Help Save a Great Montana Trout Stream

As some of you may know, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is proposing putting a very large state park on Fish Creek in western Montana. Fish creek is a truly great Montana native westslope cutthroat stream, it’s mostly uncrowded, and it’s only an hour from Missoula. What FWP is proposing would make this fragile ecosystem overcrowded and I will assume eventual habitat destruction. The fish creek valley also is home to wintering Mule and Whitetail Deer, Elk, Moose and other wildlife. The expanded development of trails and electric hookup RV lots would definitely push animals out of the area. It is easy to see that FWP is ¬†looking for extra revenue and trying to take advantage of this great place. Take time to travel to fish creek this summer if you haven’t already done so to experience how wild and beautiful this valley really is. There are already a couple tent campgrounds on the creek, and in my opinion, the electric RV hookup lots¬†would ruin how wild this place is. Comment on the link below and tell Montana FWP to not develop the Fish Creek drainage in any way, and keep this wild place unscathed by development. Thanks!

http://stateparks.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/board/pn_0004.html

Pure Cutthroats like this are common on Fish Creek.

Pure Cutthroats like this are common on Fish Creek.

Fish Creek is also critical habitat for spawning Cuttbows coming up from the Clark Fork.

Fish Creek is also critical habitat for spawning Cuttbows coming up from the Clark Fork.

Another Summer has come and gone…

This summer was an absolute whirlwind, I was busy as a bee guiding, fishing, and traveling, and was only able to update the blog a couple times in the last few months. But it was a great summer, I enjoyed time on the water with a lot of great people, and was fortunate enough to experience some great fishing. Once again I don’t have a lot of time for a big write up, so I figured I’d post a handful of pictures I can round up from the summer to give you a feel of what it was like. Thanks for reading.

Mr. Robinson with a fine Bitterroot rainbow.

Mr. Robinson with a fine Bitterroot rainbow.

Cody with a sunset fish, during some of the best fishing of the year.

Cody with a sunset fish, during some of the best fishing of the year.

Scouting for ducks.

Scouting for ducks.

Kyle with one of his fist fish in Montana.

Kyle with one of his fist fish in Montana.

At times it was double the fun.

At times it was double the fun.

Herb, one of my favorite clients, with a great West Fork Cuttbow.

Herb, one of my favorite clients, with a great West Fork Cuttbow.

Stillwater River, MT

Stillwater River, MT

Gretchen with a bright Cutthroat.

Gretchen with a bright Cutthroat.

Creek Rainbow. Photo: Dennis Anderson

Creek Rainbow. Photo: Dennis Anderson

A little Heli fishing

A little Heli fishing

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My Dad and I.

My Dad and I.

Creek Cutt

Creek Cutthroat.

Our Annual Elk River trip in Fernie, B.C.

Our Annual Elk River trip in Fernie, B.C.

Garret with a great Cutthroat from the Elk. Photo Credit: Alec Underwood.

Garret with a great Cutthroat from the Elk. Photo Credit: Alec Underwood.

Undie with a great fish from the Elk.

Undie with a great fish from the Elk. Photo: Garret Visser

Garret's girlfriend, Abby, with a great Bull Trout from the Elk.

Garret’s girlfriend, Abby, with a great Bull Trout from the Elk. Photo: Alec Underwood

Chris with a nice Elk River Bull. Photo Credit: Cody Melchior

Chris with a nice Elk River Bull. Photo Credit: Cody Melchior

Elk river Double. Photo: Alec Underwood.

Elk river double. Photo: Alec Underwood.

Photo: Garret Visser

Photo Credit: Garret Visser

Photo Credit: Dennis Anderson

Photo Credit: Dennis Anderson

A Summer not to be forgotten.

Break in the Action

Today is the first day in a while where I’ve had a chance to breathe and relax a little, so I’ll put a few photos from the latest adventures up. Lately I’ve been all over western Montana chasing bent rods and good times, and for the most part we’ve enjoyed awesome fishing so far this summer. Last week we had great mayfly weather…clouds, rain and a just a little sun. Green drakes were awesome and the fish were on in the clouds.

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Chunky mayfly eater.

Chunky mayfly eater.

Fishing buddy Tyler with a nice rainbow on a caddis.

Fishing buddy Tyler with a nice rainbow on a caddis.

