Sportsman's Finest Speaker Series

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Looks like the 2012/2013 speaker series at Sportsman's Finest ( is starting early this year. Next Thursday, October 4th, the owners of Patagonia River Guides, will be in shop to talk about their outfit and the wonderful fly-fishing/bird hunting/food & wine paradise that is Argentine Patagonia. It sounds like a pretty awesome night with happy hour at 6, and the presentation getting underway at 7. Attendees will be able to register for door prizes galore, including a trip with Patagonia River Guides.

If you have never made it over to one of these speaker series events, do yourself a favor and check it out. Sportsman's Finest does a fantastic job of hosting some incredible speakers throughout the fishing industry. Not only are they a fun way to meet other central Texas anglers, but they are very informative.

Hello Fall!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

How great has the weather in Austin been lately? Cool mornings followed by mild afternoons, this has been one of the nicer September's in the last few years. Add to that the replenishing rains we had a week or so ago and there are a lot of great reasons to get outside and enjoy the natural side of our great city. 

I was able to do just that for a couple hours this weekend. Penny and I went over to the section of Bull Creek just west of 360 between Lakewood and Spicewood, we were excited to find river levels looking pretty good. I brought the five wt along and switched off stripping wooly boogers through the deeper holes and working poppers along the bank. 
                                                             Beautiful Colors!

There were a number of one to two pound bass exploring the revitalized creek and I spent most of my time chasing them. Plenty of sunfish were eager to take as well though which always makes for a fun time. A little size 10 frog color popper was the most effective pattern on the day. Strikes generally came shortly after landing the bug on the water, or within one or two strips.

Hopefully this beautiful weather continues and everyone is able to get outdoors and enjoy it in some way. Here's to the start of fall!!!

New Zealand

Sunday, September 16, 2012

For many fly fisherman, New Zealand is at the top of the list of places to fish before they die. This is for good reason as New Zealand is home to some of the biggest brown trout and most pristine rivers on earth. Liz and I were lucky enough to visit New Zealand this past winter (summer for them) and it definitely lived up to the hype. We had been planning this trip for two years and our adventure took us over to Australia as well. We were out to see and experience as much as possible in both countries so it was not designed as a fishing trip. But there was no possible way I was going to New Zealand and not fishing. 

Our time in New Zealand was spent on the south island in Queenstown. Queenstown is a fantastic adventure hub that is home to great skiing/boarding in the winter and about every outdoor activity you could imagine in the summer (fishing, jet-boating, river rafting, sky diving….). The scenery in Queenstown is exactly what you would expect New Zealand to look like. Much of The Lord of the Rings was filmed near the area so that should help paint the mental picture.

Lake Wakatipu
When I started researching guides in the area, there were so many great recommendations to choose from. I kept coming back to one guide though, Chris Dore ( I am so happy we were able to fish with Chris as he is one of the best guides I have ever fished with. He is incredibly patient and a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor. I learned many things from Chris during our day on the water and he was instrumental in continuing to help Liz get her form down.

Chris picked us up at our hotel in Queenstown and we headed west towards a little town called Glenorchy. We fished a river pretty close to Glenorchy that was something off of a post card. Many of the rivers in New Zealand are glacial fed which gives them such a gin clear color. Fishing such an amazingly clear river certainly comes with its share of challenges though.


I knew going into our trip that fishing in New Zealand was very different than what we are used to here in the states. You may only get a few chances at fish during the day but those fish could very well be the fish of a lifetime. The challenge of spotting and stalking each fish and trying to make that perfect cast as not to spook the fish was a different concept for me. I quickly learned that it is a very exhilarating concept as well.
As we worked our way up the river, we tried a variety of patterns, both dry and nymph. Chris would spot a fish and we would do our best to scare the crap out of it. Liz and I would switch off working different sections and I had so much fun watching her really get her cast down. As we came up to a section of the river Chris called the aquarium, I really started to get excited. He said it was a big fish holding area and he was not kidding around. Chris slowly snuck his way along the side of the hill and then waved us forward. He pointed to the middle of the river below to a huge brown that was pushing nine pounds, man did my heart race. I had never seen a bigger trout. 

