Saturday, August 27, 2016

Brown Trout Kinda Day

Best Brown Of The Day




Nymph Eater 
Butter 
Thick 
This Says It All! 
Got to do some more exploring today. It has felt like months since the last time I put a good day on the water. I've been focusing my efforts on exploring second tier streams around Montana for the last 2 months while the famous rivers are crowded. I feel like my exploration paid off in a big way today. I had the entire watershed to myself and explored as much river as I could. When I found good holding water the above pictures show how the fishing was. Bigger then expected browns came to hand easily under the sighter. The fact that fish of this quality live in these waters that get overlooked in Montana is truly amazing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Modelo

6am.....Albertsons 


After a long weekend of hiking and fishing, I sat on the couch icing my sore back while watching the Olympics Sunday. That's the kinda rough life you lead living in Southwest Montana. Thoughts of the weeks work load started racing through my mind but soon got interrupted by my cell phone ringing. It was Modelo. I met the AMR worker at the ranch I work at. This grizzled outdoor lover knows his way around the mountains and rivers out here. I've floated the Yellowstone a few times with him and the guy can maneuver in a phone booth.  I took notice of the clock before I answered, 5 pm mountain time. "What's shaking Modelo?" He proceeded to mumble a few things, all I could understand was "fish, tomorrow, stone." Modelo was hitting the bottle really hard this Sunday afternoon, the poor dude lost his bird dog a few day's earlier. I told him the river was muddy above Yankee Jim, he blew it off and said, "Dude, no freaking way that plug hits the town section by tomorrow morning, meet me at Albertson's by 6am." Right before he hung up he mustered one last sentence, "If the fishing is slow, let's throw a krystal flash bugger mid-river, don't tell anyone I said that." Then he hung up.


In route to Livingston I texted Modelo a few times, no answer. I pulled into Albertson's and started making a plan b. Maybe wade fish 89 bridge? Sheep Mountain doesn't sound bad? Then I heard the Tundra pull up with Modelo's ride. He stumbled out of the truck and smiled, "time to float bitch." We ran into the gas station and chowed down some burritos. I was worried that wouldn't sit well with him, but Modelo has been here before, the burrito was just the right thing to get his head on straight.

Modelo's Ride 
The first part of the float was poor with the meaty streamers. A quick change to chubbies fooled a few small fish, but Modelo didn't wake up this early for 12 inch fish. In a stumped voice he yelled out "Hey, why don't you try a krystal bugger mid-stream?"  I said, "Dude you told me that last night in your drunken state.....WTF" So I decided to listen to Modelo, I rigged a krystal bugger on the 7 weight Recon and went to town. After 1/4 of a mile with no action, the brown came out of nowhere mid-river to inhale my fly. A long battle on 0X tippet and the fish was in the net. I sat back and looked at Modelo as he drank some beers and rowed with one arm. " I told you man, everyone has been pounding the banks, you have to change it up if you want to catch fish right now!"

I didn't argue, why would I? Modelo knows the river and to question him would be idiotic. We proceeded to rake in the fish mid-river. Modelo proceeded to pound beers. We got off the river and he was tanked. I drove back to Albertson's to pick up my truck. I asked Modelo if he was ok to drive, he was already on the phone with someone, talking about mud plugs and buggers mid-river.

Mid-River 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

#Hikeforit

#hikeforit
The height of the tourist season is here in Southwestern Montana. You can easily escape the crowds if you are willing to walk from the access sites. You can leave even more people behind if you chose to fish the so called "B" waters or smaller mountain streams. If you want to leave EVERYONE behind, throw a rod on your backpack and hike over 4 miles that gains at least 2,000 feet of elevation. Here you will find eager wild fish and nobody to compete with.

