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Archive for the 'Fishing Travel Journal' Category

Dec 29 2013

Rose River Farm Yurts – A Weekend Vacation for the Whole Family

Published by under Fishing Travel Journal

rose_river_farm_gazebo_2 I’ve fished at Rose River Farms several times now and it consistently produces large trout in a relaxing atmosphere. Even in the dead of winter, the fish are plentiful and hungry and I always return home with a renewed confidence about my ability to catch big fish. It’s amazing to think how close it is to the hustle bustle of Northern Virginia.

This winter, my family and I decided to stay at the Rose River Farm yurts. I had driven by these unique structures many times on my way to fish the farm, and I always wondered what they were like inside. So, we reserved two nights at the Hill Top yurt the weekend before Christmas.

Fortunately for us, there was a break in the wet, cold wintery days. We arrived Friday evening and the temperature was in the 60s. The directions to the yurts were straightforward. Even though I was worried we’d miss the sign in the darkness, it was easy to find. We pulled up to the Hill Top yurt and mused at the panorama of stars above us and deep blue mountains across the valley.

As we entered the yurt, we found the setup to be exceptional — clean rooms, beddings and bathrooms, and a fully stocked kitchen. The family room had a large comfy leather sofa and a satellite-rigged flat panel TV. As expected, everything was decked out with a tasteful fishing theme, and there was an abundance of natural light thanks to the sky light at the pinnacle of the circular ceiling and the large windows projecting the beautiful mountain view. My wife really appreciated the cleanliness and attention to detail.

After settling in, we set out to start a fire. Everything was just where you’d expect it — matches, pre-cut wood, a fire poker and cement-lined fire pit. This was the nicest setup I’d ever seen on a fishing trip. Soon enough, the whole family was roasting marshmallows, watching flaming embers, and dodging smoke as the fire became the central entertainment for the evening.

The next morning, I woke early and set out to tie some flies for the trip to the farm. The fly tying bench in the yurt had a top-of-the-line vice (way better than mine), so I was able to knock out 4 Wolly Buggers and 6 San Juan Worms before the family woke up. I taught my 9 year-old son how to tie 2 San Juan Worms.

The great thing about Rose River Farm is that it’s right in the middle of some of the best hikes and trout fishing spots in the Shenandoah. We decided to hike White Oak Canyon since we hadn’t been there since the 90s. So, we drove less than 15 minutes along beautiful country roads to the trailhead.

The weather was spring-like as we hiked along the lower trail to the falls. Along the way, we stopped several times to enjoy the cascading waterway and the deep, clear pools. My son discovered how much he loved the outdoors. There was something to be found, made, or climbed around every bend. He made a sling-shot out of a branch, stacked rocks, and climbed up and slid down boulders. By the end of the hike, he was asking when we could go again.

rose_river_farm_pond_cabin

We picked up lunch off route 29 (10 miles or so from the yurts), then headed back to the farm for an afternoon of fly fishing. The first hole we fished, my son caught his first rainbow trout. I was so excited I nearly fell into the river. We fished several other spots upstream and lost one fish right as I reached for the net. After a few hours of fishing, we relaxed in the gazebo and watched others fish, then played football and tetherball in the field nearby.

We couldn’t have picked a better time and place for a weekend vacation with the family. While many families may pass on the thought of going on a trip to a fishing cabin, the yurts at Rose River Farms are a family-friendly luxury. There are many nearby outdoor activities that don’t require a fishing rod. The peacefulness and the idyllic setting is a much needed reprieve for everyone.

Rose River Farm is running a special on its cabins for the months of January and February– rent one night and your next night is free. All booking is done at their website www.RoseRiverFarm.com.

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Jul 31 2010

Alaska Steelhead Fly Fishing May 2010 Fishing Report

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing BlogAfter switching bags in Yuma, AZ (see part 1 of this fishing adventure) I made my way to Seattle, WA to stage for the next part of my adventure which would take me to Yakutat, Alaska. Last year while I was in Ketchikan, AK chasing silvers with my friend Barrett we started talking about some other adventures we could do in the state and Barrett, being a die hard steelhead fly angler, suggested that we hit the Situk River located outside of Yakutat. The river is known among steelhead anglers as probably the most productive natural (no hatcheries or hatchery enhanced fish) steelhead river in the world. We started planning back in October as soon as I got back from Alaska. Doing these adventures is a pretty big undertaking especially when you are doing it yourself with out any guides, packing yourself into camp, setting up camp and then figuring out how the heck to catch fish in the river. Our original plan was that four of us would go, Barrett, his Dad, me and our mutual friend Tom. Tom fell off because of some other travel stuff that came up and then a few people I had in mind to fill the spot fell off because I learned that the trip was going to involve some aggressive wading which makes me wary myself, but even more so taking anyone that is not totally comfortable with that. Once we learned that Barrett’s Dad decided he would pass so Barrett and I decided we would go it alone. We had to line up a boat because we were going to stay in a cabin in middle of the river and fishing required a boat to move from pool to pool. We thought we had that lined up, but our raft connection fell through, so we went to plan B which was pontoon boats we would pack up, ship as luggage, and assemble when we got there.

Four weeks to arrival time Barrett gets a call from one of our friends asking if he would guide on the Ponoi River in Russia for the season. Barrett was so so on the idea, but decided to roll with it. That put another twist into things because timing was going to be tight between the screening process he had to go through when he arrived into Russia (it requires three days of all sorts of tests) and the helicopter transport that was scheduled to take him and some other guides to camp. Long and short of it at the last minute Barrett could not go, luckily I found a steelhead junky, Andy, in Missoula, MT who was friends with Barrett and who I knew through some mutual friends who was all over it. Andy is going to be a senior at the University of Montana, is a creative writing major with a minor in environmental studies, and is a fishing machine. He guides on the Unalakleet River in Alaska in the summers and is what I would consider to be one of the premier up and coming steelhead anglers (you can check him out in a guide profile in last months Drake Magazine), and as importantly he’s a fun guy who is willing to take on an adventure. He had heard about the Situk and was psyched to get a chance to fish it.

I spent two days in Seattle getting some last minute supplies, picking up a pontoon boat from a friend and having a good dinner at Alki Beach with an old college buddy Tony and his wife Alex. Tony is in the tech world as well and we probably bored Alex to death with the geek talk, but she was a great sport about it. Tony founded a really cool company and if you spend a lot of time online and are not sure where all the time goes you need his product (he has a free version). Check out RescueTime.com I have been using it since it was in beta years ago and it’s pretty good in giving you some insight where you “really” spend your time online.

I got up the next morning still full from dinner, jumped on a plane and met Andy in Anchorage. Three hours and a few stops later we arrived in Yakutat, AK. We had hooked with a guy named Fred through the recommendation of some other friends who had fished there before. Fred had a big dodge that was perfect to shuttle us each day. We arrived around 8pm and given we still had four hours of daylight left, were still not confident we had enough day light to get our boats put together, gear packed on the back and time to float to our camp which our best intelligence told us was a two hour float from the drop off and from what we heard you could not see the cabin from the water. Fred said for $50 we could stay in his camper, set up everything, load it in his truck and be ready to go early in the AM, so we took him up on it. We got everything ready were loaded up to take off in the morning. Before we took off Andy and I walked down to the ocean and managed to strike up a conversation with some Alaska commercial fisherman. The captain invited us onboard and we hung our for about half an hour hearing about their latest journey which had them on the water for four weeks chasing what I think I remember as black bass, one of the fish they use in fish sticks is what I remember. The close quarters they live in and big seas they endure to make a living is amazing. They were waiting to unload their catch and then would fish their way home to Juno. We took some pics, exchanged some fishing stories and Andy and I hit the road.

When we splashed the boats we were quickly reminded with how much in in the wild we really were with the sighting of a large grizzly bear at the launch, unfortunately my camera was packed  As soon as we got on the water there were chrome fish everywhere, a good sign. We pushed our way to camp struggling not to break out a rod. We set up camp and decided we would hike down river on our first day. All the pools were loaded with fish and these steelhead were amazingly strong. Hooking these guys was one thing, landing one, well that is a whole other story. These fish will break you off in every way possible; they’ll take you under branches and break you off, make crazy jumps and spit out the hook while basically sticking their tongue out at you , roll and spin making the hook come out and some moves even a pro break dancer would have trouble duplicating. My hook up to landing ratio was easily 15 -1, as Andy would say, “That’s steelhead fishing for you”.

