Thursday, May 22, 2014

A fishing guides wife

For every April Vokey (see that Google?) out there, there are a couple hundred women who fly fish for many different reasons than they just can't live without it.  My wife would be in the latter.  When it's nice out, and fishing is going to be good, she loves it.  Winter steelhead fishing will not be soon in our plans together.  That being said, when given the opportunity to have the bow of the boat to her self and the opportunity to feed some lonely early season trout some dry flies she is not one to turn it down.  If the Bozeman Mall had a Nordstrom's that might be a different story, but their loss is my gain.

Last friday we floated together without our daughter for the first time since she changed life in ways unimaginable.  A short float that my wife had never done before and ideal conditions made for a day we won't soon forget.  After a morning of good dry dropper fishing, clouds rolled in from the pioneers, kept their warmth, and made for the conditions we lose sleep about.  The bugs took notice equally as quick and the swallows doubled their activity now that their flight was being rewarded.

As we came about a narrow bend my wife threw our two fly rig into a quick slot that needed to be hit precisely before the boat ran it over.  Flies down, a subtle sip, and a fish is on that neither of us knew the size of.  We looked and debated if it was the bottom, until it moved. Moved down and across, and then finally into the shallows.  "We should probably put that one in the net" my wife said, in a tone that had a sense of urgency that is only reserved for times like this.  Not the same urgency as something that relates to our daughter, but enough urgency to know that this is like a perfect game;  the tension is there but we can't talk about it.

Unlike the last big fish I watched my wife hook, which I still lament 3 years later, this one hit the net.  A size 16 Purple Have stuck squarely in the corner of its mouth, we released her to swim free, celebrated, and then hastily hopped back in the boat, realizing that we had a long ways to go, and Harper to pick up before 4:30.  Arriving to town just in the nick of time, Ke'lah's big fish turned out to be the last cast of the day she made.  It's always good to go out on top!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Oh I'll never leave Montana brother

C-Squad getting after it
Unfortunately it's not nearly that often that my brother and I get to fish together any more.  With him finishing up Med School in WA and me living in MT with a 1 year old daughter, the paths just don't cross like they used to.  This past Friday the stars aligned and we were able to meet over in Melrose for a short float during my favorite season.  After not catching anything in the first two spots, which was a giant surprise, we proceeded to put the smack down.  The best day that Rick had seen here, it was the perfect bonus to the fact that we got to spend some time in the boat together.

Testing out some new flies.  They work.
Fishing was good enough under the bobber that I switched it up and stripped some streamers around. I started with a fly from my friend Mike D. and as with all of his bugs, it was a winner.  Sadly I cracked it off with an errant cast into the willows, so one of mine was up next.  Ever since Dave @ Pile Cast sent me some craft fur closers last year I have been fascinated with his pattern.  Dave lives in Indiana, and so they weren't perfect for what we have here (I can't get brown trout to eat chartreuse), but the concept was awesome and with a simple hook and color adjustment i have ended up with a simple tweak on his badd ass pattern that has so far been very successful for me this spring.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Right now, from St. Regis to Sydney the state of Montana is joking about spring.  When is it coming?  Why is it still snowing?  When will summer be here?  My friend Brett has the best tweak on the old adage, "you know what they say about the weather in Montana?" "If you don't like it, go fuck yourself".  Much more to the point than wait 5 minutes, and the opinion shared by many if not in such a crude manner. We all know the truth, that until the calendar rolls over to July 1 it's a crap shoot.  Lately we've been having the cold weather that keeps the rivers in shape and the fish sluggish.  The first sign of warmth and we are going to see some seriously vertical graphs and a mass migration to those rivers that have been decapitated by concrete.  At least we have those, and the opportunity to hide under their shadows while the freeflowing streams carve new channels and redistribute cottonwoods.  If your living here or smart enough to travel here outside of tourist season though, you'll find the rivers and the fish lonely.  Waiting for company that will be here after the weather cooperates and the flows have subsided.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


It would be utter bullshit to say we've been seeing it coming.  The signs have not been there.  In fact it's been the opposite.  But finally it showed up.  The caddis are disturbed by my lawnmower, but the river is now brown enough for them to not be noticed as they land on the outside bend just beyond my fence..  The window of warm and clear has gone, and we now have warm and high and dirty.  But that too will soon change.  Clear would never describe it, more like clear-enough.  Clear enough for the fish to tip up, as the sun dips down, and provide those rings that we all look for. Soon.