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OCTOBER 7, 2011

Nova Scotia Journey

Filed under Trips @ 2:30 pm

TEN & TWO traveled to Nova Scotia for Atlantic salmon fishing on Cape Breton, the island off the northeast coast, with renowned author and outdoorsman Charles Gaines. The cradle of some of the world's most amazing fly fishing. The story of our experience on the island of Nova Scotia will be featured in our upcoming Winter issue. To give you a taste of what you'll see—here are some photos of our journey...

Nova Scotia Coastline Image

An incredible farmhouse on the coast near the Cabot Trail north of Margaree.

St. Marie Image

The St. Marie has had better days fishing off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Margaree River Valley Image

Margaree River Valley. Home to Atlantic salmon up to 30-lbs.
Incredible! It's like a trout stream up here.

Charles Gaines Fishing Image

Charles Gaines casts a Bomber dry fly to waiting salmon in The Forks Pool.

Moose Crossing Sign Image

You gotta love a sign like this!

Glenora Distillery Image

North America's only single malt whiskey distillery is on Cape Breton
Island, Nova Scotia. It's calledGlenora and it's the real deal.

Lighthouse Image

In 1734, the French first lit the Louisbourg lighthouse -
now the oldest lighthouse in all of Canada

Sunrise Image

Sunrise on the ragged coastline near Louisbourg,
Nova Scotia. One of the best sunrises I've ever seen!

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SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

Salmon Fishing on Nova Scotia

Filed under Trips @ 3:35 pm

TEN & TWO is traveling to Nova Scotia for Atlantic salmon on Cape Breton, the island off the northeast coast. We fly into Halifax and then we'll meet our host for the first part of the trip - Charles Gaines. He wrote the book Pumping Iron in '74. It was made into a movie staring Arnold Schwarzenegger, before Arnold became Arnold. He's written novels, done TV, and countless magazine articles about fishing and hunting. Currently he lives half the year in Alabama hunting quail, and the other half in Nova Scotia looking for salmon. He'll take us to the world famous Margaree River where we'll stay at the Normaway Inn. We'll spend three days fishing for Atlantic salmon on the fly, and then head out to explore the rest of Cape Breton. Beyond the salmon fishing, there's a huge influence of Celtic Music, great food, the world famous Cabot Trail around the coastline, and the first single malt distillery in North America at Glenora. And that's just the start of it. Come with us on this journey as we look for salmon on the fly and get into the culture of Cape Breton. It promises to be another great story for TEN & TWO - The Angler's Journey.

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APRIL 4, 2011

Yakima 5

Filed under Trips @ 11:38 am

Those of us who have been there know the words to this song by heart - fathers, sons, brothers and friends around a campfIre at night. Nothing like it in the whole wide world. By the campfire, you're free to be whoever you choose, and say whatever you choose to say. Most of the time, it's funny as heck, and chances are no one will remember it in the morning anyway. In his song "Lucky Day", Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Torn Waits said "son there's a lot of things in this world that you're gonna have absolutely no use for. And when you get blue and you've lost all your dreams, there's nothing like a campfire and a can of beans."

By dumb luck and sheer focus, I remained even keeled enough through this campfire meal to jot down comments directly as they became public. If you've ever sat through a campfire like this, you'll recognize these comments immediately as the random thoughts of peaceful minds having a lovely time of it. And we did.

Notes From A Campfire:

