Friday, August 31, 2012

Lochsa River Cutties

Lochsa-bears-fruit (D'oh!)

The beauty of driving is seeing the country. Our friend, Dave from Washington, suggested we fish the Lochsa River. The Lochsa's reputation is that it's teeming with cutthroat.

I'm attentive to my surroundings. I like knowing where I am and where I'm going.*

We traveled along the Clearwater, then the Lochsa, past the confluence with the Selway, all through the beautiful Clearwater National Forest.

Satisfied we had the best river access, luxurious space, plenty of shade and all the time in the world to enjoy it, we set up a comfortable camp.

Taking a break, I sat down, relaxed, appreciating the sights, sounds, and the fragrance of the forest.

I'm fairly confident in my attentiveness,* so imagine the look on my face when my eyes came to rest on the tree right in front of me.

 What the...?  You've gotta' be kiddin' me!

Unmistakeably not kidding! It would be a ridiculous understatement to categorize me as among the most bear-cautious people on earth.

Donna and I estimated the age of this distinctly obvious calling card and considered the merits of putting up a sign of our own that read "NO BEARS". Speculating the bear sign was old gave little comfort - bears can live to a ripe old age.

And what you may wonder, could be so attractive to bears around here? Aside from food, water and shelter - the dessert buffet all around us.... Thimbleberries.

The thimbleberries and huckleberries were delicious, but we had some fishing to do, bears or no bears. (We saw no bears on the Lochsa.)

I fooled quite a few fish with "adapted dapping": kiss the water with a caddis; recast; hover; recast; kiss the water; recast; let the fly settle. Wham! A type of cheating I guess, but fun and different.

The Lochsa is magnificently beautiful, and on this trip, it was among my favorite rivers.

*Disclaimer to the notion that I'm oblivious to my surroundings : ) Phoenix Fly Casters, Fly Fishing Arizona. "Spey Clave 2012, Feeling Right at Home". May 30, 2012. Video (0 - 15sec) available online here.

© Marian Tallon August, 2012

Fishing Is Serious Business - Ha!

                                                                                                   Popper I had for 9 years
gone - snagged at Campbells Pond
When you break camp, fish late, then move on, sometimes you find yourself in a pickle nailing down your next campsite. So, when Donna and I saw a sign that said "Campbells Pond", we thought why not, it's just for 1 night.

We made camp, figured out the dinner menu and rigged our rods. Donna had a nice pumpkinseed sunfish on before my line even touched the water. I followed with a small bass. And so it went, one after another, until like kids, we began to get the giggles, catching little fish with big attitudes.

There was a narrow peninsula jutting out into the pond. After some maneuvering, we were both fishing from it; from there, we had the advantage of fishing rises on both sides of the pond. I had missed 3 successive strikes, so irrational exuberance set in when I got my next hit. I struck and sent a bass the size of my finger sailing overhead, flipped across the peninsula like a pancake, into the opposite side of the pond. Donna collapsed into a fit of laughter and after recovering from my dumbfounded surprise, I did too.

We were serenaded by a chorus of frogs and crickets (recorded on Donna's phone), provoking more giggles until we were fast asleep.

Fishing is serious alright, seriously fun!

© Marian Tallon, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keeping Secrets

I've a foggy memory, but I think it was A. K. Best, who, in a magazine article, declined to identify the water he described fishing. If it's good enough for A. K. Best, it's good enough for me. James at THE KINGFISHER fly shop recommended our next fishing destination, but earnestly implored us to tell no one.

Club website:
Well, someone told someone, who told someone. Driving the accessible length of creek, we noted other anglers on the water - the secret was already out. We made camp at the nearby campground and as luck would have it, met our wonderful "next door" neighbors, Marion and Dave from Washington.

After floating the north fork of the Clearwater, Dave cooked up a Dutch oven pineapple upside-down cake. He and Marion invited us to share their campfire, the stars, the cake and their good company. (Note: Dutch oven pineapple upside-down cake is pretty darn good with chilled white wine. Who'd a' thought?)

Dave told us James' exhortation was because years ago, a fly fishing magazine published an article about the creek. The ensuing rush of fishing pressure spoiled angling for locals. My interupretation of "locals" is fly fishers from Idaho, Washington and Montana. Somehow, a couple of Arizonans were welcomed into the fold.

