Seeing The Future: Mother’s Day Caddis on Washington’s Upper Columbia

Dry fly season came early to Montana this year, and there’s not doubt it’s kicking over in Washington State, too. One of the best hatches of the year is near, that being the Mother’s Day Caddis and one of the best places to fish it is on Washington’s upper Columbia River.

This fishery came on the radar a couple decades ago when Jack Mitchell landed in Northport, Washington and decided to check out the river. What he found on the upper Columbia was an overlooked trout fishery with some monster rainbow trout included in the mix. In addition, the massive Columbia, flowing out of Canada and into northeastern Washington—about two hours north of Spokane—offered stellar aquatic insect hatches, trout that fought as hard and leapt as high as any others, and nobody was working the water.

Mitchell quickly threw down on several acres near Northport and constructed a spectacular four-bedroom lodge just yards from the Columbia. Fact is, you could pitch Continue reading

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Ambler Haul Road Threatens Alaska’s Brooks Range

Photo Courtesy TRCP

This certainly isn’t the best news on Alaska. Seems like we push back one threat and here come five more.

I have not fished or hiked through the Brooks Range, but I know it is one of the wildest places on the planet, a roadless region of immense proportions that is essential habitat for so many wildlife species, including fish of all sorts. Grayling. Sheefish. Dolly varden. It’s an outdoorsman’s paradise and now people want to cut it off at the hip.

That would, essentially, be the case if several mining companies get the go-ahead to build the proposed 211-mile long road. And, in doing so, that massive chunk of wilderness would Continue reading

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Montana Bull Trout Redd Numbers Decline

I love what bull trout bring to the table—a reason for kicking your ass to get into the backcountry where some of the best fishing for this native char is found. Each year I hoist the backpack and take off into the roadless, hoping to time my explorations with the arrival of migrating bulls. It’s some of the most interesting and adventurous fishing I do and I love being off the grid, off line, unplugged and just living again. That’s wh

Bull trout country.

y this news from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is a bummer and makes you wonder what the future of native species will be. Remember, there are only a few places you can target bull trout in Montana, but there are also place to go for them in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and even Nevada. I’m not sure if Nevada allows directed fishing for bulls, but you can in the other states. Hopefully this cold, extended and wet winter and spring will boost flows and help reverse this trend. Only time will tell. —GT Continue reading

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Alaska Kings On The Six Weight

Ran across this photo yesterday and snapped a shot of it with the phone. It definitely takes me back in the day.

I took this photo when a friend and I were working in Southeast Alaska and fishing as often as we could. There was a good run of kings at that time and they’d push into a system on every incoming tide. When they ran through a rapids they’d sort of daisy chain in a calm area and that is the only reason we landed some—they didn’t want to run back down the rapids.

At the time each of owned one rod, my friend a six-weight Fenwick and myself a six-weight Sage. We were way outgunned by these fish, but what do you do when there are fish in front and you don’t have the ideal tackle? Hell yea, you throw. Continue reading

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Hatch Guide: Mother’s Day Caddis

Note: Not sure when I wrote this or for whom, but I found it while searching my files and thought it would be worth posting. You’ve got a couple months before this hatch hits, but it’s worth thinking about it now and getting those flies in order, or tying some to supplement what you may have lost last year.  GT

The mother’s day caddis is a hatch I love to hate.

Half the time it comes off when water conditions are sketchy at best, and other times a fish has no chance of finding my bug on the water when there are, literally, millions of naturals riding the flow.

The hatch occurs anytime from late April through the end of May on most Inland Northwest and Rocky Mountain rivers (later on some Yellowstone area streams), just prior to (if you’re lucky) or just after (if you’re not) runoff hits in full force. When runoff arrives streams rise and turn clouded, meaning the color of black coffee mixed with two splashes of half-and-half. Place a fish a few inches below the lip of that latte, and you might see why Continue reading

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April or May for Blue Horizon Permit

Just got a  note yesterday from Blue Horizon lodge, with some open and discounted rates for spring 2023. I spent some time at Blue Horizon not long ago and simply loved the focus on permit. Staying at Blue Horizon is like signing up for a serious fishing Masterclass in permit—you fish the prime tides all day and you mix with the guides and Lincoln Westby in the evenings, with the potential to glean as much information on permit as you choose. Then you eat dinner, get up the next day, rinse and repeat.

Here are the discounted dates. If you have any interest in discussing these let me know. You can also visit the Blue Horizon lodge page I put together here Focussed On Permit —GT

Here’s the Blue Horizon experience:

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Go Time For Montana Trout

Ok, there are flakes falling today and the high will be 35, and it doesn’t look better for the rest of the week. But, things are changing here in Missoula, Montana, with the snowbanks slowly creeping away from the edge of my driveway, exposing a little brown grass and everything else that accumulated there this winter, including a few IPA escapees.

Next week the temps could reach the high 40’s, which is fishing weather for sure. Out of curiosity, Continue reading

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Gil’s Worldwide At Denver Fly Fishing Show This Week

Our booth at the Atlanta show. Look for us in Denver this week.

I’ll be at the Denver Fly Fishing Show this week/weekend. Show begins Friday and I’ll be at the Gil’s Fly Fishing International booth. I am the editor-in-chief of the travel company’s magazine, Fly Fishing International. You want to talk outdoor writing and discuss ideas for the mag, please find me.

Also, we’ll be promoting trips to some of our favorite lodges, including Continue reading

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Where In The Fly Fishing World #1

If you’ve been around a bit and you fancy yourself a permit junkie, you may recall having seen this a time or two during your escapades. If you haven’t stood over this piece of art you are cheating yourself out of the real deal. Got permit on your mind? Get to this spot. Hints: it’s a permit ok; it’s made out of bottle caps; it would have been fun to help build that supply of caps.

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Dries For Big Rainbows and Char on American Creek

I live in Montana where trout are king. When I travel to Alaska I usually do so for salmon and steelhead, which I can’t find in Big Sky Country. Oh, I’ve leeched up some big fall rainbows on the Kenai Peninsula and the Naknek River, but I’d never really fished early summer around Bristol Bay . . . until last month.

That’s when I grabbed a flight from Missoula to Anchorage, and another from Anchorage to Kulik Lodge, via Katmai Air. From there I wiggled into a floatplane and cruised another 20 minutes to Grosvenor Lodge, which is located on a small spit of land partially separating Grosvenor Lake from Coville Lake. The structures, including three guest cabins, a main lodge, and a cookhouse, are situated in lush, tall grass with an abundance of willows and moss covered moose skulls surrounding it. Quaint. Unique. Beautiful.

It’s the only lodge in this particular area and offers the best access to American Creek and other tributary streams, despite being located deep in Katmai National Park. When other area lodges are grounded by weather, Grosvenor guests simply climb into a boat and take a 20-minute jog to the American Creek outlet.

From mid-July through August it’s all about drifting beads behind spawning salmon on American Creek. While that’s a productive method and puts plenty of trout in the net, guides and anglers sometimes tire from the routine, maybe thinking, Isn’t there something else? The answer is yes, if you hit Grosvenor before the sockeye salmon arrive, a time when those rainbows, plus Continue reading

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