"I can't fmd my wine glass, but I think we can do some business here...
Of course you're tired, but we must carry on at all cost...
A Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction right there my friends...
I think I need to write some poetry here pretty quick...
Fat-bottom girls, you make the rockin' world go round...
It's making me lonesome, ornery and mean...
This tastes like nothing I've never had none of before...
Give me back my wig. Baby let your head go bald. Is it snowing or what?...
This tastes so very good I forgot it was January...
I don't know how we're gonna find room for this, but we will find a way...
Apple Betty for dessert? Eight tablespoons of butter? Why not?...
At least he can relax in the evening...
Suddenly it's 85 degrees on the Yakima in January. How did that happen?...
Get out the way old Dan Tucker-you're too late to get your supper...
You ought to see my baby cooking catfish and collard greens...
Wasn't he the guy who wrote...
50,000 watts out of Mexico - listening to the border radio...
Rock me baby like a southbound train. I smell apples and cinnamon and stuff like that...
Rock me momma like a wagon wheel. Rock me momma any way you feel...
I'm gnawing on it...she said...he said...
Shoulda known better...
Come on now, chicken dance for me baby...
Tell me now, have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?...
I want to see you do your best Dale Chihuly imitation right this second...
He said what?..."

Yakima River Image 21

Fathers, sons, brothers and friends - a campfire on the Yakima River.

Yakima River Image 22

The last drop of the Russell's Reserve Rye gets a toasting upside the fire.

Yakima River Image 23

Portrait of a wine glass from hell.

Yakima River Image 24

To a screaming background ZZ Top blues tune, Jim Garner plays a
perfectly tuned air crutch borrowed from a blissful Gary LaComa.
You had to be there to really appreciate this one.

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MARCH 31, 2011

Yakima 4

Filed under Trips @ 1:05 pm

It's my understanding that Native Americans have a saying that goes "white men build a big fire and sit far away. Indians build a small fire and sit close." There's something to that philosophy that goes beyond fires. We were a group of men whiter than the driven snow, and the fire was blazing somewhere close to Bessemer Converterdom.

Chances are some of your best fishing memories from years past revolve around campfires and friends. I have vivid memories of laughing till I fell out of a camp chair, and eating meals that could not be replicated in a five-star restaurant. Those are moments that simply transcend reality. All of us who dedicate ourselves to friends and fishing, know these fleeting encounters to be pure and true. Often enough, I remember clearly thinking if I were to die at this very moment, all things considered, it would be fair trade. This was one of those nights. A fair trade indeed.

The night's meal came courtesy of Reid Watson and his buddy, Josh Voltz. Reid has a thing for cooking in a cast iron Dutch oven, and thankfully the guy has it down to a science. He called it Yakiman Chili, and he managed to pull it off in the middle of all the chaos created by very loud music, and the noise of six other guys having a great time while acting like maniacal children riding a sugar fueled mindless rampage through camp. Had they been in the vicinity, wives and girlfriends most certainly would have left for home a very long time ago, while muttering something pathetic about the nature of men and their behavior around other men and campfires. Probably not worth going into here. (More in this series in the coming days.)

Yakima River Image 15

Reid Watson going over the details of the recipe for Yakiman Chili.

Bryan LaComa was in charge of cooking ribs for one or'the side dishes.

Yakima River Image 17

Roasted chilies were an integral part of the Yakiman Chili dish.

Yakima River Image 18

Briquettes were ready and the initial ingredients started to smolder.

Yakima River Image 19

Josh Voltz and Reid Watson mix up a batch of Yakiman for their friends.

Yakima River Image 20

Dueling cast iron Dutch ovens working on making
one of the best chili dishes in recent memory.

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MARCH 28, 2011

Yakima 3

Filed under Trips @ 11:10 am

The warm weather had pushed the CFS to upward of 3500 CFS. That's a lot of water for this time of year. Basically, it means drift boats and fishing tight to the bank. The fish are holding close, because that's what they do in high water. Bryan suggested using a San Juan Worm about two feet below a stonefly called a Pat's Stone. An indicator about four feet above the stone fly. Dead drifting the whole mess about six inches from the bank, which is a casting maneuver worth writing home about when the wind picks up.

We picked up some flies at Red's Fly Shop on the Yakima and immediately headed to camp and the aforementioned music, whiskey and food issues. Jim Garner brought the KFC and we ate like kings. No, that's the truth—KFC. Delicious after a couple of cocktails and a frontal lobotomy. We ate every crumb. The next morning we'd hit it hard.