I didn't know Donna filmed the clip below, so it is not included as a demonstration of brilliant angling, but so you can hear the sound that lulled us to sleep, see how beautiful the view from our back door and see that, except for Donna, I had the creek to myself.

Dave recommended our next destination, so we made our way there.

© Marian Tallon, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All the Saints in Idaho

         North Fork & St. Joe River
General route: St. Joe River Scenic Byway
Larger view:

The population of Phoenix and the the valley is approaching 4 million. The population of Phoenix proper is 1,469,471. The population of Idaho is 1,584,985 and 1,584984 of them were at the St. Joe when we were there. There was plenty of pretty elbow room fishing, that wasn't a problem. But, finding a cozy camping spot, that was vacant, was a challenge.

Keen, experienced eyes zeroed in on a shady secluded pull in that seemed to be occupied by day anglers. Donna tracked them down on the river and they agreeably invited us to set up house, as they were leaving. Our camp was perfectly situated along the river and we enjoyed our 2nd moose sighting, a cow with no calf. Or, a calf so well concealed, we never saw it.

So why leave 2 days later for Missoula?

...Old walking stick Donna used as a wading staff - gone, somewhere between Indian Creek and the Pacific Ocean.

We made it to THE KINGFISHER Fly Shop before closing time. Donna's got a brand new wading staff. Better, we've 3 new friends and a couple of favorite fishing holes. Thanks, James!

© Marian Tallon, August 29, 2012

Image Citation:
google. "St. Joe River Scenic Byway". Accessed August 29, 2012, available online at

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Did Someone Say Idaho?

Larger view:
Fishing Log                                                       
  1. The Big Wood
  2. Couer d'Alene River
  3. St. Joe River
  4. Trout Creek
  5. Recommended Creek*
  6. North Fork Clearwater
  7. Campbells Pond
  8. Lochsa River
  9. Yankee Fork
  10. Salmon River
  11. Bear Valley Creek
  12. Silver Creek
  13. Wild Horse Creek

Making the acquaintance of cutthroat.

Idaho natives make a splashy introduction

© Marian Tallon, August 28, 2012

River Quest Excursions, "Map of Idaho Rivers and Waterways". Accessed August 28, 2012. Available online at

Monday, August 27, 2012

Camp Maryhill, dawlin' what are the odds?

While in Washington, visiting one friend, I got a call from an another. Go figure - a high school/camp/college chum in Louisiana. I'm a lucky girl, 'cause we haven't spoken since Gerry Ford was president.

There was a camp reunion early in August... missed it. We were all such easy friends, though far flung, it'd be grand to meet again. Sadly, some friends pictured are no longer with us.

Okay, Skipper Tallon, bottom row, 2nd from the right.

Now that we're gone spoiled us, we want to come back!

Click here for larger view.

When you visit friends you haven't seen in a long while, in no time at all, you realize how much you miss them. I don't know how we ever said good-bye all those years ago.... But, nowadays, we're very good at road-tripping and we know where you live.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A few pics from the fair.

Fly dock

Face to face with Jeff Wagner.

List intended to make those of you who weren't at the 2012 fair, come to the 2013 fair.

36. Getting to the Next Level in Mastering Spey – Al Buhr.
How to get your Spey casting to the next level. Learn the subtle moves that make leaps in casting performance. Students should have the ability to Spey cast.  Equipment: Spey outfit (a rod/line can be provided with advance notice, contact the FFF office). Thursday: 8 a.m. to noon • Level: Intermediate/advanced*

35. Learn From Your Loop – Bruce Williams, Todd Somsel.
Learn to diagnose the cast by reading the shape of the loop. The loop is the result of the casting stroke. This class will explore how the stroke and other influences determine the loop shapes. Students need to be able to false cast comfortably and consistently. Equipment: Rod and brightly colored line.
Thursday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. • Level: Intermediate*

52. Loop Dynamics for the Instructor – Soon Lee, Bruce Richards. This workshop is for instructors. Part one: the loop; the cast; understanding loop dynamics. Intermission. Part two: frequently asked questions Gammels’ essentials; essentials for tight loops; SLP does not exist? SLP–two active necessities; SLP–three passive essentials; “stopless” cast, What are creep and drag?, What are drift and slide?, Q&A. Friday: 8 a.m. to noon • Level: Instructor*

2012 5-Weight Games Competition:
Click here.

Photos courtesy of Mark Huber, Donna Walkuski, Marian Tallon

International Federation of Fly Fishers, Fly Fishing Fair, "Workshops". Accessed May 26, 2012 available online at

Clipart - 123rf, "fishing silhouettes 2".  Accessed May 26, 2012 available online at

© Marian Tallon, August, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meet me at the fair - the Fly Fishing Fair

2012 FFF Women's Program, for and about fly fishers

Our trip to Washington was precipitated by the International Federation of Fly Fishers' 2012 Fly Fishing Fair. Donna and I were privileged to be invited to instruct at the Women's Fly Fishing Program again this year. Naturally we were delighted, because for us, it's a twofer: we love to teach and we we get to meet the nicest people.

Awhile back, I was asked whether I thought fly fishing was an equal opportunity endeavor. I certainly do and it certainly is, but that doesn't mean all anglers approach fly fishing in the same way. For some, fly fishing is a pastime, all about fishing. True enough - they just do it and have fun. Some anglers though, approach fly fishing as a sport. They're lifelong learners, always wanting to improve their cast, their angling skill, still water, moving water, saltwater, itty bitty creeks with wild fish, etc. And there's the difference.

Participants at the Women's Program were among the later group of anglers. Thoroughly competent, readily able to fish independently, easy fishing buddies, but nevertheless, eager to learn more. What a pleasure for instructors to spend time with kindred spirits.

olunteers from the Spokane Fly Fishers Club anticipated our every need... chilled beverages, meals, etc. They treated us to doses of hilarity, excellent workshops on entomology and still water fishing and guided participants fishing the lake.

3 Lakes Fly Fishing generously hosted the 2 day Women's Fly Fishing Program. Horseshoe Lake was a perfect setting. Though Donna and I camped, the cabins are comfortable and well appointed. The surrounding area is beautiful and inviting to wildlife. While there, we saw the "Swimming Moose", eagles, river otter, Garter Snakes galore and osprey.

Mike Matney, the owner of 3 Lakes Fly Fishing has made Horseshoe Lake an excellent fishery and a perfect getaway retreat. He's put restoration and habitat building into practice and protects it with zeal. 3 Lakes provides guests with all the floating and wadding gear needed. This minimizes the transfer of infectious/ invasive species and it's convenient for travelers. Skippering the rafts around the lake is a lot of fun!

The women at the Women's Program are what makes the program a hit. It is not too soon to start planning for next year at West Yellowstone. The dates will be announced soon and I hope to see you at the 2013 fair.

Visit Mary Ann's website.

© Marian Tallon August, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Road Trips & Historical Markers

   How one thing leads to another and why that matters to anglers.

Click here then slide to & click the "square" at the bottom right of the screen for a full size view.

© Marian Tallon August 2012


For reference, I've included links to the Columbia River System Map, so it can be viewed full size:
Other pertinent references are noted below and can be accessed via the posted link. I invite you to read them; some of the more egregious happenings in Bakke's "CHRONOLOGY OF SALMON DECLINE IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER 1779 TO THE PRESENT" may be cited in future posts.

References: Click here.

Image Citations: Click here.

Camping with the Stars * - those stars

Ah the good life...

After 5 weeks and 5 days, we're safely back in Arizona. We dashed to Washington for the Fly Fishing Fair and took our sweet time coming home. For 27 days we camped and fished. Each night we slept to the sound of water lapping shoreline, or a river or creek rushing by our screen door.

We had slim trip plans, but some things were as expected. We met friends along the way; we met a pack of new friends and we spent time with best friends.

Greeting a pal along the way
New friends
Our swanky Washington digs
At home with best Friends
More friends

 A more thoroughly planned route and maybe we would have had just 1 Idaho license each - oh well. Our Idaho trip began in Washington and once there, it was hard to leave.

Minimal planning
Patience, trip pics are forthcoming

Go figure

Over the month and a half, the pickup was like a big suitcase. Never having been on the trail for so long we did amazingly well on packing just what we needed.

Totally unexpected however, (we were in the Pacific Northwest) camping, we didn't need our rain gear at all.

ur trip was perfect, though we decided it wasn't long enough to do everything under the sun we wanted to do. We've hit upon a brilliant solution, another trip!

Montana 2013

© Marian Tallon August 2012