forms the border between Michigan and Ontario.  This was my first chance to put the Aluminum Bar Boots and River Crampons to a real test.  I can honestly say that these are game changers. 
If you have ever fished the St. Marys, you know how difficult the wading is- a strong curerent, gin clear water, and granite rock of all shapes and sizes that you need to manuever.  It is the worst wading I have ever encountered as the rock is all shapes and sizes with no consitency.  I can honestly say that the River Crampons were a game changer for me.  I was able to wade with much more confidence due to how well they gripped and could reach areas on the river I had never been able to before.  Even an old guy like me could get around.
Here Patagonia Ambassador, Jeff Liskay, shows and Atlantic taken on the surface in a pocket he was able to reach by wearing the Aluminum Bar Wading Shoe.  Both the shoe and crampons get it done when the wading is really gnarly.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's "T" Time

July and August is "T" time on many trout streams around the U.S.  T is for Terrestrials. land-based insects like grasshoppers, crickets, ants, and beetles that fall into streams and are a special treat for trout.  Stream insects activity will be limited to early morning or right before dark.  Terrestrials will be most active on a hot, sunny day.
I'm just back from a swing through WI and was treated to an outstanding day of terrestrial fishing by Pete Cozad, head guide at The Driftless Angler in Viroqua.  Although the air temp was around 100, Pete took me to a small, meadow stream with a water temp of 60.  Hoppers were thick in the tall grass along the stream and a gusty wind kept a steady supply blowing into the water.  Trout were keyed to them and browns happily ate our hopper patterns all afternoon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Friend Lost

I am sad to report that my long-time friend Dick Fujita passed away recently.  At 86, Dick had many good years under his belt.  Dick was an avid fly angler, but his passion was casting.  He was a fly caster for over 70 years and cast competetively for many decades.  Dick was a member of the American Casting Association Hall of Fame and International Casting Hall of Fame.  Over the years, he won countless casting events and a number of championships.  He was always willing to help out less-skilled casters.
My favorite memory of Dick is from a sport show.  After one of the featured demos by a nationally-known angler/caster (who shall remain nameless), Dick asked to try out his 4-piece rod and proceeded to remove one section at a time and continue casting until he threw the entire line with just the tip section, leaving the pro openmouthed and speechless.  Dick's only comment as we walked away was, "He's too full of himself and was doing it wrong anyway." 
An engineer by trade, Dick worked well into his 70's before finally retiring.  Never one for the spotlight, few people in the Cleveland area ever knew of his accomplishments.   His suggestion to improve ones casting skills, "Join an FFF or ACA Club and practice."  Those of us who knew him will miss him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Smallmouth DVD!!

Scott Fly Rod Pros Capt. Kevin Feenstra and Capt. Jon Ray have just announced the availabilty starting this Thursday, July 12, of their new fly fishing DVD, Big Bite- Small Mouth.  The DV D focuses on river smallmouth fishing and covers the use of streamers, topwater, and crayfish patterns.  I got to preview the DVD recently and it is all on-water action on a number of Michigan rivers.  Extra sections include fly tying and knot demos, plus a photo gallery and more.
Initially, the DVD can be purchased from either or  Check it out!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hot Fishing in Hot Weather!

Scott Rod and SA Pro Capt. Jon Ray hoists a sizeable slab of bronze from a recent exploratory adventure into the wilds of mid-Michigan.  Despite the heat, river smallies have been very cooperative on the larger river systems.  Look for a soon-to-be-released DVD on river smallmouth fishing featuring Capt. Jon along with Capt. Kevin Feenstra.  Thanks Kevin for this pic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big Day Ahead!

This Saturday, June 30, 10:00 AM-3 :00 PM(?) at the BackPacker's Shop, 5128 Colorado Ave., Sheffield Village, Ohio
Scott Rod and Ross Reels Demo Day, and trade in ANY old fly line and get $20 off any SA Mastery Line!
Plus a Warm Water Fly Fishing Seminar featuring Scott/SA/Patagonia Pro Jeff Liskay, Eric Lindstrom, and yours truly!
Spread the Word!

Friday, June 22, 2012

More OH Trout?

