Dispatches Volume 3 – Fly Fishing in Argentina for Trophy Brook Trout with Steve Hoovler

Dispatches Volume 3 – Fly Fishing in Argentina for Trophy Brook Trout with Steve Hoovler

Welcome to the third edition of Dispatches, a new series which reports on the Big Sky Anglers crew as they travel the globe in search of angling adventures. Each edition of Dispatches will feature an interview with one of our angling pros while they are on assignment or traveling for fun. Our crew might be hosting anglers in a remote destination, guiding clients on our home waters, or exploring new fishing territory at home and abroad.

This edition features BSA guide, Steve Hoovler who is reporting from the Brook Trout Base Camp in Argentine Patagonia. Steve spent a month in Argentina this Spring working with our good friends at El Encuentro Fly Fishing to help develop their late-season fishing and wingshooting programs. During his time in Patagonia Steve visited El Encuentro’s Brook Trout Base Camp on the Rio Corcovado to hunt for trophy brook trout. Give a listen to what Steve has been up to, and stay tuned for more reports from the BSA crew.

“Where are you right now?”

 

“How did you get there?”

 

Fly Fishing for Trophy Brook Trout in Argentina

 

“What is your target species? Why did you pick this location and time for that species?”

 

Fly Fishing for Trophy Brook Trout in Argentina

 

“How are you targeting these fish?”

 

Fly Fishing for Trophy Brook Trout in Argentina

 

“What’s one thing that’s happened on your trip so far that you didn’t expect?”

 

Fly Fishing for Trophy Brook Trout in Argentina

 

“What are the conditions like?”

 

Fly Fishing for Trophy Brook Trout in Argentina

 

“What’s been your favorite piece of gear on this trip so far, and why?”

 

Fly Fishing for Trophy Brook Trout in Argentina

 

“What’s the best thing you’ve had to eat?”

 

Fly Fishing for Trophy Brook trout in Argentina

 

“Have you learned any new words or phrases?”

 

Fishing for Trophy Brook Trout in Argentina

 

“What’s your playlist been on this trip…what tunes are you listening to?”

 

Fly Fishing for Trophy Brook Trout in Argentina

 

“Where are you off to next?”

 

Wingshooting in Argentina

Sustut River, BC – Steelhead Valhalla Lodge

Sustut River, BC – Steelhead Valhalla Lodge

We are excited to have 3 spots available at Steelhead Valhalla.

Prime Dates. October 2019.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us as these spots will fill up fast.

 


British Columbia is a special place to visit, especially if enjoy swinging a fly for steelhead. The mighty Skeena River and its tributaries provide some of the best opportunities to fish for big, wild steelhead in the world.  For many years my friends and I have been fortunate enough to explore various waters along the Skeena system.  Every year when I board the plane to leave BC for home I find myself already mentally planning my next trip.

Two seasons ago, in October 2016, I had the opportunity to host a group of anglers for a week on the legendary Sustut River, one of the uppermost, and perhaps the most remote of the Skeena tributaries.  After that first trip I knew I had to come back to the Sustut, and made the necessary arrangements for fall of 2017 as soon as I was able.  Now, with two trips under my belt, I’d like nothing more than to make this trip an annual pilgrimage.

To get to the Sustut we depart Smithers, BC on small plane with all of our gear and travel north for about 45 minutes. We land on a remote runway in the middle of the mountains and travel another 30 minutes on quads/four-wheelers to the remote lodge.  Aptly named Steelhead Valhalla, the lodge is located right on the banks of the Sustut River, with an awesome piece of steelhead water running right in front of the cabins.

