Early Season on the Missouri

Spring in Montana has been more like summer during the last week on the Missouri River.  When I arrived, we had some snow showers and cooler weather, but lately, I’ve been donning sandals and getting my feet wet.  The early morning river temps have been a little chilly and there were two days that the river was cold enough to make one’s teeth hurt.  It was similar to an ice cream headache that started with your toes and moved quickly up my six foot frame.  I am nine days into 2015 guide season and it feels great to be back on the oars.  Not much has changed on the Missouri River, but for someone who has guided and fished this great river during April and May for the past 15 years, it’s busier than years past – that’s for sure.  Is it crowded, you ask? No, not really, but if the weather is too nice and that ends up on a weekend, then it can feel crowded.  Some of this is due to a very low river enabling wade fisherfolks to access more of the river and some of this is due to popularity of the Missouri River in recent years.

Last season I spent the month of October on the Missouri River and we never saw a true Blue Winged Olive – a species of Baetis.  In fact, they never saw more than a couple BWOs in November either. A year ago this month I was here as well and we might have seen a few of the smallish mayflies, but they never really matieralized.  October of 2013, was the last time I opened up the BWO box with regularity.  The BWO that hatches in the springtime up here is more gray than the BWO of Fall, which is a true olive color.  We should be calling them Beatis all the time as there are many, many species of this mayfly.  For more reading, check this out – Trout Nut. We’ve also witnessed a couple days of solid March Brown mayflies thus far in late April and Early May.  When these hatch is prolific numbers, you will not have better dry fly fishing here on the Missouri River.

Once again, BSA will be guiding the Missouri River all season long.  Our resident guide, Greg Falls, can be found rowing his boat most everyday of the year from late March through November.  I will be around for several more days of guiding and getting out on the water myself for a hopeful late morning/early afternoon hatch.

FAS – leased Fishing Access Sites may not be renewed

It seems as if the folks in Helena who represent the good people of Montana aren’t listening very well these days.  Below is a list of fishing access sites, FAS, that the State of Montana leases out from private property owners.  HB 403 has limited MT FWP’s ability to lease these sites out for the upcoming season.  This means that none of your license fees can be used to pay for these leases.  Do you like to wade fish on the Ruby at Alder Bridge?  How about floating from Notch to Pennington on the Big Hole?  Wade fishing at the Bull Pin on the Missouri is mighty popular as well.  This morning HB 403 is being heard, so cross your fingers that this money will be approved for these sites, otherwise, they will most likely be closed.   Read below for a full list…..

FAS STATEWIDE FEE LEASES

FWP REGION

SITE NAME RIVER DRAINAGE LAKE OR RESERVOIR
1 Beaver Lake FAS Beaver Lake
1 Elmo FAS Flathead Lake
2 Browns Lake FAS Browns Lake
2 WW White FAS W.F. Bitterroot River
3 Alder Bridge FAS

Silver Bridge FAS

Ruby Island FAS

Ruby river

Ruby River

Ruby River

3 Daily Lake FAS Daily Lake
3 Pennington Bridge FAS

Sportsman’s Park FAS

Big Hole River

Big Hole River

4 Lone Tree FAS

Bull Pasture FAS

Little Muddy Cr FAS

Truly Bridge FAS

Missouri River

Missouri River

Missouri River

Smith River

4 Eureka Reservoir FAS Eureka Reservoir
6 Faber Reservoir FAS Faber Reservoir
6 School Trust FAS Missouri River
7 Black Bridge FAS

Far West FAS

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River

Check us out on Instagram…

This past winter I started an Instagram account to help promote the business and also cause I really just love taking pictures.  What I like most is that Instagram is about capturing images of everyday life with your phone.   Taking photos, for me, goes back to childhood.  Growing up, my father took A LOT of photographs of our outings with a Nikon film camera, that, at the time, was a great camera.  Those printed photos are sitting in the basement of my folk’s house back in Quincy and are super fun to look at when Molly and I make it back to the homeland for a visit.  To me, photos are a visual time line that mark periods of my life.  Periods that can almost be forgotten as the memories stack up over time.  As I get older, capturing these moments is almost as important as the moments themselves.  When I’m old, gray and no longer able to row a boat, I’ll have photographs to remind me of the good ole days.

in the books

I woke this morning in a haze of confusion, unaware of where my head had fallen the night before.  Something had just bumped into my legs and was hovering over me.  My eyes opened up to see the shaggy face of a dog, now inches from my nose.  Moments later Stella wet the side of my face and put her down on my chest.  It was then I realized …. I was in West Yellowstone, at home.   Shooing away Stella at 5 am,  I rolled over for a couple more hours and enjoyed some much needed rest.

The 2014 Guide Season is officially over.  All that remains is the boat load of paperwork sitting in my office.   Most of that isn’t due for two months, which makes plenty of time for getting outside and enjoying what’s left of Fall.  To all those who came out to fish with us this year, we would like to extend a huge THANK YOU!  Without folks like you, Greg, Earl and myself would not be able call Montana home.  We appreciate the business and are already looking forward to 2015 – which just so happens to be our 10th year of providing top shelf fly fishing trips in Montana.  Ten years…..let’s hope the next ten takes longer than the last ten.

It’s Mid-October….

We’ve been fishing streamers and dry flies for the past two weeks or so.  Some days have been banner and some days we scratch out a good day on the water.  Those who keep their head down and strip it with fishiness have been rewarded here on the Missouri River.  The dry fly bite is as good as you are and from time to time a bit of luck is helpful.  October is one of my favorites and I really don’t want to fish anywhere else this time of the year.  Tom and Harry showed up for a four day run, the Ladies trip was here, Molly ventured in and Heames’ boys are currently in town. Ten more days and two more groups of great anglers.  All we need is the weather to cooperate just a little more.

Bussman’s

Today was a good day.

Snow, rain, some coffee, a bit of wind and enough sun to make one think that sunshine would be a  good thing for a few minutes of the day if only to warm one up and keep one from thinking that rowing is a good idea.  Manning the oars is something to be left to those who do it naturally, without thinking.  When I row the boat and I have an angler who slips the fly in the spot just as I am thinking how sweet that spot is, everything clicks and the line slides tight.  The fish is thrashing, running and jumping and ripping line.  It might jump, it might not, but it’s hooked up and the pull is right.

Today was a good day.