I received a group of photos from dog-friend, Buck Juhasz, updating the ODNR stream improvement project on Mac-O-Chee Creek in Logan County.  Mac-O-Chee Creek is a tribuatary of the Mad River and was straightened decade ago.  The stream was resored to a natural meandering state several years ago.  Juhasz reports that "weed growth has been good this year and a fair number of mayflies beginning to show up."  The stream has supported a population of brown trout for a number of years and Juhasz has caught a number of fish recently in the 16 inch range.

Natural Steelhead in Ohio?

Mike Durkalec, fish biologist for the Cleveland Metroparks sent this photo of juvenile steelhead that were captured in from one of the tributaries to the Chagrin River on the North Chagrin Reservation.  The park does annual water quality studies and routinely find good numbers of juvenile steelies in all the tribs entering park river.  Unfortunately, conditions during the summer- lack of flow and heat, limit the survival of the fingerlings, and no one is really sure how many survive. 
The East Branch of the Chagrin River, however, is year-round coldwater habitat and can hold fingerlings for survival over the summer until they can drop out to the main river and into the lake the following spring.  Once again, no one really knows how many fish come out of this system.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Another View

Here is a selection flies that I was given to use on the Restigouche.

Working Art

Sorry for the long absence.  Had a bunch of work related travel last month, plus a little fun stuff.  Did my first trip to the Gaspe area for Atlantic Salmon on the Restigouche.  As with many places, the early super warm weather had things out of whack.  Drop-back fish were all gone, first run was way upriver and spread out and the river was at July levels, so not a lot of activity with fresh fish.  Did get some sea-run brook trout, which were very interesting.
Classic fly patterns were the norm for the guides.  One of our party, John from Montreal, had quite a box of flies with him.  A bit hard to carry, but he was kind enough to share with everyone

Monday, April 23, 2012

Castapalooza 3

Despite cold and rain, a band of hearty casters and tiers showed up for Castapalooza 3 on the Grand River.  A very special thanks to Mike Schmidt of Angler's Choice Flies, Jeff Liskay- master caster, Wael Dardir- Spey Ninja, Jim Linehan- Staff photgrapher and Most Intersting Man in the World, and everyone else who helped and attended the event.  A very special thank you to Brian Davidson and the whole crew from Lake County Metroparks for the tent to keep us dry and a fire to keep us warm.  Stay tuned for Castapalooza 4- date to be announced!  Photo courtesy of Jim Linehan.

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's Castapalooza Time!

The 3rd Castapalooza and Riverfest will be next Saturday, April 21, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, at Hidden Valley Park on Ohio's Grand River.  This will also coincide with the Lake Metroparks Canoe and Kayak Race.
SA/Ross/Scott Pro Jeff Liskay, Wael Dardir, and myself will lead the casting programs.  Mike Schmidt of Angler's Choice Flies will be the featured fly tier.  We will have a variety of rods and lines available for tryout.
Come out and see us and tell your buddies!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A (Not So) Secret Pattern

Wanted to share this fly I call The Deep Creeper.  It is a variation of a pattern Russ Maddin showed my a few years ago.  In my short career musky fishing with flies, I have had more action on this fly- fish hooked, follows, etc., than any other and this has been the color combo.  Largemouth bass like it, too!
Hook:  Daiichi 2461 or Gamakatsu Weedless if you don't want to have to put on the weedguard yourself, size 3/0
Eyes:  Chartreuse barbell
Tail:  Black bucktail
Body:  Orange, then chartreuse Palmer Chenille
Wing:  Black magnum zonker, tied down at bend of hook then pulled over top of body and tied down to finish of the fly
Legs:  Orange & chartreuse rubber

Color combos are endless, find the one the works best for you!

Indiana Musky

Finally get a chance to sample some northern Indiana musky fishing!  Josh Lantz of Sand Creek Media and also the president of AGLOW (Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers) was kind enough to host me for the day.  Josh boated one awesome fish and I lost mine.  Had a number of follows and saw some others.  Great day, great fun, with a great guy!  Can't wait to do it again.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Awesome Patagonia Gear Video!

