Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Fishing?

Not a lot of fishing going on here at the moment, unless of course you feel the need to stare down a small hole in the ice while freezing your a%$ off and trying to drink an extra beer cause your buddies are all forcing that next frosty beverage down their gullet, even though it's only about two whole stinking degrees out! Sorry, I can do that on my couch while I watch football!
It has been brought to my attention by one of my guides and good friend Nick, that it's been since August since my last entry here. How did that happen you ask? Pretty easy I realize, as I round up my end of the year reports, and grasp a better understanding of how I was on the water more this year than last. Sometimes you have to see something on paper to get the big picture I guess.

The whirlwind of day after day on the water, with nothing but visions of rising trout and thoughts of new flies to tie and try, all dancing in my head at night when my head finally hit the pillow, have been replaced with the anticipation of the next days hunt. Yes, myself and a lot of the guides of Double Up have been out chasing fur and feather for the winter tying bench, and stacking those coveted packages of wild game meat in the freezer. The pheasant tails, spun deer hair head hoppers, and CDC wings a top some great little mayfly patterns will be stacked to the top of the box in 2010. The elk hair caddis may be a little sparser this next season, as once again I passed up some smaller ones in hopes of the big bull getting a little closer into bow range. Oh well, you can't eat a story or tie a fly out of it, but I can always find a buddy with an extra chunk of premium elk hide to spare or trade for tying.

Other than that, I can tell you it was one heck of a great fall out here in Montana, with lots of big browns eager to snap up the big dry, and then crushing the streamers through a lot of October as well! We had a super cold snap in early October this year with temps much like our past week here. We are talking a high of eight or nine degrees for pete's sake! Unheard of for that time of year. I can handle that now, as I fill out my outfitters report, but not in early October. That little snap cost me more than a few trips, but I'm pretty sure it made the fishing rock that much more for the rest of the month.
September was a hoot, with great trico and hopper fishing, and a picture perfect hatch of Mahogany's and BWO's to fill it all in. What a dry fly year! You just can't beat the water conditions we've had for the past few seasons, the fish are as strong and as healthy as ever, and believe me, they do let you know it once they're stuck! Here's a couple of fishy shots from September and October for you...

Wish I could pop more pics up here, but visit us on Facebook if you would like to see some more great shots from this late summer and fall.

Outfitting report is almost done, and we still have until the middle of January to bang on the geese, ducks and deer. I thought about ice fishing again today, but I think I'll wait until it's in the teens at least out here.
The fly tying bench is cleared, and Skwalla season is fast approaching. Oh yeah, Big Dries, and Big Browns, coming soon to a river near me!
More fishing videos are in the works, and I'm thinking of putting on a few fly tying videos up on here to, if I can ever wade through all the footage we have at this point anyway.
Happy holidays everyone, and I'll try not to wait three months for the next entry here.

Fish 'em UP...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

OK, I lied...

So what? I'm a busy guy.
I thought I was going to have more time to post some videos, pictures, and blurbs on the current fishing situation around here, and I was wrong. It's been a while since I had time to post anything, but in my line of work, that's a good thing!
So finally, here's the latest FYI on our rivers in Montana...

It's been a great summer, and the hopper fishing is absolutely, out of control!!! The Trico's, flying ants, crane flies, Hecuba's, (about a size 10 green drake looking, monster, oh my word the trout love 'em, may fly), BWO's, and more are yet to come. Yikes, it's going to be an awesome late summer/ early fall!
With the rains we just received driving our rivers up to even better levels, to smack trout in, we are looking at the most optimal fishing conditions our area has seen in the middle of August in over a decade. Throw in our second year in a row with the spruce moth hatch on the Blackfoot, and hang on to your spool my friend! It's on!
Here's just a couple snap shots of the summers recent grab and grin participants from the past few days...

OK, I've waited for this for at least two weeks, and now I just can't help myself.

So now, here are...

