Fly Fishing Jan Plan 2015: Download Your Application Here!

Download your application for the EN238—the Fly Fishing Jan Plan—here:

Fly Fishing Jan Plan Application

The Vimeo of last year’s trip can be seen here:

Last Year’s EN238 Trip to the Owens Valley, California

Here are the guides we use in California, and some others not listed but of the same high quality:

Sierra Trout Magnet: Our Guides

Here is where we stay in Bishop, California:

Our Hotel: The Creekside Inn, Bishop, CA

Here is the powerpoint introduction to the course from Info Night:

EN238 Power Point from Information Night

Applications are due at 5:00 pm on Friday September 26th by email—as Word attachments— to dbsuchof@Colby.edu.

Students admitted to the class will be announced the following Tuesday September 30th.

If admitted, your do not have a place in the class until your $500 non-refundable deposit is received by Colby Financial Services in Garrison-Foster. The class is being price now and will cost approximately $1845-$2200 depending on gear owned.

Deposits for students admitted will be due Wednesday October 15, 2014.

If necessary a waiting list will be established.

The class takes 16 students! Please get your applications in as soon as possible, and feel free to contact me with any questions! Email me—Professor David Suchoff— at <dbsuchof@Colby.edu>. My office hours this semester at Tuesday and Thursday 11-12 and Friday 10:30-11:30 am in 312 Miller, and I’d be happy to set up another time to meet.

Tight Lines!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sierra Nevada 2014: Tioga to Bishop Pass

In June professorial thoughts turn to the Sierra Nevada mountains and their hidden treasures. A few days before Mrs. P’s arrival sent me in quest of the fabled Golden Trout. Arriving at Saddlebag Lake just outside the eastern border of Yosemite, I discovered the lake to be frozen—not a terrific surprise, since the Saddlebag sits at 10,000 feet and so does the road. In seven more days the Lake looked like this:

Different in a Week

Different in a Week

So I turned to the Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River instead. Some small native brookies too slippery to get photographed by myself were fun to catch. It was less fun getting lost in the woods, despite the obvious water path to follow. Professors just think differently—until I reached Bishop and the Big Reedy the next day.

The Lower Owens 220cfs

The Lower Owens 220cfs

Thanks to Dave D’Beaupre’s flies and a nice chat with The Sierra Trout Magnet himself:

Sierra Trout Magnet Fly Shop Bishop, CA

the higher flows from January with the Ofishal Colby Hookers were no problem. Dave said that the dry fly hatch was in the morning. His advice was that a well-placed hairy-assed stimulator—my professorial description—would still get action in the heat of the day. Dave was right. His calculation failed to account for the Professor’s slow on the draw style of responding to hits. So when I got on the river at four pm or so, it turned out that bright green and flashy emerger flies,

browner

 

fished as droppers were the way to go, as several browns were willing to attest.

 

 

 

 

The next day sent me up Bishop’s Pass in search of some fish and hikes to be pursued when Mrs. P and the wise old hiker named Seed Thrower and his bride Jorunn—which means “smart fish” in both Norwegian and North Dakotan—were to arrive. The view toward’s Bishop’s pass looked like this:

How Far Do I Go?

How Far Do I Go?

Luckily, I ran into a hiker on her way with two dogs —who happens to be the proprietor of Parcher’s Resort. This beautiful establishment is worth a stay, or a try of the pie. High up in the canyon along Bishop Creek, the cabins look beautiful and great trips are nearby:

Parcher’s Resort—45 Minutes from Bishop, CA, and Gorgeous!

Judy told me which hikes would be good for Seed Thrower, Mrs. P and Jorunn—and better yet, where a fly rod would come in handy farther down. A terrifically smart woman, I’d say, because it was a terrific amount of fun to cast to rising fish all morning and to catch a few good ones:

The Weir

Map 1

There’s many great hikes in this area. Just take Highway 168 right out of downtown Bishop, head 45 minutes up in the hills and you’ll be in a different world with many different day hikes to take, longer backpacking trips to schedule. Thanks to the Water Lords of Los Angeles, South Lake was largely empty thanks to the vampire lawns (see the movie Chinatown) of the San Fernando Valley. But the other lakes had water fish, and even the Golden Trout that eluded me this time. Check out this sight for some fly fishing wheres and hows:

Treasure Lakes/ Toward Kings Canyon

Afterwards, Connecting up with the Jorunn and her forester consort was more than fun—though first, Mrs. P and I had to explore the lake above Saddlebag:

