The perfect trout season?
As the year comes to an end I wanted to say thanks for your business in 2016. I really appreciate everyone's support this year. 2016 brought some changes to our staffing to help improve efficiency. Most of you know that Bo shifted out of the guiding arena to manage the guide service and be in the shop full-time. This big step for both Bo and us really improved the management of the schedule and brought more consistency to our team. We added Kelby Braun to the crew this spring which was also a big help with shop staffing and additional guide team support. This also allowed Jon to enjoy some more retirement time fishing and hanging with his grandkids.
Jake Hood took over our lead Spokane River guide position and Travis De Boer took over the Grande Ronde as lead steelhead guide. These changes to our guiding allowed us to accommodate anglers schedules more often, especially with our long time guide Britten Jay and new guide team member Bjorn Ostby's help. New to our Idaho guide crew was Scott Ross and Bill Johnson, both who did very well on the cutthroat streams. Heather Hodson continues to lead our women's classes and has done a great job recruiting the ladies and creating a less intimidating entry to this complex sport. Veteran shop employee Andy Breneman continues to teach the future fly anglers with our monthly classes during the season. All things technical is led by my brother Mike which is website, IT, and accounting matters. Without his brain power I'd be doing things old school with pen and paper, lol. This excellent crew has made for a super solid shop team and without them we would not have the business we have today.
There was a lot of concern this year about lack of water again which many of us worried for a repeat of 2015's drought conditions. While it certainly was on the light side of things, overall I feel that we had a pretty darn good trout season. We didn't have a crazy huge runoff which allowed us to fish the Idaho streams through April and May, traditionally these months can be in full blown spring melt. Those months, if fishable, are arguably the best of the season because of the intensity of hatches, temps, and hungry trout. As the summer progressed we had enough rain in June to keep the rivers flowing through the summer. Coupled with cooler air temps it really helped out the light snowpack situation and kept more rivers open for fishing across the west. Fall rains caused some rivers to go up more than normal, but it never did slow down the action. In my opinion, it was an almost perfect season.
The steelhead season had a lot of anglers hanging their heads low this year. This was probably the only sore spot for anglers chasing anadromous fish. It reminding me more of years past (prior 2009). Those that knew where fish traditionally like to lay, and fished hard, were rewarded the most. While catch numbers were not huge, the fish size overall has been.
I'm optimistic that 2017 will be another good year. We have met with our reps and placed our orders so the shop will continue to be full with the latest and greatest. As long as the water cooperates for us it should be a fun season. We have a big project that Mike is wrapping up and we are excited to be re-launching our online store this winter. We have been without it for quite sometime and are looking forward to having the ability to fulfill your fly fishing needs 24/7 with our online store. Look for updates this winter as we re-launch the shopping cart.
Happy New Year's and here's to a fish-full 2017!
- Sean Visintainer