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Highlights of 2017 and Goals for 2018

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

Fighting a Fish on the South Fork of the Boise

Fighting a Fish on the South Fork of the Boise

As the Christmas song goes, "The weather outside is frightful!", so rather than fishing, I have been thinking about the highlights of 2017. It would be nice to get several folks to share some of their highlights as well as their goals or plans for next year. I am going to list my top five.

1. Is number one! My son is back fishing again, and he even bought his own Daiwa Sagiri rod! I took him up to one of my favorite places to fish this summer, and he was hooked on fixed line fishing.

2. I discovered 7 ponds and 3 stretches of river as well as 1 creek close to me where I can have fun fishing for less than an hour session. I got out fishing a lot in 2017.

3. I did some headwater fishing, and found it to be fun as well as a unique challenge.

4. I took three special trips this year, two to go after two species that have alluded me. I caught several Yellowstone and Bonneville Cutthroat. It is nice when a plan comes together. My third trip was two special afternoons near Austin Texas fishing the State Parks thanks to John Evans. Free time at a conference was never spent so well!

5. I battled "many" five pound plus carp with my Kyogi rods. I have not caught a monster yet, 12.5 pounds being my biggest. I have caught at least one carp on all 4 lengths of the Kyogi rod and am the proud owner of the whole set, the Kyogi 12, 15, 18, and 21. I have only caught one on the 15, and it is becoming one of my favorite rods. The ultimate Czech nymphing rod.


1. Do more high lake and mountain stream fishing. I failed to catch a grayling or golden trout this year.

2. Make sure I take time to cultivate my son's new interest in fixed line fishing.

3. There are two streams a little further away than the ones mentioned above that need to be explored.

4. There are three wilderness areas in the high desert south of me that have red-band rainbows. I was hoping to fish at least two of them this year, and just didn't make it.

5. If possible, meet Chris Stewart in person.

So, please share your story.

Oh, not on the list, but the only rod really missing in my inventory now is a 5 meter, so I am planning of filling that niche too.

Comments for Highlights of 2017 and Goals for 2018

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Dec 30, 2017
One fly, one goal
by: Rob

I have one goal this year and that will be fishing for 8 days in Rocky Mountain National Park. Oh and maybe one near a section of the CDT in northern NM.

Dec 30, 2017
Out with '17, in with '18
by: Herb S.

Not a great year for fishing what with early high water then drought and the lowest water I can remember. Very little trout fishing, too. Toward the end of the season my wife’s broken foot kept me from fishing until she could be alone for 3 or 4 hours without help. However, all was not lost. Two things really stand out:

1) The arrival of my Suntech FMX Keiryu Stiff 45. What a great rod, casts any line I put on it very well, extremely sensitive, light, etc., etc. Love it!

2) My new doctor/fly fishing student/friend and now a new Trout Unlimited member. When we began the lessons I didn't fish, just worked on Xiaogang’s casting and explained and demonstrated how to handle the line and where to drift the fly. Later, while he’d fish the "good" side of the river for bluegills, rock bass and the occasional bass, I had great fun with either my Nissin Hakubai 390 or Suntech AOI ZPRO 53 catching shiners, chubs and juvenile bass in the shallow left bank and center stream. After a while I declared him graduated and we fished other streams, he with his fly rod and me with the Keiryu Stiff 45. Marlin, my long time fishing buddy, often joined us and we all had a blast hauling in the bluegills and smallmouth.

Next year: Fish MORE! I’m hoping for better conditions around here and more trout fishing farther north. Having been house bound for three years with home repairs and updates, my wife and I plan to do the traveling we were used to and miss. The possibilities are endless!

Northern Michigan. Opening Day and our TU chapter’s annual spring weekend in Wellston are always fun, and I’m hoping to go north more with Judy.

Back east. My best friend moved to southern Connecticut several years ago and we’d like to visit him. He lives near where my ancestors settled on their way west and my wife wants to do genealogy while Merrill and I fish. Then she wants to look up some of her ancestors in Boston.

Virginia. Another multi-purpose trip to see my wife’s family and introduce my new Suntech GM Keiryu Special 27 to some cute little brook trout in Shenandoah National Park. Maybe a side trip to the North Fork of the Shenandoah River with that FMX Keiryu Stiff 45.

Out west. We haven’t been back in quite a spell. We were hoping to re-visit the Black Hills and Montana on the way to California where an old classmate lives. Unfortunately, that’s in Ventura County. His house escaped the fires but I think we’ll put that trip off until 2019.

