Canyon River Ranch With Jay “The Bone” Buhner

I’ve always been chided by, well, everybody for my lack of fly fishing expertise.

The sad fact is, I really have no defense to the criticism. Most anglers careers follow some type of meaningful progression. You know, dunking worms as a kid in the local pond to fly fishing in some exotic destination. Unfortunately, my development as an angler was stunted, basically stopping at salmon fishing with herring, essentially using a piece of meat to catch a bigger piece of meat.

So, when the opportunity to cast and blast Canyon River Ranch with Mariner legend Jay Buhner presented itself, I knew I had a challenge ahead of me. The “blast” part of the equation didn’t concern me as much as the “cast” …but, we’ll get back to that later.

I had never been to the Canyon River Ranch before and was pleasantly surprised to find it so close to home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you get there, it’s a unbelievably luxurious and affordable destination that’s just like a slice of Montana less than two hours east of Seattle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I had my black lab Bailey with me, the good folks at the Ranch assigned me the “dog friendly” room… The nicest room the mutt and I ever stayed in, no question about it!

Once we got settled, it was time to check out Red’s Fly Shop. From the outside it looks inviting…

Once inside, Steve Joyce and his crew offer expertise in every aspect of the Canyon River Ranch experience from sporting clays to pheasant hunting to yes, fly fishing!

Your cast and blast adventure at the Canyon River Ranch begins at the crack of 8:30 when the pheasant hunt begins. Here’s Jay Buhner and I with the morning’s batch of roosters. Bailey the black lab was a little reluctant to have her picture taken…

As if by magic, after lunch the drift boats appear waiting to take you down the Yakima River Canyon.

With Canyon River Ranch’s Steve Joyce on the oars, Jay Buhner grabbed the stern of the boat which left the bow for me…and the camera man. This outing will be coming to a TV near you soon in the form of “ProGuide Outdoors” on Root Sports starting in January 2014.

Up ahead lay the Yakima River Canyon. I’ve floated many, many rivers in Washington State and this may be the most unique and beautiful river that this state has to offer.

Jay Buhner is a simply a fly casting machine once the winds came up and we switched from small dry flies to streamers it was “Bone” clinic time. Here’s a fine Yak rainbow.

Rainbow brute #2 goes to…you guessed it. The Bone strikes again and I’m learning that there is a lot more to casting and stripping streamers than you’ld think!

Jay and ProGuide Producer/Editor Russell Cameron of OMG Multimedia share a few thoughts at the end of a fun filled cast and blast day!

I learned more than a few things on this trip. First, Jay Buhner is a great guy and a fanatical fly fisherman. Second, Canyon River Ranch is a wonderful destination, capably operated by a whole bunch of wonderful, knowledgeable people. Lastly, I need to work on my streamer casting technique and as soon as I get this ice bag off my casting shoulder, i’m going to do just that!

 Tom Nelson                                                                                                                      The Outdoor Line                                                                                 www.theoutdoorline.com                                                                                                 710 ESPN Seattle

High Tech Salmon Smoking!!!

I’ve been smoking (and eating) salmon literally my whole life. I’ve been fortunate to travel all over Alaska and have seen how the native Alaskans process & smoke their fish and game so I felt that I had a good handle on the process.

That was until I wrote my salmon smoking process up in blog form Smoking Salmon Simplified and received a multitude of questions that I couldn’t answer!

Basically, all I’ve ever used are the ol’ standby “box and hotplate” electric smokers like the Luhr Jensen Big Chief and Little Chief. All these units do is plug in, get hot and make smoke. There is no thermometer, no heat control…no nothing!

So, when I was asked by readers of the blog what temperatures to smoke fish at… I really had no clue! All I really knew was that smoking fish in the summer was a lot easier than in the winter!

All that was before I got my new Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smokehouse with thermostat, temperature control and a timer… Did I mention the wireless remote control?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once out of the box, it just a few minutes to do some screwdriver “surgery” assembly and you’re almost ready to smoke!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After assembly, you’ll need to break the unit in by bringing it up to temperature and running a tray of chips through. I was amazed that the unit started smoking within five minutes of turning it on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The process now follows my previous blog, Smoking Salmon Simplified and now I can add the handy and interesting concept of actual temperature readings to the recipe!

Don’t forget to air dry your brined fish for 24 hours! the cabinet of the Masterbuilt smoker is simply perfect for this process! Just open the top vent and remove the smoker chip tray to increase air flow and you’re in business!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as you plug it in, the unit displays the interior temp of the unit. For smoking coho I recommend 175 degrees for five or six hours depending on the thickness of your fish.

 

The digital timer will shut the unit off while you’re away and as long as you can find the time to replace the chips a couple times during those six hours…

 

…you should see something like this coming out of your new Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smokehouse from Sportco and Outdoor Emporium!

 

To be honest, I’m just getting started with this unit! I’m smoking pheasants, ducks and possibly a Thanksgiving turkey! How about some smoked venison and/or elk?

I better start shooting straighter before I can promise that!!!

 Tom Nelson                                                                                                                      The Outdoor Line                                                                                 www.theoutdoorline.com                                                                                                 710 ESPN Seattle

New Driftboat – Tricked to the Hilt

By Josiah Darr. When it comes to drift boats there are a fairly endless number of options and accessories available if you have the money and are willing to spend it.

Do you want a metal boat? Fiberglass? Maybe a classic wooden boat? Willie and Koffler make great aluminum boats and Ray’s River Dories makes a wooden boat like none other, but with friends already working for ClackaCraft Drift Boats, knowing how easy they were to row and maneuver, my decision to guide out of a Clack was a no-brainer.

Deciding the model was also a piece of cake. A ClackMax 18’ Sidedrifter with the flat floors and box seating is easily the most versatile and fishermen friendly boat I’ve ever been aboard.

Bill battles another while Ryan, his little brother Owen and their dad Brett look on.

Once the stickers were stuck and the rods were loaded I took to the water. Luckily the fall Chinook fishing here in the Tillamook area has been better than most people ever remember so it didn’t take long to get the boat bloody. And like my warm up trips with friends were supposed to do, they pointed out a few minor oversights in my options and design that I wanted corrected ASAP to dial the boat in even further and essentially create the ultimate river and tidewater killing machine.

Julieanne with her first ever chinook on her first ever trip into the Oregon Coast tidewater.

The first little add-on that was obviously was an oversight when ordering was the fact that there were going to be a lot of times when I needed a kicker besides just the sticks. With a little help from Rodger in shop at Clackacraft and a few minutes the drifter was ready for power.

The small plate Rodger installed not only gave me a place to put my kicker, but it did it in such a way that that I was able to leave the anchor centered. The plate kept the motor just high enough that is cleared the anchor are giving me full mobility. It also kept the motor tipped slightly more upright so the nose of the boat stayed down when I was cruising.

The motor mount easily supports a gas or electric motor.

With the elevated motor mount, the motor can turn freely.

The last little touch I needed just to make the motor mission complete was my prop guard, but not just any prop guard. We’re talking the mother of all prop guards made right here at Clackacraft. Not only is the guard made out of heavy duty galvanized steel right there in the shop, but it’s attached with a compression fitting so no holes need to be drilled in your new kicker. The guard with it’s oversized fin also helped keep the boat plained out when cruising along while deflecting any gravel bars or logs I might hit…..Okay, will hit.

The cage is ready for fish seeking navigation.

The compression fitting only take a few second to install. So easy even I can do it.

Another feature that I quickly realized I couldn’t live without with the bow drop front anchor. It’s so easy to use and when bobber fishing and especially backbouncing. I found out quickly precise boat placement is the difference between one fish and quick limits.

A simple tug on the front anchor rope and the boat settles right into position.

After a trip I realized when I’m running my motor I don’t need the anchor hanging in the way so one more call to the shop and 3-5 business days later the anchor holder was installed and the problem was solved. The anchor is in the water when needed, out of the water and securely stored when it’s not.

The anchor next keep the anchor when fishing or trailering.

Most the extra boat features like a walk-around rowers bench, upgraded Lamiglas oars and the holes drilled for the ability to place and secure the seat boxes depending on the type of fishing and type of fishermen were all already taken care of, but a few more little tweaks to the boat once it was out and fishing took the brand new Clackacraft from a really nice boat to one of the most functional boats on any river, anywhere.

The counterbalanced Lamiglas oars were an easy decision.

When it all comes together, it’s a beautiful thing!

Nate with his first ever backbounced chinook.

It doesn’t get much better than big chinook on the coast in the sun!

World Class boats for world class rivers….

If you’re interested in fishing the Tillamook area rivers for either salmon or steelhead out of my new Clackacraft give me a shout at (206) 660-1490. Fish On!

Josiah Darr – Outdoor Line “Young Gun”
JDarr’s Guided Fishing
Tillamook, Oregon
(206) 660-1490

Middle Schooler Scores First Black Bear

After two years of perseverance hunting the rugged west slope of the Cascades in Whatcom County 14 year old Justin Miedema finally got a chance at his first black bear. Justin took the 250 pound black bear at 370 yards with a 140 grain bullet from his .270. “The bear just folded after the shot,” said Eric Vanhofwegen who was along on the hunt.

I’m sure Justin was already hooked on hunting to begin with, but after this great black bear I know exactly what he’ll be doing every fall from here on out. He’ll be hunting!

Kudos to his dad Brian for getting him hooked on hunting at such an early age. Great job you guys!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Blacktail Scouting With Our 2 Year Old

It kind of sounds like an oxymoron when you first read it. Scouting with a 2 year old…really???

She isn’t actually two yet, but at 20 months she’s close enough. This is our third trip into the woods now and I’ll admit the first two were a little rough.

On our first voyage we walked around two miles behind a locked gate with Ava riding in our Bob jogging stroller. I picked some chantrelle mushrooms along the way and I scoped out the edge of a clear cut before we had to go…like right now. If you’ve got little ones at home you can probably guess what happened. It was bad, really bad. Thankfully I brought a change of clothes for Ava. I wasn’t so lucky though and ended up shirtless all the way back to the truck. Wow!

Our second adventure went much more smoothly and we were able to ride in on the mountain bike this time with Ava riding shotgun in the kiddo trailer. It was her first time in the trailer and she enjoyed the ride as long as she had her favorite sippy cup, a snack cup full of Goldfish, and her favorite stuffed monkey.

We rode approximately 3 miles behind a gate to an old clear cut that’s grown up a lot the last couple of years. It holds a lot of blacktails, however, so I tossed her up onto my shoulders and we did a rather quick half hour lap around the entire clear cut looking for sign. Nada…nothing…not a damn thing!

She was getting a little fussy so we piled back onto the bike and cruised back to the truck to head home and have some Spaghetti’O’s!

Since then she’s been climbing in the kiddo bike trailer on a near-daily basis and yelling “Go!” along with some other jibberish that I can’t quite make out. She’s already turning into a little outdoor girl, so I hope.

With that encouragement from Ava I loaded up the truck this morning with the bike, trailer, kiddo snacks, stuffed animals, and a diaper bag full of necessities and we once again headed for the hills.

Upon arriving at the gate I got Ava all geared up with animal cookies, Goldfish, her sippy cup, and her monkey and off we went on another scouting mission cloaked as a bike ride. She was quite content in the trailer today so I rode as quickly as I could, getting us in about four miles behind the locked gate. It’s a fairly easy ride behind this gate and it didn’t take us long to cover the distance.

Ava ended up on my shoulders again and off we went for a lap around yet another clear cut in search of the elusive blacktail deer. We didn’t walk 25 feet before we ran into our first blacktail rub…

We poked around the area a little bit and found more rubs like this one on the backside of this small alder tree.

Here’s where the buck stopped to tickle this alder with his antlers before heading on down the trail. It’s not a huge rub, but it’s blacktail sign that you definitely can’t ignore.

The weather was absolutely perfect today and Ava sang the whole time as we walked around this big clear cut looking for sign. There were doe tracks all over the place and also a few more rubs on small saplings in the clear cut. I think we found what we were looking for!

Towards the end of our walkabout I noticed a subtle disturbance in the pine needles and dirt that turned out to be a really good blacktail buck track. It’s kind of hard to tell from the photo, but you can definitely make out the dew claws and the hooves in the pine needles. This is a dandy!

Even though Ava was happy as a lark I figured we had better get going so as not to push it too far with her today.

I’m constantly scanning for sign on these forays into the forest and on the way out I spotted this rub on a small tree. I took the picture from the road to show you how well these rubs can blend in. If you don’t know what you’re looking for it’s easy to walk right on by. It’s on the bottom of the largest branch in the photo. After checking it out I used my binoc’s to scan the tree line along the edge of the clear cut and sure ‘nuf…there were more rubs on quite a few of the alders. When the rut starts this place will be crawling with blacktails.

It takes some extra effort and obviously a lot of precautions, but it’s definitely possible to get out with your kids and get some exercise all the while scouting for deer. I chose the right weather days and always made the trip mid-morning so that we wouldn’t blow any deer out of the area. And of course I didn’t expect to stay out all day…just a few hours at best.

I’ll do my usual trip to eastern Washington for opening weekend in search of mule deer and won’t worry too much about these blacktails until they really start to rut in a couple of weeks. You simply won’t see many mature blacktails until then anyway. Towards the end of the regular season, however, I’ll be out just about every day in search of these elusive deer. After today’s clues they’ll be a lot easier to find when that time comes.

If you’re still looking for you’re first blacktail here’s a few tips that might help…6 Tips for Taking a Late Season Blacktail.

With hunting season starting this weekend I won’t make any more trips into the woods with Ava this fall. Our adventures thus far have been wonderful though and I’m looking forward to our next one…whatever it may be.

Best of luck to everyone this hunting season. This is by far my favorite time of year!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

 

It’s a “Butt Out” Honey!

When I marched into the house with my new “Butt Out” field dressing tool from Hunter’s Specialties a few hunting seasons ago my wife gave me the look like…”now what?”

“It’s the most innovative field dressing tool since the invention of the knife honey”, I announced in the kitchen as I held it up to the light so we could both view my newhunting tool in all it’s glory. All I got was a sigh…my signal to head for the garage and plant the Butt Out firmly in my…hunting pack.

If you’ve ever field dressed a deer or an elk you know how difficult it is to remove the anal canal from the animal. It usually involves splitting the pelvis with a bone saw and then it takes a lot of force to split the pelvis wide enough to remove the canal. With the Butt Out, however, this task takes less than 10 seconds.

To highlight just how simple this process is here’s a short one minute video from Hunter’s Specialties on how to operate this awesome field dressing tool. Don’t watch this manly video, however, if you’re a total sissy and squishing an annoying fly makes you squeemish.

Using the Butt Out Field Dressing Tool from Hunter’s Specialties

With the general rifle opener coming up here in Washington in less than two weeks you owe it yourself and your hunting partners to pick one of these awesome field dressing tools. Trust me, I’ve used mine on two deer now and it work’s awesome. Plus…the Butt Out makes for some good laughs around the campfire!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle