Chef Matt popped into the Lodge for a while today and we chatted a bit about his fishing tales in addition to ranch related culinary items of course! As he was talking, I realized that he should really share some of these stories with you, so here is a guest blog from Chef Matt Campbell.
Hey there Steph,
Sorry I missed you before you left today. I was a little busy landing a 23 inch rainbow when you honked your horn!!! This is the biggest rainbow I have ever caught on the elk and the second biggest fish I have caught period. What a rush! Here is a picture of a nice brookie I landed earlier in the afternoon.
Fishing has been better than ever on the Elk for fall time. Fish are really aware of the coming winter especially after that cold spell. Fall fishing for me is the time of light tippet, flawless presentations, and offering big meals to hungry aggressive fish fattening up for the winter. Sometimes a big meal is just to hard for fish to pass up this time of year. In the fall fish tend to leave there homes in the runs and riffles of a freestone river and stack up in the larger deep holes. Fish can be very easily spooked so stealthiness is more important than ever with low water levels and extremely clear water. This time of year I use fluorocarbon tippet especially on sunny days where regular tippet can refract light and spook fish. During the fall I concentrate on stone fly nymphs, baetis, and streamer patterns for fly choices on the elk, but anything has the potential to work. The patterns of choice for this week were size 14 to 16 golden stones, and a baetis version of the always popular pheasant tail nymph is sizes 18 to 20.
After a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park and then to a fly fishing guide school in Livingston Montana I feel especially in tuned to what fish want and where they are located. At the school I was exposed to running drift boats and jet boats, advanced fly casting, fly tying, essential knots, wilderness first aid, reading water, mock guiding practices, jet boat maintenance and many other valuable skills. I don’t know if I would ever be a full time guide but all the skills acquired should really help me to excel in one of my other passions in life next to cooking and wine. The food picture is a little outdoor gourmet cooking I whipped up on my road trip. It was a maple glazed pork cutlet with seared plums, garlic mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas (refined version coming to you soon on a Vista Verde menu).
As for wine some of my recent favorites are Gruet sparkling wines out of New Mexico which rival many traditional French champagne but without the hefty price tag. (the Blanc De Noir is especially delicious) Another good one which some of you may have tried in the wine tasting is Catena Vineyards entry level Malbec which is exceptional for the price. There Catena Alta Malbec is really nice as well if you want to try some of there higher end wines. There Chardonnay and Cab is also tasty but the Malbec is at the front of the pack. Another great wine to try is the Magness Merlot brought to you by the Napa Valley community college. The wines by Magness are of exceptional quality and value. Many of their grapes are being sourced from high end vineyard sights throughout Napa that can go for substantially more under different labels. All of these wines are great choices for everyday drinking wines that pair well with food or can be enjoyed alone.
I look forward to seeing you all this winter and getting to chat more.