Monday, April 25, 2011


"I may not be smart, but I know what 'stupid fishing' is."

Today was stupid fishing on the Grey Reef.  Truly don't know how many fish my guests caught.  Just know it was lots!  Someone was hooked up all the time.  Boated at least 10 rainbows over 20".  It was an epic day.

Ya'll need to come and get ya sum.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eating a World Record!

Last weekend my good friend and fellow NPL guide, Rudy Hemkens, was guiding on the Miracle Mile.  The Mile is a short stretch of water between Seminoe Reservoir and Pathfinder Reservoir.  It has a reputation for big fish.  Usually those fish are trout, however this day was different.  Pathfinder has a good population of walleye and walleye spawn in the spring just like rainbows.  Walleye love moving water just like trout.  Rudy's fly fisherman hooked and landed a 31" 10.9 lb walleye.  A truly unique catch.

Turns out she was an IFGA world record for 8lb class tippet on a fly.  The old record was 8.6 lbs.  The lunker ate a leech pattern streamer and the guides ate her last night!  She was very good.

Fishing remains very good on the Reef.  Flows are running at 4500 cfs.  Rumor is they will raise the river to 5000 in the next few days.  I am hoping for 6500.  Rainbows are still on the redds on the upper river.  I think the spawn is pretty much over below Government bridge.  With the higher flows the fish tend to move to the banks.

Floated dam to bridge today.  Good fishing most of the day but not epic.  Landed a couple bows over 20" and lots in the 18" range.  Second day of no wind.  Seems to be taking a little longer this spring to get into prime rowing condition.  Wonder if being the oldest guide on the river by a decade has anything to do with that?

Monday, April 18, 2011


"April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land," prolific baetis hatches from still ice cold water, magenta hued rainbows on the redds, and WIND! Pardon me. Did I mention the WIND! T.S. Elliott did not write of baetis hatches and redds or WIND!  The wind does blow in Wyoming in the spring.

I launched the new Clackacraft for its maiden voyage on the Grey Reef Friday morning.  It was a bit chilly but I love the crispness of the morning air. 

All three days were pretty much carbon copies.  Fishing was good but not "en fuego".  Flows on the Reef are 4500 cfs.  Flows again this spring will be high to rid the system of abundant water.  I love it when it gets above 6000.

Fishing at 4500 requires long leaders and considerable weight.  Those two factors make hook sets on subtle takes difficult even for seasoned anglers.  I love the challenge of introducing novice anglers to the art of fly fishing.  Sunday I had the privilege of guiding a father and his ten year old son.  The young man brought numerous fish to the net!  Not sure whose smile was the biggest.  Son, Dad or mine. 

Oh, did I mention the WIND blows in April in Wyoming?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"I am haunted by waters."

I know that is a bit cliched, but it is obviously true.  Norman Maclean's poignant story "A River Runs Through It" contains the brilliant paragraph "Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters."

Water has played a major role in my life.  I grew up on a small lake in Nebraska.  The lake was out our back door.  The Platte River was across the road in front of our home. My brothers and sister and I fished and water skied on the lake.  I hunted waterfowl on the river in the fall.  The river provided the spectacle of spring migration.  I cherished the hunts with my father, Michael, and his hunting buddies on the Missouri River near Niobrara, NE.  It was on the Missouri I was privileged to hunt with a World Champion duck caller.  It was on the Missouri I met my dog training mentor.  He also breeds some of the finest labs in the country.  All of my dogs are from his kennel.

In the late '80's we moved to Park City, UT.  Thus began my love affair with mountain streams and trout.  From here I fished the great rivers of the west.  Friendships forged on those rivers led to fly fishing for steelhead in British Columbia; bonefish in the Bahamas and Honduras; bonefish, permit and snook in Boca Paila, Mexico; tarpon in Boca Grande and stripers and bluefish off Boston.

Later on, I was drawn to the waters of the North Platte around Torrington, WY.  Thousands of waterfowl winter in this magical valley.  200 miles upstream you will find the finest trout water I have ever fished.  The North Platte is home to the legendary Grey Reef, Miracle Mile and Fremont Canyon sections.  I am honored and privileged to guide for the North Platte Lodge located on the Grey Reef.  If you would like to experience this amazing fishery, contact the Lodge at 307-237-1182 and tell them you would like to fish with JJ.

I will be keeping you updated on the fishing from now until October. 

Come join me on the "water"!