Spotlight: Cooking up Fish with Teddy Cosco.

British Columbia is famous for its beautiful scenery. One can find their self feeling at home in the province’s unique mix of high alpine lakes and anadromous rivers surrounded by forests. Even in Vancouver, the province’s largest city, you can find the scenery switch from urban streets and multistory buildings to towering trees and coldwater rivers within a twenty minute drive.

Photo Courtesy of Teddy Cosco

When he’s not working as a university professor in Vancouver, Teddy Cosco can be found somewhere in British Columbia’s wide expanse of public lands and provincial parks.

Growing up in Whitehorse, Yukon, Teddy spent his childhood fishing with his two younger brothers. On his family-owned-and-operated hunting outfit, young Teddy had a fly fisherman’s heaven for a backyard. He attended Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and although he was receiving an excellent education, he fell out of fly fishing.

“The fishing scene’s just different in the U.K,” Cosco explains. “You pay over a hundred dollars to have your own reserved spot on the river, and it’s usually not that much water to cover.”

During his spare time, what he did do more of was hunting. Cosco hunted frequently and would cook his kills. This is when he began experimenting with recipes.

Photo Courtesy of Teddy Cosco

After graduating from Oxford, he settled in Vancouver. He talks about how he fishes for all five species of salmon, steelhead, cutthroats and rainbow trout. His stories are descriptive, each one unique. He explains that his favorite fish to target is the winter-run steelhead, and as he talks about it I envision the rivers the steelhead frequent; miles of forests, moving water and the occasional angler performing a two-handed cast over and over again until they find themselves a steelhead.

“My wife is a vegetarian so she doesn’t eat the animals I bring home.” They found common ground in their weekend bike rides and backpacking trips, which allowed Teddy to continue his fishing. “We always prepare food that can be its own meal without the fish. That way we don’t depend on catching what we eat.”

Cosco elaborates on why this idea is crucial to the success of their weekend trips: “One time in the spring, we hiked around 700 meters up in elevation to find this backcountry lake and when we got there it was still frozen over, so it’s really nice to have a backup meal plan.”

Pesto Pasta with Pan Fried Trout, Photo Courtesy of Teddy Cosco

Cosco’s adventures have been shared with the world on his Instagram platform @castandiron, and have been for just over a year. His trips are impressive and may inspire some to get more creative with their camp cooking, as well as with their travels.

You’re living the dream Teddy!

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing

Read: Chris Dorsey’s $70,000 Fish

Chris Dorsey is an avid outdoorsman and fly fishing is one of his many recreational activities. In an article he wrote for Forbes, he describes his experience targeting bonefish on the fly rod. So why a $70,000 fish? Read more about these saltwater flats fish at his article here.

Man fishing
Photo courtesy of John MacGillivray

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing

The 25th Annual Truckee River Day is Here!

Truckee River Day is a one-day event that’s been taking place since 1996. It provides a great opportunity for people to come out and get some good fishing juju under their belt by giving back to the river.

The event usually involves buckets and shovels, but this year will be quite a bit different. Instead of one day, it’s three (October 16, 17 and 18)! The Truckee River Watershed Council has decided that this year will be a celebration of what has already been done. Instead of working on one riverside site, there will be ten sites to visit, and the job for those who come out to participate is to get outside and appreciate what’s already been done for our river.

Keep in mind that browns are still in spawn-mode, so avoid shallow gravel sections and keep an eye out for redds!

For more information, visit the Truckee River Watershed Council’s website here.

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing

A Big Green Light for Southern California’s Steelhead

As trout anglers in and around the Lake Tahoe region, we love our hard-fighting wild fish. The feeling of a sizable rainbow moving downstream and making powerful head shakes is what drives us out of bed in the mornings. What if there was a rainbow trout even more hardcore than our wild McCloud strain? Well, that award would, without doubt, go to the steelhead.

Pacific steelhead are the ideal cross between salmon and trout. They are born in anadromous rivers and tributaries, then work their way to the ocean, where they spend a few years bulking up and dodging predators.

They then come back to the river they were born in to continue the life cycle and spawn. Unlike salmon, steelhead are able to spawn three or four times before they die. Because of their usual four to six year lifespan, they can get big.

A steelhead trout in a shallow creek
One of an estimated 400 remaining southern steelhead, photo courtesy of Mark Capelli

Unfortunately, steelhead have been driven out of much of their native range, particularly in Southern California. There are currently estimated to be around 400 southern steelhead left on Earth. If you drove south from Alaska, you’d notice that steelhead are more and more scarce the further south you drive, right to Los Angeles.

There’s still hope for southern steelhead though! Biologists and engineers are teaming up to reconstruct a five-mile stretch of the Los Angeles river flood channel to prime it for spawning steelhead. With any luck, steelhead should be able to once again spawn in a more natural place, and their population is expected to increase once the project is finished.

Learn more about what’s being done to help the critically endangered southern steelhead at this L.A Times article.

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing

Plucking the Guitar String: how a Hawaiian hotel worker helped me land my personal best brown trout.

The wading was difficult in my sandals. It had rained the night before, and that smokeless day on the river was the first I had seen in weeks. Consistently catching fish, but nothing big yet. After a short break, I was looking for a fish to end the day with.