The next morning was perfect. A slight mix of rain and snow. Perfect trout weather. What the heck, they gotta eat today as well, so they might as well eat a stone fly or a worm, and it might as well be ours. Needless to say, there was no one else fishing anywhere. I mentioned Bryan has a way with trout. Today was no different. For a while, every few minutes you'd hear him on the walkie-talkie yelling about someone in his boat having a fish on again. There really isn't any rocket science to this technique, but there is a huge science to understanding the whole gestalt of seasons, and flow, and trout, and mood, and opportunity and catching as opposed to fishing. He's a fishy kind of guy. That, and he understands the lifestyle and the mood of trout. You and I may have some work to do in that regard. Pretty simple. No one else hit much at all. Everyone in Bryan's boat got a boatload of fish. The biggest measured out around 20-something and the rest were smaller, but it's the fricking middle of winter and no one is supposed to be catching fish from the get go. Contrary to what most people think, it can be done. Ask Bryan. "Must be the season of the witch".

Yakima River Image 10

Jim Garner strikes a Yakima River rainbow on a Pat's Stone Fly, which he had
running about four feet above a pink San Juan Worm.  Photo by Gary LaComa

Yakima River Image 10a  Yakima River Image 10b

(Left) A typical pink San Juan Worm pattern used all winter long on the Yakima. (Right) A typical
Pat's Stone, which is usually run in tandem with a San Juan Worm.  Photos by Red's Fly Shop

Yakima River Image 11

Bill Graham hits a fabulous rainbow also on the Pat's Stone pattern.

Yakima River Image 12

Bryan LaComa nets a 20-inch rainbow and the celebration begins.

Yakima River Image 13

Bill Graham, Jim Garner and Bryan LaComa strike a timeless flyfishing pose.

Yakima River Image 14

A terrific Yakima winter rainbow goes home.

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MARCH 25, 2011

Yakima 2

Filed under Trips @ 10:55 am

The Yakima is a canary in the mine kind of river. I guess most rivers are these days, but the Yakima is a serious canary. It's a great trout stream, but it's just getting hit from so many different directions at the same time. Uptown lodges, mega homes, water diversions, farm fertilizer in the drainage, beer cans, campers, drunk college kids in rafts and over fishing. It's a pounding and it's not going to get any easier. Through it all, the river remains a true gem for trout fishermen who take the time to learn the ways of the river. There are way too many arrogant fly fishermen who think all they need do is stand in a river and fish jump in their waders, because of course they are God's gift to fly fishing. The Yakima will have her way with those people. But for those who take and invest their time, the river will give up some gifts and then some.

About 20 million years ago this whole area was covered in basaltic lava flows extending from the center of the state almost to the Pacific Ocean. At that time the river was a sluggish stream. A series of uplifting and warping events along the eastern slope of the developing Cascades Range increased the flow and the cutting ability of the river as it made its way through the basalt. Today, the river is a visual calendar of those events showing the basalt flows, the sedimentation and the erosive forces of nature that are exposed to fly fishermen every day. It's truly a beautiful place. Similar in many ways to the look of the Deschutes in Oregon, as well as the John Day and the classic Grande Ronde.

But to the point at hand, it was January 2011, and colder than a well-digger's ass outside. Not as cold as it could have been. We got lucky on a short break in the weather, so the snow had melted, but the brittle sting was still fresh in the air, and the visual mood of the place was best described as a lovely shade of Chechnyan Barf Gray. As it turned out, Ryan was unavoidably held up by business, but eight of us made it to camp at the BLM Lmuma Creek campsite on the Yakima River. In the middle of the winter, a pretty bleak scene, with the occasional sun break lasting maybe a few seconds. But hey, we had good food, firewood delivered by a friend in the area, music and a lot of whiskey. The mood was bright sunshine in camp. What's to worry about?

WintYakima River Image 6

Basalt cliffs rim the landscape about halfway down the canyon. Thousands of years ago,
this entire area had been covered by lava which quickly cooled and was uplifted by the rise of
what would eventually become the Cascade Range of mountains about 50 miles to the west.