We floated/rowed fourteen miles each day which between rowing slow water and fishing the pools kept us on the water about fourteen hours. Given there is only about three hours of darkness a day, fishing long hours is no problem. We were told of two small grizzlies that were around camp from some people who were camping about a mile away and while we saw prints around camp we never saw them in person. Also never managed to see any moose which really can be more dangerous then the bears. The one thing was was abnormal about the trip was that we had sun and 78 degrees each day, made fishing a bit tougher during mid day, but even worse made for what locals were saying was the worse pollen they have ever seen. It was crazy. When a eagle would leave a branch you could see tons of pollen dump off the branches and where were literally clouds of pollen. I do not have allergies and managed to be OK until the last day, Andy made it through with the help of some medicine. The attack I had turned into a sinus infection which I am on antibiotics for right now and slowly getting over. Man, can pollen knock you on your butt.

All and all an amazing trip. Everything in Alaska is put simply, BIG. The animals, the fish, the trees, everything. It’s also great to see and fish a truly natural river, and at some level this river is a recovery story. When they were logging in the area in the 1990′s the steelhead run was down to about 600 fish, since logging stopped some years ago the numbers have been as high as 15,000, pretty cool what nature can do when you give her a chance to come back. After floating/rowing/fishing a bit over 14 miles a day spanning about 14 hours and hit with the pollen attack from hell, I am still pretty spent, I’ll at least give it another day or two before I start planning the next adventure.
They say there is a good run of chrome in the fall which I may head back for, but the silvers are calling as well, either way, I’ll be back next spring for sure!

Some pictures from the fly fishing for steelhead fishing adventure (click on the pictures for bigger versions)

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Getting the gear ready in Seattle

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead Fishing Trip Report in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Loading up the truck ready to pack ourselves in, nice smile Andy

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead Fishing Trip Report in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Putting our pontoon boats together on day 1

Pontoon boats assembled, Andy testing them out fly fishing Alaska

Boats assembled, Andy testing them out

Packing up the boats to take our gear to camp fly fishing steelhead

Packing up the pontoon boats to take our gear to camp

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead Fishing Trip Report in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Our home for a week

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead Fishing Trip Report in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Our home for a week

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead Fishing Trip Report in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Some of our daily gear for each days float

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead Fishing Trip Report in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

The smaller upper section of the Situk River, AK

Typical fly fishing conditions testing fly fishing clothing Lateral Line

Typical fly fishing conditions

Sight fishing for steelhead fly fishing Alaska in fly fishing clothing Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Sight fishing for steelhead

Trying to keep him out of the sticks in fly fishing clothes company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Trying to keep him out of the sticks

fly fishing for steelhead in fly fishing apparel company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Blog

Trying to keep him out of the sticks

What we think was a native resident rainbow or a first year ocean kelt

What we think was a native resident rainbow or a first year ocean kelt

The audience on the river blad eagle

The audience on the river

Cannon Beach, Yakutat Alaska. Fred took us here on the way to put in at the top of the river. Cannon Beach is a magnet for surfers, pretty amazing beach to find in Alaska

Cannon Beach, Yakutat Alaska. Fred took us here on the way to put in at the top of the river. Cannon Beach is a magnet for surfers, pretty amazing beach to find in Alaska

Another shot of Cannon Beach

Another shot of Cannon Beach

Andy cooking some dinner with Lateral Line Fly Fishing Hat

Andy cooking some dinner

Eating dinner and getting away from the bugs

Eating dinner and getting away from the bugs

Young Bald Eagle Looking for dinner

Young bald eagle looking for dinner

Our friend on the river having some dinner

Our friend on the river having some dinner

Pollen in bloom

Pollen in bloom

More pollen in bloom

More pollen in bloom

Seal Damage

Seal Damage

Unloading our pontoon boats for the end of the day float home

Unloading our pontoon boats for the end of the day float home

Regular grade steelhead

Regular grade steelhead

Release of another regular grade Steelhead

Release of another regular grade Steelhead

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead Fishing Trip Report in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

Release Picture 2

Alaska Fly Fishing for Steelhead Fishing Trip Report in Lateral Line Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fly Fishing Blog

See you next year!