The Top Ten Reasons to Come Fishing in Our Area This Summer/ Fall

One) Fishing is the best it's been in years here.

Two) You haven't caught a fish over 18 inches in two days.

Three) You haven't caught a trout over 18 inches in two years.

Four) All our rivers are in amazing, fishing shape.

Five) There's nobody else on the rivers, (due to the economy I guess?)

Six) The big ones are "dumber than a box of rocks".

Seven) There's more hoppers than ever in our area this year.

Eight) Fishing is insane, and our major, late summer/ early fall, and fall hatches haven't even started yet.

Nine) Dry fly enthusiasts may literally fall out of the boat over how good it is!

And now, the number Ten reason to come fishing in our area this season is...

"A blind, one armed monkey could easily catch a twenty incher after drinking a fifth of vodka, and casting with a banana, out of one of our boats this summer or fall"!

Take it however, but grab a camera with a big chip, or a lot of film, and come see us this season for a Dry Fly Bonanza that will knock you wading boots off!

Hope everyone is having a great fishing season, and I'll try not to wait so long next time for the latest fishing report.

Double Up, and back to the fly tying bench for me...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guiding-It's 24/7

Well, it's Prime time here in Montana.
The fishing is out of control, and we are absolutely having the time of our lives so far this summer.
I sure wish I had time to write more on some of the amazing things we get to see, and the fish stories we could tell, but sorry, unlike some of the other outfitters around here, who seem to have time to play on the computer all day and write about who knows what, myself and my guides are on the water everyday Catching people FISH. We don't come home and surf the internet. We get home and make the calls to talk about conditions, find out from each other what's up on certain stretches, where's fishing the best, tie more of what's working, and make sure we have it all ready for the next days float!
Sure, shop flies work fine, and they will always have their place, but there is no comparison in the flies we fish with! "Home brewed", home tied and field tested EVERYDAY!!!! Fly fishing is fun, that's our main job, and we just don't mess around at it. Myself and my guides made the decision years ago to make the commitment to be the best there is at what we do. Yes, it does come with a price, but while other outfitters and guides are out drinking beers, and eating dinner with their clients, we are home tying the best of the best in custom, "I'm gonna kick you right in the Fin" flies!!! Clean boats, clean gear, and clearly ready to roll out on the water for a great day with our clients!
Hey thanks for reading, and I just wanted you to know that I may not have any time to post anything more until mid-summer. The hoppers are tied, we are excited, and we can't wait for the heat of the summer and the action it brings. Who knows what new pattern may emerge from the bench to be the secret weapon this August. All we know is we'll be ready!
Truly hope everyone's fishing adventures are as memorable as ours this summer, and do stay tuned for all kinds of videos coming for you, (before September, and the Dry Fly Madness that comes with it) for your fish porn video enjoyment of course!
Time to tie, time to fish, time to flat out...
"Get Your Fish On"!!!

Go to the video bar on the right to see the latest Dry fly Video from this March/ April

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Run off? What's that? Where is it? Why am I guiding the Bitterroot in the middle of May, AND having great fishing? Sometimes you just have to quit thinking about things so hard, and just "Go Fishing!"

Usually, we are playing around with a few trout in our two acre spring pond behind our house during our spring run off in May. Catching a few like these below, and having the kids help us drag them in!

For the past ten years, excluding last years excellent water conditions, I have been telling my regular clients and new ones as well, not to come out to fish Montana in the last week of July and the first week of August! It's just been too hot, and the water has been too warm. Not last year though, it was truly a thing of beauty, with water conditions more like the "good old days", that kept the trout more than happy ALL summer long!

We are absolutely in for another summer just like last year now. Our spring has been one of the coolest ever on record, and as I mentioned, the Bitterroot is fishing like a champ at this very moment! Add that to this last winters incredible snow pack and get ready for cold, clean water all season. I think the incredible flush that the Bitterroot took last May and June, coupled with the fact that there were no real forest fires to speak of, has the condition of the river in an extraordinary shape that we may not see again for a long time,( in the month of May that is ).

Last summer, for the first time in at least ten years, I was having some of my regular clients meet me late in the afternoon for our day of fishing! The hopper fishing was incredible from the word go! Ant's, beetle's and crane flies gave up some great dry fly fishing until dusk. Then after a quick break and a snack (maybe some smoked steelhead with cream cheese and crackers, (occasionally followed by a good cigar and a beer)), we would then proceed to have some of the most incredible dry fly action one could ever imagine! Ever! May fly spinner falls, caddis flies, crane flies, little sally stoneflies of every color you can think of, you name it, they were on the water everywhere. With all this going on the fish went one hundred percent "brain dead", I mean "dumb"! Rising fish numbering in the hundreds, in the main seam. That's just ONE seam I'm talking about to, The main current for crying out loud! Sure we may have not been getting to the boat ramp until 10:30 or 11:00 at night, but it was worth it. What a blast!

As I looked out the window yesterday, and saw yet another flurry of snow come sailing out of the mountain pass by my house, I realized we are in for the same "good old days" kind of summer again. Just thought I would throw that line out there if anyone's trying to think of something fun to do this July and August.

The water is finally trying to rise here in the valley (supposed to be in the eighties by Monday), but salmon flies and goldens will be here before we know it. The "dry fly paradise" that is Montana will flow downstream on into our next fishing phase with open arms here on our end. Green drakes, PMD's "oh my". It never ends here!

The next video should be out soon, so look for it shortly and happy fishing everyone...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Suddenly, it doesn't feel like spring anymore! Fortunately, we are truly blessed with trout that are always willing to munch a fly somewhere in our area! Our rivers are finally a bit high to fish in our immediate area, so off to Missouri we go. I guess I can handle being spoiled by an average of 18-19 inches every time I dip the net for my clients and friends on the river...
Fish of the week goes to Randy this round.

This is one of the many great rainbows that settled into our net, and posed for some great photos, in the semi-blizzard that encompassed most of our day last Thursday on the Missouri. A bit chilly, but hardly noticeable with the forty mile an hour wind in our faces! Yikes! We had a great time though, and I was fortunate enough to have two of my really, great clients that showed no fear in venturing out into the wild weather show that hit us in Montana that day.
It was supposed to be fifty degrees the day of our trip, but mother nature, obviously, had other plans! The Missouri is an awesome river, and was kind enough to have the trout "strapping on the feed bag" for us, and keeping us well entertained during yet another spring snow storm.
Our snow packs are as healthy as they've been in years, for this time of the season, and we are expecting another banner year for our water and wild trout! The shape our fish are in right now was well observed during our skwalla stone fly hatch this March and April. Big, fat, beautiful, healthy trout were seen rising and smiling for the camera all spring long! The mayfly activity was incredible as well, and a brief showing of caddis made the last week of our (early) spring fishing even more memorable for our dry fly enthusiasts! We also enjoyed a very gradual rise in the waters this spring, and that kept the fish feeding on top like champs for us. With no unexpected blow outs on the river, until the end of April when it's supposed to happen, it was truly a great spring here in western Montana! I'm still waiting on some of the pics that clients took with their cameras, to pop up some extra "fish of the week" photos soon.

The newest video will be out soon, with some great dry fly eats, and some trout that must have lived in Hollywood for a year or two, judging from their acting skills. A whitefish may have been used as a stunt double in the next episode, but rest assured, no game fish were harmed in the making of our next video!

Here's a couple more pics of the "arctic blast" we fished in on the 'MO, and here's looking at an incredible fishing year in 2009!!! Come "GET YOUR FISH ON"!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dry Fly Fishing in March, is ON!

Here's the first couple "Fish of the Week" photos, that we will start posting for your fish-porn viewing pleasure.

The first pic, on the top, was March 20th '09, on a Skwalla-DRY! Absolute "blow-pig"! The other was just one of many beauty's that were bagged on March 13th '09.