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I also ran up to the Blackfoot with a couple clients, although the dry fly fishing up there in the bright sun was not too spectacular, Brandon was able to hook and skillfully land this big Bull Trout…on 4x tippet. Pretty good for his third day ever fly fishing.

The Bitterroots on the drive home.

Rainstorm in the Bitterroots.

I did have a day off this week that I took advantage of to do a little fun fishing. We fished The lower Clark Fork a ways from town had had a fun day picking off some rising fish on pmd’s. Those fish down there fight so hard it’s ridiculous.

Cody with a very nice pmd sipper.

Cody with a very nice pmd sipper.

That’s all I got for now, stay tuned for more after fourth of July week.

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Lately I haven’t had much time or energy to post up here, so I figured I’ll throw a few words and photos up finally. A couple weeks back I wrapped up my trip back home to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Aside from the bass and other warmwater species fishing I did while back, I also made a run with my Dad and good family friend Dave to the north shore of Minnesota, for great lakes steelhead. The trip was a success and we got into a few nice fish. A few of the fish we hooked where brought to hand, and some just flat out kicked our ass. They are a very strong fish.

My favorite north shore river.

My favorite north shore river.

A Great Lakes Steelhead

A Great Lakes Steelhead

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Lake Superior

On the way home we stopped at one of my favorite northern Wisconsin trout rivers. The fishing was overall slow, but we caught a couple respectable fish on dries. I took this picture to show how different the coloration of these browns are than Montana fish.

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Dark

After the trip up north it was time to head back to Montana. I was greeted by great dry fly action with salmonflies and golden stones.

Ben with a nice brown on a golden stone.

Ben with a nice brown on a golden stone.

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I also started guiding this week, and had a couple good days with a new client and friend, Herb.

Herb with a Salmonfly rainbow.

Herb with a Salmonfly rainbow.

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After that, my good friend Cody was in town, and we made a run to some of my favorite water and were greeted by more good stonefly fishing on top.

Beautiful brown.

Beautiful brown.

Cody with a good one.

Cody with a good one.

Beautiful Dry Fly Cutthroat.

Beautiful Dry Fly Cutthroat.

Summer In Montana...Paradise.

Summer In Montana…Paradise.

Thanks for reading, I will try and get some more stuff up here soon.

Memorial Day Weekend

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Remember today those who have given their lives for our freedom. Around 1.3 million Americans have sacrificed their lives during the history of our country. Most of them had their whole lives in front of them, but unselfishly gave it up so we could enjoy things such as hunting and fishing in this great land.

This last weekend I traveled to central Minnesota with my old high school fishing buddy Dom, and his brother, Nick. We were invited up to their Uncle’s duck cabin to fish the surrounding lakes. It’s a Northwoods classic-made of big pine logs with an iron wood stove and Les Couba duck paintings hanging on the walls.

We got to fishing one of the nearby lakes. Although it was cold and rainy, the bass seemed to be really active. We caught fish on a number of presentations from texas rigs to spinnerbaits, but the best seemed to be a wacky style plastic worm fished on a spinning rod.

Note the hooded rain jacket...It felt like March. Not Summer-like at all.

Note the hooded rain jacket…It felt like March. Not Summer-like at all.

Dom with a good one pitchin' in the reeds.

Dom with a good one pitchin’ in the reeds.

Ran into a walleye as well.

Ran into a walleye as well.

As the grey sky turned into darkness we headed back to the cabin. The next day turned out to be just as grey and windy out, but fortunately no rain. We caught some nice bass and northerns in the morning, and then focused on pitching slip bobbers to the shallows in hopes of bringing home enough crappies for dinner.

A grey day on the water.

A grey day on the water.

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Minnesota...the land of lots of pike.

Minnesota…the land of lots of pike.

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Fish Fry

Fish Fry

It was a great day filled with multiple species…one of things that makes the lakes of the north country so great. The last morning we planned to fish for just a quick couple of hours and then hit the road, the numbers of bass weren’t as good as the previous days that morning, but we caught a handful and Nick pulled a big one.

5.5 lbs. Who says there aren't big bass in the north?

Weighed in at 5.5 lbs. Who says there aren’t big bass in the north?