Feisty Grayling 
This is what I have been doing the last 2 weeks. There is something special about hiking switchback after switchback and being rewarded with a high alpine lake that sits below the peaks. The fish can sometimes be hard to locate, but once you find them they are typically eager to eat. My lake fishing game was pretty poor during the first few outings, but I've honed in my skills and started getting into some fish. The lake fishing season is pretty short around here, so if your sick of the crowds, strap the rod on your back and get hiking.
This Was The Honey Hole 

Little Wind Helped The Fishing Out Today 

Mid Air Shot 


Patterns Didn't Matter


Gallatin Range Lake

Clean and clear water 

Getting away from the crowds 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hopper Time

YNP Beauty 
Pocket Water Brown 
Red Spots 


Spent the past few days fishing all sorts of new and old water. Got out on foot and a boat. Fishing ranged from tremendous to poor. The heavy pocket water streams fished extremely well TL stone fly's and we also brought a decent number of fish to the surface with a hopper. I fished a small stream close to town and got good action on a chubby along with various droppers off the dry. The big river kicked our butts, couldn't move a fish on the hopper, next time out I plan to give it some more action and maybe put it a little closer to the bank. My confidence in doing this was poor because of how many boats that were in front of us. I even managed to get up into the park for some tremendous hopper fishing for Yellowstone Cutthroats. Wow was that fun. If you haven't been to the park yet you should, it's something everyone should experience once in their lifetimes. Cool night time lows won't be far away now that the first week in August is over. The fishing has stayed pretty darn consistent out here during the dog days of summer, you just have to be willing to leave those famous waters behind and do some searching on your own...the reward is worth it.

Pocket Water 
Trey Digging Those Hoppers 
Small Stream Gem 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Heading To The High Country

One of the more productive lakes 
Chubby Eater 


Blooming Wildflowers 

The weather hasn't been so great here in Southwestern Montana lately. Fires have started to spark because of the lack of rain and hot temperatures. This hasn't resulted in good fishing and most of the rivers are in Hoot Owl Regulations as we speak. I've decided to take advantage of all the high country fishing Montana has to offer and explore some alpine lakes/streams lately. The lake fishing isn't my thing so I'm just getting used to it. Fishing has been hit or miss depending on the lake but one things for sure the scenery has been top notch. I decided to wet wade one of the lakes and my legs went numb within a few minutes. A purple chubby seemed to produce the most strikes for me on the lakes and it seems like you can toss anything in the streams to get the trout to eat. Most trout have been small in stature but they make up for the lack of size with their coloring.

High Alpine Lake 
Mountain Range 
Small Stream Gem 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summertime and the livins easy




Love the colors on this brown
Summer has kicked into full force here in Southwest Montana. Had some high's in the 90's this past week. Hoot Owl Closures will surely go into effect in some watersheds soon. Fishing has been stunning, slow and just ok on my recent outings. Lot's of smaller fish seem to be active right now in the shallower riffles. Hatches are still occurring but the hopper fishing that should pick up soon will be the main player for most people in the weeks to come. I've been trying to get some action with the hopper but I've had limited results. As usual the action underneath is the way to go if you want numbers. Caddis, Stoneflies and small mayfly nymphs is what you should be trying to entice the trout with. If you want to go flashy get ready to slam the whities.

Evening Float 
Summer Time Flows 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Avoiding The Crowds

Good fish taken on a caddis imitation
The Release 


With the 4th of July Holiday near, the crowds in Bozeman have spiked with tourists over the past couple days. I had the chance to get out on the water a few days this week and picked a few spots that I knew would be void of the crowds. Most people are still chasing the big bugs up high on the rivers so the rest of the water has been pretty void of fisherman. The caddis hatches out here have been nothing short of spectacular lately, The proper bug under the surface has been deadly throughout the day. Unfortunately we already have some Hoot Owl restrictions in place on a few rivers, if this weather keeps up there will be more to come in the near future.

Dry Fly Eater 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Big Bugs East To West

Andy Throwing Dries In The Mud 


The Big Bugs are popping off all over the place. Reports from back home have been very positive. The big fish are looking up for the cicadas that have been hatching for a few weeks. They finally made their way to the water and it's created a feeding frenzy. The water hasn't cooperated very much but sometimes you just need to go fish. My brother showcased that tonight.....scoring big on a dry fly in pure mud. It;s amazing how those fish will key in on a big meal regardless of the water conditions.

