Winter Break

Last Thursday I took my last final and was set free from the rigors of school for a while. The plan was to stay in Montana for a week to hunt some ducks and fish a little bit. My old high school buddy Dom was riding the train out from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to join in the fun. On Saturday night, Dom arrived and we wasted little time getting to it. We drove up to the Missouri the next day in hopes to find some ducks, and to fish.

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The road to the Missouri

Back home, Dom and I had fished a lot together for muskies and bass. But he had never fly-fished before. Nor, for that matter, had Dom ever caught a wild trout. The conditions were less than ideal, with below freezing temps and high winds, but Dom stuck with it, and after missing some fish early, he was rewarded with landing his first fish on a fly.

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Photo by Paden

The next day, we set out to hunt the many goldeneyes and greenheads we had scouted while on the Missouri, downstream of the Craig area. Early in the morning, we walked out to an island where we had seen a lot of birds working the day before. As shooting time approached, we had mallards and goldeneyes buzzing our spread. We dropped a couple of drakes just at legal light. But as the hunt wore on, the wind switched, angling into our faces. Ducks rarely will make their final approach coming over land, so it was tough getting the birds to center up where we wanted the shots to be, over the decoys. We adjusted the spread, doing our best to adapt, and ended up getting some nice drakes on the water. My dog Ben made some great retrieves in the fast current.

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After the hunt, we made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and headed back to Missoula.

The next couple of mornings Dom, Paden and I got up early to hunt not far from Missoula. There were good numbers of birds around, and we coaxed an assortment of ducks to set their wings and drop into our spreads. Watching a goldeneye bow up and dive-bomb in is sure a rush to be had.

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Common and Barrows Goldeneye (Photo by Dom)

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There were more than a few species around, not only Mallards and Goldeneyes, but Ringnecks, Buffleheads, and Green-winged teal.

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Photo by Paden

Overall it was a great last week in Montana for a while, shared with a couple of good friends.

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On Thursday morning, Paden caught a flight back home to the South, and Dom and I started driving back to the Midwest. I took a few pictures throughout the drive.Image

Stopped at the brand-new Simms Headquarters.

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Eastern Montana Sunset

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Windshield Sunrise

I got home to find brother Cole out on the ice putting the hurt on some nice crappies. Looks like we’ll be getting out on the ice soon.

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More to come from this winter break soon. Including Ice fishing, bowhunting, and a trip to South Carolina in search of redfish! Thanks for reading.

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