Florida. We need to get back down to Melbourne Beach, the surf, the Indian River Lagoon, Sebastian Inlet! It’s been a while – too long. In 2013 we visited the Gulf side and wound up in St. Augustine on the Atlantic but the fishing wasn’t that good. Last year I made up a kit with sabiki rigs, bait hooks, flies, sinkers, etc. for my Daiwa Kiyose 39SF to catch bait and any small fishies in the Lagoon or Inlet. Maybe I’ll throw in the Kiyose 33SF, too. We usually go down in November, but February is looking pretty good now that we’re getting the arctic blast.

Well, that’s about it. Time will tell where we go, but wherever it is one or more fixed rods will be going along.

Happy fishing,

Dec 30, 2017
2017 Highlights and 2018 Goals
by: Karl Klavon

My highlight for 2017 fishing season came about as a result of reading the book: The Master Angler, Using color technology to catch more fish, by Phil Rabideau, Hancock House Publishers, 1431 Harrison Avenue, Blaine, WA 98230-5005. Although the book has almost nothing to do with fly-fishing, Rabideau furnished the principles and information I needed to develop a couple of fly patterns that have caught many more trout for me from gin clear high mountain lakes than I have ever been able to come up with before, using colors (light blue and chartreuse of all things) that I would never have thought to try with out reading his book.

According to the publisher, "The Master Angler is a guide to better fishing regardless of your present skill level. It is unique in that it addresses questions that must be answered before you even wet a line. It takes the guesswork out of lure selection. The book starts with understanding the physiology of fish and why they behave the way they do. It examines a lure’s attributes and guides you in the selection of the right lure. Trial and error fishing is eliminated, and the book teaches you how to select the right lure before the first cast." I found the above statement to be pretty accurate and true, but there is a little more to it (of course) than that.

Driving to your fishing spot, you know whether it is spring, summer, fall or winter, and whether the water temperature might be cold, optimum, or warmer than optimum for the fish you are trying to catch, which in turn helps to determine the size of the lure you should present, so take the water temperature and find out what it is for sure. You should also have noticed if it is a bright, sunny day, overcast, and/or raining, which helps to determine how bright the lure you are going to fish should be. And what is the color of the water you will be fishing? Is it clear (blue), green, or tea colored and/or muddy brown? Each watercolor has a range of material colors that will show up best in that respective water color and that’s what you want to use. What we want is a lure color that contrasts with the watercolor you will be fishing in, so it is easy for the fish to see the lure against the watercolor background, and it is best to use light colored lures against dark colored backgrounds and dark colored flies against light colored backgrounds.

For 2018 my goal is to tie flies that are designed to fish effectively in each water color type, varying the sizes and brightness of the flies to be appropriate colored patterns to correspond to whether the water temperature is cold, optimum, or warmer than optimum for my targeted fish species.

In early December I fished a pond with a friend of mine that he owns. The pond went dry in the drought but had small bluegill and bass restocked last spring. The pond still had some green scum on top of the water from last summer, green algae suspended in the water as well, with a brown sediment/clay bottom and wind blown brown water where cattle and deer had waded in the water to drink from the pond. John followed his usual practice of looking for the magic bullet fly pattern, putting on a white and silver small streamer to imitate the pond’s Golden Shiners in the hopes of catching some bass, and he caught a palm-sized bluegill on his first or second cast, then a couple of more fish before I got my first bump. He eventually changed to a Blue Herl Thing, which was not the right color fly to use for the water color conditions, and he ended up with a 5 fish total catch. We were both fishing 3.9 meter rods, and 12 foot long floating lines with 5X tippets, both fishing the same water.

My fly had a FL-orange tag, with a FL-chartreuse butt, with a black starling hackle wound through it, with a dyed black natural peacock herl body with a Brassy-sized gold rib and a yellow Wooduck wing, with a black thread head, which produced 26 bluegill with 4 of them being palm-sized fish. Clearly, Rabideau’s color recommendations applied to my fly pattern construction had made a significant difference in my fly’s fish producing abilities.

Dec 31, 2017
First Year Fishing
by: Andrew

This was a great idea for a post! I only started fly fishing in April this year, so it was a year of many firsts:

1. Caught my first fish (Apache/rainbow hybrid I believe) on a fly rod in April with a red copper john. Had started at the top of a stream in Southeastern Arizona with no luck. Drove the 2 1/2 hours back the next week, started from the bottom, hiked in an hour and caught my first fish. Took my dad the next month and we both caught multiple fish. A beautiful place and a great memory! The stream has since been impacted by a fire and likely won't be fishable for a long time.

2. Caught my first tenkara fish with the Nissin Fine Mode purchased from this site. Have since caught many more fish including my first on dry flies. Tenkara is quickly becoming my preferred fishing method, though I still enjoy casting my fly rod.

