Thursday, August 8, 2019

Randy Blaine and I Go Off the Grid

Tuesday, I met Randy Blaine behind the Fly Shop of the Bighorns. We had planned a fishing day and the weather gods had smiled on us. Randy had brought the lunch (and a good one at that!) and I had done the logistics. We loaded up his Suburban and soon we were off on our "vacation" as Randy termed it!

After a few miles, we pulled off the interstate and headed north across the Wyoming border into Montana. 

No human tracks... lions and bears seemed to be the main traffic in these "parts"!


Nothing big yet by noon, but lots of fat and feisty 12-16" fish
After bushwalking our way though dense willows and deadfall, we found an untouched stream filled with trout just coming out of the shock of snowmelt waters.

Runoff had concluded a few weeks ago in Wyoming and here, just across the border, runoff had probably just slowed down a few days ago. All the stonefly shucks were brand new. Probably from last night. This would normally be the case in June, but here it is August and the water is just warming up!

The water temps were 52-54 degrees and the fish were gingerly flashing hoppers and beetles and the few PMD's we saw. They were very reluctant to eat and often required multiple drifts before one would commit. 

The fish acted like they had seen a lot of pressure, but I assure you, no one had been in here at all. We saw no tracks (except noted above). One had to conclude the fish were not in the feeding mode yet this year. But, with our 92 degree temperatures things will change fast now! 

Randy with a fat brown
In any case we caught quite a few fish, turned some monsters and had a great day on a beautiful stream!
Thanks for a great day Randy!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Wyoming Summer Dreams

Sometimes, you just hit it right... when you do, you are blessed with deep blue skies, temps in the upper 80's, dead calm conditions with fish eager to open lines of communication. These are the days we dream about. Especially, when the snow is flying and the streams are hidden under a thick blanket of freezer frost. 

Scott Sawtelle arrived on Friday night and for the next five days, we probed the streams that flow out of the Bighorns from north to south. We hit it just right. Run-off was a fresh memory so the streams were well-watered, cold and in perfect shape. We fished clear as a vodka tonic prairie streams lightly peppered with big browns and gorgeous ranches hidden in red sandstone canyons. We even fished a mountain stream loaded with cutthroats.

Our first stream was a bit off color due to a thunderstorm the night before. It fished best with slowly stripped, brightly colored streamers. Another stream evenly distributed takes on high floating hoppers then to be fair, on beadhead droppers.  I even had a two hour period in which a dozen 16-18 inch browns ate #18 caddis emergers. These eats were splashy and  dramatic epitomizing what any experienced anglers calls a "caddis take".

On the red rock stream, small hoppers fished next to the bank were lethal. Here, it was target practice and any bulls-eye was eagerly rewarded.

Here are some photos from our trip:

Day 1... streamers to big trout.

Day 2... Perfect day, beautiful day.


Day 3... Big browns on hoppers & droppers with a dozen beefy browns on caddis emerges thrown in.

Day 4... Red rock and dry flies. It was all about the take with 12-14 inch fish.


Last Day... off to the high mountains. Bows and cutts on small dries. Nothing better!



Friday, July 19, 2019

Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge Trip Report July 2-9, 2019

Right now, it's very hot in the Bahamas. Thunderheads often pepper the skyline, a breeze is a blessing and if it gets too hot, the bonefish school up often mudding in 5-10 feet of water. In addition, most guides are gearing up for the lobster season which begins in August.

As a result, we don't get too many anglers visiting the Bahamas in the heart of the summer so we are always eager to hear the reports of those that do. In early July (July 2-7, 2019), Bob Wilczynski visited Little Abaco Bonefish Lodge. Many thanks to Bob for filing this report:

I’ve meant to email you earlier, to let you know how good Sidney & Keeta’s place is, on LITTLE ABACO ... the weather was not the best, and the fish were starting to gather up in massive schools and sometimes in vast muds in deeper water ... however, when the conditions were good, and / or when we encountered a school on the flats, the fishing was incredible ... other times, it was really really slow, with long stretches between finding schools ... over-all however, there was plenty of action, the fish tended towards bigger side, and acted unpressured ... the flats and creeks are beautiful and untouched, and huge ... and all are a quick run or trailer haul from the lodge ... I didn’t land anything over 6lbs, but I hooked a few +8lb fish that broke me off in mangroves, and put a fly in front of a few true monsters ... also had 1 shot each, at a nice permit and a small tarpon ... plus a few snappers

Sydney is a heck of a guide – very focused ... I picked up a few pointers, that he as happy to share ... like PEDRO @ BRL, he is a pro - definitely hardcore but not at the expense of a good laugh - we started chatting about politics and such, and I somehow managed to run out of skiff and fell into the water – it felt great, btw ... over-all it was a really intense few days of fishing - you get the feeling that if you put in the time with Sidney, he will put you in front of the fish of a lifetime ... we did some wade fishing on the last day, which was a great end to the week ...

The lodge is still being built and furnished, but is comfortable, immaculately clean and very quiet ... all creature comforts are well thought out ... Keeta is a good cook, and the kitchen / efficiency area was well stocked and maintained ... if I had small ( 5 or 6 ) group of hardcore bonefisherman wanting a lodge to ourselves for a week, THIS would be the place ... it’s a 1 ½ - 2 hour drive from Marsh Harbor to Crown Haven, which makes for a LONG travel day coming & going ... so, for me, a 4 day fishing trip is pretty much the shortest I’d consider ... in fact, I overnighted in Nassau ( BAHAMAR ) before flying home ... this worked out ok – I left the casino with more cash than I came with

I definitely want to return to LAL ...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

June Tour of Wyoming

My very dear friends Anna Riggs and Steve Peskoe spent a few days with me in Wyoming at the end of June. We toured around northeast Wyoming fishing (and eating!) as we went.

Runoff was unexpectedly not over. In past years, runoff is usually well over by mid-June, but this year it is still continuing into early July. As a result we had some slow fishing in fast water and some very good fishing in the streams that were just coming into shape. But, even when it was slow we had a GREAT time together. Thanks for that you two.
What follows are some photos of our trip. 
The streams shall remain unnamed:

A few eats on the top at this ranch!
Anna enjoys a perfect Wyoming day!

Time out...


Steve Peskoe and Clark Smyth try to coax some fish to the surface

Streamers really work during runoff!
...and Dr. Peskoe give us proof!
...a beautiful 20" brown!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Trip Report from Crooked and Acklins Island by Doug and Pam Soltis

Doug and Pam Soltis just returned from 10 days on Crooked Island. We organized their trip so they would be headquartered at the Crooked/Acklins Lodge at Mason's Bay. This was Doug and Pam's second trip to this destination. This year, they spent five days with guides  from Landrail Point and on the other days, they self-guided. Here is their report:
Thanks Doug and Pam!!

Hi Scott,
Just a quick note to let you know we had another fantastic trip to Crooked. The weather was rough for a few days. But other than one day where the bones just were tough the fishing was great. The lodge was fantastic and we had a great time with other guests.

The kayaks were really fun to have. We kayaked all around the cove and out to the two islands. I hooked and fought a huge barracuda on 12 lb. test from a kayak. After 45 minutes he gave up — a perfect hook set.  Did not get a good picture once the fish was next to the kayak, but you can see the large head just beneath the boat. 

Pam went out one day with Michael again. He was great and she caught some nice snapper. It was very fun to have Pam catch some nice snapper and a nice jack too. Michael really did a great job getting her on some fish.

Pam with a nice mutton snapper...
...and a beautiful grey snapper

Did not catch any bones over 7 lbs., but lots 3-4 lb. Caught a number of things flyfishing from the kayak---one trigger and a number of different jacks plus the large barracuda.


....and a few days later I got some additional info and a few more photos from Doug:

Hi Scott

Here are a few more photos [and a bit more info]: 

Wind was a problem many of the days on the water. But there was really only one day for me (two for other guests who fished every day) where the bones just did not want to cooperate. Finally went to a 12 foot or longer leader (up to 14 ft) and that helped. Decided to stick with longer leaders the rest of the time I fished.

The average size fish there is always so impressive as you know. No small fish during my time on the water. It is really a pleasure fishing there. Wading on the Acklins side is my favorite thing to do. I really enjoy that whole game of sneaking up on the fish and making or trying to make the perfect cast before they spook. 

I only saw one permit during my time there and one tarpon (both on the first day). 

Really enjoyed paddling the kayaks around. On one calm afternoon Pam and I explored most of the cove. I also had fun fishing from the kayak. Quite a lot of fun. I also hiked around Thompsons and explored that area more—some very nice water and fish there.

We had some beautiful sunsets. We also enjoyed running down to see the flamingos in the morning.


Angela [ the lodge manager] was great as was the case the year before. Thanks again for putting us on to such as special place.