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Sunday, December 14, 2008

American Fly Co.

Customer appreciation day at American Fly Co. in Sacramento.  

Adam Bigelsen of Big Fly productions rocked the house with some live tunes.  Andy Burk was also on hand tying some flies and displaying some of his art work.
I got to show some preview clips from my upcoming release FISH EYE 4 Through Anglers Eyes
A couple people actually watched some of those clips and even pretended like they enjoyed them!
Charlie Bisharat, Jamie Lyle and Daren all having a good time outside. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fall in the foothills

Ahh....Fall in the foothills.  What a great time of year.  Browns are spawning, Kokanee are dancing and rainbows are looking to fatten up for the winter.  Misty clouds hug the hill sides and Eagles sour overhead looking for a snack.  Turkey's and deer are a hiding out and bears are on the prowl.  Couldn't be a better time to get out and do a little fishing with the family.  Here's some photos from one of my brother and I's outings in Calaveras.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SF Casters

Gave my first slide show on the 08 trip to Mongolia this past weekend at the San Francisco Casters club lodge in Golden Gate part.  Many thanks to my friend Bob Porter of Flyfishinglifeonline magazine for having me down.  What a killer lodge and a great club with such heritage.  It was a privilege to be there.  Thanks Bob!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

War Path Flies

Looking for some cool custom flies?  Check out some of the super custom, super deadly designs from Brent Dawson at War Path Flies.  Brent hand ties all the flies and sells direct to fisherman and shops.  Brent specializes in salt water and large game fish patterns, but also has a few key designs for trout, stripers, and large mouth.  If your planning on going on a trip, Brent likes to do customized packages for specific destinations.   I've personally fished Brent's flies in Mexico, The Amazon, Mongolia, Panama, and around California for trout and bass.  War Path was my go to source for exploratory fishing off shore in Panama.   His bugs were the only thing big enough to get the attention of the larger game fish like Tuna, Roosters, Wahoo, and Sail Fish.  They were also our go to source for Mongolia this year.  The Tamahawk jig head streamer was deadly.  We got over 90% of our Taimen on that fly alone.  Another good incentive to order from Brent is that, because all the proceeds go directly to him, he can afford to give 25% of all profits to fishing conservation efforts around California.  Keep it local, keep it hand tied and support creativity and art through fly-fishing.  

Color selections for the Tamahawk minnow.  
A few of the different styles Brent specializes in. 
These trout and bass streamers always ride hook up.  They work well as a sculpin or bull head.  
Brent's bill fish flies are unparalleled.  
Brent also makes custom flies for Shark fishing.  
The crease popper walks on water.  It's easy to throw and makes a big splash. 
For more info on War Path Flies, contact Brent directly at
or 408 836 1242

Monday, November 3, 2008

On the Rise

Spent the first few days of last week up in Truckee filming with Frank Smethurst and his crew for the Trout Unlimited T.V. show, "On the Rise".  It was a great few days and from what the film crew said, some of the best fishing they have had this year!  Our local tahoe crew was Dave Lass, John Roberts, Richard Anderson, and myself fishing.  Keith Brauneis came out to shoot some still photos.  We fished with Frank for three days on the Little Truckee river.  The weather was great and the fish were happy.  We had good hatches mid day and were able to take nice rainbow's and browns on dries, nymphs and even a couple on streamers.  

The goal of the show is to entertain and also raise awareness for local environmental issues that Trout Unlimited is working to mitigate.  In this episode, while we fished the LT, we talked about trout unlimited as well as other local advocates recent efforts to close an illegal ATV trail that was creating unnecessary erosion into the LT.   The trail comes down a steep hill and leads riders into the upper meadow.  There had been many complaints of people riding bikes and ATV's through the river and creating conflicts with fisherman and guides.  Recent efforts from concerned fisherman in conjunction with TU, have gotten the trail closed.  There's so many other places to ride around the area.  It's a good compromise and balance between off roader's and fishermen.  Keep an eye out for our episode this spring on the outdoor channel.  

A big thanks goes out to Dave Lass and all his efforts in this area!!!  Check out the TU California video if you haven't already and become a TU member!  

