Friday, May 4, 2012

3211Km and a Round Trip Airfare

During a two week portion of April I managed one round trip flight to Boise from my Edmonton area home followed a few days later by a 3211 Km (1995 miles) trip back down to Idaho to attend the East Idaho Tying Expo in Idaho Falls.  If you are wondering why I didn’t stay in Boise and then drive to Idaho Falls you are not alone.  Unfortunately sometimes how things come together isn’t always as neat and tidy as how it should have looked in hind sight.

If you like fly tying then the East Idaho Tying Expo is the place to be

The first part of my tale came together after the plans had been made and airfares purchased for the East Idaho Tying Expo.  Good friend Pete Erickson and I put together our first Fish Fest weekend in Boise.  Our Fish Feast concept broke away from the traditional workshop weekends where one has to typically invest their entire weekend to participate.  In today’s world this investment is not always possible. 

We offered a series of small half day seminars limited to just 10 students.  Pete provided hands on instruction in the art of long line Spanish/French nymphing and short line Polish and Czech nymphing. I provided a similar style program, Conquering Chironomids along with a hands on chironomid fly tying session. 

Pete Erickson at play!

On the Friday evening prior to the weekend’s events we kicked the event off with an informal get together.  Our mutual friend and world traveller Jeff Currier provided his Fly Fishing in the Presence of a Man Eater presentation.  Jeff is an excellent presenter and he had the audience on the edge of their seats as he told of his face to face encounter with a tiger while chasing mahseer in India a number of years ago.  I have heard Jeff’s tale a number of times and I still get a chill down my spine every time I hear it.

Chironomids were hatching, and lots of them!

Feedback was extremely positive from the event and the presentation format we chose. We are already making plans for 2013 including expansion outside of Boise to other states and provinces. 
As with most of my trips I managed to squeeze in some fishing.  Jeff, Pete and I were fortunate to be invited for some fishing on a private lake known for its large rainbows.  Chironomids were hatching, in impressive numbers.  Although we were in float tubes we didn’t have an anchor system.  It was tough to fish our imitations properly and it really limited how we could take advantage of hatch. Pete managed some nice fish using a type V sinking line to get his flies down quickly to compensate for the wind which proved brisk at times. I am a firm believer that you must have complete control of your presentation when chironomid fishing in order to be successful and this means fishing from an anchored position.  I did manage one nice fish using a floating line and a team of chironomids fished from shore.  A quick throat pump confirmed my suspicions, chironomids!  Based on my experience I made a note to myself for future trips to bring a portable anchor system.  I felt like a kid locked out from his favorite candy shop!

Average size rainbow

Within days of returning from Boise I was heading south once again, this time in my truck for the East Idaho Tying Expo.  Long-time friend Brian Chan was joining me. I picked up Brian from the Calgary International Airport on my way south.  Brian had made his flight bookings prior to my Boise trip so I had to return home in order for our plans to work out.  Together we headed south through Montana on I-15 as it snaked along the banks of the Missouri River, crossing the Bighorn and then the Beaverhead near the town of Dhillon.  On the return trip home, Brian and I stopped in Craig Montana on the banks of the Missouri and poked around the three impressive fly shops there.  We made a point of promising to set aside a day to try our luck there next year.  By 9:30pm we were in Idaho Falls.

Brian and I enjoyed ourselves at the Tying Expo.  It was well attended and we bumped into a number of friends including John Rohmer from Arizona Fly Fishing, authors Jim Schollmeyer and Dave Hughes.  Jim and Dave were on their way to the Bighorn and used the tying expo as a stop to catch their breath.  Their trip to the Bighorn would take them 24 hour s from Portland.  It seemed like everyone wanted to cover some distance in April.

While at the expo, Brian and I provided two separate four hour tying seminars where we provided hands on instruction on how to tie some of our favorite lake patterns.  We also provided a couple of on camera tying demos and seminars.  The Snake River Cutthroats club did an excellent job organizing and hosting the event.  Brian and I are hoping to return next year.

Foot in the Henry's Fork, another river off my bucket list.

During our stay we were fortunate to fish one of the waters on my bucket list, the world famous Henry’s Fork.  John Harder, President of Rio Fly Lines was our host. We fished the region upstream from the famed Harriman Ranch section, which was closed, near the small town of Last Chance.  I stood knee deep in the Henry’s Fork within eye shot of Rene Harrop’s Trout Predator and Mike Lawson’s Henry’s Fork Angler.  Two fly shops synonymous with the Henry’s Fork.  Unfortunately the river flow had been increased from 900 cubic feet per second (CFS) a few days earlier to roughly 1200 CFS and the fishing was off.  I hooked, and lost, one good rainbow while managing to land two whitefish.  It didn’t matter to me.  John was a wonderful host pointing out different features and aspects of the region.  I was just happy to be on the water drifting nymphs through the flows of one of the world’s most famous streams.

Looking downstream toward Harriman Ranch

Our trip culminated with a day on Chesterfield reservoir near the town of Pocatello, Idaho.  Chesterfield is one of Idaho’s best stillwaters, known for producing large rainbows.  Upon our arrival we were greeted by a chorus of yellow headed blackbirds, a beautiful sunny day, high clouds and light winds.  Brian and I were there with Simon Gawesworth and Zack Dalton from Rio.  While we were there we focused on some website content for Rio. Brian and I are both on Rio's Advisory Team.  As a result, we didn’t really get focused on fishing until later in the day.  When we did hook a fish a quick throat sample revealed heavy feeding on chironomid pupa.  One fish I pumped had a leech, one damsel fly nymph and at least 75 active, wriggling chironomid pupa.  Brian and I were impressed with what we saw at Chesterfield and hope to return soon.

Brian, Simon and Zack preparing for the day on Chesterfield Reservoir.

Although long and tiring at times, I thoroughly enjoyed my Idaho experience.  I look forward to returning for a stillwater seminar planned for July 13-14.  We will be based out of Island Park Lodge and targeting Henrys’ Lake, possibly Island Park Reservoir and we will have one day’s access to Sheridan Lake.  Sheridan is a private trophy lake.  Last year the damsels were coming off in staggering numbers.  You can check out last year’s blog entry to get an idea.  Seminar size is limited to just 10 people to ensure the best learning environment.  If this seminar is of interest to you please let me know and I can pass along the course info.

Brian at play on Chesterfield Reservoir.

I am now busy getting my new 1756 VBW Yamaha G3 all primed and ready for the new season.  Watch for some future entries dealing with how I customize my new boat for stillwaters.

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