Yakima River Image 7

The entire length of the Yakima River Canyon is traced by a paved road
that runs between Ellensburg and Yakima, which makes for great bank fishing
in the summer. In high water, boats are the best bet.

Yakima River Image 8

The entire group holds up for moment to talk fish and fishing.

Yakima River Image 9

One person has to stay on the oars as another casts to the bank, because for all
intents and purposes, the boat is always moving when the water is this high.
Even a heavy anchor has trouble holding tight in this current.

Comments (1)

MARCH 23, 2011


Filed under Trips @ 11:50 am

As springtime approaches, we're getting fired up to get back out on the rivers. In Washington, it's getting close to March Brown and Squala time. But as winter thinks about receding, it's worth one last look at a winter's fly-fishing trip.

Washington state's winter sucks. It rains and it's cold on the west slopes, and if you go east of the Cascade mountain range it's freezing and/or snowing or just generally the pits. Steelheaders love it, but then steelheaders aren't human. They're a subspecies of some sort. Better left to their own devices, deliriums and dementia. Winter's chill just won't let go. What can you do, but think about trout fishing, or just screw it and go fishing anyway?

Out of nowhere I got an email from a friend named Bryan LaComa, who suggested a bunch of us should go camping and winter fish the Yakima River in eastern Washington for 20 inch trout. Yeah, like that's even real this time of year. At best this is a foolish idea, and at worst it's worse. So many better things to do with your life, like...like...I figured I'd go just for the whiskey. I mean, if you simply can't wait for March Browns or Squalas in the spring, you might as well be flagrantly irresponsible in the winter, right? Some of these guys believed firmly that we'd actually catch fish. Bryan's the kind of guy who can catch fish in a bathtub full of dirty water and he was convinced. His buddy Ryan Smith, from Seattle's Avid Angler, is a guide and fly-shop owner in the area. He was sure we could do it. Me? Color me doing what I'm told, and in spite of a natural tendency toward Chicken Little, cautiously optimistic about the whole thing.

WintYakima River Image 1

A cold gray camp at the BLM Lmuma Creek campsite. There are a number of
organized sites along the length of the Yakima River Canyon. In a camp like this,
whiskey and good food are a baseline for emotional survival.

Yakima River Image 2

Bryan LaComa and Bill Graham getting in the mood
and fighting off the effects of the prior night's festivities.

Yakima River Image 3

All eight of us managed to find the put in and get the boats in the water.

Yakima River Image 4

The river was running about 3500 CFS, which is high for this time of year,
so the fish would be holding tight to the bank.
  Photo by Gary LaComa

Yakima River Image 5

Winter's day on the Yakima. We got a break in the weather, so the temps
went to just above freezing and most of the snow had melted.
It's bleak outside and the sun tried, but refused to shine.

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NOVEMBER 1, 2010

Muskie Universe

Filed under Trips @ 5:14 pm

Hayward, Wisconsin is the Muskie center of the universe. It is one of the few places on earth where you can catch a muskie on a fly. The Chippewa Flowage runs through the Hayward area creating a series of lakes and river flows that ultimately join the Flambeau River and meet the Mississippi. The total length of the Chippewa is just short of 200 miles. The Chippewa Flowage is where Louie Spray caught the nearly 70 lb world record muskie in 1949.

Chippewa River

Hayward has the Freshwater Hall of Fame and Museum, which is really terrific.

Freshwater Hall of Fame and Museum

Robert Tomes and I spent most of our time on the Flambeau and Chippewa Rivers fishing with Joe Flater and Don Larson. These guys know the water and without their expertise, I question if we would have been so lucky. Joe Flater (Musky Joe) is one friendly, tough son of a bitch, and he’s been fishing muskies since he was a kid. As owner of Flater's Resort, he hunts, traps, shoots, fishes, and is the land. He genuinely smiles a lot and I swear the guy could eat a live ferret. Go fish with him and you will find muskies.