Frank, John Roberts and Powder the dog.
Frank's the star! He's a hell of a fisherman and great advocate for the fisheries.  
Frank was putting a hurt on those LT browns.  He got a nice fish on a streamer right off the bat.
This brown really wanted to be on camera.  When i first hooked him, the camera's were busy with another shot.  I started fishing again and no more than 10 minutes later, the same fish jumped on the line again.  It was incredible!  He really wanted his couple minutes of fame.  I've only seen that happen one other time on the LT, with a client, in 10 years!!  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friends of the River

This past weekend I attended the annual Friend of the River Banquette and awards dinner honoring Yvon Chouinard and Bill Lockyer.  I've always been a fan of Friends of the River and feel they are doing good work.  When Bjorn dropped me a line to see if i'd be interested in donating a guide trip to their silent action to help raise money for their causes, of course i said yes.  

Friends of the river was founded in 1973 during the struggle to save the Sanislaus River.  Now they are a Nationally recognized organization famous for their depth of expertise in river ecology and for developing innovative and successful grassroots campaigns to help protect California's waterways.   Friends of the River has led successful campaigns to protect the Tuolumne, Kern, Merced, Upper Klamath, Kings, American, Carson, Walker, Sisquoc and other rivers, as well as Big Sur creek, Cache and Sespe.  If you car about the future of our rivers and would like to see them keep flowing free, i urge you to become a member.  

The dinner was held at the historic officers club at the Precidio in San Francisco.   It was a heck of a night.  A great crowd and excellent atmosphere.  The annual banquette serves as a forum to say thanks to the loyal and dedicated donors that the success of Friends of the River depend on and also help generate more revenue through a silent and live auction to keep the efforts going.  Another focus of the event was to honor a couple influential environmentalist for their respective contributions.   This year, the Peter H. Behr award went to Bill Lockyer, California's Treasurer, for his work on helping stop the Auburn Dam.  The Mark Dubious Award went to Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia clothing, for his great contributions to the environment world wide.  
Here's Yvon receiving the award.  That's Royal Robbins on the right in the crowd.  
There was a standing ovation that lasted for minutes after Yvon was done speaking.  
Yvon with his river rock award.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Super Hopper Dropper

Here's a little instructional piece i put together to help show people how to use my Hop-icator fly and the super hopper dropper system.  It's a great rig for trout fishing and takes the place of traditional indicator fishing.  The main advantages of the rig are that you can catch fish on the indicator, you don't need splitshots, it's easy to cast and it complies with team USA fishing rules.  I've been using this set up for a few years now and it has worked great in a variety of different fishing situations.  I use different sizes of hop-icators to hold up the different amounts of weight i need depending on the depth and current speed of the area i'm fishing.  I've tied a variety of weighted nymphs, mostly using tungsten.  They are the "bomb" that gets into the zone.  I don't always fish an additional dropper, but if i do, i have a variety of non weighted, more realistic flies i like to choose from.  The key to making the system work well, that's not mentioned in the video, is balancing the weight.  You have to have the right size hopper to work with different amounts of weight.  The bigger size can hold up as much as two ab shots.  The smallest one works best with one bb.  If your using the hop-icator with weighted flies, or splitshot, just experiment until you have enough weight to get your flies down near the bottom quick, without drowning the hopper.  The hop-icator is currently available in sizes, 8, 10 and 12 from Idylwilde flies along with my split wing foam hopper.  They also have four of my favorite nymph patters including the caramel and lime caddis pupa, mint chocolate nymph, Cherry chocolate nymph and three flavors of sprinkles. Best way to get your hands on these flies is to request them at your local fly shop.  If they don't have them in stock, please encourage them to make an order.  The hop-icator is a great fly for fishing out of a drift boat or wading and will float all day.  This video illustrates how i like to fish the rig, but i highly encourage getting creative and experimenting with different techniques that fit your personal fishing style.  