Golden Trout Hiding Area

Golden Trout Hiding Area

 

I stalked the small streams above 10,000 feet here, and then I watched a very friendly worm dunker land and kill this beautiful rainbow from the larger lake. My attempt to avoid imposing my own catch and release values was only partially successful—overcome by my dunker envy. This was truly a beautiful high country California rainbow:

Dunker King

Dunker King

 

 

The Fishing Professor produced a number of stocked rainbows from the lake, and pursued treasures higher above that shall remain nameless and netless:

Saddle_1st bow

 

A few days later we drove up to the Paiute Pass/North Lake trailhead. Jorunn felt the altitude at around 9500 feet and took a break. Your Professor stopped at Loch Leven and discovered that rumors that it is now fish-less are false:

Small, Quick, Beautiful Fish

Small, Quick, Beautiful Fish

Then the famous afternoon thundershowers started. Mrs. Fishing P and Seed Thrower, Man of Jorunn, never reached 11,000 and the top of the pass. We started double-timing it when the puffy Sierra clouds darkened.

Always Bring a Jacket in the Sierra

Always Bring a Jacket in the Sierra

When the lightning started to hit not that far away, the Prof thought it was time to start running. This turned out to be a bad idea:

An Expensive Break-Fall

Expensive Protection

Well, maybe not that bad. The fall I took could have been serious. But the deft professor-trick of the rolling fall landed me on my back, with the beautiful Maine made Stevens (Starks, Maine) hand-made fishing net breaking my fall. I took a few bruises. But once saved by Dave D’Beaupre himself, this net looks forward to Gorilla Glue and more fish in the future:

Swim On!

As did the Fishing Prof on the trip’s last day. A trip to an under-fished stream on the way home was on order. A rising fish of indeterminate type gave away position. I fished the rise for an hour with every hatch-matching fly I had, until the vanilla parachute adams, drifted correctly—probably the whole deal—produced a sharp-finned brown who jumped four times:

June Surprise

June Surprise

Mrs. P was across the stream and reached for her cell phone:

Classic 3 copyAnd while the picture was nice, the shadows across the water meant that it was already time to start heading back to the Bay Area for pleasures more vinous and civilized. And though the friends were terrific—the Jorrun and consort, and a larger, less fishy group—there was a picture of the Eastern Sierra that could seen, at least by me, at the bottom of every glass of pinot and chardonnay. They looked a bit like this:

Panorama of Saddlebag Lake

Though in my memory, the land of the Eastern Sierra always appears as a bright sky, a deep, granite-blue and green lake, and promises of hikes and fish yet to come:

On the June Lake Loop

On the June Lake Loop

“Maybe he’ll ride on again,” as Willie Nelson sings. Hopefully near the Little Kern.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Great Crossing Adventure

This year’s great landlocked salmon quest was special: we were joined by the Smiler, an expert fly guy and keeper of the secrets of the mysterious Rangeley streams. And we were locked and loaded with some of Mac’s greatest and newest creations:

Salmon Candy

Salmon Candy

The fishing gods were not kind, however, to our offerings, as we had not yet poured the proper Scotch ablutions. Others said our new lodgings were to blame.

New Digs

New Digs

The first two days were skunk for the Fishing P and Wild Bill, and the Wiz, Obi Wan and Mac did only a little better. The fault was not in us, but in the high waters, of course. We had fished high waters at the Great northern salmon stream before, however; the cold winter left the water at 44 degrees, things were chilly in the overcast and the hoped-for red quill pre-hatch was nowhere we could find it.

Mac, however, was not to be restrained, and he quickly fooled a silver one wearing golden spring colors:

Golden Spring Colors

The Magic Matching Colors

Our luck was about to change just before day three: we ran into the greatest of the emigré Maine fishermen—Mac and I call him Picasso now, because he can take the shapes of flies, river colors, the hatch and the hint of light through the pines, and turn them into the most beautiful flies in the world. He also catches fish like no one’s business, even though he now lives closer to greater lakes. One we chatted with him on day two, we knew juju was waving our way:

Blue Period Series

Blue Period Series

Like Moses, we decided to move from fishless slavery to the promised land of epic netted redemption. We found a crossing where none could be found and escaped the Chariots of Skunk at the spot known to many in the North as Manna from Heaven. Mac and the Prof got there first, and it wasn’t long before scenes like this were common:

 

Code Red

Code Red

Rat-a-tat, non-stop fish-catching followed, fish on fish. We were joined by two well-known pros of the Maine north woods. Dead Eye and the Salter knew what they were doing—they joined right in the rotation and we shared flies and tons of fish:

A Small One For the Salter

A Small One For the Salter

Here’s the Salter with a fish much smaller than his usual, and this one taped out at 20.5 inches. Dead Eye, his partner in crime, was no slouch either. He landed a good number of fish and helped the Fishing Professor get untangled from that overhanging tree, and the buried one at the lower end of the drift a number of times. Someone said we were like an LL Bean ad live and in color in the northern woods, and they were probably right. He was dialed in—and though he said he hadn’t fished this stream for a whole, we had our doubts:

 

His Sights Were Set Correctly

His Sights Were Set Correct

At the same time the action was fast and furious along the drift. Fish were stacked here because of the high flow—waiting for a drop in the CFS before making it beyond this particular choke point to infiltrate the rest of the stream, and, as the natural byproduct many were seeking, making many a fly fisher’s dream come true:

 

Mac Attac

Mac Attack

If you want to get a sense of how the action went, click on this vimeo link, and watch part of the team in action as a salmon is hooked, landed and about to be released by this team:

Teamwork Pays Off

This action took place on the last day of our adventure. The gentleman fly fisher upstream had arrived just before us. And as a true sportsman of the north woods, he shared the drift with us as we had the day before.

Wiz: "Wassup?"

Wiz: “Wassup?”

You can can see an underwater release of one of our team-caught fish here—a brief vignette of our own transition from skunk slavery to fish freedom:

“I Shall Be Released”

 

 

Meanwhile Across the River, The Smiler had set up. And while Obi Wan had departed downstream to work his wiles, the Prince of Rangeley was doing fine:

Smiler Secrets

Smiler Secrets

Mac had style, success and a lot of great fish:

Smooth Action

Smooth Action

And the Wiz led the way on the final day:

His Friend is Called Francois

His Friend is Called Francois

Suddenly a flash blinded us—Obi Wan had disappeared into the mists of the forest. The rest of the team understood the meaning of such signs and wonders, packed up and headed south:

Ubi Obi?

Ubi Obi? Et Tu, Red One?

A long year awaits our return to those sacred norther waters. But then, perhaps the dream team will ride again!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring Finally Unsprung

Winter hit haahd—as the Mainers say—this year; the pond at Colby was frozen solid until well into spring.  Waters were high and cold, and the Fishing Professor had little luck tromping through some snow. Sanity was preserved by remembering his Ofishal Colby Hookers trip to the Owens Valley, California in January—see and hear the adventures:

Ofishal Colby: With Sierra Trout Magnet, Bishop, California

Those memories of California streams and hills kept me going:

Photo courtesy of Kevin Walls

Photo courtesy of Kevin Walls

But didn’t hold me back from colder Maine waters in March and April:

Cold Toes!

Cold Toes in those Floes!

 

There were times exploring new water with Ya’akov the Yank, without fish to hand or even a bite:

The Chalk Meister

The Chalk Meister

And even this beautiful run remained fish and almost bug-less:

A Tough Spring Gets Tougher

A Tough Spring Gets Tougher

So there was only one thing left to do: go back to a spot already fished with the dynamic duo at higher water and try again. When I got to the spot, flows were down considerably. It was easier to get across to the spot I needed to fish. Some exploratory streamer casts rose no fish. Then I saw it–huge rises. Large fish–pink bellies. Like the bricks of brookies I had scored here in previous spring. I was started to feel better about coming here three weeks earlier with several feet of snow on the ground. Repeated changing of dry flies, fished wet, produced nothing.The soft hackles I tried to fish in the surface were like prayers to an absent deity. I was right on the spots. It was getting dark. So I took out the mysterious “White Ranger” fly I had acquired from the Yank in a parking-lot trade that looked like a drug deal gone right. On the third drift, the strike indicator jiggled and the hook was set. After a fight with three runs, a nice wild brook trout was in the net. I hope there are more to come:

Welcome Brook Trout

Welcome Brook Trout

 
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fall Fish

The temperatures have dropped at night and flows are reasonable. Time is short, however, so I could make only a quick jaunt to nearby waters:

Fall Flows and Soft Water

Fall Flows and Soft Water

You can see the soft water to the right; not visible from the photo is the strong rapid to the left. Perfect holding water for brown trout sitting at the seam of the side eddy and the main flow. Several casts with a Woods Special streamer, dead drifted from middle of the rapid to the right—this was the method. I experimented with different speeds on the retrieve. One one retrieve, I felt as if I had dragged the streamer over a flat rock near the surface—except there were no rocks. I took this to be a gentle hit or bump. So I decided to retrieve more aggressively on the next cast. Fish in the fall seem more aggressive both to hand and in the water, and whether they are spawning or not, they are fattening up for the cold to come. You can sometimes startle them into an aggressive strike. After a strong retrieve and dead spot before the next one, BAM. This brown trout went airborne twice:

Swam Away Happy

Swam Away Happy

There’s only one moral to this story—get out and fish no matter what. After that one, I spent the rest of the day exploring new spots on this stretch, and I was confirmed in my suspicions by discovering another fly fisherman in the spot I had coveted. He was friendly, and had done well there—nada for me toward dark, when I had to leave.

Let’s hope Mr. Jumping Brown above was not my last fish in Maine for 2013!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

By Hook and Crook: Rafting And Fishing

Our niece from Italy and her Princess Mother and Contessa Sister (as we call them). Amberini was fresh from a trip to Pinecrest Lake in California, where she caught this beauty:

California Rainbow

California Rainbow

You can tell she was ready to go rafting in Maine with the family:

Brendini Swimming School

Brendini Swimming School

 

There was a stop along the way:

Showers Along the Way

Showers Along the Way

Italian Royalty:

Don't Fall in the Falls

Don’t Fall in the Falls

 

Then there was the real purpose of the trip—caught at 5:30 am by your cameraman before the river heated up:

The Real Rafting Goal

The Real Rafting Goal

 

Thanks Oh Wise One for Taking Us on a Great Day!

Looks, Leaps Anyway

Looks, Leaps Anyway

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rangeley With the Backwoods Pros

Because she felt I just didn’t fish enough on our Owens Valley Adventure in January, Becca, Will and the Maine Guide father Barry invited me for a day of fishing in the Rangeley area. We started at some ponds near their beautiful, far flung camp near some isolated ponds:

 

Cool Hand Suke

Cool Hand Suke

 

We got a number of small native brookies all day long—nothing of great size but some beautiful colors. Here’s an especially ambitious little fella:

But that fly looked so edible!

But that fly looked so edible!

 

 

Barry trains Maine guides—knows how to fish and build replacement parts for his truck from bailing wire, two-stroke oil and the prize from a crackerjack box. Here he is with the the rest of his expert crew after he carved a turkey sculpture with his chain saw out of a tree stop that jumped out in front of our truck.  We were only hung up for a while Barry practiced his black magic—and here he is with his able assistants who are interviewing for positions in his firm:

The Family that Fishes Together...

The Family that Fishes Together…

 

Will and Becca got onto it deep here and got some fish:

Will_Becca

“See My Rod Tip from Last Week?”

This Backwoods Clan really sends the right messages in their attire:

Bates is for Bass Masters

Bates is for Bass Masters

 

The stream of life forks for us all, but I know we will meet up and fish again around the bend someday soon. Thanks Will, Barry, and Becca for an unforgettable day on the waters….

A River to be Fished Again.

A River to be Fished Again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grand Lake Stream 2013: The Guys Go Back

This season had an unlikely beginning. Low flows thanks to little rain in April made the first Maine outings sparse. I did manage to get out with some of the Original 395 Gang who were Jones-ing the worst. They could be found false casting in the Colby quad, or staring at Cabella’s catalogs not very well hidden behind their books in the library. When they dragged me kicking and and screaming to a stream, I had to go. There were no great hook ups, however, until this salmon got taken one morning in a stocked area—a refugee fish from a nearby lake, who devoted himself to making me feel better after my skimpy early season:

Always Throw a Line

Always Throw a Line

A friendly Bates prof fishing the area helped me land him and get the picture! Whew!

Soon it was time for the annual Grand Lake Stream adventure: this year, including our new member, the Wizard of Windham, aka “Wiz” or the Normerator, because there’s nothing normal about his heart of Gold. Here he is with his first Grand Lake Stream landlocked salmon, caught on a dry, I believe. The action photo shows this Houdini fish leaping from the certain grasp of the Wiz:

Nice Shades Wiz!

Nice Shades Wiz

Our Buddy Wild Bill was in rare form—famous for fishing into the freezing night with the Fishing Prof, pulling the latter from the frigid waters, pouring the water out of my waders, slapping me four times across each cheek, and then joining me to fish for another hour. He’s also known for his wildlife photography, with some of his studies of pop tart crumbs on the freestone section of the river now in the Smithsonian. Here’s the Wild One with a fish he pulled out of an area of the river we call Bedrock:

The Circle K Gang Got Beat!

