Hey Ladies! Do you want learn how to row a drift boat or raft from someone that's not your boyfriend, husband, or dad? If you're sick of hearing "Too close to the bank!" or "I'm not close enough!" (aka: I can't cast that far...), this workshop is for you! We would like to take personal responsibility for the improvement of fly fishing couples' relationships all over Bozeman.
Summer in S.W. Montana this year wasn't exactly a barn burner like the fly fishing community had predicted. Late winter and early spring snow filled our mountains with sufficient moisture to keep our rivers full of water for the up coming summer months. But, as it turned out, the precipitation kept coming and left us with inconsistent river conditions for much of the summer. Also, this year was supposed to be the year of the grasshopper, with swarms of the late summer gobs of protein.
I was supposed to do a half day trip on the lower Madison today, but due to the wet weather forecast, I ended up with the day off. I saw very little insect activity when I put in, but with the cloud cover, I thought a Baetis nymph off the back of a crawdad might be an appropriate bug. Five minutes on the water and two casts... Bingo. A fat brown on a #18 fly.
The Bozeman Angler crew shut down the shop at noon yesterday and we headed to the Lower Madison for an afternoon of goofing off. The fishing was a little slow, but we managed to find a few Rainbows eating small bead heads and crawfish patterns. About half way into the float my wife Sarah made a cast out to the middle of the river and stuck this pig on a #14 Lightning Bug.
Yesterday I fished the Yellowstone with my old boss, Glen Blackwood, from Great Lakes Fly Fishing Co., and good friend and bamboo rod collector Tom Clark. It was one of those rare wind free, no clouds, early September day in the Paradise Valley with no other fisherman in site. We hit the water at about 11:30am and the guys started beating the water with wood rods and grass hoppers.
Wind, wind, and more wind. But, it knocks the hoppers in to the river and the trout are taking full advantage of it. Small is the key, so dig up those #10 Morrish Hoppers or swing into the shop and grab a few BA spent hoppers. Get out while the gett'n is good.
Every now and then I get to leave the drift boat at home, stretch my legs and guide on my feet. This week I got to do this twice. Friday I fished with father and son team, Joe and Jess, on some amazing private water that The Bozeman Angler has access to. Though the trout provided non-stop action, the most memorable part of the day was the nasty rain / hail / thunder / lightning storm that blew in and forced us to take shelter under a giant rock wall.
What do the fish heads at The Bozeman Angler do when the local rivers are high and dirty? Well, we pray to the fish gods for 2 foot of visibility on the Madison River. We head to the Missouri River and pray again to the fish gods that the river levels don't spike while we're fishing. Or, we go fish for Rainbows the size of pigs that jump like Tarpon on "Top Secret" private lakes. And that's just what our fearless leader, Rod "It's not bait fishing" King, and I did yesterday. Little black leaches and 2X leaders is all we needed for more fun than two trout bums should legally have.
14 clients, seven guides, three days, and two rivers. Every year the men of the Alderman family come to Montana to relax, catch up with each other, smoke cigars, and fish their tails off. This year the guys had to deal with a late run off season and some wet weather, these two situations add up to high and dirty water.