Video shot by Paul Water.
Edited by Mikey Wier.  See this and other instructional segments in the upcoming release of FISH EYE 4.  
Check out the flies or request a catalog at

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lurking in the Shadows

Spent this past weekend fishing down in the Valley.  For a couple years now, Charlie Bisharat has been sending me some wicked flies.  Finally this weekend, our schedules alined and i made it out for some quality fishing time with Charlie.  Charlie loves tying flies and fishing with the flies he has made.  His mission these days is to get a record striper on top water.  His new Pole Dancer fly is a likely candidate to do just that.  It walks and wiggles across the top of the water like no other.  We spent our first night fishing with Mike Costello out on the Delta.  Mike is one of the hardest working guides in California and really knows the Delta as well as many of the other waters in the central valley and foothills.  Mike took us out to some good lies, but the wind just didn't lay down for us.  Charlie and Mike fished the poppers hard for only a two blow ups and no fish landed.  It was still a great night full of conversation and laughter.  

The next day found us on the American River with Charlie Gonzales of Big Valley Guide service. The America is one of Bisharat's main stomping grounds and the major testing area for many of his striper fly patterns, including the Pole Dancer, Air Head and craft fur minnow.  The day started out as a beautiful morning.  We were on the water before the hot valley sun came up over the hill.  We had about an hour of calm, then the evil east wind kicked back into effect. Cold blowing wind makes the top water fishing considerably more difficult.  That didn't stop Charlie from trying though.  The green belt that surrounds the America has become a major refuge for wild life that cling onto their historic range in the central valley.  The highlight of the day for me, was seeing 8 different river otters, a muskrat, coyote, deer, osprey and some cute little squirrels playing along the banks.

Top water fishing is a tough game.  You really have to put the time into it.  It takes dedication. You might fish hard all day for one fish.  But, when you do get a blow up, it's so spectacular, that it's probably worth more than the couple fish you might have hooked on streamers.   Charlie was really working hard and putting in the time sticking to his guns with the Pole Dancer.  I was intent on filming every cast to get that blow up.  About half way through the float though, the light got really glared out.  The wind and chop made it almost impossible to get a good shot on the top of the water.  I decided to take a little break from filming and just take it all in. Charlie suggested that i grab his back up rod that was equipped with a rainbow flavored Air Head.  I figured what the hell, i'd never fished the American for Stripers and had always wanted to.  I threw a few cast out with his back up 10wt Xi2.  We were in a long froggy section with some clay heads submerged throughout a deep run.  I chucked out a cast from the back of the drift boat and let it settle into the water column.  I can't remember if it was just as i started to strip, or just as i grabbed the line to strip, but all of a sudden, there was a huge THUD!  I reefed back on him and his initial run almost stripped Charlies rod from my hand.  After a few blazing runs and some frantic moves on my part, I managed to regain my composure and put the boots to him.  It was an epic fight, but eventually the giant fish tired and i was able to lip him.  We put the boca on him and he weighed in at just over 19 lbs.  My biggest striper on a fly!!! Hell of a treat for a day I wasn't even expecting to fish.  I told those guys I'd trade 10 American river steelhead for that one take and fight.  I almost feel bad fishing for the steelhead some times these days.  With the state of Salmonids and how poor the salmon return is this year, it's starting to worry me if we will even have steelhead much longer.  Stripers on the other hand are totally invasive and non native to California.  I can't feel bad one bit ruining one of their days.  Especiallywhen you start to think what a threat they pose to young trout, steelhead and salmon.  Striper are the monsters lurking in the dark shadows just waiting for some small fish to make a bad move.  

For guided fishing on the American, Contact Charlie at
Charlie Bisharat's flies, including the Air Head, are available from Umpqua feather merchants. 

My personal biggest stiper on the fly.
Charlie G. is a great guide and excellent host.  
Air Heads rock!  In fact, this one caught this 6lber off the bottom of the river.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lost in Time

The River Time Forgot

We each flew thousands of miles to see something no westerners had ever seen. From the plane I could see Russia and parts of it were remote and beautiful. Others totally logged and clogged with industry. The land in China is almost totally utilized. No acre left untouched. Once over Mongolia, it opens out into the vest expanses of the Gobi. The desert is a barren but beautiful barrier that has protected Mongolia for centuries from the outpouring of China. The heart land of Mongolia is green and forested on the north slops of the many hills with native larch trees. Flying over almost the width of the entire country I didn’t see a single fence bigger than just a small horse corral.

