Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ink for cutthroats

We stopped by Chuck Stranahan's fly shop in Hamilton, and after a few minutes of chatting, he made a phone call to see if he could line us up with his outfitter, Jed Fitzpatrick of Sula Mountain Fly Fishing. Sho 'nuff, Jed called later that day and we hammered cutthroats all Tuesday.
Fitzpatrick is a nice man and a terrific guide - he had us into fish from put-in to take-out. He helped Liz with her dry-fly cast, gave me a few tips on my own, and had some valuable advice on everything from fighting fish to photography to rod storage and fish release.
And we fished.
We floated a short stretch on the upper-middle mainstem and never touched a nymph. Trout, all but a couple appeared to be (as-close-as-they-can-be-to) pure westslope cutthroats, were all over neumora and March brown dries. We saw a handful of skwalas on the water, but the fish didn't.

Fish of the day.
One thing we learned - the skwalas bring the anglers, but the other bugs bring the fish; neumoras, capnias and March browns. Big, slow cutthroat rises, mostly on Stranahan's Brindle 'Chute.
The "good", fishy day for which I yearned finally reared its frantic grin. It only gets better from here...

Brindle 'Chute.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Don't touch my beer

Montana is known for fly-fishing for trout, mountains, open spaces, and soon, micro-breweries. It's a booming niche that employs many and provides family-friendly establishments to unwind with some of the world's most delectable beer. But the Montana Tavern Association, feeling threatened by the tasting rooms which are already bound by a 48-ounce-per-person-per-day limit and madatory 8-p.m. closing times, has lobbied for LC1429 (not yet a formal bill) (full text). Basically, it would force breweries to obtain the expensive and limited cabaret (beer/wine) or full liquor license to keep their tap-rooms open. Google it - there have been many op-eds in Montana newspapers regarding it lately.
Montana's breweries are hip, unique establishments that spur industrial and tourism economies, and are fun places. I and mine love them and regularly patronize as many as we can.
This comes on the eve of Liz's and my trip to skwala fish and brewerize in the Bitterroot (ground zero for another on-going fight over a Montana specialty), where there are something like 10 marvelous breweries, counting Missoula and satellite outlets. We will be sure to get our time in, as there's a chance their time is limited.

Our new governor appears to be on the side of breweries, as he mailed a nice letter to one of Montana's newest breweries, welcoming them to the 'scape. If a bill gets that far, hopefully he'd quash it. Hopefully, it won't get that far.
So we're going to exercise our rights to patronize good-beer makers and angle within high-water marks, and appreciate what Montana is to me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pinedale 82941

In Pinedale, Wyo., everybody plays an instrument (or so it seems). Every bar has a band and every band is at least excellent. So happened the band we patronized was the most excellent. We stayed with the front man (and his lady), who happened to be the Sublette Examiner's 2012 People's Choice Musician of the Year which, despite what it might seem, is quite an accomplishment in this hip community. Also in this band was a hilarious, bluesy bass player who apparently played gigs with the knee-high Jackson Five and Don Cornelius (let me stress apparently). The fishy fiddle/mandolin player rocked the strings, and the lead singer and the drummer flew in from New York City for the performance - no jive, it was excellent music for a metropolis of under 1,500 residents. If "6 Foot 2" comes near you, you might consider it.

And we fished. The upper Green, was in fact frozen up at Warren Bridge, but we found some access on a nearby creek where it seemed there was nothing under 15 inches. I had one of those days where I couldn't keep a hook in a fish, but Liz's 'set was solid...

We fished our way home Sunday through a wicked wind and snow shower. The fishy water proved fruitless, save for a handful of photos.

Pinedale is a hip, fishy community where the cure for the blues is to wail on the didgeridoo.

Friday, March 8, 2013


March was in like a lion, or more aptly, like a slew of furious brown trout. This weekend it's Paradise Valley, then Pinedale, Wyo., then Missoula for skwalas. Hopefully March will be out like a slew of furious browns, too.

A healthy nymph eater.


Adi' or 'pose, depending on how cool you are...

Stickfish Liz with another beaut.

Weathered and bokeh.

Working through the trout to get to another stick...
Incidental catch.