Photo provided by Ryan Rintala

When I set the hook I knew I had found a good one. A second after the fish found itself with a hook in the corner of its mouth, it flew out of the water, traveling several feet through the air. Even mid-flight, I could see it was a big brown. The dark back and yellow flash gave him away long before he was landed. The fish jumped once more and when the hook still held it tried another tactic: it swam down to the bottom and parked.

I stood in a foot of water, looking over the drop-off the fish headed toward. I saw nothing down there. My rod was bent to nearly to its cork and I couldn’t move the fish. For several seconds I watched the rod tip; it was motionless.

A Hawaiian hotel worker had taught me about “plucking” years earlier. It’s a tactic used in ocean fishing to get fish out of snags or holes underwater. When a fish stops moving, the angler can pluck their line above the reel like a guitar string. I remembered this strategy and began plucking, moving the line enough for the fish to feel it but not so much as to lose tension.

The fish shot off to the middle of the river, pulling out the line under my control finger and onto the reel. It didn’t stop until it was mid-river and downstream of me. I chased it down, reeling as I walked.

I coaxed him back to me and he swam towards the bushes of algae on the bottom of the shallow, slower water. A turn of the rod tip corrected his path, pulling his head around to where I wanted him to go. His spot pattern caught the sunlight and as he came closer to me I observed every inch of that fish.

Photo provided by Ryan Rintala

The fish was tired. It felt itself being held by the tail, cradled behind the head and moved into shallow water. It was lifted out of the water and held up to a camera. Then it was placed back into the water, and as I cradled it I took a look at the fish I had just landed. A perfect brown. Flawless fins, kyped nose, thick brown spots and a tail the size of my palm. Nothing detracted from his beauty. As it caught its breath, more pictures were taken, and after a few seconds it shot off.

Photo provided by Ryan Rintala

I walked back to the car with a stupid grin on my face. A perfect fish to end a beautiful day in Eastern Idaho.

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing

Angler’s Announcement: important notes regarding fall fishing.

Fall is here, and for us anglers that means two things: the browns are spawning, and so are the kokanee.

Streamers will be fishing the best they have all year, but don’t get too excited. We want to make sure the the fish can spawn in peace to ensure a healthy population in the coming years.

That said, last week the Little Truckee River flows were dropped to 10cfs, extremely low. Spawning browns and kokanee were very vulnerable during this time. Myself and the crew at MHFF wanted to thank each and every angler who left these amazing fish alone during this time.

Since the fish are spawning, we also need to mind where we step in the river. Don’t tread on the redds! We want our future fish, so keep your eyes out for possible spawning areas and avoid them!

Redds are basically fish nests. The eggs are fertilized and covered up by gravel to hatch in the coming months. One can distinguish a redd by its difference in color than the usual river bottom.

Notice the color difference of the gravel. Photo courtesy of Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

By- Ryan Rintala, Social Media @mattheronflyfishing

Landon Mayer’s Dream Stream Defense

Landon Mayer resides in Colorado and spends his free time fly fishing on several of the state’s finest and famous rivers and lakes. As a guide, he is accustomed to the issue of uneducated anglers fishing for spawning trout.

The South Platte is one of the rivers he frequents, and there is a particular three-mile long section known as the Dream Stream. Anglers land sizable fish daily. Because of its opportunity for big fish, the Dream Stream gets quite a lot of pressure from experienced and rookie fly fishers.

Photo Courtesy of Landon Mayer

Fall and spring are important to fish because it’s when trout spawn. Brown trout spawn each fall, sitting in shallow water with a gravel bottom in pairs and digging their redds.

These spawn events are crucial for the continuation of each fish species, and some unethical or uneducated anglers use it as an opportunity to land that trophy fish they’re looking for.

Luckily, Mayer put in some time and organized for educational signs to be placed on the Dream Stream where trout are known to spawn.

Photo Courtesy of Landon Mayer

This should help prevent the issue of anglers targeting spawning trout and help the Dream Stream keep its status as a blue-ribbon trout fishery.

Good work Landon, and thank you!

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing

Truckee River/Lake Tahoe Region Fly Fishing Report-10.02.20

Fishing has been good recently on the Truckee and its surrounding rivers and lakes! We’ve had a few smokeless days of clear skies, but the smoke has returned (this weekend should be good though). Although it may suck for us, the bugs couldn’t be happier. Smoke is making a good substitute for cloud cover, and the baetis are loving it. We are seeing a few Mahogany Dun and October Caddis coming off, and the hatches should only increase as we roll further into fall.

Stunner Truckee River rainbow, photo courtesy of Matt Heron

Flows:

Tahoe City to Truckee: 74 (these should pick up this week)

Truckee to Boca: 90

Boca to Farad: 450

Farad to Stateline: 503

Photo courtesy of Ryan Rintala

Tip: if the bugs are loving the weather, the fish are too! The smoke cover has been a substantial factor regarding fishing, and it has been good lately! We are starting to get fish on streamers, which should pick up significantly after we get some rain or snow. Impressively, fish are still eating hoppers and most likely will until some weather rolls in and daytime temperatures drop. As usual, indicator and tightline nymphing has been the main game. Fish have keyed in more on midges and baetis now, but they’re still eating some big bugs. Downsizing tippet is always a good move, especially with smaller flies.

A Truckee River stud, photo courtesy of Matt Heron.

Good luck out there!

Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing

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