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

Mar 13, 2018

One More Time

I needed to get a couple of fish I didn't get two days ago.  You know, it's just unfinished business.  Same place, different flies, different day, lighter hatch, less wind, warmer.  I couldn't take a decent fish picture today to save my life.  Cold water, lost grips, shitty angles, stirring up silt, just poor execution.  I kinda gave up on that, but fishing and catching was ok.

Tried to do a good deed and return a lost bottle of floatant to an upstream angler, and it kinda backfired.  Oh well, I stayed on the high road, and got the last chuckle catching the "uncatchable" fish from the "uncatchable" angle as the guy stood upstream of me at the head of the riffle, with his arms folded like I did something wrong.  I fished straight upstream, inches from the bank, in 6 inches of water.  It worked. The Brits do it too. 

Killer on the Mo, worked here too.

Worked as a BWO emerger too

Mar 11, 2018

March at Home (1770 cfs)

Its been a whole year since I fished the trout-filled river that's my "home water" by definition.  It's a winter thing, and I've been busy or unable most of the winter.  In addition, the water has been at 2,800 cfs, about twice my liking.  Now it is down during the day, so back to the familiar water, the familiar run, with the familiar flies.  A little bit of adjusting after two weeks of tarpon fishing, but like riding a bike, it came back quick.  "Forage," my friend Don calls 'em, but when the forage is foraging on top to midges and baetis, I still like fishing to the forage.  More than like it, it's a part of me, and a necessary part of my existence.

The wind blew constantly 5-10 straight upstream, so all the fishing was upstream, right over the fish.  Greased leader and all, no problems.  Midges were sparse, as were risers, until the BWO's started up around 1 pm.  It was steady action from there despite clear skies and constant wind.  Just like it usually is, and is supposed to be.  Fairly easy and therapeutic.  There were a few I couldn't get to eat, but that is a good thing too.  They entertained me for quite some time.
Bank Feeders

Of Course

A few ate it!

All the way up in the afternoon

Just enough

Cheating, but they loved it

Feb 21, 2018

The Traditional Return

Early February is generally the deepest, darkest point of winter, so that's when Campeche pulls the hardest, and I've learned to anticipate it and book early!  This year, well, winter hadn't come yet, but sunny and 85 still has it's draw.  As does the greatest sport fish on the planet.  So off we went.

We hit it perfect this week.  7 days of light winds, good tides early on, warm temperatures, and abundant tarpon just offshore of the mangroves.  For a couple of the days we made the long 90-minute run to hit the area at the right time, the offshore grass flats were loaded with fish, sometimes acres of them!  The inshore creeks had fish when the water was moving, as did the lagoons close to Campeche.  The biggest ones got away this trip, but that's the way it works, usually.   I'll remember them. 

It has become familiar, expected, and sometimes even predictable as we cruise into a creek or flat and the first rollers appear.  "Everything's ok, I'm home now."  Its a comfortable familiarity, like walking down the ranch trail, or driving into one of the spring creeks. I can't imagine ever getting tired of it, or bored with it, or being less challenged to get it right.  These tarpon are still too far from home to become "regular fish," but it's kinda cool to recognize the sweet spots from one year to the next, and just get "that" feeling as we pole in that the most magnificant events in sport fishing are about to happen.  I still get weak knees, buck fever, and intense euphorea.

Some have attemped to describe it, TV has attempted to illustrate it and take you there, but its nothing seeing that roll, making that cast, seeing the Silver King turn and eat your fly, stripping that line for all your worth, and the eruption that always follows.   You have to be there.  I was there.  It happened.  Great week with another addict just crazy enough to spend 7 days on a boat with.  We scarily think alike at times.  Makes for a fun week.  We shall continue to return.
"Nine-Jump" Tarpon.  Had to be there.

Nov 23, 2017

Campeche Tarpon

An early November visit to sort of end the summer/fall season, and maintain some sanity as winter sets in.  It was a good trip, though different in some ways.  We couldn't fish the normal waters north of Campeche the first two days due to wind, but we took a detour to the south and fished a "secret" river our outfitter knew of.  the first day there was cloudy and calm, and there were tarpon rolling all over the place all day!  Day two there was more of a reality check, with just one area of small active fish.  The following four days fishing directly out of Campeche were fair, with a few moments of glory, and some times of where the hell are the fish?  Mostly mixed, not great, but passable.  Fish in a few usual places, and not much else when exploring except a few backs of creeks.  No open water schools except at the mouth of that secret river on day one.  I'll be returning soon though, hopefully.
Don's First

Don's biggest.  Fish of the trip!

The "automatic" hole, where nesting cormorants barf up fish, and baitfish gather to eat that, and tarpon gather to eat those!

Get the fly in there, and its an eat.

Until next time.  Soon.  Not soon enough.

Oct 16, 2017

Ain't gonna happen

I fished point of rocks until 2:00, and the preserve another three hours.  Hardly any bugs, and hardly any fish up over a foot long.  Next clouds maybe Friday.  Its only Monday.  I can't wait any longer.  Know when to say when.  Besides, its almost tarpon time!!!
Yesterday's water, smooth as glass today.
Today's Preserve water, smooth as glass
There was a little pod working here
This is the one I wanted, but another fish took the fly, and the pod was gone
Hooked a big bow first cast on this mahogany, it ripped downstream under the foot bridge, and never made it in front of the camera lens.  Only big hook-up today
There were two of these two-foot-long browns moving upstream over the clean gravel.  Behemoths, the picture doesn't do it justice.
Wasn't going to eat, but there's a couple of these giants above the foot bridge
These two and their other family members asked me not to fish that run, and frankly, to please just leave.  Ok then. (Telephoto, no way I was getting very close)