The river is spectacular and the fish that make it all the way to the Sustut are truly special.  Neither photos nor words do them justice, but I will try my best.   One often thinks of sheer size when they imagine steelhead.  On the Sustut, 10 to 14 pound fish are common, and large males that tip the scales at and above the magical 20 pound mark are hooked and landed every year.  But these fish are special regardless of size.  They are summer run steelhead, and in October, they are full of the strength and vitality gained from multiple years at sea.  In his unmatched work “Steelhead Fly Fishing”, Trey Combs reported that the steelhead of the Sustut are impressively robust regardless of their length and carry more weight than all other races of Skeena steelhead with the exception of the Kispoix River fish.  Untainted by hatchery genetics, Sustut steelhead remain that way to this day.  Their coloration varies from the bright chrome of the sea, to blushed pinks and iridescent teals on some of the hens, to deeper shades of red and olive on big mature bucks.  Each fish is unique, they are all wonderful, and they are all very strong.

We approach the river mainly with wet flies in October, both unweighted and weighted, swung on either light sink tips or floating lines.  Skating or waking dry flies does work on the Sustut as well, and one of our friends found success on the surface this past trip in water right around 40 degrees!  That’s very cold:  too cold for dry fly fishing on the rivers in the States, which makes me think we should be fishing more dries and tiny wets near the surface when we are up north in BC.  As long as the water temps were on a warming trend, as they often are in the mid-afternoon, I think there is always a real chance of success on or near the surface.

One of the real joys of fishing the Sustut is the diversity of water types you can explore over the course of a day.  We fish water ranging from broad, classic runs to slottier, pocket water and canyon sections.  Every run provides a wilderness experience, surrounded by beautiful trees, wild animals, birds, and more.

Even deep in the wilderness, steelhead fishing is still a game where success is not measured in large numbers, and the catching depends on a sound mix of angler skill and probability.  We fish hard each day for as long an as well as we are able, both to take advantage of our time there, and also to honor the steelhead, which deserve our best effort and utmost respect.  Some days you return to the lodge with only stories and memories of a “pull” or two, a lost monster, or a black bear that walked by on the far bank.  On other days everyone celebrates hooking and landing several fish.

What sticks with me most about this trip is the remoteness of this river.  There is something really special about standing in a place few have been.  If anyone wants to experience a true wilderness steelhead river this trip is a must!

And the best part of my experience, hands down has been the lodge staff and guides that make up the Valhalla Lodge team. They are among the best I have seen. As a guide myself, I really value guides that are so passionate about what they do, and also so knowledgeable about the nuances of their home water.  That knowledge often makes the difference in steelhead fishing, because you spend your day concentrating your skill on the runs and buckets that are known to be A+ steelhead water.

I have been thinking and planning our next trip to BC (Fall 2018) since I got on that plane back to the US last month.  I’ve even started a list of the flies and lines I want to be sure I have.  I’m getting excited just writing about it!  If anyone ever wants to visit with us about steelhead fishing, either in BC or the Pacific Northwest, please don’t hesitate to call or email.  We are happy to do all we can to get you on the right track.

All the best,

Justin

Dispatches Vol. 2 – Fly Fishing for Permit in Belize with Joe Moore

Dispatches Vol. 2 – Fly Fishing for Permit in Belize with Joe Moore

Welcome to the second edition of Dispatches, a new series which reports on the Big Sky Anglers crew as they travel the globe in search of angling adventures. Each edition of Dispatches will feature an interview with one of our angling pros while they are on assignment or traveling for fun. Our crew might be hosting anglers in a remote destination, guiding clients on our home waters, or exploring new fishing territory at home and abroad.

This edition features BSA founder, co-owner and head beard-scaper Joe Moore who is reporting from Placencia, Belize – The Permit Capital of the World. This is Joe’s first visit to Belize, and first time fly fishing for permit. Give a listen to what Joe and his wife Molly have been up to, and stay tuned for more reports from the BSA crew.

“Where are you right now?”

 

Fly Fishing For Permit in Belize

“What is your target species?”

 

Fly Fishing for Permit in Belize

How are you targeting these fish? Any flies or gear that stand out?”

 

Fly Fishing for Permit in Belize

What have the conditions been like?”

