Stalking trout with dry flies. Floating, wading, and camping along the rivers. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Winter trips to Mexico.

Jun 23, 2017

Oh MO. High Water Madness (8500 cfs)

Here we go again.  Running out of adjectives.  But this year is different.  The normal spots, flats, islands, and channels are under water.  The grass and willows are under water or have water flowing through them.  There are channels that usually only look like water was there in a flood.  Now they have fish rising.  And so does the whole damn river.  PMD madness.  Pods of fish, single fish, lines of fish.  Crowded, of course, but everybody's casting to fish.  This is only from day one, and I chose to float to Craig, but only really fished three spots.  I passed thousands of rising fish on the float.  One of those "know when to say when" days on the MO.  Physically, I hate to say I just can't keep catching these fish all day either.  Age sucks.  Got backing?  Better have.  Hottest fish in the west, and then throw in the high water, and off they go!  Never saw a fish under 16 inches, most 18-20.  Sometimes it was literally, a fish a cast.  Lost count early on.  Oh, and forget the early shit.  Bankers hours.  Hatch starts at 10, goes until dark.  I launched at 7:30, and made it until about 3:30 today. 
I'm still working on the underwater picture thing.  If there was one thing not quite perfect today, it was the clouds.  Poor picture light, but the sunny days will prevail.  And I'll get better at the underwater shots I hope.
Fish in the grass--That's where they are
Caddis are back! 
Usually dry, now a fishy channel
The boat goes in grass, not on a gravel bar
Ma and Pa's riffle, deep and covered up.
Still a few wadeable spots
As usual for MO PMD's
The little spooky channel, a river runs through it.
Smashed and Trimmed Lt. Cahill-Fly Of The Day by far.  They're gobbling spinners!
A little bit of California Island showing.
Just killer along the island between Barb Wire and Lone Tree
It worked too
Getting closer to that in/out shot I'm looking for.

Jun 21, 2017

Rough Start--Henry's and the Beav. 6-17 6-21

Well, this isn't what the book says, or all the experience over the years.  What is it they say, "its just nice to be out here," "the weather sure is comfortable,"  "better than working."  Right.
The flow on the Fork is a perfect, knee-high 850 with no weeds.  Water is clear.  Not excessively crowded for the opener.  Bugs?  What bugs?  Something's out of whack.  (First morning, I saw one fish rise, cast to it, caught it on the first cast, and then never made another cast all day.  Come evening, I went looking for Brown Drakes at Osborne.  No drakes, but saw one fish rise, cast a Drake Cripple at it, it ate first cast, and I never saw another rise.  But hey, two for two, right?  Days are pretty long to make just two casts.  Day two I never made a cast.  I gave it one more morning, "just in case."  Nope.  Outta here.  Probably will be a blanket hatch in the morning, but a guy can only take so much.  I did see a few other guys hook a fish here and there, but you just had to be lucky, in the right spot for a fish taking whatever happen to float by on occasion.
Now, I did take a minor detour over to another spring creek, the Buffalo, one afternoon.  The Green Drakes were poppin', and the fish were up and on 'em!  10-13 inchers.  Its not every day you get to fish drakes on a small clear spring creek, so I enjoyed it for a few hours, but that's not what I'm here for.  Again, outta here. Shoulda listened to Les!  But, I can't drive by, or around, my favorite trout river, even if it is in peril.
The Beaverhead?  I gave it two full mornings, in the glory hole, with a perfect flow of 300 cfs,  with clear water (NOT "Beaverhead clear, but really clear!).  Saw one fish rise, it took, I missed, and that was the whole fucking Beaverhead eperience.  A few fish rising at the bottom of the big slick in the evening, but that was the only activity other than its famous evening mosquito hatch in full force.  I gave it two mornings and evenings.  A least they have a Dairy Queen in Dillon. Outta here.  When it doubt, head for the MO!
It is a nice place to be
The one lucky riser
The only Brown Drake I'll use this season
The PMD box--for not.
More snow up there on June 17 than in many years
Afternoon saver, the Buffalo
Big drakes!
Its a new towing machine, 11 mpg, might as well drive it.  No risers here.

