Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Fishing in Montana

When was my last Blog? Oh well, summer is here, hopper fishing is in full swing, the rivers have dropped a ton and now it's raining again. Love it! May was incredible, aside from a few pushes of water here. June was set up to be the best it's ever been, and then the whole "40 days & 40 nights" thing happened. Just a lot of rain, but still incredible fishing this past first half of June. July has proven to be just incredible, and the great fishing just keeps rolling! Thought we would show you a whole bunch of footage from salmonflies to now, but I have been just too darn busy on the water and making it home in time to play with my kids, say hello to the wife AND there just isn't enough hours in the day to edit up some videos for you all this time of year. Guess I'll have some fun projects this winter, if I can swim through all the great video footage we have saved up!

So hoppers are hopping about on the banks of the Bitterroot, the Big Blackfoot and on the Clark Fork now, and the late July weather has been very warm, but now cooling off and even raining again! The rest of our summer looks very promising, and the dry fly fishing that started the other day with the Big Bug, has only just begun again. Our area has some of the best dry fly fishing around, right into October with huge dry flies! And for those of you who've never been out here in the first half of August, well, your missing out on a dandy this year! Early rising in the lower flows have been the norm here in the past week, with the hot weather/ full moon combination and all, but this rain, and cooler temperatures will have us back to normal meet times and closer to some "bankers hours" for our fishing day schedule! If you have the right bugs, have the knowledge of the rivers and know where and when the fish are in there spots, you just don't have to be the early bird out here.

Back to the river tomorrow, and more to come on our incredible fly fishing adventures here in western Montana. See you on the water...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The "deadliest catch" & the "beach boys"

Spring in Montana! What are you going to do? On week we are bundled up like we were on an episode of the Deadliest Catch...

The next we are digging through the gear for the sunscreen, and tearing off layers as fast as possible...

Both conditions yielded great trout, and wonderful times with our clients! Sunburn or frostbite? Pick and choose!

One thing I've learned over the years is the inevitable "right of passage" that one must endure on their first skwalla trip to Montana. Apparently, if you've never been out in March or April, you must experience at least one day of casting large dry flies during a snow storm! I've been telling one of my long time clients, and good friend John, about how great it is in the spring here. He was looking at me like I had three eyes one morning as we started our float down the river in the freezing cold though. Cold temps hardly ever hit Montana in the later part of the first week of April, but since it was John's first time out here in the spring, and he had brought a companion who was also from New Mexico, the cold weather had to make an appearance for us. He did catch a 22 & 1/2 brown on the trip, and we landed many a beautiful trout each day of their trip here. I hate saying it, but they really did miss the true spring weather by one day. Our warmer weather hit the following day, and the dry fly fishing exploded! The right of passage continues, next year my friend, next year.

What a spring it's been here. I've truly had no time for blog entries with as much guiding as I've done this spring, and the fishing continues... We are in a bit of a heat wave at the moment, and the Bitterroot has risen a little too much. The Blackfoot and the lower Clark have given us incredible fishing in the meantime, but as the weather cools this week, especially in the evenings, the Bitterroot will clear, the other rivers will follow suit, and we will be casting skwallas, March browns, and caddis galore to rising fish on the Bitterroot again in a few days!
The Blackfoot and lower Clark have produced incredibly well these past few days, but the push of water is upon those two rivers at the moment now as well. The Missouri was a great river to be on today, closer to Holter where the rainbows are still plentiful, and less towards the lower Mo' where the fish have wandered off to spawn in the tributaries.

Time to tie more flies right now, and dig out the orange and golden dubbing in preparations for late May and June in Montana. More to come soon, and here's to a great early summer in Montana!

Come get your fish On with us soon...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week ONE - Skwala's

It's early March, and the first week of guiding in 2010 is in the Books! The entire Bitterroot system now officially has skwala dry fly action! Yes, I spelled it with one L, as I have been pressured into the most common spelling now apparently...

High 50's on Sunday, and great fishing, and then it snowed like heck today, but we still had great dry fly fishing in the afternoon. The weather is supposed to warm up again by Friday, and we are under way in what will be a dry fly year in Montana for the record books! All of our rivers are starting to wake up and attempt to draw the dry fly angler to them here in our area now.

Just a quick post here, and a hello from my end, but back to the fly tying bench for me now. It's going to be a long dry fly spring and I plan on being ready! Here's just a couple pic's from the last few days...

Come "get Your FISH ON",

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's Spring Time In Montana

Yes it is! The warmer trends El Nino brings have given Montana the early spring, and early spring hatches, I predicted quite a long time ago! We are already having great afternoons on skwalla Dry Flies!!! Yup, I'm not gonna lie, and I'm not going to hold back on info this season. I've put out the specials, I've sent the emails, made the calls months ago, and now I'm guiding consistently in early March. That's the the plan, and that's the way it needs to be in Montana this season. Come early, come often!
I did have the chance to fish the last day of February with the Simms rep for our area, along with a guide buddy of mine. I won't mention my friend Tony's name, but I will tell you that the big prize for the largest fish of the day was a new Simms Windstopper Fleece!
The TU banquet the night before had left me a bit hazy that morning of our day of fishing, but lo and behold, the new jacket fits me just fine! So what if I wasn't looking when the big one ate it, and who cares if I was fishing garbage water? It happens, and now the "new Jacket smell" will be challenged only by my 115 lb. lab, and I'll be rubbing in the "victory" smell on my pal for months on end as a bonus. Stuff like that between fishing buddies is just one of those things you just can't put a price on. Here's a couple pics of March 2nd on the 'Root...There are more skwalla nymphs above Hamilton right now than I've seen in six-teen years here!