3. Have visited 7 or 8 streams in Arizona and western New Mexico this year - all for the first time - and put many miles on my car. Caught at least one fish in most and I'll revisit the places I didn't. Almost as great as the fishing has been taking in the beautiful scenery.

Goals for 2018:

1. Begin tying flies and catch a trout on my own fly.

2. Learn about bugs - the owner of our local fly shop gave me a brief lesson about bugs... much to learn...

3. Like Rob, planning a week long trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.

4. Visit and explore a new stream, or one I only briefly visited before, every two or three months. There are many streams within about a 4-5 hour drive of Tucson. If I fished one every two or three months, I think it would take at least 2-3 years to get to them all... and I'm sure there's more I don't know about yet.

These posts are great! It's nice to see what everyone is working on... and maybe learn a little too.

Dec 31, 2017
Highlights and Goals
by: Chris Stewart

Highlights for 2017
- Fished with an ultralight spinning rod again for the first time in years. I had forgotten how much fun (and how productive) it can be.
- Fished with an ultralight baitcaster for stream trout for the first time. Truly, that is the dark side.
- Fished with fly rod spoons for the first time in close to 50 years. Had totally forgotten how effective they can be.

Goals for 2018
- Become more proficient with an ultralight baitcaster.
- Pick up a western fly rod again! I knew Tenryu made fly rods, but I hadn't really considered them until a customer asked me about them. Whoa! I'll be getting a few Tenryu fly rods to play with!
- I JUST learned of micro skagit fishing with a 3wt fly rod! That looks like fun. I have to try that!
- Fish more. I can't ignore tenkara or keiryu or micro fishing!

Dec 31, 2017
Seeing is believing
by: Hoppy D (SD)

If anyone would like to have a visual of what Phil Rabideau and Karl are addressing, go to the Mepps website. Under the pull-down entitled "Tactics,Instructional," there is an article entitled "Color Technology - What You See is Not What You Get!" It will make a believer out of you.

Jan 02, 2018
Happy New Year!
by: Les Albjerg

Thanks for all the interesting posts! Would love to see more!

Hoppy - I want to see a picture of a fish with your new SST!
Andrew - It only gets better in the second year!
Karl - I bought the book!
Herb - I have house projects this year!
Chris - I have to spend less money on this site!
Rob - I'll be in Yellowstone some as it is only 5 hours away.

I ended the year on the 31st catching 4 rainbows on my Kyogi 15 and the 2.5 gram Crusader Spoons. The Kyogi 15 is an amazing rod. It is strong, but also sensitive. I need to do a review. It was a special order rod, so don't go looking for one on the website! Chris will order one for you. The 15 isn't just an 18 with one less section. The sections are shorter, and the taper is different. Even though the fish were not big, it was an enjoyable battle on a rod that can handle 0x tippet. The biggest was 12 inches.

I began the year on New Years day fishing with the Tenryu Rayz Spectra. I caught 3, 10-11 inch rainbows using Crusader Spoons. I switched to a mummy worm and split shot and caught 2 12-14 inch rainbows. These were all caught in a planted pond, but it is fun and close to home. I then put a mummy worm and 2 #10 Dinsmore shot on, and caught 2 nice 12 inch rainbows with my Diawa Sagiri. To be honest, those two fish were the most fun!

I'm really happy with my spinning outfit, but if I can fish fixed line and catch fish that will be my method. I am seeing where the spinning rod setup will get me to fish that can't be presented a bait, lure, or fly any other way. If I would have had my boots on, I would have been chasing some fish in Wilson Creek with it.

Jan 03, 2018
Highlights and goals
by: David Noll

2017 was my best year for Tenkara so far.
1) MWTF was great once again. This year I hosted the one and only Tanuki and met the intrepid Englishman, Brian Smith
2)Introduced my nephew Chris Noll to Tenkara with the help of guide Mike Warren
3)Had a great time in Colorado fishing with Paul Vertrees and Michelle White, and introduced my nephew, David Kastanek, to Tenkara
4)Made it out to the Oni School in Utah. Fantastic
5)Road trip with Zoan Kulinski to North Carolina for the Jam
6)More fishing with Zoan
7)Trip to Patagonia where I was able to fish two days with Benjamin Vial, an incredible guide, whom I introduced to Tenkara
8)A kids starter kid showed up for Christmas for my grand daughter. Thanks for once again enabling me Chris.
Goals for 2018
1)Winter fishing-meeting Zoan and a couple of other guys on Jan 7
2)MWTF-hosting Paul Vertrees
3)Colorado in July and fish with friends met at the Oni School
4)Golden Trout Hang Out in the Sierras
5)Oni School in Sept
6)Possibly Italy with Tanuki

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