It's February, Its cold as hell, and I needed a taste of some warm weather and an activity that didn't involve skis or standing in a slushy river. So my wife, Sarah, and I headed south to Texas for some much needed family time and a good old fashioned quail hunt. I grew up in Michigan where my dad taught me to hunt for grouse and wood cock in woods so thick that if you did jump a bird you may never see it. But if you did get a glimpse of the fleeing critter, you had better get some lead in the air, cuz a glimpse may be all you get.
Dang man! Before yesterday it had been about three months since I had a fly rod in my hand. Not only that but I think this is the first time that I haven't fished every month of the yeat since I started fly fishing and I was starting to feel like crap about it. So yesterday, shop rat and self proclaimed trout bum, Jason Denny, decided it was time I got off my duff and went to the lower Madison for a few hours. Other than the cold the conditions were as good as it gets.
Saturday, my wife, Sarah, B.A. guide, Miles Nolte, and myself headed out for a cold day of swinging flies on one of our local tail waters. For me this was a nice little scratch for the Steelhead itch I've had recently. No, we weren't fishing for Steelhead, but his land locked cousin of the same Latin name will still provide a nice tug on a swung streamer. As you can see in the above pictures, Sarah was tossing a black deer hair sculpin when she tagged this dandy rainbow.
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.