Tomes and Musky Joe

Don Larson, (The Pond Monster) has been fly fishing for muskies and chasing women just about forever. He’s sixty-something and can kick your ass. The man works out nearly every day for an hour and a half starting at 4:30 in the morning. He has 40 acres and lives alone in a huge log house on the Chippewa in the North Woods about 30 minutes out of town. In my estimation, he has one of the greatest back yards on earth, with the river, elk, bears and huge muskies as neighbors. He knows the river and has a personal relationship with the fish. They know the Pond Monster. He catches them all the time. And then he lets them go. I asked Don why he works out so hard in the morning. He said he needs to in order to row his drift boat and then he added. “I know older folks who are afraid to go outside because they might slip and hurt themselves. What’s the use in being alive at this age if you’re afraid to live?” Don Larson lives.

The Pond Monster

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OCTOBER 29, 2010

River Wolves

Filed under Trips @ 1:37 pm

Muskies are more reptile than fish. One guide we ran into called them "River Wolves." They appear instantaneously and violently from tannic or muddied water. If given the opportunity, they will eat you, because they want to and, if you to let them they would not hesitate to do so. They have no natural predators, except us, and we need specialized tools with sharp hooks in order to defeat them. If it gets a chance, in an instant, a muskie will take those same hooks and tools and drive them right through your bloody, fleshy hands. Without those tools and a solid understanding of where these guys live, you don’t stand a chance in hell of catching one.


Muskies own the rivers, lakes and streams near Hayward, Wisconsin. When artists depict these beasts they paint them leaping out of a placid water landscape with gaping mouths, razor teeth, and a sneer that’s half demented smile and half spitting snarl. If muskies could, they would eat you when you got out of your car in the Hayward Wal-Mart parking lot. Missing children? There’s a chance a muskie ate it. These are triumphant fish at the top of their game and if you present it right, they will take a properly presented fly and jam both that fly and you right where the sun don’t shine. Muskie fishing with a fly rod. Now that’s entertainment!

Tomes Catching Muskie

Before you go fly fishing for muskies, I have a couple of suggestions. First of all, get in shape. You’re gonna be throwing a sink-tip with a fly about the size of a Buick station wagon on a 12-weight single-handed rod with at least 60 feet of line all day long—and all day long for a couple more days after that. It will beat the hell out of you and then some. There are days when you’ll see a lot of fish and then there are more days when you’ll see one or none. Often it’s pouring rain and somewhere in the 40 degree range. Muskie weather – it will pound you flat.

Tomes Catching Muskie 2

One of the keys to all this is to hire guides like Don Larson (aka, the Pond Monster), Joe Flater at Flater's Resort, or Larry and Wendy at the Hayward Fly Shop. The water is huge up here and often it’s non-descript. Without their expertise on where these fish hang out, you might as well be fishing in a bathtub—a huge bathtub. The technique for fishing for them is relatively simple. Know where the fish hang out, find the slack water or eddies, and cast tight to the shore or to structure. Strip the line back in a straight line to the rod tip giving as much action to the fly as possible. Do that and the bathtub will fill up with muskie.

Muskie Fishing

Walter and Muskie

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OCTOBER 26, 2010

Muskie-Palooza In The North Woods

Filed under Trips @ 1:03 pm

The Flambeau River is a liquid anaconda that drapes and coils itself across the woods of north central Wisconsin. Woods as in the Great North Woods. In the stomach of this river-beast, live giant sturgeon, the best tasting walleye on earth, armies of smallmouth bass, bluegills, northern pike and at the top of the food chain are muskies. These are the reptilian giants that own the river and are prey for nothing, save us. They exist almost as a mythical, historical presence in giant rivers like Wisconsin’s Flambeau and Chippewa, as well as countless lakes and smaller rivers and creeks.

Flambeau River

The muskie expert, Robert Tomes, and I are wandering around the Great North Woods in search of muskie on the fly. Some people say it can’t be done. Some say no one really does it. Some say a muskie won’t take a fly. Some say it takes a huge effort. Some people don’t know crap.

