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Sunny and Windy, as the flows increase so do the fishing opportunuties

     So today is the second day I blew off my other job so I could go fishing. It’s all because Brad called and said he caught a bunch of fish with his buddy, Rich. I know Rich, nice guy. He’s been a beginner fisherman for 10 years now. If he can get fish then we all can. So Brad, JJ and I piled into Brad’s Clacka and put in at the very slippery and mostly frozen ramp at the Palisades Dam. This could have filled a blooper roll of film if I ever saw it. Everyone that was putting in got stuck in some fashion. I don’t know how many of you have been muttled up, sliding down hill, with a trailer into water, but apparently it causes people to react quickly, and not in the smartest, most thoughtful way. Hilarious listening to the banter from driver to spotter during chaos. Anyway, we put in, rowed(motored) over to the rocky point and began our perfect assault of double micey shrimp on a yo bangy set up. If you don’t know what that is, ask me this summer or any one of the guides. It works really well. I mean really well. We went on to catch all species in the river. Ok, so we did catch a wad of whities but also 5 rainbows over 18 inches and my grand daddy at the end of the day at 22 inches and nearly as fat. JJ had all the dark , dark browns and Brad worked whities and two very nice and extremely colorful cutthroat. The pics are on Brad’s Camera which means we may never see them. I asked he put one in my obituary if that happens before he transfers to my computer.
     I feel I might need to explain my actions, as I have heard a little grief. Here on the South Fork of the Snake River we are wrestling with a decreasing cutthroat trout population. They are the native species of this river. Remember most rainbows and all browns are transplanted visitors most places in the U.S. There is a nervous notion that might lead cutthroat trout to the endangered species list. It has been suggested in numerous magazines and industry articles. Indeed the Idaho Fish and Game are responding on many levels to help restore the population. There are many arguable reasons for the cutthroat population decreasing. One is the rainbow trout. This species is a predator and spawns at similar times as the cutthroat, hence the hybrid or “Cutbow”. A gorgeous fish we love to catch here. There are rumors, I can’t confirm, about cutbows being sterile. Regardless both the Cutbow and Rainbow are viewed as a major factor in the cutthroat trout population diminishing. So, at this time we are encouraged to remove rainbow trout and hybrid trout from the river, for the sake of the cuts and the sport we all love. Any and all of them. Worst case scenario, Cuts are put on the Endangered Species List and we can no longer fish the river at all, the flows will be adjusted for trout, NOT irrigation, tourism will decrease and many, many lives will be negatively affected, far beyond the reaches of our favorite past time. As a restaurant major and a foody, I have taken it upon myself to help the cutthroat which I so dearly love. Therefore I am coming out of the closet and divulging the fact that I love smoked trout. Any good brine recipes out there? I thought I could blame it on the economy or the desire to live off the land but those of you who know me know that’s not it. Really, it all comes back to the loins and feeding the basic need to hunt and gather. That’s bullshit too. I like eating smoked fish with my friends and family. No, I didn’t mean “SMOKING” fish, you know they’re impossible to get lit. Just had to add that. And Finally, I normally release all fish I catch, everywhere and would encourage you to do so yourself. But when the numbers permit it and management accounts for it, there is nothing finer than a meal from the land and waters we have chosen to live in.
     K, so enough crap. The river is rising quickly. Our winter is slow to leave. Our snow pack is near 100%, the Palisades Reservoir is 75% full. Yikes, seems kinda full to me. The flow was bumped an additional 800 cfs last night, for the sixth night in a row, to 6940 cfs at Irwin. This is nearly three times the average flow for this time of year. The rainbows aren’t on the reds heavy yet. Seeing some staging, but no one keying in on eggs. Spring Creek bridge still had some icky snow trenches in the lot but Conant is open and ready! No real reports from the canyon, its been to low to motor through until recently. Ah these warm days are a blessing, please don’t take the sun and warm air for granted where you live. I was in three layers of fleece and full head gear with gore tex wrapped all around, on a bright sunny day with a stiff 20 mile per hour wind racing right off the frozen mojito we call Palisades reservoir. Dam still covered in snow with a 3 foot cornice at the tippy top. I saw my sandals in the corner this morning, they were still hibernating.