Our plan was for Chris and Liz to stay on the hill and spot as I moved back down the hill and access the river. I did so slowly and once I got back in, carefully started to wade back up towards the fish. Luckily, there was a giant boulder that split the river into two sections that gave me some cover. The fish was directly in front of the boulder and I made my way up the left side. As I got closer and closer to a position of being able to cast, the more excited I became. What a fish this was!

The big bruiser (top right of picture) moving into shallow water above the boulder
Finally, I moved far enough up to where I could see the drift and the very front of the fish. I had enough line out and was ready to go. I lifted my rod to make the cast and all of my feelings of excitement quickly turned to heartbreak. The fish must have seen the movement as he darted off up the river. That was a tough pill to swallow.

The rest of the day we continued to wind our way up the river. The natural beauty of the river, the surrounding forest and the waterfalls were an experience in themselves. We had multiple chances at other fish and finally did get a nice rainbow to the net. Holding that fish with Liz, even though it wasn't the monster brown, was very satisfying.




We had a fantastic day fishing with Chris, he truly made it a memorable experience. I can see how the challenge of fishing in New Zealand can be addicting and I really hope to make it back there some day. If you are ever in Queenstown and want to get on the water, give Chris a call, you won't regret it.

Lost Creek

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Liz and I experienced the most joyous moment of our lives this past week as we welcomed our daughter Collins into this world. Becoming a father for the first time has been truly incredible and I am so excited for the adventures ahead with our little girl. Needless to say, as the adventures of fatherhood begin, time on the water will be put on the backburner. 

Penny and I were able to sneak out a couple of days before Collins' arrival though and enjoy the water for a few hours. We headed down to fish the Lost Creek section of Barton Creek which is always such a fun little piece of water.

We started our day at the big rock in the center of the creek east of the parking area. I love fishing on this rock, once you wade out to it, you have easy casting in every direction. The take of the day came when a really nice redbreast came up from deep water and hammered the little popper I had on. He put on quite a nice fight before I got him to hand.
As we made our way down creek, we caught a number of little bass and sunfish. The farther east we headed, the deeper the water became, and the larger the fish. We scared one bass from under a rock that looked to be four pounds. What scared us though was the four foot snake sliding its way across the creek fifty yards ahead of him. The snakes were out in full force, we saw a number of them on this trip. One of them was dragging a live catfish off for a meal.

Penny and her new friend Snowman

With all of the snakes out, I really had to keep Penny close by. Luckily, she is getting better and better about doing this on her own with each outing we make. My favorite part of the day came when I hooked into a small little sunfish. As soon as it started splashing around, Penny waded over to check it out as she normally does. The fish popped off before she was able to make her inspection though which did not make her happy. She chased that fish around for a solid minute as I sat back and laughed. She is really starting to take this fishing thing personally. I guess the next thing on the agenda is to teach her to use a net.

Rock Creek

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's no secret that Missoula, Montana is a pretty fantastic town for a fisherman. With the Bitterroot River feeding into the Clark Fork at the southwest part of town, and the Blackfoot merging with it just east of town, anglers have access to all kinds of world class waters. Not to mention, the fabled blue ribbon Rock Creek is only a thirty minute drive east of town. 


Rock Creek is always the river that pops up in my mind when discussing the ideal, picturesque trout stream. With long runs, good holding water, plenty of boulders, and solid year round hatches, trout have a perfect little playground to live in. The salmonfly hatch of June and early July is legendary on this river, as are the crowds that come along with the arrival of this giant stonefly.

                                                                              Rock Creek Rainbow

When I picture Rock Creek though, it's of calm quiet waters rolling through the Lolo National Forest. Memories of hungry trout slamming big hoppers and caddis next to the banks of hay fields always make me smile. Rock Creek is the only place I have caught a grand slam in one day. Bringing a brown, brookie, rainbow and cutthroat to net was a pretty cool experience.


Brookie (Not sure where the brown went)