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The first week in October I enjoyed four full days of fishing the Coeur d'Alene Basin.  Fishing with my good friend Stew Colpitts from Hayden Lake, we covered several streams including the North fork of the Coeur D’Alene River above Prichard and below Jordan Camp.  This is prime territory for really nice Westslope cutthroat.  While there were few fish rising, we had great success using orange stimulators, Royal Trudes, and Blue Wing Olives.  Half the time I was fishing with a dropper (small Copper John and either a BWO or Adams.)  The Cutts averaged 15” plus and we each caught and released an average of 10 to 15 fish a day.
Mike  Lantis

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Mike Lantis

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SUBJECT:  Egg Distribution to Local Schools

On March 30th, five days before Easter Sunday, 1,740 eggs were delivered to schools throughout Santa Clara County by Flycaster members and friends.  Yes, fertilized steelhead eggs and not Easter eggs.

Probably, one of our lesser known program is the Salmon & Trout Education Program (STEP).  STEP provides K-12 students the means to learn first hand about salmon and steelhead life cycles, the habitats in which they live, conservation and the need to protect their environment.  A key component of the program is the rearing of fertilized steelhead eggs in classrooms for observation and study, plus the later release of Steelhead fry to their home watershed.

The purpose of this article is to place a spotlight on the important work performed by the Education Foundation and STEP.  The cost of the STEP program is funded by the Flycaster’s Education Foundation led by Don Chesarek and Hugh Miller through grants and donations.  Not only does it cost thousands of dollars to pay for teacher training, workshops, materials, aquariums, chillers, etc., but require many volunteer hours by the STEP team throughout the year.

Although the actual delivery of the eggs is one of the highlights, many activities are required to distribute 1,740 steelhead eggs to 58 classrooms in Santa Clara County.  Here are a few examples:

On December 2nd & 3rd Bob Davis and myself fished the Trinity River for two days. We stayed in Lewiston and fished with Ross, a guide from the Fly Shop.  The water was low and crystal clear so we fished as far from the boat as we could to keep from spooking the fish. 

We drifted using mainly small (#16, 18) trout nymphs. The weather was cold and overcast most of the day with a good breeze blowing up the canyons.  Although fishing was slow both Bob and I caught Steelhead plus several Brown Trout.  I hooked a Brown that Ross estimated at 8+ pounds but he broke me off after a couple of minutes.   Here's some pictures of the Steelhead  we caught.    

RETURN TO THE AMAZONS – January 2010

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In February 2009 I was scheduled to fish the Xeriuni River in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest for peacock bass.  Due to high waters, our outfitter redirected our group to the Itapara River.  Although the Itapara water level was about 4 feet above the base of the trees lining the river, it was fishable.  However the bait and peacocks were dispersed into the rainforest which made fishing difficult and often required casting into the trees.  Nevertheless, the fishing quality was very good given the water condition.  In total, our group of seven fly fishermen landed about 550 peacocks for the week with 51 weighing ten or more pounds.  The largest was 20 pounds.

During January 2010, I was able to fish the Xeriuni River and the fishing experience was totally different from 2009 with the river level about 8 to 10 feet lower.  With the Amazon being about 2/3 the area of the USA, imagine the volume of water flowing through and out of the Amazon.  The low water meant few trees to cope with, shallow waters and some fishing similar to flats fishing.  But, it also meant less access and fishing range since the floatplane could not land in most parts of the river.  I estimate we lost about 50-100 miles of prime fishing waters.  We occasionally had to pull and push our flat bottom boat through water 2 to 4 inches deep to reach the best fishing waters, lagoons.  Some of the hauls were 100-300 yards long.  One day we actually hauled our boat about 30-40 feet over a sand bar using tree branches cut and laid out like railroad ties which functioned like skids/rollers.  Was the effort worth it?  Absolutely!

Our group of 8 fly fishermen landed 1,758 peacocks up to 21 pounds over 6 days, plus a variety of other weird toothy species of fish.  Although our group did land 54 peacocks ten pounds or more, most were in the 4 to 8 pound range.  It was a high quality “numbers” game.  It’s a blast hooking and fighting these aggressive hard pulling fish on an 8/9 weight fly rods. The highest daily boat count (2 anglers per boat) was 138, with several boats experiencing 100+ days.  With low waters, top water and sight fishing was possible using leaders 40 pounds and up.  But with the tropical heat, physical demands and hard fighting peacock, low water conditions mean you need to be in shape.  My old body, and especially my hands are still trying to recover.

The Amazon peacock bass has become a very popular fishery and destination.  I believe the key factors for success are water conditions and location.  In spite of the vast size of the Amazons and its many rivers, the easily accessible waters are becoming overfished and the peacock is sensitive to pressure.  Therefore, if you ever plan a trip to the Amazons for peacock bass, I suggest targeting the remote interior waters and to be flexible, since water levels can and do fluctuate extremely. .

 Shiz

Members Stories: This section is reserved for fishing stories and pictures submitted by our members.  To submit a short story about one of your trips please send it to our webmaster.

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