Sunday, June 25, 2017

Salmon Flies and Cutthroat

The Bug 
Did some chasing of the Salmon Flies this past weekend and also hit up some local small streams. I put in a good 17 mile float looking for epic dry fly action but we didn't find it. The bugs were there....hiding in the willows but the wind stayed calm and they clung on hard to live another day. This caused the dry fly bite to be weak but we still managed to entice a few trout. This week will be epic if you get to the right part of the river.

Big Salmon Fly Eater 
Float Back Drop 
The water clarity is really good right now and the flows are still up. Getting out on the boat is the way to go for the time being until things drop a little more.

I hit a local water a few times this weekend. It will probably be one of the last times I fish it this summer because all the other local waters are starting to come into play. This little place really fished well during run-off and I'm thankful to have it so close to town. Action is always consistent at this place and makes for a great day on the water.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fathers Day

The Canyon 

After a long 10 mile hike Paul and I could of hanged it up and went back to Bozeman to prepare for the week of work. That's what my wife did, she's the only smart one out of all of us. But we didn't. We stuck it out......sore feet, rain falling...mentally tired....but my Dad's face popped into my head that very moment and I knew he was watching, I knew if he were still around that just maybe he would of pushed through the fatigue and wet a line also.....because in life you never know what tomorrow may bring so live in the moment and play hard while you can.

Hungry Trout 

We looked at the water and didn't know where to start. The whitewater seemed to choke up the whole stream. But if you looked really could see that soft water. There was some on each bank, and a few seams in the middle. That's where every fish in this stream preferred to live and that's where we dropped our nymph's. These feisty cutthroat slammed our flies, they didn't hesitate, they didn't inspect our drifts. They were coming out of a long winter slumber and let us know they were ready to eat today. Dad would of probably sat on the bank. The water was a little too rough for his liking, but he would of still enjoyed himself with a lit cigar watching one of his sons fish.

Fish after fish surrendered to our offerings for a few hours this evening. It was a good time, but today wasn't about catching numbers of fish. Today was all about Fathers Day. For many years my brothers and I could celebrate Fathers Day with the man that brought us into this world, but this year was different. My brothers and I were separated by 3000 some miles but our heads were in the same place. The void left by my fathers early passing has been felt every day since he left, and today maybe felt a little harder.

As I dunked my flies into the soft seams, I couldn't help to think Dad was watching me. When I caught a limb on a back cast and let out a big "ought!" memories of years past hearing that same thing come out of his mouth flooded into my mind. Instead of getting mad I brushed it off, life is too short to let the small things ruin your day. How could I celebrate this day and honor the man I looked up to my whole life without being able to tell him to his face or by phone? As I sat on the bank thinking about it, almost to the point where I felt guilty I was experiencing it without him, his voice crept in my head again. I know what he'd say to me if he could say it......he would say get out there, get after them, stay after them and appreciate it. Appreciate the time you have out there, that's how I want you to honor me.

I find myself having conversations with him all the time, even though I know he's not here. But I do know he's listening. So I listened to him and got back after it. Let me tell you....I let the fish have it. I may have even been a little possessed there for awhile, but it felt like dad was talking to me, it felt real. So today I did my best at honoring my father. I spent time with my wife, I chatted with my family and I caught some damn pretty fish. The sting those fish must of felt when I set the hook time after time is pretty much what my family feels every day. They say time will heal us, but I'm not so sure. What I am sure of is I miss my Dad, and every time I step foot in a river I think about how excited he would be if he were still around doing the same. For the time being, I'm just going to keep letting his voice enter my mind because it gives me comfort. I'm going to keep looking up into these Big Skies knowing he's looking down on me with a smile on his face. This reports for you Dad, Happy Fathers Day, we miss you dearly and hope you got out on some water today.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Small Streams And Dry Flies

Perfect Dry Fly Water 

Got a good 5 hour outing in this weekend on some local water. The clarity held up well even with this high 80 degree temperature we've had going on out in Montana right now. I explored some new water and decided to bring out the 3 weight and throw some big dry fly's around. The fish cooperated so well I rarely had to change fly's. A good old Royal Wulff and Stimulator was the ticket. Nothing beats tossing these bushy flies into the soft seams and raising fish to the surface. Nothing of size but that's not why I come here....I come here to catch these eager little gems on dry fly's. I have to say I've strayed away from tossing bugs on the surface in the past few years, but this stream has perked my interest once again.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Peak Run Off Close?


It's an anxious time here in Montana. The weather has finally settled into summer like patterns and everyone is itching to wet a fly. The stream gauges are still creeping upward, but they haven't topped out yet. This years snow pack was pretty big and the cool spring allowed most of it to linger around longer then the past few years. I'm guessing in the next 10 days you will see most rivers peak out and start to SLOWLY drop. Obviously some river drainages will be better then others so pay attention to the USGS site.
Small Water Brown 

I've spent most of my time lately in the smaller mountain streams that can handle the snow melt better then the big freestoners. Action has been very good underneath the surface and the bugs have really started to pop. It's only a matter of time before sightings of Salmon Flies will be the talk of town. Until then get creative and go explore, there's plenty of water out there ready to see some fisherman.
Getting Into The Back Country 

Andy Scoring On A Big Bow 
 The word from PA is high and muddy water with a limited dry fly bite. Seems like hitting the water right back home has been challenging. My brothers have gotten out a few times and the bite has been solid underneath the surface. Andy has been getting into some good fish lately.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Solid water clarity for late May 

The past few days I've logged more miles on my truck then I'd like to say.....but it was worth it. Some of my stops to find trout proved to be worthless but one specific stop made all the driving worth it. A brief cold spell allowed some streams and rivers to come down and clear up a bit, so there are a few options out there right now. It will be interesting to see how high the rivers will get once the air temperatures rise again....maybe it will be a trickle run-off from here on out.