Getting Ready to Fish

“Musky” Joe Flater is a Wisconsin version of a Louisiana coonass. He traps beaver, shoots bear, hunts with a bow, guts out elk, fishes for anything that swims, and if he needed to, could probably eat a live ferret. For most of 30 years he’s been the master of ceremonies at Flater’s Resort – a bar and few cabins cut from heavy woolen cloth made in the 40’s. The resort hugs the banks of the Flambeau River, and has the feel that anytime now it will become Earth.

Musky Joe

Joe has offered to take Robert and me on a search for muskies. We’re gonna chase those beasts using flies about the size of a 1940 Buick station wagon. This will be a “fish tale” you won’t want to miss in an upcoming issue of TEN & TWO.

Muskie Flies

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OCTOBER 23, 2010

Boggan's Oasis

Filed under Trips @ 4:16 pm

For those people who know the Grande Ronde, they know about Bill and Farrell at Boggan’s Oasis. TEN & TWO always explores the journey that surrounds the fishing, so you can count on a story about the Oasis. And there’s no doubt that Bill will be showing us the proper way to make a chocolate malt. For those of you who have been to the Oasis, you know what I mean. The baseline definition of proper malts and shakes was born and raised at Boggan’s Oasis. TEN & TWO will publish the recipe and expose the truth to the glories of an Oasis chocolate malt. Andy Anderson is shooting it now, while I’m headed to meet Robert Tomes in Minnesota, who will be searching out muskies on the fly. Those beasts will eat a small car, so stay tuned, there’s more news from the TEN & TWO road just around the corner.

Boggan's Sign

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OCTOBER 20, 2010


Filed under Trips @ 1:35 pm

Andy Anderson is one of the world’s best commercial photographers. A number of years ago, he became famous doing fishing images and then drifted away from that photography because he thought he could be more creative in the commercial world. He took a look at the first issue of Ten & Two and decided that he liked the look and the feel of the magazine, so he offered to do some stories. He’ll be doing a lot of the major photography for our issue on the Grande Ronde. I spent the afternoon with Andy and the iconic fishing guide John Farrar. John’s "been there and done that" and been more and done more than most anyone. He’s a master at his art, and known all over the fly fishing world. So for a couple hours we had Walter Hodges shooting photos of Andy Anderson shooting photos of John Farrar shooting a dry line at Grande Ronde steelhead—two of my heroes. For me, it ain’t gonna get any better than this any time soon. You’ll see more of this story in our upcoming Grande Ronde Piece in TEN & TWO.

Andy Anderson Taking Photo 1

Andy Anderson Taking Photo 2

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OCTOBER 18, 2010

Grande Ronde Camp

Filed under Trips @ 1:47 pm

Scott O’Donnell runs a full-fledged floating steelhead camp on the Grande Ronde, just up from the Snake River near Clarkston, Washington.  This trip had six clients, three guides, a cook, two camp staff, a dog, and over in the corner slinking around with a camera, note pad and pocket recorder – me.  The float is four days with three nights in a different camp each night. It’s a masterfully well produced floating, fishing, camping, eating, sight seeing, vaudeville show.  The clients loved the whole gig. They move the camp each day through the incredible rolling grass and basalt canyons, and past some of the best fly-fishing steelhead drifts in the US. 

This particular trip the fish weren’t taking dry flies, so the guides worked with dry lines or very short sink- tips and wet flies.  Fish were taking the flies just under the surface.  The Ronde gets these waves of fish that come upriver dependent on temperature gradients and water level.  If you hit it right, it can be steelhead heaven.

I floated with Scott and his crew for two days.  This is a trip not to be missed.  We’ll be detailing this trip as well as the entire Grande Ronde experience in a future issue of TEN & TWO.

