Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry spooky coyote!

I went to see if what I'd been telling people in my column was true - it was. Fish were rising to midges at La Duke hot spring on the Yellowstone River in December. My credibility breathed a sigh of relief, but didn't know whether to thank me for being right or to slap me for the taking the chance.
I didn't fish tho, cuz it was windy, I had the dog, the fish looked small, and frankly, I didn't feel like it.
Regarding the coyote (to avoid rewriting, I'll quote from an e-mail I sent my mom about the coyote): "As for the coyote - that was my cue to get the heck outta there. I have no idea what happened. I was just driving on some back road by the Church Universal and Triumphant (that doomsday cult down by Gardiner that apparently has sniper towers, etc) and saw this freshly dead coyote hanging in a tree. The leg it was hanging by had been skinned to the bone for about 3 or 4 inches and the other back ankle had a ring around it. There was some blood around its front right armpit (no cut tho), but other than that it looked fine."
It was spooky.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Three Dollar, Make You Holler...

Cabin fever got the best of us and we headed up to Three Dollar Bridge yesterday. As Brady said, "Still haven't had a bad day there." Fish were caught - nothing huge but that's okay. When it's barely 25 degrees, merely catching trout will suffice. (trout photo courtesy CTK)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bald-faced fish stories

"... I caught 96 brookies in 45 minutes," said the red-bearded liar sitting adjacent to me at the tire shop. The shop employee and I, who had been engaged in a pleasant fly fishing exchange, gave each other a quick glance of "sure ya did, pal".
Exaggeration is commonplace in recalling fish tales, but let's not treat our fellow anglers as stupid. That's one fish every 28.125 seconds, including cast, rise, hook set, battle, landing and release.
Hundred-fish days, while possible, are often questioned and rarely occur. Hundred-fish hours, are bald-faced lies.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Heavy hearts

My friend Brady and his wife Caroline, also my friend, floated and fished the Yellowstone today. A former co-worker of mine and former and current coworker of Brady's body was found the other day after being reported missing a few days earlier. The cause is what you suspect. Everyone who knew the guy is sad about it. I'm grieving. We threw hoppers with heavy hearts.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The search for a fishable evening caddis hatch

I fished the upper Ruby yesterday with the intention of staying until dark to finally fish an evening caddis hatch on clear, moving water. Well, the water was clear, but the skies weren't and I was washed away by about 6 p.m. Alas, I had many options on the drive back to Belgrade. So I stopped at the lower Ruby near the dam - no caddis. Even further down the Ruby at Alder Bridge - caddis, clear water and risers - but the water was running so high that I could not get underneath a bridge to the rising fish (and I wasn't about to try anything funny with those notorious four-wheelin' Ruby River landowners keeping watch). Then there's the upper Madison - but I decided to forgo it in favor of the lower as time was running short and I knew right where to go on the lower. Or did I. There was a good hatch (bright, white caddis) and clear water, but, as has been the case there lately, no rising fish. I did catch a good brown drake hatch, but again, thefish didn't care. I'm gonna try again tonight somewhere around Livingston. Here's hoping...

Monday, June 22, 2009

It looked like a World War II movie... the salmonflies kept coming and coming and coming as far as the eye could see, like a fleet of B17s. I had no idea that salmonflies hatched in numbers like that.
This was Friday on the Big Hole. The river was rippin', but there was enough visibility. Our oarsman was white-knuckled and alert all day, and he did a great job keeping us afloat.
Fishing was good, not great. Make that our fishing was good, not great. We had enough rises, but we couldn't get hooks into some of them.
But it was an awesome day, just seeing that kind of hatch. I hope to hit it again next year.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Caddis

I have waited til Sunday evening to post this, so I hope I'm not giving away anybody's perceived secret, but the Mother's Day caddis are ALL OVER the Yellowstone (and I've heard they're starting on the Madison). I spent my past two days floating caddis dries and nymphs through the Yellowstone's surprisingly clear water. Floated the bird section both days, and while the bugs were thick, the fish were not up on them like I would have liked. But they were rising sporadically in most places and heavily in the foam back eddies. Ultimately, both days were outstanding and an absolute blast. Unfortunately, I'll bet the Stone's only got hours before she's blown out for the duration. At least we got a couple days in. Too bad it doesn't work out so nicely every year.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Suddenly surrounded by boats...

Within five days, my two best fishing buddies both got boats. One got a used raft with a fishing frame - a perfectly adequate floating device - and the other got a pristine, brand new Montana Boat Builders custom Freestone wood driftboat that his brother spent months hand crafting. I guess I can throw my waders away.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another year older, another inch on the fish story...

Me: Is there a dress code at the Rib and Chop House?
Brady: Yeah.
Me: Cuz all I have are my sweat pants.
Brady: Oh, that's fine.

Myself and two friends spent my birthday fishing Nelson's Spring Creek in Paradise Valley, Montana on Saturday. Fishing was good for the most part; there were slow periods and the incessant wind was bothersome. But the fish were nice and it's always fun to sight fish to big, wild trout.

After fishing, we sneaked a peek at a friend's beautiful almost-ready-to-float wooden drift boat - it's looking awesome should be ready to rock soon.

We capped the night at Montana's Rib and Chop House, and 14 succulent ounces of pork chop rejuvenated my spirit after a full day of challenging fishing.

Soon there will be skwalas, followed by caddis, and many midges mixed in. Fishing is going to be very good, very shortly...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Delight and dismay at Depuy Spring Creek

Forcefully pushing my Bugger across the stream, an epic gale nearly put me in the drink. It's tough to maintain your balance when your feet are a foot into the muck. But, that's just another day fishing one of Paradise Valley's spring creeks in the offseason.

We hit Depuy's yesterday because the forecast was for temps around 40. To our delight, the temps were actually around 45 when we woke up. To our dismay, there were sustained winds of 35 to 50 miles per hour, with gusts to 75. To our casual delight, winds were forecast to "diminish" by mid-day. Plus there's always the chance that the winds will somehow blow over the top of Depuy's property. So we got there at about 11:15 a.m. and to no one's surprise, it was pretty windy.

But the fishing was decent - everyone landed at least a couple fish in the intermittent spots when a cast was possible. By about 3 p.m., a mini-blizzard had plastered snow to our waders and we decided we'd had enough.

Even with all the adversity, it was still worth the off-season rate of $40. It's a place that will get hatches (more than just midges, too), won't be frozen over, and will have fish that are more than slightly awake. And despite the fact that it's often the only option, there's rarely anyone else there. I'm shocked that more locals don't take advantage of these glorious fisheries.

But I won't complain too much - it's nice to have the run of the place to yourself.