Wide Open Spaces 
Our one stop on an unknown creek proved to make all the exploring worth it. My buddies and I managed to get a bunch of rainbows in the 17-21 inch class. Felt good to rip some lips with these guys after all the traveling.

Andy sticking a good Madison River Rainbow 
Lots Of Good Rainbows Came To The Net 
Catch And Release

All Colored Up 

WOJO doing what he does best 
Nymph Eater 
Before The Rain Came In 
Most of the trout seemed to focus their lies in the softer seams. Anytime we would find some calm water the fish would follow. As for bugs they were limited except for a brief BWO hatch in the afternoon but no fish took notice that I saw.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Some late Montana shots

Monatana 2017 was a great trip. Nothing better than visiting with Matt and Mindy and getting the brothers together and ripping lips for the week. Special thanks to Mindy for putting up with us for the week. Some final shots.

Dad's Hole on the Madison - A sacred place to wet a line and remember our Dad

A battle scarred Bruiser

Two more Bad Hombres

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Blue Lining

Blue Lining

With the state of Montana going into full run-off mode this week I had the opportunity to go blue lining. I feel a great sense of excitement pulling out the map and looking for blue lines here in Montana, because you know if the water is moving it has trout in it. It also allows me to use some of my smaller weight rods that tend to get tucked into my closet for long periods of time with no use.

Wild Rainbow Trout 
The water is moving just fast enough right now to make approaching fish a little easier then normal on these small streams, so fish are much less spooky. The top water action was limited each time I went out this week so I stuck to my productive Tight-Line method of nymphing. 5x tippet and smaller anchor flies were the ticket because of how shallow most of these streams are. The fish weren't too picky, but the smaller stone fly nymph seemed to be the top choice along with some flashy #16 mayfly nymph's. I typically don't get into fly selection choices too much because I feel presentation is more important but a #16 Gold Lightning Bug nymph was killer on these ditches, if you haven't tried these out yet on smaller streams whip some up and give them a chance.

Take your time on these slow streams and fish every depth change for best results
I tend to slow myself down when fishing these smaller mountain streams. You really don't know how much productive water will be around the next bend so thoroughly fishing the water is important. Getting down to the bottom is also key, especially this time of year when the trout are just waking up from the long winter. Water temps are still pretty low and the added snowmelt helps keep them there for most of May.

Small Stream Surprises 
 One thing I've learned this week is there are some good fish to be had. Everyone's idea of a quality fish is different and mine is as well. I think a 16 inch fish in smaller mountain streams is a real gem and gets me just as excited as landing a 20 inch brown in a big river. I must of been getting lucky this week because I got a handful of fish in that range and a few hit the 18 inch mark. Battling an 18 inch fish in smaller water with 5x tippet is crazy fun and get's addicting. Add in the solitude and you can have yourself a really memorable day out there right don't let runoff fool you into thinking you have to fish stillwaters for the next few weeks....get out a map and do some exploring!

Red Spotted Gem In A Mountain Stream
Back The Brookie 
My biggest brown to date on this particular stream 
With all the craze for the grip and grins out there in our industry right now, I find myself wondering into the smaller waters more often. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy catching a big fish just like the next, but I won't let it consume me because there's more to Fly Fishing then just catching big fish. Anyone can go out there with a big meaty streamer and strip like mad until a big one takes, but it takes a lot more effort stalking smaller fish in uncharted waters and most times can be just as satisfying. So the next time your scrolling through Instagram and getting jealous of all the big fish people are holding, just remember a trophy trout is what you make of it, and there could be a small stream close by waiting to be explored. Tight Lines......

One of my favorite catches of the year 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Runoff 2017

Buck Nasty Brown 

Runoff has officially hit in the state of Montana. The air temperatures finally hit the 70 degree mark for the first time since last September, they even creeped into the low 80's. Add in some thunderstorms and most rivers and streams are chocolate mud and into the banks. The Mothers Day Caddis hatch was just good for 10 days or so before she blew out. There will still be options available for those anglers not willing to put the rod away, but most fisherman will take advantage of the high water to stock up on flies for this summer. I fished some local spots this weekend and managed to get some really good fish. Nymphing was the name of the game even though blizzards of caddis swarmed over the river.

Small streams will come into play over the next 4 weeks 
Dead Drifting Streams Produced This Guy 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Grobe Anglers Get Together

Grobe Anglers 

The Fish Of The Year For Me? 

My brothers came out to visit for the past week and we did what we do, fish. We fished hard for 7 straight days and the conditions were cold but the water was great. We fished in wind, snow and rain, typical spring weather here in Montana. The bugs seemed to be dormant the first part of the week but things picked up drastically once the air temperatures got warmer. We witnessed the beginning of the Mothers Day Caddis Hatch and had some epic BWO action. The nymph bite was consistent the entire time and a few big fish came to the net. We explored and discovered some new water that should produce some hefty fish in the near future.
Paradise Valley 

They came out the same time last year and the weather and water couldn't of been more different. Last year we dealt with off color water and high flows, the opposite held true this year. The run-off will be hitting us shortly, air temperatures look to spike as the week progresses, I'm glad we got to hit it hard before that happens. Till next time boys.....
Best Looking Brown Out Of The Many We Caught 
The Dry Fly Master 

Dissecting The River
Complex Currents