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Jun 15 2010

Alaska Mexico Fishing May 2010 – Part 1

Colorado Delta Aerial Picture in Outdoor Clothing Company Lateral Line Fishing Clothing BlogI have been on the road the last few months and am way behind posting reports and pictures of all my trips so I figured I ought to get this report out the door asap or it seems I never get them done. (picture left: A part of the Colorado Delta from the air. Click on all photos for larger versions)

My first stop on this adventure was Yuma, Arizona where I rondevued with my friend Tom and Luther P. who is the executive director of the Sonoran Institute on a mission to baseline via aerial photos the lower Colorado River/Colorado Delta where the Sonoran Institute is working on several restoration projects . I know Luther and his wife Liz from the non-profit conservation world as well as part of the Jackson Hole summer crowd. About four weeks ago we were all in the Bahamas together chasing bonefish. Tom and I have been talking with Luther about the Sonoran’s restoration efforts in the delta. Luther saw our aerial photo work we have been doing for the Henry’s Fork Foundation based in Idaho over the last few years (If you grab a copy of the Henry’s Fork 2010 calendar all the photos are mine and Tom’s) and asked if we could do some similar work for the Delta. After learning more about the great work Sonoran we agreed. We spent a day in Yuma checking out some restoration projects the city is doing around the river, had the privilege of having dinner with an elder from the Cocopah Indian Tribe to learn about his and the tribes viewpoint of all the water rights issues, and then the next morning awoke early to meet Fred our pilot who would fly us over the Delta and into Mexicali, Mexico. We took off and followed the river down to Mexicali where we landed and dropped off Luther and picked up Francisco who is in charge of the restoration project for Sonoran. As we flew over the delta and followed it to the mouth where it flows into the Gulf of California the only word that came to mind was “vast”. In many ways it’s vastness reminded me of the Chesapeake. An amazing site. After a few hour flight we landed and took a tour of specific restoration sites. We also visited with community that owns a large area of land in the delta which just so happened to have one, if not the best, largemouth bass fishing lake I have ever seen. We only managed to fish for thirty minutes, but I hooked a bunch of largemouth and saw more 7,8,9lb fish I have ever seen in one place. I’m headed back there in the fall for a longer visit .

An interesting thing to note is that just a few months ago Mexicali was hit with a 7+ earthquake and we managed to see some of the damage. The community that we visited that has the bass lake is so terrified of the aftershocks and everything they completely abandoned their village in fear another earthquake would strike and their homes fall on them. The entire village moved about two miles away and now lives in large mobile military tents. When you talk to the people you can see in their face the fear is as real as it gets. This is the type of story that rarely show up in the news once the initial reports and buzz on the story fade, but was a striking reminder to me of the real life struggles that people face after such natural disasters.

After we wrapped up our tours we had dinner in downtown Mexicali, hit the sack at a nice hotel in town and departed via truck back to the US. The car line wait to get back into the US was only 45 min which from my experience coming back into California from Mexico is not too bad. We were told the line can be as many as four hours sometimes….one hot wait in 100+ degree temps.

Once we got back to our place in Yuma I switched bags and started getting things together for the next part of my adventure which would take me to Seattle, WA for two days to stage and then to Yakutat, AK to chase some steelhead for a week.

Going over with Francisco, the head of the restoration project, which areas he would like to make sure we get some good aerial photos
Lateral Line Fishing Hat Crisfield Fishing Shirt

Our pilot for the day, Fred, on the left, me, and Luther the CEO of the Sonoran Institute on the right
Fishing Clothing Company Cheif Angler Brandon White of Lateral Line

A part of the Colorado Delta from the air (Gulf of California in the background)

Colorado Delta Aerial Photo in Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fishing Appaerl Blog

Where the natural Colorado River Stops and the man man-made river begins

Colorado Delta Aerial Photo in Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fishing Apparel Blog

On the ground checking out one of the restoration sites. The ditch is where irrigation water comes into the restoration project area

Colorado Delta Restoration Project in Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fishing Blog

The man-made Colorado River

Colorado Delta Restoration Project in Fly Fishing Clothing Company Lateral Line Fishing Blog

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Jun 30 2009

New Members of the Maryland Sport Fish Advisory Commision – Lateral Line’s Brandon White Appointed

Published by under Fishing Travel Journal

brandon_suskyflats05It was reported in the Baltimore Sun this past Sunday so it’s now official, I and eleven other members have been appointed by the Governor of Maryland to the Sport Fish Advisory Commission. Only a few older members return to the list with a host of new ones. I was sworn in this week and will start work when the meetings resume in September. Many members of the Maryland fishing community know me from the TidalFish.com website that I also run which is why you see that listed after my name.