Basalt Cliffs - Grand Ronde

Scott O’Donnell and clients drift under the basalt cliffs of the Grande Ronde as they pass near Boggan’s Oasis.  The daily floats are anywhere from seven to nine miles.

Grand Ronde 2  Grand Ronde 3

(Left) Scott advising client Charles Gehr from Fly Water Travel on the holding patterns of fall steelhead in the Ronde. (Right) Close up of a river map with favorite fall wet flies, and a guide’s notes as to the names of drifts on the Ronde.

Grand Ronde 4  

Client Charles Gehr handles a spey cast as an artist might handle a master brush stroke.  The guy knows his stuff and catches his share of fish.

Grand Ronde 5

Charles and Peter with a gorgeous fall steelhead taken directly in front of camp on the second night of the float.  He was using a very short sink-tip.  The whole camp gathered on the bank to watch him dance with a steelhead.  Really fun to watch.

Grand Ronde 6  Grand Ronde 7

(Left) Early morning conversation in camp tends toward historical anecdotes of fish caught and released.  The weather had not turned seriously cold yet, so sleeping was terrific. (Right) Camp chef Jane cooked an incredible meal of crab cakes and chicken piccata for the clients, under a perfectly clear blue/black Grande Ronde sky.

Grand Ronde 8

A ritual as old as fishing.  Campfire stories and fly fishing are hinged at the hip.

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OCTOBER 14, 2010

Grande Ronde 2

Filed under Trips @ 3:12 pm

Scott O’Donnell has been guiding on the Grande Ronde since 1992. Currently he runs four-day camping/float trips in October, and we’re going to join him and his crew of five as they take six clients on a search for summer-run steelhead that range from 4 to 12 pounds. The trip starts tomorrow. Today, they all take part in the “miracle” that is getting ready for the trip. Scott and his crew sleep in and work out of a guide shack in Troy, Oregon. The shack is exactly that. A shack and more shack piled on top of more shack. You gotta want to be a steelhead guide to do this. My bet is they know exactly what they’re doing.

Guide Shack

Scott O’Donnell (center) and part of his crew prep food, tie flies and gather gear for the trip inside the impossibly small guide shack.

Crew Prep 1

Crew Prep 2

Guides and crew gather at the guide shack's front yard as they start putting food in coolers and gear in dry bags. The rafts will be stacked on a truck and transported to the river tomorrow morning.

Comments (0)

OCTOBER 11, 2010

October on the Ronde

Filed under Trips @ 10:45 am

TEN & TWO is on assignment to do a story on steelhead fly fishing on the Grande Ronde River in Oregon and Washington. The Ronde flows from the northeast corner of Oregon to the far southest corner of Washington State and the Snake River. The country is made up of rolling canyons of basalt, grassland and ponderosa pine. This is Nez Perce Indian country. In the 1800s, Lewis and Clark passed through here looking for China. We’re here looking for steelhead on dry lines.

October is the month on the Ronde. Steelhead can be caught in other months to be sure, but October is when they come up to dry flies skated on the surface. In terms of pure steelhead heaven in the Lower 48, October on the Ronde is the Pearly Gates. We’ll start our journey with guide Scott O’Donnell floating and camping on the Ronde for a couple days. Then we’ll look more closely at the culture of the area. From Bogan’s Oasis to the Shilo in Troy, we’ll check out everything from the world’s best milkshakes to local homemade jams. We’ll get it done.

The entire Grande Ronde experience will be a subject for an upcoming TEN & TWO story by Walter Hodges and Andy Anderson, but for the moment, come along on the journey and we’ll file reports right from the river. If you’ve got a question or a comment, ask away and we’ll try our best to answer them.

Grand Ronde

I got this shot driving up the road to Troy, Oregon to meet Scott O’Donnell’s group for tomorrow’s float/camp trip. This is some of the most beautiful steelhead water anywhere. The fish routinely come up to dry flies in October.

Fisherman on the Ronde

Just before getting to Troy we found this chap using a nymph on a dry line in a spot where he had caught six steelhead the day before.

Comments (1)

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