THE GRAND DADDY OF THEM ALL 

Salmon Fly Eater 

Back here in Montana things are the same. The famous Salmon Fly hatch is the craze around town and the fishing has been superb if you can get on the sections that they are coming off. I floated twice this past week. The first float was bad, the second was memorable. We hit things perfect and were right in the thick of things. Casting a #4 dry fly close to banks and watching fish inhale that thing is something special. Along with the Salmon Flies, Golden Stones, PMD'S, Caddis and Green Drakes have started to emerge. This is a special time out here....I'm hoping to take full advantage of the next few weeks.
Feisty Cutthroat 


Monday, June 13, 2016

Run-Off Is Almost To A Close

The Fishing Is Getting Good Again 
High Mountain Lake 


Most of the gauges here in Southwest Montana are trending downward. The bugs on the other hand are trending upward. You can feel the buzz around Bozeman where ever you go, gas stations, bars...you name it and people are gearing up for some of the best fishing of the season. I had a good overcast day today and the PMD'S, Caddis and Golden Stones were coming off in full force. The nymph bite was stellar most of the day and with the added dry fly action a fisherman's life can't get much better. Should be a fun summer.
Stone Fly Eater 

Snow Is Almost Gone


Friday, June 3, 2016

High Mountain Stream Fun

Some Sections Of The Big Rivers Are Fishing Good 
Blue Lining 
Wild Rainbow 


I've been really busy with work and life lately so haven't been able to post. Doesn't mean I haven't been fishing though. With most of the main waterways still high and muddy due to runoff I've been exploring lots of little streams around the Bozeman area lately. This streams won't give up the big fish but that doesn't mean they aren't special places. The scenery and solitude is why I come here. The fish in these streams are not hard to fool. I've been Tight Lining the slower pockets with a big stone fly and haven't had issues catching fish. The bugs are really started to hatch good too. I fished a small mountain creek tonight and the caddis poured off. I bet you could catch your fair share of fish on bushy dry flies if you wanted too. The Salmon Fly has started to hatch on Rock Creek and The Henry's Fork, I can't wait to experience this big bug in a few weeks here in Southwestern Montana.

Nice Small Stream Brown



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Run-Off

Clay with the best fish of the trip 


Run-Off is here in Southwestern Montana. Most local streams and rivers are pure mud at the moment. Flows have risen drastically the past 6 days. Looks like a cool front will slow things down a bit next week but I doubt it will clear everything up. I ventured up to a lake and a reliable tailwater for a few hours of fishing this weekend. Things were pretty slow but I didn't get a skunk. This will be the first of many lakes I check out in the upcoming weeks.

Gorgeous Scenery 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mothers Day Caddis

Bug Soup 


The Mothers Day Caddis is on full bore here in Southwestern Montana. If you like to walk and stalk splashy risers now is the time to dust off your rod. Nymphing with caddis pupae is an effective way to catch fish right now if the trout aren't keying in to the surface smorgasbord that is happening right now. March Browns and Baetis  are also hatching heavy. Get out while the water is good, warm weather is on the horizon again this week....

Good Brown Fell Victim To A Caddis Pupae Underneath 


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Timing It Right For The Dry

Andy Scoring A Dandy On Day One 
Billy Scoring A Stud Rainbow 


My brothers ventured out to Montana this past week and we had ourselves one hell of a time. Local waters were limited, but that's ok because we had one river that still offered lot's of choices for fishing. The weather was overcast with rain/snow for the three days, a great recipe for bugs. And bugs we had. March Browns, Mothers Day Caddis and BWO's hatched in epic numbers. The dry fly bite was excellent on the 3rd day of the trip. The fish were not picky and a simple Adams pattern brought most fish to the net. The nymph bite was somewhat challenging and not as easy as the past few weeks. Still.....we caught enough fish to make time fly by. Hopefully we can do it again soon!

Pink Is  In 
Brown 1 Out Of Andy's Riffle

Brown 2 Out Of Andy's Riffle
And The 3rd