There are very few places left on earth were you can experience true exploration. Northern Mongolia is one of the places that have remained under the radar and out of the guidebooks until recently when the Iron Curtin was finally lifted. This is why it is one of the last strongholds for native salmonids like the Hucho Taimen and Lennok, as well as other species like Mongolian Greyling, Chipock and Ameur Pike. It is these native fishes that still thrive in their native habitats that first drew me there two years ago. On our first expedition, Peter Mullett, Genevieve Villimizar and I discovered a little known river in the middle of nowhere that turned out to be a fisherman’s paradise. The water was clear, cold and undisturbed by meat hunting anglers and mine water pollution. The deep cold pools gave refuge to many large wild fish. The canyon walls were home to many eagles and other native wildlife. It was a wild landscape and intact ecosystem that westerners could only dream and reminisce about in this day and age. Each corner of the river we turned lead us to another beautiful pool and more healthy fish. Our limited time there left us each wondering what was just around the next corner?

Fast-forward two years and many hours of research later. When Peter called me to say he and his Mongolian partner had secured the necessary permissions and sussed out all the details to float the entire river system, of course I said I was in. We were going to attempt to be the first group to ever float and fish the river. The allure of native fish, majestic pools and unspoiled landscapes drawing me back like a magnet. It didn’t take long to assemble a group of adventurous anglers to accompany. Our team consisted of famous fly fisherman Jeff Currier and his long time fishing buddy from college Paul Cavanaugh. Peter and Gen of Mongofly Travel. Brent Dawson, a gifted fly designer from California, and myself. A skilled crew of Mongolia’s lead by Chimbat Chulumm, including a cook, interpreter and young Mongolian named Hugagaa, also accompanied us.

It is fall in Mongolia and the water is now low and clear. Armed with nothing more than fishing rods, cameras, camping gear and an inherent belief that everything would be o.k., we headed off into the wild. Over 120 miles of untouched river and 16 days of adventure laid before us. There is no paved roads, no bridges, no fences, no signs, no stores, no hatcheries and no rules.

The Mongolian countryside is vast and beautiful. The locals are nomadic herdsmen that keep careful watch over their flocks of sheep, goats, yak, camel and horses. Ancient traditions still prevail and a mix of Buddhism and Shamanism is the preferred method of connecting with god. Traditional food sources still abound, including many native plants that grow along the rivers bank, like potatoes, garlic, onion, mushrooms, rhubarb, mint and berries. If it weren’t for the solar panels on the Yurts and the occasional motorcycle, you’d think you had stumbled into the 1800’s or even earlier.

The fishing was awesome! The river was full of Lenok up the 25 inches. They are a hearty fish that bites flies well and could keep any angler entertained for hours. Once you get a taste of a Taimen on the end of you line though, its hard to go back to Lenok fishing. The Taimen is the top notch predator. They eat a fly well and pull out all the stops to get free. With a rock hard, and awesomely powerful jaw and a huge toothy mouth, the odds are more often than not, in their favor. It’s all you can do to just hold on when you finally do hook one. It wasn’t until day 3 that Brent finally landed one. Our group ended up boating around 60 Taimen on the trip, which is unheard of. Countless lenock, some greyling and even a few pike made up the rest of the catch. The fishing was by no means easy though. Taimen take a long time to grow and need a big section of river to support each large fish. Even the healthiest systems can only support so many of them. I don’t think we caught half the ones we saw!

I never thought I’d meet someone who is more turbo about fishing than me, but I now think that Jeff Currier may be that guy. He’s a real predator. From sun up to sun down Paul and him were out there getting after it. I spent much of my time rowing for Brent, climbing cliffs and spotting fish, and filming, but I did manage to get some quality fishing time in too. On about day 10 I managed to land the fish of the trip with a nice fat healthy Taimen that was hard to lift out of the water. It was a fine retribution for the monster I had lost on my last trip. Peter also had a whale rise to his popper, but couldn’t seal the deal.

Mongolia lends itself well to camping. Every night we set up a new camp along the river. Stories of the day’s events unfolded around the campfire over a nice big dinner and sips of beer or vodka. There’s nice dry wood everywhere and the only signs of anyone camping there when we left was a small pile of ash. I love nothing more than sleeping out under the stars, thought the nights there were bitter cold. Most of the mornings I woke up covered in ice.  Much thanks to Patagonia for their generous contribution of warm gear before I left.
The locals were stoked to see us. They all come running out to see the stranger people in the fancy boats floating down the river waving sticks. Most of them tried to invite us into their yurts to feed us or show us their belongings. Many of them tried to get us to ride their horses. Paul gave the kid’s hakky sacks and the other Mongolian’s handed out candy. We gave many of them the ultimate treat by simply taking their photo. They are very nice people and curious about our western ways.  And I was even more curious about their way of life.  