Candus Thomson reported in her outdoor column in the Baltimore Sun on Sunday:

Take your seats, gentsHere are your new representatives on the Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission. Please hold your applause until all names are announced: Dave Sikorski, Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland; Bill Windley, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association; Ed O’Brien, Maryland Charterboat Association; James Wommack, recreational angler; Roger Trageser, Maryland Bass Federation; Val Lynch, Ocean City Marlin Club; Brandon White, Tidalfish.com; Bill Goldsborough, Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Larry Coburn, guide and tackle shop representative; Neil Jacobs, Trout Unlimited; Herb Smith, McDaniel College; and Jim Gracie, Maryland Aquatic Resource Coalition.
And these are the members of the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission: John Van Alstein, waterman and potter; Larry Simns, Maryland Watermen’s Association; Richard Young; Andrea Jacquette, seafood retailer; Jack Brooks, crab processor; Mike Benjamin, JR Gross, Russell Dukes, Greg Price, all watermen; Steve Gordon, coastal bays aquaculture; and Brian Keehn, Maryland Charterboat Association. The SFAC will select one of its members as a representative to TFAC.

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Jun 29 2009

Two New Maryland State Record Sharks Caught Off Ocean City This Past Weekend in the Shark Tournament

Published by under Fishing Travel Journal

thresher_shark_mdrecordMaryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)  announced that anglers broke two state records in last weekend’s Ocean City Shark Tournament. The first was a 642-pound thresher shark caught by Brent Applegit of Golden, Colo., and Jim Hughes of Ocean City, Md. caught the second, an 876-pound mako shark.

Applegit’s catch on Friday night broke the previous record of 613 pounds set by Don Lorden in 2003. It was his first shark catch. He and his brother were spending the Father’s Day weekend with their dad, an Ocean Pines resident. On Saturday, Hughes landed his mako shark, and shattered the old record of 766 pounds set by Frank Gaither in 1984. The shark was so large that Hughes needed a larger boat Continue Reading »

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Jun 05 2009

Golden Dorado Fly Fishing Guide Peto Spotted Wearing a Lateral Line Hat on the Rio Parana in Argentina with a Monster Golden Dorado

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Peto Dalle Norgare is a friend from Argentina who just happens to be one of the best fly fishing and light tackle golden dorado fishing guides in Northern Argentina. As I was sitting working in the office yesterday thinking about fishing Peto sent me an email with this monster golden dorado that he had just landed for one of his clients. He said the Lateral Line hat brought them luck, nice going man! He said that they caught three of them in the area about this size. When I asked him what area that was, he replied it was the same area that my friend Tom caught a 24+pounder on a top water fly when we were down fishing with Peto earlier this year. The Rio Parana is a spectacular golden dorado fishery, if you have not been there, you should put it on the list of places to go. If you would like to get in touch with Peto to arrange some fishing you can reach him at: petodn@hotmail.com

Great dorado Peto! Thanks for the picture and keep wearing that Lateral Line hat, it is definitely lucky.

Click on the picture for a larger version

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May 29 2009

Maryland’s DIAMOND JIM Rockfish (Striped Bass for those not from the Chesapeake) Valued at $10,000 On the Loose

Published by under Fishing Travel Journal

diamond_jim092009 Maryland Fishing Challenge Features Cash and Prizes, Celebrates Journalist Bill Burton

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff and special guest Bill Burton today kicked off the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge, The Search for Diamond Jim, by releasing specially tagged striped bass into the Chesapeake Bay off of Chesapeake Beach.   The 5th annual challenge – which also includes a citation component — celebrates the life and career of the legendary outdoor writer and angler, who was inducted into the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association Hall of Fame in April.

“Whether experienced anglers or first-timers, our annual fishing challenge offers Maryland families and visitors the chance to win prizes while enjoying our exceptional waterways and recreational fishing opportunities.” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “We are especially pleased that this great Maryland tradition this year celebrates another of our State’s great resources, Bill Burton.”

This week 50 specially tagged striped bass – one genuine Diamond Jim and 49 imposters — were released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and Continue Reading »

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May 26 2009

Fish Stocks Low Even in Europe, 80% of Their Fish Overfished

Published by under Fishing Travel Journal

global_loss_of_fish_speciesI was reading this article that a friend sent me today about Europe looking to totally change the way they manage fisheries because of the decline that has happened over the years. The article says,  “The EU’s executive, the European Commission, says more than 80% of Europe’s fish stocks are now overfished. The global average is 28%.” Now, we have our problems with fisheries in the US that is for sure, but 80% of the species overfished in Europe, WOW! (you can click on the graph on the left for a bigger version.

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