Tuesday, December 14, 2010

british columbia 2010

images: 100+ foot log on the banks of the upper skeena, flys-r-us pretty much sums it up, the king of the bush, amanda setting up a afternoon cast, adipose fin on lady steel.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


That's right August is all about the ankle-biter anglers out there. The 1/2 pints that can not fit into waders, tangle nymph rigs into twisted wrecks and catch fish with reckless abandon are all welcomed to fish for free with Animas Valley Anglers during the month of August 2010. All they have to do is talk their parents, grandparents, kid sitter, older sibling or legal guardian into signing up for any of our great angling adventures.

Just mention you spied this special either on our web site or the AVA blog and you can enroll in the Kids Fish Free program. The trip will bill at our single angler rate. A $50 savings, plus you get to fish the best waters in the West during prime time at a discount. A third angler, adult or child, will be the standard extra $150. Drop us a line today for more info and details on the Kids Fish Free program.

photo 1: David Brake and guide Chris Meyer on the Animas with a sweet bow.

photo 2: Guide Will Blanchard and Carson Dellinger with a pretty Rio brown trout. Carson's first float fishing trout. He caught that frisky trout in the first 20 minutes of the float above the train bridge at Wagon Wheel Gap.

steelies heading home

With cool wet days infiltrating the southwest, I feel hints of fall on most guide days. Some local rivers run high; swollen with rain run-off and some continue to flow cold and clear. Fishing has been good, despite varied conditions, but I find my thoughts turning towards the north. Way north. BC north. A place Amanda and I hope to explore by early October.

BC News:
Todd Stockner reports-"Sounds like Hannah and Wayne might have caught the first steelie on a dry fly last evening . . .. they were fishing in that new micro-low-water pool that forms to the right of the log pile on the island just below sweet deke. They came back all excited about this fish, small around four or five pounds by the sound of it, but bright and "with pink cheeks" .. . . what else could it have been eh?"

From the Babine, Pierce Clegg and Peter McMullan will be offering the book "Babine" some time this month. The book cover the long history of this great river. Fantastic art work, words and images. Get a copy from amazon, or a fine retailer near you. All the proceeds go back to the river. Funds will help in the conservation efforts of this great BC river. Click the link below to find a copy or two.

As for the steelies, it looks like a low water year and numbers look good. Get deke deep!

Expert from "Babine", a contribution to the book by Will Blanchard

Stepping into the Same River Twice

..."Last cast, bright hen - Ejnar’s Last Stand. Snow balls and jet sleds. Jet boat wars. Gorilla warfare in your face, snowball stockpile, broken windows, walls tagged white. Guides and guests. Good vibes surging. Night is back. Campfire burning, hot and high; the firelight glows on bearded faces. Sap snaps on glowing embers as flames lick the night sky. Add a log, tell a story. Dark and deep the night rolls on. One last Scotch, just five fingers. Raised glass, giving thanks. Friendships and tall tales of steelie tails and tail-outs. All the stories from all the seasons, mental snapshots, never fading. All the moments melt together, like the rivers currents."

photo: Amanda ripping a cast late season on the Babine 2009

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Grips

photos: (1) Carson Dellinger and Will on the Rio with a sweet trout.(2) Bill Mitchell with a stud upper bow. (3)Courtney, Will and Kispa on the upper Juan (4) Jesse and Kevin hangin' with Guide Josh Curtis on the Rio. Nice fish eh?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

BWOs-the old blue wing olive

Spring and the mighty (small) blue wing olive. Catch a cloudy day on many of our western rivers and you just might see a thick hatch of these sexy little mayflies. The San Juan, Animas, Dolores, Rio, Pine and others will offer the fly angler a shot at nice fish on baetis nymphs, emergers and dries. The season is officially on!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Art Isgar-Western Legend Passes on at 94

Art Isgar
Words by Will Blanchard

Last week Art Isgar passed on at 94 years-young. "Grandpa" will be missed deeply by his wife Anne, his family, all the people he touched through the Southwest and the entire AVA guide crew. The ranch he worked for so many years will not be the same with out him. His grandson Matt plans to continue the operations. Irrigating, growing hay and raising cattle will help keep Art's memory alive. For me, each time I step into the cool waters of the Animas River his memory will live on.