Well, all I can say is..."YUP! Set the HOOK!"
I've been meaning to write something new for a while now, but being on the water everyday is going to make it tough. Not to mention, booking trips, emailing pictures of the big ones to my clients every night, tying flies, etc. Whatever, I love my job!
I'll do my best to get the next video out before long. We have some great dry fly footage coming in the next video, and if that doesn't get you fired up to fish, nothing will.
The skwallas are here, and the forty fish + day we had on Friday had me a little jaded to only get about thirty on Saturday! Oh well, boy I'm spoiled. We still had an absolute blast, FISHING BIG DRY FLIES in March!
If youv'e never read my Blog before, check out the bottom of the very first post for a truly, crazy deal, for first time clients of D.U.O.
See ya on the water...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Floating in February with D.U.O.

What? It's March?
Taxes, more end of the year reports, marketing, tying flies...OK, I'm done with all that! Well, not "tying flies", but the rest of that junk.
My wife, a few of my guides and I took a couple days to fish in the last two weeks of February. The waters of the Bitterroot are still only a few degrees above freezing, but there was fishing, make that catching, to be had.
The skwalla nymphs are close to the bank, and we caught fish here and there all day, both days. I even had a nice brown crush a skwalla dry on the 19th of Feb! I was playing with the new video camera when he ate, and I'm sure my regulars will get a kick out of the fact "I Farmed him!" We didn't pick on any "big" fish ( as in 20 inches or better ), but it was great to get out fishing, and just be on the water. We always like to do plenty of "check floats" before March arrives, and our guiding everyday lifestyle ensues.

These check floats are especially important after the high water we had last winter, and the ice jams that followed. The photo on the left is the Bitterroot river in front of my house, back in December. I've never seen or heard of that run being frozen over completely, but was it ever. High water and ice overs both make subtle, as well as obvious changes in the Bitterroot's course, and character. New holes are formed, old trees are washed away to form some new, surprising log jam around the bend. We prefer to keep up to date on these changes, and surprise ourselves instead of our clients. Doesn't hurt to learn all the new spots the trout are snooping around in either!

As promised, we are doing some filming of our time on the water this spring. Hope everyone enjoys some of the amateur video work that will hopefully be popping up more and more on the blog this spring. I am really, just this past month, getting in to the whole video thing and working on acquiring some better editing techniques for your enjoyment. I really need some decent music to work with, and if anyone knows how to get some, easily and legally, please let me know. Thanks for the patience, and I'm certainly looking forward to this new endeavor.

Here's the latest video compilation of a few fish from our floats in February. Dry fly fishing starts sooner than you think. See you on the water...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A February afternoon on the Bitterroot

I couldn't take it anymore: After writing the very first blog for this site, and glancing out the window at a beautiful February afternoon, I grabbed a rod, two nymphs and walked out my front door.
I'm lucky enough to live about one hundred and twenty yards from from one of the best runs on the Bitterroot river. The sun was just about to go behind St. Marys peak. I only had about ten minutes to get it done before the spring like weather of the day would turn to an evening that could possibly ice up the guides in my Loomis 5 wt.
Buddy, my big yellow lab, and I skittered along the shelf ice that still borders the river on the west side. Trying not to go swimming was a high priority! No waders, just some knee highs for this quick assault on the fish were all I needed, as long as I didn't slide off that ice into the "drink"!
Just a few drifts with the double-bead-stone, and one of my skwalla nymph patterns, earned buddy the chance to watch two different rainbows leap out of the water on the end of my line. The fish were healthy, and in great shape. No big ones today, but still great fun to have trout on the line on February third! Can't complain, since I only had time for six or eight drifts this evening. I did have a fish "boil" my indicator tonight to! Must have thought it was the biggest midge in the world or something.
Well, back to fly tying bench for me again.
More fishing, and some real river reports to come!
Tight Lines,

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spring Dry Fly Fishing on the Bitterroot river! Spring Discount!


it's that time of year again. It's a little cold to be fishing, and another hunting season has come and gone. Whispers of "cabin fever" are heard throughout the valley, but there is hope...