We headed back to town soon after. It was an awesome weekend of fishing with great friends, it sure feels good to be back on the waters of the midwest. I’ll now be headed to the North Shore of Minnesota in search of Steelhead this week. The rivers are receding from blowing out last week due to all the rain we’ve been getting but they should be close to prime now. Thanks for reading.

Spring ’13 Wrap-Up

Well, that about does it for our pre-runoff 2013 spring fishing season. It was a great season, and by many accounts, some of the best spring fishing in recent memory. The skwala hatch started early (about march 9th) and ended late (still on the clark fork right now). John Faust, famous Bitterroot Valley guide and fly tyer said this was the longest Skwala hatch he’s seen in 30+ years of guiding the river. We also had great mayfly hatches in late March and April. It was one of those springs where from mid March to early May, you could be successful fishing dries and not having to use an indicator rig, pretty much any day you were on the Bitterroot. This weekend was no different. On friday I waded the Blackfoot, and there was a great amount of Grey Drakes, March Browns, and Caddis out. In usual Blackfoot fashion, the little fish showed up in droves to eat on top, and a brindle chute was all that was needed to have a good time with a bunch of em.

On Saturday I got to fish out of a Jet Boat again with my friend Scotty on the lower Clark Fork. We used the jet to run and gun from spot to spot. The hatches were very localized and only in certain spots. We would find the bugs and the risers, catch some until they got educated, then move on to another pod. It’s a very efficient way to fish bigger water. Unfortunately I was feeling a little lazy with the camera, and didn’t take any pictures, sorry bout that. Sometimes it’s more fun to just fish and forget about blogging…

On Sunday I hiked to the top of Mount Jumbo here in Missoula, to start getting prepared for elk season. It was a good hike up and a great view from the top. This time I brought the camera…IMG_1711

Runoff has unofficially started and most of the water will be blown out by late this week. It was a great spring, but I’m just as excited for summer. Now it’s time to finish strong in school so I can enjoy a great Montana summer fishing season. Can’t wait.

Spring Dry Fly Fishing Continues

By this time last year the water had blown out and the real runoff was upon us. In the past couple weeks the relatively cool weather has kept the high water at bay, providing us an extra long spring dry fly window. The dry fly fishing this spring has been pretty awesome, and very consistant on most of our area rivers. Skwalas, grey drakes, march browns, baetis, midges, and I even saw an adult salmonfly yesterday…on April 27.

March Brown lookin' cool

March Brown lookin’ cool

Big Skwala on the Clark Fork

Big Skwala

Salmonfly in April

Salmonfly in April

Hare's Ear Parachute, one of my favorite all-around mayfly patterns.

Hare’s Ear Parachute, one of my favorite all-around mayfly patterns.

Yesterday I got a chance to tag along in a jet boat on some big water. Needless to say it’s pretty cool to fly up and down rapids at 30+ mph.

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The jet was great to hold in spots for a while and then move to different areas on the river. You just can’t fish big water the same way out of a drift boat. We got into a good grey drake and skwala hatch that provided good fishing on top for those strong rainbows this river is known for.

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A Skwala "Hangover" fish.

A Skwala “Hangover” fish.

The fish in the above picture is a good example of timing a stonefly hatch. When a prolific hatch of stones like skwalas or salmonflies comes off, the fish gorge. They can’t believe the amount of protein floating down the river. The only problem with a prolific stonefly hatch compared to a mayfly or caddis hatch, is that the fish can get full too fast, because the stones are just so big. Last thursday there was a great number of live skwalas all over the water, but the fish were barely touching them. I caught some fish on top that day, but it should have been epic fishing with the number of bugs on the water. All the fish brought to hand looked like the one above, and were kind of “hungover”. My guess is they gorged the day before and most of them were too full to continue.

Yesterday we hit better timing on the hatch, and enjoyed good fishing for most of it’s duration. During the latter part of it though, you could see the fish started to get stuffed, as they stopped eating the bugs helplessly floating down the river.

I will probably be able to get just one more full day of fishing in next weekend before the big bump of water starts and studying for finals take over. Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak out wade fishing in town a couple times though. After finals it’s off to home for a short couple weeks. I’ll focus on Smallies, Great Lakes Steelhead, Brown Trout, and hopefully a Muskie when I’m back, and I can’t wait to see family, friends and my dog. Then it’s back out to Montana to start the best time of the year.

Stay tuned for more. Thanks for reading.