The Circle K Gang Got Beat!

And of course Mac was along and in the finest form. Who could forget this reincarnation of Macgyver, well versed in the dark arts of nymphing, and gifted with the ability to tie a fly with his teeth in 40 degree water while landing a salmon with his other hand. The Macster amazed us with his skills throughout the trip. His waffles weren’t bad either:

Chuck

Mac and I had one magic morning—we’d determined through advanced research that a fly discovered by the Professor, and tied by Mac, would deliver in this waters, in a stretch known to us German-speakers as “Die reiche Mauer,” famous to the rest of the world as the “Don’t Touch My Secret Schnitzel” stretch of the river. We got there at 5:30 am. The sun had not yet hit the water. We knew we’d gotten lucky when Mac stepped in the river, his “Ace Hardware” fly floating to the side aimlessly—or so we thought, when a salmon flashed at it before he’d done anything. This was an epic morning, and the Renzetti Rangers down the river could only gaze on in amazement from afar as they saw us hook up again and again:

"Who Are Those Guys?"

“Who Are Those Guys?”

It was fast and furious action for 20 minutes until the sun hit the water; huge fish and constant hits, landings and action. Here’s my best:

The Splendid Splinter

The Splendid Splinter

Then there was the Nobster himself—the Master of All Things Penobscot, also known to his friends as the Master of the Baxter: State Park, that is. After getting bored with the easy fishing, Bax-Man went upstream and pulled fish after fish out of an area known as “Ace Alley,” where huge salmon sit in hidden buckets of water in fast current, and only the coolest hands pull them out. Here the Nobster himself—who downed a few glasses that night in celebration—with that blasé look that comes after catching too many fish:

Another Day at the Office

Another Day at the Office—A Salmon After Seventy Jumps

In the background, with fish passing through his net like the wind across the Aolean Harp, just around every bend could be found the Fishing Magic of Obi Wan Kanobe himself. Obi would disappear for long hours, then reappear with tales of massive trout, secret flies, and guys who tied  on inferior vices like the Regal—Obi owns the top-flight tying vice company HMH Vices—who tried to kidnap him, chain him a tree, torture him with bait fishing tips, all just to get him to reveal his secret spots. The Wise One sent them to Monkey Pond, and could be photographed only in poses like this one:

"Look Into My Eyes, Fishy!"

“Look Into My Eyes, Fishy!”

By the time we got back to Freeport, we’d had so many glasses of Nob Creek the night before, courtesy of the Wiz, that only three of us were still standing:

"You Mean We Can Fish Again Tomorrow?"

“You Mean We Can Fish Again Tomorrow?”

There are rumors of a West Branch adventure later in the summer, with the Wiz cooking all the meals. Stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Striper Numero Uno

I’ve fished a few years without getting a striper on a fly rod. Mac’s done his best for me–he’s striper wise but I was the curse. So did Mainiac: he ran the striper newbies day a few years ago. I … Continue reading

More Galleries | 1 Comment

Rafting and Fishing: There’s a Catch

Shed Man my buddy is a great rafter and a great guy. He and his Lady, known in the neighborhood as “Right-of-Way-Finder,” or “Rowf” for short, invited myself and the most beautiful former Canadian of them all (Mrs. Fishing P) down the rapids on a fairly hot day. No better place to be! There was one catch.  With the water cool enough with the dam release to fish safely, the raft would have be pulled over at some select spots. The rod had to get rigged, of course:

This One Always Works

But still, adjustments must be made according to conditions:

Super Sneaky Special Getting Attached

Then magic—I hook up with a quite decent fish. Only one problem: net back in the raft. The point was to treat the fish well and the net is the kindest way and surest path to quick release with minimal handling. Being the devoted Eco-Freak that he is, Shed Man leapt from the raft and clambered over dangerously wet and moss rocks to save what turned out to be a quite nice 15 inch brook trout who had starred in the Fish version of “America’s Biggest Losers” but had gotten kicked off the show. I think the following picture tells the story of what happened next:

Shed Man Takes One For the Fish

Skipping out with the net, the Man falls over backwards on some sharp rocks, but manages to get me the net just after this moment. This fish is visible to the left of his hip. Passing rafters were thunderstruck at my skill and Hawaii-appropriate attire, deeply fearing for Shed Man’s safety. The latter was restored after several committee meetings were held post-catch on that very subject.

He will be forever known in the Waters of the North (of Augusta, that is)  as Brookie-Saver—and a truly fishy friend.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment