BC Steel

A little more Monday morning madness. I have watched this three times already. Another good friend of mine, Justin Spence, (in the red jacket) just got back from a BC steelhead trip. The day they were supposed to fly out for the USA, their plane was delayed because of weather. It took them three extra days to get out of BC…so, like any other addict, they went back to the river. Wow……I want to go.

Freestone flyrods

Some of you were able to fish Freestone flyrods this past season while on guided trips with Big Sky Anglers. A few folks pulled the trigger, others are still on the fence. Currently, I have the 905 and 906 graphite models and there is a slight chance of getting a 907 prior to my trip to Argentina in March – yes, I am headed down south for the first time ever. More on this later.

If you can get your hands on one of these rods, you must cast it.

If you can fish with it, even better.

Once the angler feels the rod load and also plays a fish – he/she will be overcome with pleasure and the money will fall out of your hands. You may actually beg Bernard to take your hard earned dollars, somewhat like a heroin fiend, just so you can feel that sensation again and again.
Watch out, these rods are addictive…..

Dispatches from my better half….

Many of you think I spend my free time ironing Joe’s fishing shirts and making guide lunches. Hardly. My home is the home of Big Sky Anglers, and its stuffed to capacity with rods, reels, flies, a shop’s worth of fly tying materials, boots, waders, hunting gear, and bird dogs. My worldly goods consist of a tiny, tiny closet, one coffee mug, and shelf of books. Can’t live without my books. I spend my mornings reading, mug in hand, with a variety of titles, from classics to contemporary fiction.

Recently, my good friend and West Yellowstone librarian Steve encouraged me to try a new release, The Royal Wulff Murders, by Montana author Keith McCafferty. Skeptical of reading a book about fly fishing (seems like I experience lots of it firsthand), I found myself quickly immersed in this book. Centered around the lower Madison, from Quake Lake to Ennis, McCafferty’s murder mystery is cast with fisherman. Main character Sean Stranahan is a divorced artist, avid angler, and semi-private investigator who gets involved with a dead body found just above Lyon’s Bridge. Sheriff Martha Ettinger determines this man died of foul play, partially because his eyeball is impaled on a stick downstream of the body, and a Royal Wulff is stuck in his lip. Stranahan and Ettinger are joined by a motley crew of Montana’s best locals: Rainbow Sam, a smelly fishing guide famous for exploits on and off the river; Vareda, a hot Southern redhead who literally tangles with Stranahan; and Doris, the sassy manager of the local bar. Locals will recognize lots of places, including the Grizzly Bar, the Sheep Creek trailhead, Ennis Cafe, and the Gallatin Gateway Inn. Stranahan even takes a jaunt up to the Missouri and catches a twenty-five inch brown near the Wolf Creek bridge. The plot thickens with details like whirling disease, cranky nonresident landowners, and of course, just a bit of sexual tension. Stranahan is quite a player.

I know just enough about fly fishing to get my line tangled, yet still found this book quite readable. He imparts a true sense of the conservation and profound love of the environment I see from so many in the angling community. A few lines stuck with me, like “Trout are the ghosts of moving waters, gone like the dreams one longs to remember.” I like the investment McCafferty makes in each character, detailing just enough about the personalities and physical appearances.  Vareda’s sultry southern belle-ness grew a little tiresome after awhile, but what crusty old fisherman isn’t a sucker for deep cleavage and impractical female fishing attire (both scenarios do appear in the book). I laughed in a few spots as well, such as Stranahan and Rainbow Sam’s favorite drive-thru espresso stand, staffed by ladies in bikinis and lingerie, called “Lattes & Lookers.” Can’t wait until that place shows up at Four Corners.

So, give this book a few afternoons in the hammock. I bet you will like it.

– Molly Moore

YNP, the Fam and fishing the Madison

YNP continues take up most of my time these days.  Running around Yellowstone in a vintage Bombardier is a fabulous way to get a paycheck, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

The shot above didn’t turn out as good as the real thing.   If you tilt your screen the shot gets better……

My folks are in town visiting for a week.  They spent some time in Missoula with my sister and are now here in West Yellowstone for a trip through YNP, some fishing, skiing and a litte quality time with the family.  Dad and I took a few hours yesterday and fished the Madison…….yes it was good.  I wore the Rock Grippers once again and continue to be surprised at just how bad ass they are.

Patagonia’s New Rock Grip Wading Boots

Patagonia's Rock Grip Boots

Awhile back I saw a pair of crampons with metal bars screwed into them.  They were being tested for wade fishing, as an alternative to felt, as states like Alaska and Missouri don’t allow felt anymore.  One look at these new wading boots from Patagonia made me think……really? 

Aluminum bars? 

Screwed into the soles? 


Not in my boat was my first thought……or on the wood floor at home….or to the grocery store……these are for wading rivers.  Now, Patagonia will say they are fine in the boat, but I haven’t tried it yet and it doesn’t sound like a good idea.  Maybe a carpeted deck in a jet boat, but a fiberglass driftboat?  The jury is still out……

So, a few days ago, I laced them up and took off walking upstream over the snow and down to the Madison.  There was some slickness of the sole in the snow, but overall,  that was not a big problem.  When I got in the river, I expected to slip right away.  The bars tripped me up a couple times, but once I got used to it, I could wade anywhere and wasn’t slipping.  No shit, I didn’t slip and the grip was as good as felt.  Waste deep in the river, shallow fast riffles……no slippin’.  The bars do mark the rocks, but all spiked wading boots will do that.  These work and are the first none felt boots to do so. 

Patagonia is on to something with these new boots.   A set of bars should last 80-100 days.   The true test will be to see if they hold up over time to hiking and fishing.  All in all, I am impressed thus far after one day of wade fishing.

The bars are replaceable for around $25. 

The boots will retail for $239. 

The River Crampons will retail for $199. 


If you are remotely like me, then you love to fish dry flies for rising trout. Especially large dry flies that seduce big browns. This is what summer is all about…..and I miss it……terribly.

The accompanying music was left out because the sound of the river flowing by was just too pleasant to tune out.

Water flowing freely is symbolic on many levels. This sound is therapeudic.