Skwalla stone flies are coming off my tying bench at a pretty decent rate. Soon they will be bobbing down the riffles of the Bitterroot river here, along with ample amounts of naturals. It's no secret anymore, and the chance of taking wild trout on a size 8 to 10 dry fly draws some well deserved attention. Pretty hard to resist throwing "hopper" sized dry flies in early March and on into April. On the right year, with the right conditions, we even get to fish into May for a week or so as well. Mid-March to mid-April is traditionally the safest time to plan your trip. Those willing to brave the chance of rising water, and an escape route over to the Missouri, will venture out in late April and early May for a chance at some of the most incredible dry fly action of the season! Believe me though, when high water hits this time of year, it hits hard. You can go from two days of throwing nothing but drys on the Bitterroot and "killing 'em", to a two and a half hour drive and strike indicators, in twelve hours or less! Oh well, we live for this chance of incredible dry fly fishing, after a long cold winter, a better cure for the "fever" there is not!

The Skwalla hatch is one of the best times to take a Monster Brown on a dry here in western Montana. A little different than your average stone fly, as the females enjoy crawling into the water in great numbers on the cloudy, overcast days to deposit their eggs. From crushing strikes that may splash water on the side of the boat, to the giant nose sliding over your low profile imitation, this hatch is not to be missed! The weather can be interesting this time of year, but I can honestly say that some of my best days on dry flies have been during some snow flurry's! As snowflakes may be slightly blurring the incredible scenery around my favorite stream in Montana, the fish are crushing our skwalla patterns, and I'm sure of it again, "it's my favorite time of the year!"

The two smaller stone flies of our area, capnia (little snow stone) and the nemora are also present. The "little snow stone" has meager importance to the trout, at only a size 18, but the fluttering of the size 16 to 14 nemora can attract the attention of some very nice fish. There are certain days when these can actually out-fish our favorite skwalla pattern. Don't worry, we tie plenty of these to!

We also have some of our most unique mayfly activity of the year during skwalla season as well. The Gray drake and Western March Browns are a healthy size 12 to 14 mayfly that gets the trouts attention in a hurry. One species actually crawls/ swims to the bank, to emerge near the shore, and on the rocks bordering the stream- "like a stone fly". The other makes a little more flashy entrance on to the waters surface by emerging underneath, and rocketing to through the meniscus like a caddis. The trout we catch during this emergence deliver an explosive take that gets the heart racing, and the line tight!

We also begin to see some of our ephemerellas during the same time frame. Blue Wing Olives can coat the waters surface, and these familiar little sailboats offer the dry fly enthusiast a chance to catch very large trout on #16 and #18 patterns.

The "Mother's Day Caddis" usually makes it's first appearance on our streams around the middle of the third week in April, and the overlapping of all our spring hatches is complete! This is usually about a size 16 that sports a grayish body, and dark gray wings. The females may display an almost chartreuse egg sack, but closer to, (you guessed it!) caddis green. The feeding frenzy's of spring will simply obliterate any lingering effects of cabin fever, and I highly recommend this season to anybody that may be getting the symptoms!!!

If this would be your first time fishing with us, and you contact us for a spring trip:
Mention this BLOG, and you are eligible to receive $100 off the regular trip price, per day, on full day float trips, for any trip booked with Double Up Outfitters in the months of March and April!!! Sounds crazy? Yeah, probably, but we are confident that after fishing this hatch with us, you'll be back!!! Don't miss out on the chance for some of the best fishing of the season, and this "crazy" deal!

Wow, after writing this short note on all spring has to offer, I'm not sure I can wait for it myself! Oh well, I guess I'll look at some more pictures of springs gone by, and get some venison out of the freezer. Back to the fly tying bench for me...