My posts here will be lacking a bit for a while, as there are always new patterns to tie, and preparations to be made for all our spring clients that will be filtering in and out of Montana's version of "March Madness"!!! Man, I love my job!!!
And there's one more little thing on my plate these days: Check out the new "daily" Video Fishing Report on the website whenever your getting ready to head out in the Missoula area. Up to date, and straight from the river for you most days!
I'm now swinging the chair around to the fly tying vise! It's now officially ON in the Missoula area. Spring is here NOW, drop your pencil, back off the desk or whatever your doing and come fishing with us!!! Cabin fever is now an afterthought!

Come get Your Fish ON!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One "L" or Two?

Spring is close. You can feel it in the air, and by the way the trout are starting to act on the Bitterroot. One thing started to bug (no pun intended) me this year though: I've always spelled skwalla with two "L"s and yet I see it,(mostly from my "competition" in the area) spelled skwala. Heck my computer even just told me it's wrong with that dreaded red line under my last spelling of our famed spring stonefly.

When I started guiding back in the early nineties, my then boss, the late Paul Koller had always spelled it with two l's. I guess you stick with what you've learned from the boss when starting out in any vocation. It certainly stuck with me, and even though skwala paralella is the full name of this spring stonefly, and the scientific/ Latin/ whatever-name does actually only contain the one L, I find myself looking at it funny spelled that way.
Searches on the internet provided me with more than enough crazy entomology survey sites, blogs and fishing websites after typing the bug in as Skwalla! Fewer sites seemed to come up when I entered it as skwala. In the end, you will find it spelled both ways equally as much if you took the time to do so. As far as I can tell, and that more than likely no one, including the trout really care! You could truly spout some serious Latin should you feel the need to on our streams here, as our insect life is as vast, and plentiful as the many rivers and bodies of water we fish.
Being as that this is pretty much my all time favorite hatch of the year here, I could certainly not go on spelling it with two l's unless I explained myself. Right?
Here's just a couple of my favorite skwalla pattern eating fish from the past couple springs! Are you as ready to throw a Dry Fly as I am???

For some reason, I just felt the need to write something silly...

Come get your Fish On!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bug whipping in the winter

Walking down to the river everyday, in the heart of winter mind you, hoping, praying, darn near begging that one skwalla nymph will crawl up to me from under one of the twenty rocks I've rolled over and say, "get ready, spring is almost here". Is that to much to ask? OK, so skwalla nymphs can't talk, and maybe I'm writing about a past fishing dream or something, but if they could they would certainly tell you that soon, very soon, they will be on the move towards the banks of our rivers here in western Montana. The Dry Fly Bonanza that March and April bring to our area is near.

This is the turning point for me. Hunting season is over, the freezer is full, and the fly tying bench becomes more of an obsession than a place to sit and fool around with a what's just a "hobby" for some. This is a lifestyle! No matter how many thousands of dozens of flies I've tied, I just can't stop myself from getting after it on the stone flies I'll use this spring, and using lessons learned from last spring to come up with new patterns this time of year.
In between playing with the kids, finishing left over paperwork from the '09 season, tying this coming seasons flies and coming up with new excuses to put off doing taxes, I finally had a chance to surf up the article that the Missoula newspaper did on me last fall. Just thought I'd share it on here in case you had even more spare time to do some extracurricular reading via the internet. Anyway, here it is...

The Montana Outdoor Journal is doing another article on my flies for their next spring issue, and I'll throw a link up for that one when it's available as well.
For now, the skwalla nymphs slowly grow closer to the stage that we, here in Montana, can not wait to see come full circle. Until then, the whipping of bugs continues...
"Get Your Fish ON"
this season

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is It Over Yet?

The thrill of the hunt is over finally, and I now have more time to day dream about my next cast. Yes, the ducks and deer are safe again, undisturbed in there somewhat winter like environs that we are so fortunate to pry into for such a long time in a fishing guides off season here in Montana. "Somewhat winter like conditions", is that what I wrote? Sure did, El Nino is affecting Montana again as well. Certainly not as bad as other places in the world, that's for sure. But we are down on snow pack, and of course, some people are starting to panic! Come on, we have had excellent conditions for the past few years, the fish are as big, strong and as healthy as they can get, and our ground water levels are in more than excellent shape to! A little rain here and there, and we will be just fine. Not mention the fact that fish so healthy that they will be just fine to.
I don't want to be the bad guy, but guess what? Strong healthy fish + a little lower water = Easy fishing & Lots of big un's!!! Sorry, but I have a blast in the low water years! When you've been fishing these rivers as long as myself, and my guides, you just know where not to fish when the waters low and the weather is hot! We take precise, and careful measures, and we know where all the springs are located in our rivers systems here. We ensure great fishing, but we also take pride in protecting the incredible resources we have here. Even when certain sections of our rivers were not involved with Fish, Wildlife & Parks mandatory no fishing after 2pm in years past, we knew where to go, and where not to go for the sake of the trout!
OK, I could ramble on about this subject forever, but let's switch over to my favorite subject:
Spring Fishing!
If you were to scroll down to, or remember my first Blog on here, you would recall that spring fishing flat fires me up! You know what, I'm not even going to go on that rampage right now either. Just watch this video and see if your not fired up for spring now yourself...


Winter is slowly coming to a close, and you can just imagine what some of my next Blogs will be about. Hope everyone get's a little winter midge fishing in, or at least a little nymphing on a trout stream near you at some point. I know I will...

Get Your Fish ON!