Campeche and Grand Slam, Mexico
We still have a couple rooms available on our Frontiers Campeche/Grand Slam departure. If you're dreaming of baby tarpon, permit, bonefish, and snook, this is for you.
4 Days of baby tarpon at Campeche and 4 days of everything at Grand Slam. Take a look at the trip and let us know. We'd love to have you. $5,550 per person,
based on double occupancy. 8 days fishing. April 4-14. Shorter itineraries available-see itinerary here.
Great Story By Guest Blogger, Alex Blouin
A few weeks back we posted a northwest salmon fishing story from a young team member of Sage/Farbank, Alex Blouin. We invited Alex to share the adventures of him and his brother, Bryan, as they fished their way across country when Alex moved from New Hampshire to Washington state to accept an entry level job at Sage. It's encouraging to see such enthusiasm and motivation from a young x-college kid searching for his place in the world. We know you'll enjoy the story, it might make you wish you were in your 20s again and able to make these same decisions - we wish you much luck, Alex.
In the spring of 2015, I sat in class trying to listen and pay attention to my professor, but my mind was elsewhere. My mind was in a world that consisted of seeing, learning, experiencing and enriching my life through the ways of a fly angler. I was dreaming of a life that would test me, get me out of my comfort zone and enlighten my spirit; thus certainly out of that lecture. After the professor spoke her last words of the class, I knew that those were the last I would hear from her as a student of Plymouth State University. I walked out of Boyd Hall with my head held high, took a deep breath of crisp New Hampshire air, and moved forward with confidence in my pursuit of greater self-enrichment through fly fishing.
I spent every spare minute my next summer outside and fishing for Striped Bass with my twin brother, Bryan, as he had just commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, and this would be our last summer together embracing our youth. He was leaving for his training and duty station at the beginning of September, and I had accepted a position working in Warranty for Sage Fly Rods starting at the end of August. I was going to be driving from New Hampshire to Washington with all of my belongings, and to a couple of young, adventure-bound brothers, this meant only one thing; road trip.
On a previous cross country endeavor I had made a few months prior, I drove a friend, Milan, from New Hampshire to the South Fork of the Snake River where he was to work for that summer. We made many great connections along the way in such areas as the Wisconsin and Minnesota Driftless, the Platte River in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, and of course where Milan was working on the South Fork. My brother and I planned to follow a similar route, and gave ourselves two weeks to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We celebrated our birthday together at home, and two days later we were on the road.
Our first leg of the trip was a 23 hour haul to Milwaukee, WI, where a good friend of ours and Bryan's college roommate resided. We recharged the batteries for a day exploring different areas of Milwaukee, eating cheese curds, and making new friends. We left that night headed for the Minnesota Driftless, and camped at a state park right across the border from Lacrosse, WI.
The next day, we explored the small, tangled spring creeks of the Driftless, armed with 3 weights and a Tenkara rod. Bryan managed to get the day started on the right foot, landing a beautiful Brown that slammed his hopper right off the bank. With the creek being only a few feet wide at most points, and tall, thick brush all around, making a good cast isn't easy and getting a fish to eat isn't any easier. Starting the day off with a nice hopper eating Brown was certainly welcomed. We continued to push on upstream, landing many beautiful fish along the way, including Bryan's trophy; a gorgeous colored up male Brook Trout that took a nymph right underneath the undercut bank. With a full day of the Driftless under our belts, we left town and continued our journey west. Our next stop would be the North Platte (As far as fishing is concerned. We did stop in South Dakota to check out Rushmore and the Black Hills).
We arrived on the rim of Fremont Canyon well past dark, and set up camp under the light of a billion stars. The skies were as clear as I had ever seen, and we were able to catch the tail end of the Perseid Meteor shower as we sat and reminisced on our past, present and future. This was certainly an evening I'll never forget. We woke up in the morning to a crisp air, and the sun's rays that had barely broken over the peaks above. There was just enough light to see down to the river below, and were able to spot several large Rainbows feeding ever so gracefully in the surface film. We rigged up the rods, and slipped down the side of the canyon wall eager for a tight line. Bryan and I both set up perches on the rocks and tossed our dry flies to the rising fish. Bryan was the first to hook up, and landed a very nice 18 or so inch rainbow. We continued on for another hour or two, landing a few fish between us, then packed up our things and continued on to our next destination; the South Fork of the Snake River.
