Friday, September 28, 2007

Enjoy the walk

Have you ever considered how important the walk to and from a fishing spot is? In my opinion, these walks often contain the best moments of a fishing event even though no fly is cast. This is when angling friends and acquaintances get a chance to speak about stuff.....and not just fishing stuff. These are the moments that we find out what's going on in each others lives. Exchanges happen that can deepen experience and relationship alike. Other than these moments the only words spoken while fishing can be something like "what fly do you have on" or "did you get any hits"? It's possible that no words are spoken at all. Note that the walk is still special even if you are solo. You get to talk and listen to yourself. Enjoy the walk.

Bottom photo - Dave Skok

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Red Gold

Bristol Bay Alaska is home to the last great wild salmon fishery in the world. Multinational mining company Northern Dynasty plans to build the largest open pit mine in North America at the headwaters of the resource. Check out this 3 minute trailer for Felt Soul Media's upcoming film - Red Gold. It does a good job of framing the debate. Let me know your reaction.

Monday, September 24, 2007


My birthday was the other day (9/23) and I remembered that I had written a short journal entry a few years ago that I thought was worth a post. On Oct. 6, 2003 El Pescador penned this, "It was a blustery, rainy afternoon due to residual hurricane effects. The sea was rough like the weather but the fish were there. One clue was the 100 sea gulls lined up along the shoreline where the river meets the ocean. I caught 10 nice stripers in an hour and a half. The experience really connected me to my birth. The setting was a balance between turbulent and serene. I was half submerged in saltwater and my other half was above the sea, exposed. It was just mother nature and me. I was reborn."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

El Pescador returns

The 2007 FFR Show Patagonia Booth contained 17 new or revised styles (Spring 2008). The product groupings had backdrop graphics created from photos by regular Way Upstream contributors Rene Braun and Dave Skok. I though you might like to take a look at the images. They're cool. Just ignore the typo on the center shot of Alan Caolo. It was corrected for printing.

The new Guidewater Jacket

The revised M's Sunshade Shirt

The new Guidewater Vest

If you were in Denver for the trade show, tell me your thoughts on the event and related happenings. If you weren't there and have questions, I can try to provide answers. El Pescador has returned.

Monday, September 10, 2007

High and Dry

This Rene Braun photo made me laugh when I first saw it. This scenario is a relatively common occurrence here in Maine. The mean tide swing is between 8 and 9 feet and during certain moon phases it jumps by another foot and a half. If you aren't careful you can get stuck on a dropping tide. Rene was there to capture the moment. I call this shot High and Dry....but I'm not sure which guy is High and which one is Dry. I'm sure Rene calls it something else. Click on the link (Rene's name) to see more of his photos.

Friday, September 7, 2007


I saw this pattern in Fly Fishing Life Magazine. It seemed brilliant to me so I asked Mikey Wier for a Way Upstream story. Here are the words and some of the pictures that he sent:

"The Hoppicator has been a great pattern for me. I’ve been developing the system for a several years now. I usually fish it in conjunction with weighted nymphs. The main premise is to get away from using lead or tin weights, foam or yarn indicators. I don’t like the weights because they are just more litter than needed and often tangle on your line if you overhead cast. I stopped using indicators because they scare spooky fish around here in some of our technical catch and release fishing areas. Now I just use the Hopper Dropper or Super Hopper Dropper as I call the heavier set up for all my trout fishing and even some steelhead fishing in heavy water. The system is just as versatile as traditional indicator fishing, as far as depth and weight adjustments. You just have to be slightly more perceptive about the current flows and actual river depths when choosing the right fly combo. I usually use a heavy “bomb” fly like my double tungsten Jawbreaker or Tungsten Caramel Caddis Pupa to get down deep. I then use a dropper of something smaller like my Mint Chocolate Crawler Nymph or Butterscotch Sprinkle. This system also really came in handy for the Team USA competitions. The rules call for no weight or indicators so most people just dry dropper or Czech Nymph. That’s great for some water but some places require the kind of long dead drift you can only get with an indicator. My Hoppicator set up conforms to the Team USA rules and no one else had anything like it. It won a couple beats for me. Many of my trout patterns, including the Hoppicator, will be available soon from Idylwilde Fly Company." Photos by Mikey Wier

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Local waterway

I got this story from Andy Mitchell in Patagonia Dealer Services (Reno, NV) and it struck me as a great example of a vital ingredient in maintaining the health of the activity we call fishing. I read articles about fishing participation being down. Many in the industry ask, how can we foster new participation? My view, it’s right here in this story. We need to make sure that our local spots are healthy. These local spots are where all of us, including the budding 14 yr. old angler got and/or get hooked on fishing. The local waters are where we bust out for an evening stint to test a new pattern, line, rod or reel. It’s where we polish our techniques. It’s where we observe the things that teach us lessons, like how a heron or egret patiently “fishes” or how stoneflies crawl out onto rocky platforms to shuck their exoskeleton for wings. I applaud those that invest effort in making their local waters viable ecosystems and I applaud those that work with the novice angler. It’s not all about the 185lb tarpon or the searing run of a Christmas Island bone. It’s really about the "BEHEMOTH" that lives under your local waterway bridge. That’s where we get “obsessed”.
Here’s Andy’s story:

“Hi Steve-- I wanted to fill you in on the epic trout that has been sighted here about the Reno DC lately. I haven't done much all summer accept study for a graduate school test and plan an internship with Save Our Wild Salmon. To ward off the stress and desk fluff that can accumulate with a lifestyle like that I took to "experiencing fitness" during lunch by running a quick 4-mile loop along the Truckee River. I can't cross a bridge without peaking over to spot fish. There is one footbridge about a half mile east of here that spans the Truckee right above where a tributary enters and it is usually pretty easy to spot trout wiggling around in the current. Last month I looked over the edge and saw a BEHEMOTH calmly pointing upstream swishing his mighty tail to the rhythm. I almost swallowed my jogging do-rag. I thought for a second it might actually be a carp but I climbed up on the railing of the bridge to get a better look. When he banked hard left I a saw the silver/pink glint-- a monster ‘Bow.

I spread the word-- people confirmed the sighting, some called me a liar, others claimed they saw different and bigger fish-- but spotting that big daddy became bit of an obsession, so much so that I finally got the camera out and made my way down there daily to try to spot him. So here is a picture of the bridgewhere the mythic beast of the Truckee lives. I’ll let you know if anyone gets him on the line.”

Contribution by Andy Mitchell
Photos by Greg Ponte and Andy Mitchell

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


After months of planning, organization, phone calls, emails, letters and the occasional postcard, AEG has entered Mongolia. It’s a country where 8 hour drives turn into 27 hour drives and where things don’t always go as planned. It’s a place where GPS can throw you off. It's a place where mystery meat from roadside kabob stands and dried yogurt are “different to say the least”. It’s also a place where elusive taimen reside and they lie at the undercut root of this quest. Follow their travels by checking the Trout Bum Diaries Blog and leave comments for them too. Check the AEG website to see their plans for the 2008 film tour. The cities they plan to visit and dates are listed so mark your calanders. Onward.

Photos by Tim Pask