I have to say, 2012 was a great year. Great travels, great times with family and friends, great times on the water, great hunts and experiences with Tui. I am excited to see what 2013 holds and entails. Adios 2012! Hello 2013! Some favorite images from 2012.
Doug Best and a Missouri River Rainbow
Cow Moose crossing the South Fork
Depuy’s Spring Creek Brown Trout
Cal Hickey’s First Grouse Hunt
Dad’s Monster Cutthroat
Tui and Market Lake Limits
Mike Dawes, Teton River Cutthroat and the Grand Teton
Fishing Silver Creek in late August
Shopping with Sandflea Cancun Sam’s Club
Tui gets skunked again!
Celebration after getting Jason’s Bison to the truck
The morning of October 9th was warm, still and cloudy. Horrible for duck hunting but perfect for some late season fishing on the South Fork. After a fruitless morning duck hunt on the Teton River, my friends, Shawn and Beverly, and I, headed to the South Fork for an afternoon float. We started up by the dam to target some big fish and then look for baetis sippers downstream near Husky’s. We started working the discharge seam line with nymph rigs, when suddenly Beverly’s indicator submerged beneath the water surface. We saw some brown streaks underwater and started the hoots and hollers; when suddenly the mysterious fish appeared. The sounds of “ohh,” “gross,” “what is it,” filled the boat. “I think it is a pike minnow,” was my guess at identification – but I have never seen a pike minnow. Carp? No, not in the South Fork. Possible rabid sucker? Not sure.
The Utah Chub - identified
The fish was a Utah Chub. A native to the South Fork drainage that comes from the Carp family or Cyprinidae. A first for everyone fishing that day and a cool experience as the fish is completely native and not normally caught with fly tackle.
After catching some more fish up by the dam, we needed a change of scenery. We floated down towards Husky’s and found some great pods of fish eating on Baetis. The Baetis hatch was thick from the cloudy warm day. The lack of wind allowed them to stay on the water surface and become a meal for some lucky trout.
Beverly and a South Fork Brown Trout
South Fork Brown Trout
Fish were eating streamers from boat ramp to boat ramp.
Well, I have fall off the blog posting schedule for the past month and have some catching up to do. I guess I was doing to much hunting and fishing and neglected my duties. Winter has arrived here in Teton Valley, so I am blessed with some down time with our current high pressure cycle and below 0 temperatures. Stay posted!
The relationship between dog and master is one that constantly intrigues all of us – even those who don’t have dogs in their daily lives. I stumbled upon this piece this morning while looking over some emails. Gene Hill, one of the greatest outdoor writers known to sportsmen around the world, shares the bond that we all know and love about the dogs that fill our lives.
“He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea.
He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) …
Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion.
With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.
His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me… whenever… wherever – in case I need him. And I expect I will – as I always have. He is just my dog.”
– Gene Hill
Tui and some Arkansas Mallards
Tui and I enjoy a summer swim in Montana's Big Hole River
October 1st marked the opening of two hunting seasons in Idaho – Sharptail Grouse and Waterfowl. With the current warm temperatures and nice weather, I opted out of sitting in a duck marsh during the 80 degree day and loaded Tui up in the truck to chase Sharptails. We arrived at our favorite sharptail field at before daylight, walked to the north end of the property (so we could hunt with the wind in our face) and finished a cup of coffee until legal shooting hours.
Tui shows off an Idaho Sharptail Grouse
We flushed our first bird around 7:45 am and missed, obviously. Strangely, it was just a single bird, and as I have learned with Sharptail hunting – when there is one – get ready – most likely there are more. We bumped into a group of 3 or 4 and knocked down our first Sharptail of 2011. After watching a number of cars follow my lead and seeing more blaze orange pop up around me in the distance, Tui and I made one more lap and headed to the truck.
Tui enjoys the early morning Sharptail hunt
Tui’s and my quest to bag all the grouse species came to an end on Saturday morning and it was a great feeling. We bagged 3 of the 4 grouse species in our area (Blue, Ruffed, and Sharptail) but missed out chance on the elusive Sage Grouse. Tui and I spent an entire day cruising the sage brush of southern Wyoming but were pushed away by the late summer heat and lack of birds. To be honest, in four years, I have only come home with 4 Sage Grouse (two birds on two different trips). I guess we always have 2012! Plus, we have plenty more days here in 2011.
A couple of photos that are too good to not share from 2010. Dad (Pete), Bird Dog (Pic), Gun (The Purdey), and Birds (Pair of Sharptails).
With the Idaho grouse season open until January 31st, 2012, we have ample time to chase grouse in the mountains around Teton Valley and Jackson Hole. To be honest, our area is one of the best places to complete the Grand Slam of Grouse – Sage Grouse, Sharptail Grouse, Ruffed Grouse and Blue Grouse. Tui and I had bagged the Blue Grouse but were unsuccessful in our Sage Grouse hunt last week in Southern Wyoming. Sharptail Season opens this Saturday, so it looks we’ll try to go 3 for 4.
Tui, Jon and Dad with some Idaho Ruffed Grouse
My folks and aunt and uncle have been in town this past week and I, as well as my dad and uncle, were ready to get out in the woods with Tui. We headed up Pine Creek Pass after lunch at the house to chase some ruffed grouse around for the afternoon and evening. My uncle Jon had never bagged a ruffed grouse, or any grouse, to be specific so this hunt become special right away. To be honest, anytime I get to hunt with my dad is special, so I was just excited to be in the woods with him. After hiking up to one of my favorite areas which I call “The Cut,” Tui got birdy off the side of an access road and the game was on. In all, we flushed 14 Ruffed Grouse that day, 4 to the bag, including the first my Uncle Jon and one for my dad.
Dad shows a Male Idaho Ruffed Grouse
If you have ever wondered how to identify Male and Female Ruffed Grouse in hand, this photo is a great example. Male Ruffed Grouse have a continuous black band across their tail feathers, as you can see in the photo above. The black band seen above will break around the middle tail feathers on a female.
Tui shows off a pair of Blue Grouse from opening day
The Idaho Forest Grouse season opened a couple days ago and after a long hot summer, I was fired up to go chase some birds around in the woods with Tui. I already had a spot picked out way up high above the tree line. No snow and an abundance of food sources can make early season grouse hunting tricky, so I decided to get up top and see if we could bust a couple after work. After an 45 minute hike to around 8,000 ft, we found a group of blue grouse milling around some sage brush. Flush – shot – bird down. We chased the singles around for a little bit and bagged another and left the group so they could recover. The best thing – this was just a small taste of some great days ahead of Tui and I this fall! One grouse species down – 3 more to go for the grand slam (Sage, Sharptail, Ruffed, and Blue).
Everyone has those special fishing places that occupy a certain area of their fly fishing obsession, occupation or vault. Some are kept a selfish secret, some are made public knowledge, and some are shared with fishing buddies with a padlock and key. A small spring creek in Grand Teton National Park fills that position in my fly fishing arena which I was lucky enough to visit on Sunday afternoon. Light tippets, long leaders, little flies, gin clear water all beneath the ominous Grand Teton. What’s not to like here? Plus a couple of these to boot!