Check out this video from Tony Karuuvara, Patagonia's distributor in Finland!  Though it is a little out of season for now, the part where he dunks the Stormfront Pack will work any time of year.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Intruding on Steelhead

Have tied a few extended hook steelhead patterns lately using the Articulated Shanks from Flymen Fishing Company.  The shanks are a lot easier to use than Waddingtons and they do not require you to break off the bend if using a regular hook.  The Articulated Shanks are stainless steel, so no rusting if flies get put away wet.  I use0.018" coated wire for the hook loop as Fireline and other braid tends to soften up after a few fish or hook changes.
This drop-back fish hit a white/blue/chartreuse marabou design with a touch of flash in it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Friends On the Water

The warm days last week gave the chance to get out a bit with one my favorite fishing buddies. Aspen "The Fishdog", is getting up in years and can't handle the cold anymore. A warm spring day provided an opportunity to enjoy the sunshine, do a bit of swimming, and bark at a few hooked steelhead. Maybe the best part was the special cheeseburger treat on the way home.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Flies 4 Fins

Got a chance to hang out recently with my favorite FlyGal, April Vokey, for a few days. Before she headed back to B.C. , I gave her a shoe box full of flies to add into her Flies for Fins inventory. Flies for Fins takes donations of new and gently used products and re-sells them. All monies generated go to various conservation projects that help to restore damaged B.C. fisheries. The present project is involves partnering with the B.C. Steelhead Society to restore important spawning habitat on the Thompson River. April sent me this photo of my fly donation prior to categorizing them.

Please check out Flies for Fins!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Smallmouth DVD!

Dog friends and MI guides, Kevin Feenstra and Jon Ray have been working on a smallmouth bass DVD. The trailer premiered at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo this past weekend to very positive reviews. To view the trailer, go to:
The DVD should be on the market in early May.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Enough is Enough!

So, you thought the feathers-in-the-hair craze was finished? Saw this at an outdoor show near Chicago over the weekend. Hopefully, Lassie won't care if it isn't a Whiting Platinum grade grizzly!

Buy Local- Please!!

It's time to get ready for Spring fishing. As you go through your gear and find out what needs replacement, I'm encouraging everyone to by local as much as possible. Support your local shop. These are the guys that let you come in and drink coffee, maybe listen to some music, and just generally BS with you. They will answer questions and give information. All they ask is that you support their business in return.

As long as we're in the shopping mood, check this out from the Steelhead Alley Outfitters blog-

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Tyin' Time Again

Here's the results of a busy day doing demo on Lake Erie steelhead patterns at Cabela's in Dundee, MI, on Saturday. Not that many people there this time, but those that came stayed the whole time, 10 AM - 4 PM, and kept me busy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dam- Another One Gone!

Check out this YouTube link as demolition of the IVEX dam in Chagrin Falls. OH, starts. The dam is being removed as part of ongoing project to improve water quality on the Chagrin River, on of Ohio's primary steelhead fisheries.
Dog friend, SA/Ross Pro Staffer, and Patagonia Fishing Ambassador Jeff Liskay is actually behind the controls of the equipment as the dam wall is breached!

This Reel Rocks!

Ross's F1 series reels received a prestegious 2012 "Best of the Best" Award from Field & Stream magazine. The award is given to only one product in each category and the F1 took top fly reel honors for this year.

F1 Reels feature a 6061-T6 aluminum 1 piece frame and 1 piece spool. The carbon fiber/stainless drag inteface has an 8-point friction system with no start-up intertia. The stainless steel spindle rotates inside fully-sealed stainless ball berings. Conversion from right to left hand is very simple and the spool has a quick-rlease button.

Available for line weights #2-#12, the F1 excels in any fly fishing environment and is available in three finishes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Great Lakes Mixed Bag

Dog friends Capt. Austin Aducci of Grab Your Fly Charters and Kurt Kupola of aTightloop had an interesting day recently fishing one of the warm water discharges in southern Lake Michigan. The guys caught browns, smallies, and carp form the same spot. Now that's an interesting mixed bag!

Here's Captain Austin with a chunky brown that hit a streamer.

Getting Close

Sorry, been a while since I put anything new up. I have been working as much as possible on completing my book manuscript. Also, have had to do some extensive road work for several shows and showing Patagonia.

Good news is that the manuscript is nearly complete, then the editing process begins. Look for "Fly Fishing the Inland Oceans" to be on the market January of 2013!