Right now many parts of Mongolia remain unspoiled, but the country is rapidly changing. Luckily, Mongolia’s haven’t traditionally eaten fish, so the populations have remained relatively intact. Now, huge open pit mines are popping up and ruining rivers at an alarming rate. Also, a new and growing Chinese’s market for fish is putting huge pressure on the river in the form of winter poaching. Part of Peter’s program is not only to go out and catch fish, but also to educate the local people about what a wonderful resource they have and help spread the mentality of conservation. In addition to collecting data for research about Taimen, we also spend time trying to start the grass roots of a conservation movement in the area. With our photos and my film, Peter and Chimbat have arranged to do a big exposition around Northern Mongolia next year to help educate the locals about catch and release fishing and the over all long term benefits of eco tourism as a means of revenue, instead of the alternative of mining or commercial fish harvesting and unsustainable trophy hunting. At the end of our trip I attended a meeting with Peter at the department of environment in Mongolia and shared with them ideas for future preservation of their resources. Prospects for the future sound promising, but it’s going to take more than just legislation. We also met with Andy Parkinson of Fish Mongolia and he has some great ideas as well. The main and best form of grass roots conservation is empowering the local people to have a stake in the resource hence giving them an incentive to police their local areas and stop destructive poaching at the source. For more on Mongolia, fishing, or conservation, contact Peter Mullett at

Mikey Wier

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The River Time Forgot

Well, bags are packed, bills are paid and I'm out the door. After working 16 hour days for the past 3 weeks to prepare for this trip ( pay bills while gone), I'm finally off. It's going to be a very welcome break to be back out in the Mongolian out back and searching for Taimen. Here's a few photos from our last expedition to wet the pallet for what's to come. I get all nostalgic just looking at them. Chimbat's camp
Mr. Taimen Jr.
The Wasp
Peter Bombing a popper

My life style for the next three weeks
What a great way to spend a day
Making taimen creatures at night
The stars in Mongolia are amazing

All photo Courtesy of Corey

Juniper Tree

Finally finished this painting. It's an acrylic on canvas I've been slowly working of for the past year and a half. I made the canvas using extra cloth from a tee pee. I stretched it over some extra red wood that was lying around my dad's place. It's taken over 15, 2 to 4 hour sessions. It's got playa dust in it from the black rock desert and has been worked on to live music at high sierra music festival. Not to mention many an art and wine night in my neighborhood.

This is a juniper tree like the ones that grow on the passes around here. There's more to a tree than just what you see. I wanted to show like a cross cut. A deeper look. These trees have deep roots to keep them from being pushed over. Everything twists out from the burl. Part of it reaching deeper into the earth. Moving rocks and looking for water. Part of it reaching high into the sky to eat as much sun shine as possible. It's kind of idealistic California. The sky is super blue with no con trails. The veins of rock are undisturbed by machinery and still hide fossils that tell an even older story. Even the top soil and duff layer are undisturbed and still provide habitat to snow flowers. The tree is perfectly healthy with no intrusions from bugs or scared broken limbs. There isn't even a sign of a fire in this tree's history. It lives in a perfect world. It's a happy little tree as Bob Ross would say.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Leopard Sharks

A couple weeks ago, i was invited down to the California coast to shoot some Leopard Sharks. My uncle is a renowned bee keeper and was working on a shoot for the Discovery Channel.  He mentioned to the producer that he knew of a spot that he discovered while sea kayaking where lots of leopard sharks gather.  The producer was very interested, but wanted to see some proof of the density of the sharks and weather you could film them without chumming.  

After a couple days of searching and a few good surf sessions in-between, we finally located the sharks.  Next thing i knew, i was standing in my little canoe surrounded by hundreds of leopard sharks.  Here's the resulting footage. 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fish Art

Here's some random fish art from Burning Man.