 

Fly Fishing for Permit in Belize

What’s one thing that’s happened on your trip so far that you didn’t expect?”

 

Fly Fishing for Permit in Belize

How do you like Placencia? How’s the Food?”

 

Fly Fishing for Permit in Belize

“Where are you off to next?”

 

 

Dispatches Volume 1:  Fly Fishing in Chile with Jonathan Heames

Dispatches Volume 1: Fly Fishing in Chile with Jonathan Heames

Welcome to the first edition of Dispatches, a new series which reports on the Big Sky Anglers crew as they travel the globe in search of angling adventures. Each edition of Dispatches will feature an interview with one of our angling pros while they are on assignment or travelling for fun. Our crew might be hosting anglers in a remote destination, guiding clients on our home waters, or exploring new fishing territory at home and abroad.

This edition features BSA co-owner and head guide Jonathan Heames who is reporting from a remote island in Chilean Patagonia. Jonathan has been fly fishing in Chile for nearly 20 years, and his perspective and knowledge are impressive. Give a listen to what Jonathan has been up to, and stay tuned for more reports from the BSA crew.

“Where are you right now? How did you get there? Where are you off to next?”

 

“What is your target species? Why did you pick this location and time for that species?”

 

“How are you targeting these fish?”

 

“What’s one thing that’s happened on your trip so far that you didn’t expect?”

 

“What are the conditions like?”

 

“What’s been your favorite piece of gear on this trip so far, and why?”

 

“What’s the best thing you’ve had to eat?”

 

“Have you learned any new words or phrases?”

 

“What’s your playlist been on this trip…what tunes are you listening to?”

 

A Winter Reading List

A Winter Reading List

The shorter days of winter are upon us here in Montana.  The weather is cold, but that doesn’t mean we’ve given up on spending time outdoors.  We are still fishing when the conditions are right, but are also shifting attention to hunting, skiing, riding, and other snow sports.  The simple fact is, though, that there is a lot fewer hours of daylight in winter, so a person needs some good indoor hobbies to get through.  Filling the fly boxes is Job #1.  Hanging out by the fire with a good book is another prime winter pastime, though.

We asked some of the guys for suggestions to add to your winter reading list, and here’s what we came up with.

Suggested by Jonathan Heames

  • The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane
  • The River Why by David James Duncan
  • Trouthunter:  The Way of an Angler by Rene Harrop
  • Spring Creeks by Mike Lawson

Suggested by Joe Moore

  • Small Fly Adventures in the West by E Neale Streeks
  • The Curtis Creek Manifesto by Sheridan Anderson
  • Chasing Rumors – A Season of Fly Fishing in Patagonia by Cameron Chambers
  • Bud Lilly’s Guide to Fly Fishing the New West by Bud Lilly and Paul Schullery

Suggested by Justin Spence

  • Single Hand Spey Casting by Simon Gawesworth
  • Instinctive Fly Fishing by Taylor Streit
  • Hatch Guide for Western Streams by Jim Schollmeyer
  • Modern Steelhead Flies by Rob Russell and Jay Nicholas (with a cameo by Matt Klara)

Suggested By Matt Klara

  • What Trout Want – The Educated Trout and Other Myths by Bob Wyatt
  • McElligot’s Pool by Dr. Seuss
  • Single Handed Fly Casting by Jason Borger
  • Birds of Montana Field Guide by Stan Tekiela

Happy Reading!!

Big Sky Anglers, The West Yellowstone Fly Shop, and Jonathan Heames Fly Fishing Have Merged and Acquired Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop

Big Sky Anglers, The West Yellowstone Fly Shop, and Jonathan Heames Fly Fishing Have Merged and Acquired Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop

This is the post we’ve all been waiting for folks.  We are thrilled to OFFICIALLY announce the launch of the all new Big Sky Anglers.

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Montana (April, 2017) –  Longtime local guides/outfitters Joe Moore (Big Sky Anglers), Justin Spence (The West Yellowstone Fly Shop),  and Jonathan Heames (Jonathan Heames Fly Fishing & Trouthunter) have merged and acquired Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop.

The entire operation, including outfitting and the fly shop, will move forward as BIG SKY ANGLERS, based here in West Yellowstone, MT.  The merger expands Big Sky Anglers’ prior outfitting territory to include the waters of Gallatin National Forest and the legendary Henry’s Fork of the Snake River in Idaho, and adds an awesome retail fly fishing space to the business.

With over 55 years of combined guiding and fly shop experience in West Yellowstone, Joe, Justin, and Jonathan are excited to continue the tradition started by Bud Lilly over 65 years ago, while adding our own unique voice and vision to the business. We have some great ideas planned for the shop and will incorporate all the wonderful things that have made each of us successful in our own businesses.  As always, customer service is our top priority.

We are on the web at www.bigskyanglers.com and can be reached via email at info@bigskyanglers.com and by phone at 406-646-7801.  We can also be found and reached on Facebook at facebook.com/bigskyanglers/ and on Instagram @bigskyanglers.

The fly shop doors will be open full time starting in the Spring of 2017, following completion of renovations.  We are currently available via phone if you’d like to talk fishing or book trips.  We also have plenty of gear available so don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything.  Our multi-day grand opening event is scheduled for June 30 through July 2, 2017.  We’ll have lots of surprises in store, along with great guests, discounts, giveaways, and more.  We look forward to seeing everyone then!

With any change brings uncertainty to the customers of any established business, but there are a few important things we’d like everyone to know at this time:

We will maintain our commitment to providing the best guided fishing experience available.  Our staff will include Justin Spence, Joe Moore, and Jonathan Heames as senior guides and owners, along with veteran guides Travis Rydberg and Steve Hoovler, plus your favorite guides who formerly worked for Big Sky Anglers, the West Yellowstone Fly Shop, and Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop.  So, if you love fishing with Greg Falls, Jared Cady, Chris Herpin, Earl James, Donovan Best, Miles Marquez, or Mike Swanson, just give us a call!

Our home base will be in the classic location made famous by Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop at the corner of Canyon and Madison in West Yellowstone.  Stop in and see us this coming season.  We are excited to get to know so many more great folks who share our love for Yellowstone Country!  Our inventory will include: rods from Echo, Sage, Scott, and Winston; reels from Abel, Galvan, Hatch, Waterworks-Lamson, and Ross;  flylines and leaders from Airflo, Maxima, Rio, Scientific Anglers, and Trouthunter; flies from Fulling Mill, Solitude, Umpqua, and local custom tiers; waders and boots from Simms and Korkers, apparel from Simms and Columbia; nets and packs from Fishpond; and sunglasses from Costa del Mar and Smith.

We were able to meet with Bud Lilly in December of 2016 at his home in Three Forks, before he passed away.  We were honored when he asked us to share our stories with him, and explain our plans for moving forward.  He shared a few stories of his own, and graciously offered us his support and well wishes moving forward.

The legacy of Bud Lilly will live on here at Big Sky Anglers.  Bud is a legendary angler and advocate for conservation and protection of wild trout and their habitat in southwest Montana, Yellowstone Park and beyond.  His messages to fellow anglers rings as true today as they did when he started all of this over 65 years ago. We believe that the most profound of Bud’s ideals is that of being a well-rounded angler and participating in fishing for what he calls “The Total Experience”.  It’s not only catching fish that draws us to angling.  It’s the love of the fish and the rivers.   Enjoying our natural surroundings and unique geology, experiencing the local birds and wildlife, participating in our western culture, and doing it all in chosen solitude or in the company of friends and loved ones, is what completes the angling experience and keeps our passion strong.

 

Contact:

Joe Moore, Justin Spence, and Jonathan Heames – Owners, Big Sky Anglers

406-646-7801

info@bigskyanglers.com

Big Sky Anglers, 39 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, Montana 59758