We arrived in Swan Valley, Idaho well past dark, and were greeted by a cheerful and enthusiastic Milan. After catching up over a few brews, we decided our next move would be to a local spring creek where we were to toss mice into the dark abyss. We trudged through the thick muck, and set up in a nice pool with lots of overhanging branches and cover. I was first up, and made a few casts straight across and skated the mouse underneath a large overhanging tree. Almost immediately a fish smashed the mouse, but missed the hook. We continued to work our way up, eventually switching to an upstream presentation, and connected with a number of large fish, but only one 16" cutthroat was landed. We called it a night and prepared for a float on the South Fork the next day. Upon hitting the water, we soon realized the quality fishery of the South Fork, and landed countless Cutthroat, Rainbows and Whitefish on nymphs and dry flies. This was where Bryan also landed his first Cutthroat; a native Snake River Fine Spotted! After a full days float, we all checked in for the night, and Bryan and I said our goodbyes the following morning and pushed on to Yellowstone National Park.
Upon arrival in Yellowstone, we met up with a good friend of mine, Cam, who was working in the park for the summer. We spent a few days in the park, but the most memorable day was certainly the last. We hiked in to a pond that held one of the last populations of Arctic Grayling in the Continental United States. None of us had much expectation as to what we would find, but we certainly didn't expect the quality of fishing we found. We landed beautiful Grayling and Cutthroat from 6-14" all day long on large dry flies. Towards the end of the day, Bryan ended up breaking the butt section of his 3 weight, and so rather than quit and head out, he laid the butt section and reel in the grass and started casting with just the tip sections. This turned out to be quite the unexpected discovery, as we are able to cast this broken rod just as efficiently without the butt section, and continued to land fish after fish. The sun started to go down, and we made the hike out, said our goodbyes once again, and continued on our westward journey towards Bainbridge Island.
Our original plan was to head up to Glacier National Park, but extreme forest fires prevented us from getting there. The rest of the ride from Montana to Washington, we barely saw blue sky as the smoke was so thick; sometimes visibility was down to less than a quarter mile. Rather than drive our last leg from Montana directly to our destination, we made a detour and met one of Bryans college buddies, Tom, a good friend of both of ours, at Mount Ranier National Park in Washington. We explored the surrounding area a bit, and took in the incredible sights of the large volcano; something we had never seen before. This was certainly an inspiring way to be welcomed to the great state of Washington.
I moved into my new residence a couple days before my first day of work at Sage, and was able to make a trip out to Olympic National Park with Bryan before he boarded his plane back to NH, and after that I was on my own.
I spent the next few months working in Sage's Warranty Department, fixing hundreds of broken rods, connecting with passionate anglers all around the globe, and of course exploring the waters of my new home on my days off. My sights were first set on encountering Salvelinus Confluentus, the Bull Trout, in their native habitat. It took a few trips and countless hours of research, but I was finally able to land my first "Bully" in the Northern reaches of North Cascades National Park. Once the spawning rituals of the Bull Trout were under way, I turned my sights towards one of the most majestic and revered creatures in all of angling; the native Steelhead.
My first escapade in search of these mystical creatures led me to Forks, WA to fish the Hoh and Bogachiel Rivers with new friend and co-worker, Brett. We spent most of our day driving around and exploring the water that was completely new to the both of us. The last place we stopped was on the Lower Bogachiel, and we found a great run to practice our spey casting and swinging techniques. Upon Brett's request, I had tied on an un-weighted traditional streamer I had created years ago for Landlocked Salmon and trout back in NH. The fly was missing one of its signature Jungle Cock eyes, and thus we dubbed it Ole One Eye. I worked through the run with Ole One Eye, casting, swinging and stepping my way down towards the bend. About halfway through the run, my line went tight and my first thought was that I had stuck bottom. After a short bit of trying to get un-snagged, I noticed my line slowly creeping upstream... I knew it couldn't be a fish, but sure enough I felt the tell-tale head shake, one stronger than I have ever felt. Before I knew it, my reel was singing as the fish made run after run trying shake the hook loose. After a long battle, Brett was finally able to get a solid grip on her tail. I immediately ran over, through my rod to the water, cradled the fish in my arms, and collapsed to my knees in awe of what I beheld. The immaculately beautiful Hen Chinook Salmon that sat in front of me was the largest fish I had ever landed on a fly. No measurements were made, but we presumed the fish was somewhere in the 20-30lb class range. This was an incredible experience and one that I will surely never forget. Nevertheless, the elusive Steelhead has still evaded me...
Since I have been with Sage, Redington and Rio here in Washington, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to learn from some of the greatest fly anglers in the business. My knowledge and understanding of the industry, sport, and my own self has grown at an exponential rate to a level I never dreamt was possible. My decision to leave the standard pathway of a collegiate career and pursue a life dedicated to my true passion has certainly been gratified. As a parting thought, I urge all of today's youth to push themselves, not to succeed in a world fabricated by others around them, but to forge their own path and ideals, think for themselves, and create a life which is unique to them, fueled by their passion, and one they can ultimately be proud of.