Jun 13, 2017

Finally, Come Hell or High Water!

Long spring, following a long winter.  My home river was "blown out" on March 1st with wide-open flows making room in the reservoir for over 200 percent of average snowpack.  Then I started working, every day through mid-May.  Then I needed to buy a new truck, as the old '03 began to show its age.  I love the new ride, but that took up one of two long weekends that I usually fish and kick off the "summer" season.  When Memorial Day weekend arrived a week later, the water was raging to flooding in nearly every river in the west, and I had shit to do anyway, so I took a much-need break at home and got shit done.  Kind of.

So now its time.  The truck is loaded, even though I have 3 more days of work before departure.  The trailer is cleaned and loaded.  The coolers are ready to be loaded, ice and contents already acquired.  The final prep, which is really just a routine re-load from last fall.  But it seems like forever ago.  I didn't fish enough this spring.  My first summer-swing will be a few days shorter than planned because I need to work this week to accommodate some of my favorite customers and make up for a couple of days lost to weather. (see also--new truck payment).  I'll make up for the lost fishing time later in the season.

First stop, The Fork, of course.  A possible evening-bite stop at the creek on the way.  High water or not, I need this.  New Eco-boost turbo engine with a 10-speed automatic should let me clear any pass, with trailer in tow, at whatever pace I desire.  I think I can keep it reasonable and prudent, while in more comfort than ever before.  I hope it's a towing machine, because Ford prices its aluminum and plastic motorized box more like its gold.  I guess there's some steel in there, somewhere, but I haven't found any.  So far, I'm lovin' it though!  Hope I don't collide with a Kia or Hundai and total the thing.

Feb 25, 2017

From sun and 90 to snow and 30 (1900 cfs afternoon low)

Yikes.  This was a quick transition.  But, a guy's gotta fish wherever he is.  When you just got back from Campeche the night before, you go.  When your friend says he's driving 400 miles to fish, you go.  When the fishing should be good, you go.  When it's cloudy during "baetis season," you go.  When it turns out the water is too high, fluctuating too much, wind howling, its snowing, and there's hardly enough bugs to even see one, you still go.  It sucked, but we did catch some fish, on dries, in howling wind the first day, and some some snow on day two.  I saw a few fish eat a baetis, and a few ate mine.  Midges were scarce.  I'm a fair-weather fisherman, but somehow I keep finding myself in not so fair conditions.  When its time, you go.

Guess I carelessly re-tied a couple times.  Black wing worked in the glare too.

Feb 24, 2017

Tarpon Town-Sunny and 90!

We hit the right week this time.  7 days of fishing, only one "lost" morning to winds, and the afternoon was a good one that day.  We had two mornings of "Fantasy Fishing" with rolling tarpon surrounding the boat and crusing every mangrove island.  There were a couple of slower days where we only found a few fish in some creeks or lone groups crusing by themselves.  Three of the days were what I've become acustomed to calling "average," with plenty of shots and lots of hook-ups.  We were just in the right places at the right tides several times a day, with favorable conditions and happy fish. This was the most consistent fishing I've had of the 7 winter trips I've made to Campeche.  We did not go offshore to fish for the larger fish on deeper grass flats, but I didn't miss that at all.  We didn't have to spend endless hours poling up long creeks either.  The fish were near the creek mouths and along the mangrove fronts for the most part.  I've already re-booked for the end of October, and I'm sure there will be another February trip in 2018.  I love this place, the guides, the folks, the shrimp, and the best sport fish on the planet--the Silver Prince.

On the hunt at sunrise

Our host Raul's new fly worked very well

A daily sampling

Great sight fishing in Campeche's clear water

Once in a while we see a decent snook

The best coconut shrimp in Campeche at La Pigua Resturante