Art was one heck of a man, a man legends are made of for sure; hard-working family man, rancher, farmer, dedicated democrat, fly fisher and outdoorsman. He was nailed in the hand by a rattlesnake in his 80s while working in the garden; he shrugged off a battle with cancer and had a serious encounter with a grizzly bear while on horse back in the San Juan Mountains. He was a dead shot. Deer and elk were easy takings. He caught trout the old fashioned way; Royal Coachman casted out, only allowing the fly to be on the water for a moment or two. If the fly was not taken by a feisty trout a new cast would be placed back out onto the green currents of the Animas. We was a true western icon.

He would reflect on his fishing days with a gleam in his eye. Back in the day he was known as the best fly fisher in the Southwest. Back in the day, or any day for that matter, it was just known. John Staten learned this first hand. As John was getting into the sport of fly fishing, Art took him down to the Picnic Table Pool (I think us guides are going to rename it Art's Pool) for a quick lesson. Art was 89 at the time and proceeded to show John how it was done. Still healing from a broken leg he suffered two weeks prior, he had no sooner jumped out of the red GMC ranch truck and in moments a fly was tied on the leader and trout hooked up. It was a great moment for John. And maybe even a greater moment for Art. As far as I know, that was the last trout Art ever caught. A stunning rainbow, caught from his river, using the same technique he had used so many times for so many years.

I'm sure going to miss Art. In so many ways. He helped me not only with my business but also as a person. Our times together on the ranch, ridding on the back of the four wheeler, cutting wood, digging ditches, walking the ditch, moving water, wrestling the foot valve, priming the pump, fixing the pump, fixing fence, fixing anything, drives up onto the mountain, enjoying a burger at the Democratic picnic or just sitting around chatting will never be forgotten.

Join me as I raise my short glass of Jim Beam and toast the memory of one of the greatest fly fishers to ever cast a fly. And again to one of the greatest ranchers to ever work the land. And again to one of the greatest men I've ever met.

Cheers Art, sure going to miss you.

Photo: Art hooked up on the Animas. His last rainbow trout. Thanks to Art's very good friend John Staten for the photo and story.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


images: Gator Brown from the Animas River (image published in Scott Fly Rod catalog in 06) Old Hook Jaw from the Animas, Big D stud

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter on the Juan-no crowds lots of fish

The San Juan below Navajo Dam is fishing well. Micro midge pupa, larva, eggs and leeches under a bobber are taking fish in the deep runs. Some fish can be found sipping adult midges and micro BWOs on the surface. Fun challenge for sure.

Monday, February 8, 2010

(updated) House Bill 10-1188-Passes with 7 to 3 Vote

Bill 10-1188 passed Monday, February 8th 2010, with a 7 to 3 vote. This bill will give River Outfitters, in Colorado, the right to offer float fishing trips trough private property. Outfitters and guides will be protected under state law when incidental trespass occurs. This would be the case if a raft or drift boat bumps a bank or rock. This would also allow a guide to portage around a hazard or obstacle. Float fishing is all about respect for the environment, the fish and private property.

click this link or cut and paste it to see the Bill


image: Quick lunch break for the guides and guests on a chunk of public US Forest Service land that is locked by private property on all four sides.Rio Grande River near Creede Colorado

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

snow up to your...

After it dumps 35-inches in 4 days you go ride or ski right? No no, head for the creek. We post-holed, nearly set off an avalanche, made a ton of casts and had a blast. Durango Colorado did in-fact receive a lot of snow last week. We are now up to %100 of normal snowpack. Not many places in the West can say that. Happy trout come spring and summer.

Haida Gwaii

images: Amanda looking for a late day tug, clarki clarki, the coastal forests of the islands have many secrets (a dead eagle gives off crazy vibes), frosty grass on the banks of the Yakoun, fishing a tight Yakoun run