Book Your Trips Now
Fishing season is upon us! The shop is getting busier and we’re sending a lot of anglers and guides out on the water. The fishing is only going to get better and better from here on out. Our summer calendar is really starting to fill up as well.
If you’re planning a fishing trip out this way this year, you should book your trip now. Booking early will guarantee that you get the dates you want with the best guides we have available. Flights are cheaper earlier, hotels are easier to book, and if you get your dates set in stone early that gives you more time to tie the flies you need!
We Like Brown Trout
Everyone has their favorite fish. For me, brown trout have always held my attention the most. Their aggressive nature, the large size, the fact they love chasing down big streamers and the beautiful colors are all reasons to love Salmo Trutta. Seriously, have you noticed all the colors on a brown trout? You can see shades of yellow, gold, red, blue, brown, silver… It’s all there. When you find those really buttery golden ones, it’s always heaven. Seeing that golden flash down in the water is sure to get your heart racing.
Last week I had the pleasure of fishing the Missouri with our guide Ken Stock and fellow shop guy Ethan. We went up there in the hope of finding dry flies, which we did, but the fish just weren’t too interested in them. Nymphing and slow stripping streamers was working best. We caught a few rainbows, but a lot of browns.
Blue Wing Olives
Been on the water the last two days fishing and guiding to find more good trout but i've also witnessed some incredible baetis hatches. It has been just an incredible spring of fishing in Montana but the dry fly hatches have been selective...untill now. It seems with the bad weather comes the bad weather bugs aka Blue Wing Olives aka BWO aka Baetis. They are an awesome insect that is often the first big hatch of mayflies that we see here in Montana's springtime. There have been some good hatches of them all over the last few weeks really but yesterday was the first day i found trout just smashing bugs on the surface with reckless abandon.
Complex Dubbing Twist Zonker at Work
This is going to be a short post, but just wanted to share some results of one of Peter's flies that we did a video of a few weeks ago. You can find the video on our YouTube channel here. Peter and I fished at Location X on Monday and while we did see a ton of Baetis on the water there were no fish rising and the nymphing and streamer fishing was a bit slow. Like really slow. Nevertheless, it was a pretty awesome day on the water.
Been taking out a few trips this last week with teenagers and their folks who have come to Bozeman to take a look at MSU campus and decided to do a day of fishing as well. It's no question that Montana's world class trout fishing, skiing, hiking, camping, biking, etc. is the drawing force for most young minds to decide to attend college here. I feel kinda spoiled having grown up here and having such amazing access to endless rivers and fly fishing was just a part of life. It didn't really dawn on me untill i started guiding and working in the fly shop that people from all over the world travel to Montana to experience the beauty that we savor basically in our backyard. Now it has become an incredibly rewarding experience for me, as a fishing guide, to share that with anglers from out of town.
The First Fish of the Day
You can often tell the quality of a day by the first fish of it. If it's a nice one it certainly gets hopes up that the day will be amazing. Yesterday, Ethan and I drove to Craig on the Missouri with guide Ken Stock. With the first five casts, I had landed this beauty:
Research and Development
Had to run a few errands yesterday morning like get a box of custom tied meaty pike flies mailed out to my buddy in South Dakota. Finally got all the loose ends tied up and whip finished so i busted to the river to test out a bunch of streamer patterns i've been working on all winter. The 30 MPH winds kept most of the fishing access sites pretty void of anglers and full of fresh air. As long as i'm not rowing i really dont care what the wind does anymore. I grabbed my 8wt. and a box of flies and headed out to walk wade with my favorite fishing buddy Trutta the black lab.
The Baetis Hatch
Larger numbers of Baetis have been showing up everyday on the Lower Madison. I spent a few afternoons last week tossing dries to rising fish over there. I usually scan the weather forecast for overcast days where the wind will be minimal. A typical Baetis session for me will involve driving or hiking along the river and stopping along the way at likely areas to check for rising fish. Typically, I look for shallow, weedy flats, foamy eddies, and softer water along the banks where the bugs will start to collect. Depending on the glare, the rising fish can be hard to spot, so I will often just sit and wait for a bit in areas likely to be holding feeding fish. Below are some of my favorite Baetis dry fly imitations that we sell at the shop.
Been guiding a number of days the last few weeks and it has been such a positive start to the season. Lot's of good days of awesome fishing and happy clients who after a number of years rowing them down rivers feel more like friends than customers. This is one of my favorite parts of working in this industry and really what makes it all work for me since when it comes down to it we are all here to enjoy fly fishing. Being able to share your passion with others who see and understand the beauty of the sport is the most rewarding aspect of our work. Sorry to get all sappy on you but it is just such a cool thing to be a part of and i'm so stoked to see what the upcoming season brings. "They can't all be great days but if you can get more great than bad days on the water you're doing good" an old veteran guide once told me.
Let Them Go So They Can Grow
It's a great feeling to catch a fish. Any fish. But especially a big fish. When you catch them, why not put them back so you can enjoy it again and again? And maybe releasing that fish will give someone else the chance to catch them and experience it for themselves. Fortunately catch and release is pretty well ingrained in modern fly fishing culture. Keep it up.