Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fishing Pics in Hot Weather

Jane showing how to catch, shoot and release a great Madison brown during hot weather.

No question about it, it's a hot one out there right now.  This time of year fishing can be awesome with hoppers on the horizon and caddis in every shape and size bouncing around, but it's important to remember a few things about your trophy pic when hawg johnson makes it into the net.  Here are a few rules I follow in my boat, and are particularly mindful of this time of year.

Be quick:  This rule is mandatory steelhead fishing, and is a good one to adapt to the trout stream.  A fish in the water is happier than one out of the water, so if you can, take a pic with the fish in the drink.  If you do lift one up for the "in the boat" shot, make it quick.

Don't take a pic of every fish:  It's easy to get excited on a big annual trip, but a picture of the 10th 16" Beaverhead (insert your favorite awesome Montana river name here) fish really isn't necessary.  Besides, less pictures means more opportunities to lie to your buddies when you get back to your cubicle.

Carry a good rubber bagged net:  These nets are the greatest thing for a boat guide, and make it much easier to safely photograph fish.  When held off the side of your boat, or in the river while wading, they make a hell of a livewell, and provide a couple of extra seconds of safe fish handling.

No when to say no:  When you land your fish, if it takes a second longer than normal to unbutton them, put them back.  Every second counts when handling fish, and this is critical during hot weather.  A picture is worth a thousand words, but it's not worth taking the life of a trout for a picture on your facebook page.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Montana Honeymoon

Farrah enjoying some Beaverhead caddis fishing.
A couple of weeks ago the wife's cousin and his new wife came through Dillon celebrating their recent nuptials, and it worked out that I was able to jump in the boat with them for a day of caddis dry fishing down the Beav.  Ke'lah and Nathan are as close as siblings, and I tried for a week to find some parallel between going fishing with them and the infamous scene in a river runs through it with Norman's future brother-in-law.  Alas I couldn't, because Nathan is a great guy, awesome fisherman and enjoying his honeymoon, not a riverside escapade involving a lady with a tattoo (Buster here wants to fish).

Nathan went to UMW here in Dillon, and it's actually embarrassing to say that this is the first time we have gotten to fly fish together.  In fact his now wife Farrah made it into the blue skiff last summer for a trip down the lower end.  Hunting season is now what tends to draw these two to the area, and so fishing is not likely in our immediate future again, beer drinking and hunting stories are, which is the next best thing.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Traveling to trout fish.

Carlo with the fish du jour.  Photo: Brett Seng
One of the funny things about living in a place like Twin Bridges is traveling to catch trout.  It has taken quite a while (6 years) of living here for me to finally want to leave the Big Hole or Beav when I have a day off to fish.  I've spent a little bit of time driving to other rivers while living in Twin, but always reluctantly with what we have in our backyard (literally). This year I have made two trips a whopping two hours away from home, the first to the Mo, the second last Friday on the Yellowstone (and there was some debate on the validity of driving to the Stone).  Spoiled, I believe, would be the correct word.
Photo: Brett Seng
 Anyway, I got to spend Friday with good friends Carlo from Helena and Brett Seng floating the lower Yellowstone.  I have spent a few days fishing The 'Stone since I moved out here, and frankly have always been unimpressed.  It's not necessarily fair to compare rivers against each other, but I had always heard of the epic days on the Yellowstone, and had never see anything remotely close to "epic".  While Friday wasn't epic, it was certainly a step in the right direction.  After a few bug switches in the morning we found the magic combination and proceeded to catch plenty of fish, with one riffle I slipped through in flip-flops that was particularly generous.  A day that was the beginning of a heatwave we are still enjoying, shared by friends on a beautiful stretch of river.  Definitely spoiled.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Swing the Fly is Live!

Old school trout on the spey pic
A project that I have been very pumped about for the last couple of months just went live this morning, Swing the Fly.  The brain child of the good folks at Chi Wulff, I could not be more impressed with how the final product turned out.  YOu'll find a brief article about swinging for trout from me, some great writing by PNW Spey guru, Marty Sheppard, and a bunch of other talented writers and photographers. I was super excited from the time I heard about the Mag, and honored that Mark and Jake asked me to be a part of it.  Thanks for all of the hard work team Chi Wulff and for putting out an awesome project!