A group of Casper College professors went back to the Snowy Range for our annual Backcountry Committee meeting. Mike Olson took minutes. The brook trout and rainbows were biting yellow humpies and spinners. I hadn't fished these creeks for over ten years.
Natrona County is alive with hoppers; they're everywhere. I see them in the roads, or bouncing off the side of my car. They are absolutely swarming the banks of the river, but they are not in the river itself. They seem to be trained to avoid the river. So fishing was slow this week. The North Platte is running at 3,000 CFS. I did an evening float from the dam to Lusby. Only three fish hit the hopper. I've never been able to time it right. Maybe it will build as August goes by.
I want to thank Patti, owner of Hotel Los Pescadores in Los Barriles, Baja Mexico for hosting me last week. I was trying to do a fly-fishing story, but the conditions weren't right and the beach fishing never worked out the way I wanted it too. The silver lining was the hotel, the guests there, and the employees who work for Patti. The hotel is a few blocks off the beach in a neighborhood of sandy avenues and wandering cattle. Birdsong wakes you each morning and the trees are loaded with mangos and limes. The bar is a great gathering spot where people get together to talk about their fishing experiences. Patti has her own captains who will take you out for tuna, marlin, rooster fish and more. I did a trip with Chuy and we had a blast the whole time. We even landed a nice yellowfin.
Just returned from a week in Baja. I was staying at the Hotel Los Pescadores in Los Barriles. Through the work of the fishermen and captains, I was able to catch my first marlin, rooster fish and yellowfin tuna. I had a blast. The hotel is a beautiful boutique hotel where people gather at the cantina to tell fishing stories and have big laughs. I brought my fly rod, but I didn't connect on any fish with it. This turned out to be a live bait week. I had a great time and I'll post more about this unique town and its fun and generous people as I get the chance. If you ever want to go down there, and you don't want the typical Cabo experience, Los Barriles is just up the coast on the Sea of Cortez. Call Patti at the hotel and she'll take care of everything.
My newest piece is available in The Drake Magazine. Relying on the things I learned in journalism class, circa 1987 in Blacksburg, VA, I went out and found the story. This article, Big Horn Blunder, tells about the energy company that wants to drill 4,000 new wells west of Casper. That's great news until you hear the rest. They want to dump the waste water into Boysen Reservoir. Boysen is a state park where people fish and swim. Below the dam, the Wind River Canyon is a top-rated trout stream. So you see the problem.
Fishing with Captain Butters on the Glacier Bear, I was able to hang in there long enough to boat this Pacific halibut. I've been fishing in Alaska for years and I think J Dock, in Seward is one of the top charter companies. This was a three-day trip off on Montague Island, 60 miles from Seward. We slept on the boat and ate fresh fish in the galley at night. It was an incredible experience. If we're friends, you're probably be getting halibut for Christmas. PS--this is quite possibly the biggest fish I will ever catch. It was just shy of 62 inches.
I was lucky to be able to take Tom Loepp, a local artists, out on the North Platte this week. Tom comes form the plein aire school of painting, the French style that prioritizes the way things look in natural light. It was fascinating to watch him work. I stood in the river and casted, but I was so curious about what he was doing that I took frequent breaks to look at his progress. I didn't catch any fish, but I had a great time eating lunch with Tom under the Russian olives. We talked about his 25 years of living in New York city as an artist.
Got a chance to fish in Idaho this week. I haven't bought an Idaho license in 20 years, not since Brian Farmer and I went over on a lark and I ended up buying a Clackacraft. This week we floated the sections from Palasades Dam through the Canyon, a forty mile section that we did in two days. Henry loves floating. He behaves himself in the boat as long as there are no nesting geese to chase. We caught whitefish, cut throats, rainbow hybrids and browns. There are dozens and dozens of bald eagles in the canyon that swoop down and touch their talons to the river.