oooohh that smell

….can’t you smell that smell?  That new boat smell…

Picked up my new drift boat this afternoon in Bozeman after a few errands and a quick stop by Brick Breeden Field House for Ice Out.  While I didn’t stick around long, I was able to pick up a few much needed items from Montana Fly Company and say hello to some good friends whom I don’t get to see that often anymore.   Really looking forward to getting this new craft on the Missouri for the next week.

Speaking of the Missouri…..

I will be fishing up around Craig for the next two months, dependent upon run-off, and still have a few openings for May and June.  July is getting tough to book, but there are a few slots left.  Once again, for the 18th season, Greg Falls will be spending the summer on the Missouri River.  While his schedule is tough to crack, feel free to give us a shout and we’ll hook you up with one of the finest guides on the Missouri River.  There are some who are as good, but very few are better.

Ro Camino – the newest drift boat from the boys in BZN

RO Drift boats is getting closer to unveiling their newest hull design – the RO Camino.   The plug has been delivered to their Bozeman boat shop as they gear up for the 2013 fishing season.  Robert, Dane, John and the boys are working hard getting new boats out the door and designing the layout of the Camino.

Earlier this week, I got the full run through on interior options for all of RO’s hull designs:

1. Full walk around – no more stumblin’ over the rowers’ bench or rear leg lock.

2. Dry box or pedestal seats.  YETI cooler front seat option as well.

3. Front and rear leg locks (newly designed walk around rear single leg lock to eliminate the “dancing client”)

4. Nomad storage system- rod lockers, sponson storage.  Nomad video….click here!

5. Nomad Light – a simpler version of the Nomad with off the floor storage for spare oar and life jackets.

6. Grab & Go rod storage – this is new for RO and a nice change for stowing fly rods.  No more skewering.

7. Refuse can – for tippet, old useless flies, beer cans, chew spit,  litter or maybe a small ice chest for the gunnel bar.

8.  New rubber coated floor for grip that won’t shred fly lines.

9. Raised floor around rower’s seat to keep gear dry.

With any luck, the boat will be finished upon my return from Argentina in mid-April.   There is one other fella who is getting a Camino as well and I know he is already tapping his toe. Build the boat Bud!


Midge Clusters

The Griffith’s Gnat has been the most productive midge cluster ever invented.  I use it in sizes #12-20 on rivers throughout the West.  George Griffith tied this simple pattern, it’s durable and productive which are characteristics of all quality fly patterns.  Peacock and grizzly hackle….simple shit….thanks George for inventing this fly.

So, last Spring, before a trip to the Big Horn with several buddies, I sat down at the bench to tie these up.  After cranking out a half dozen, I looked at the fly and a thought occurred to me –  why not add a wing, for visibility?  Lots of folks have done this in the past using CDC or tying this fly with a post and hackle, but I never really thought it looked quite right.  Since I had just finished up tying a couple dozen BWO Comparaduns, the idea of using a comparadun wing (for you died in the woollies – a haystack wing) sounded cool.  So, I tried it and also added a sparkle tail as well…why not….right?  I also clipped the fly, top and bottom, to give it a cleaner look – much like the buzzball.  On over cast days, I use a black comparadun wing as this shows up nicely in silver water.

We fished this pattern on the Big Horn with a ton of success, but since the trout were taking damn near everything we floated to them, the test was not really a test.  The entire season went by and finally a chance to test out this pattern arrived while guiding on the Missouri River in late October.   Tim (pictured above) had never thrown a dry fly.  He wanted to up his game and was tired of chasing the bobber from ramp to ramp.  We launched at Wolf Creek bridge and floated down a short ways.  I dropped the hook and started in on the instruction – measuring distance, reach cast, slack line, feeding line and of course the concept of first drift/best drift as the best course of action for him to take.  Tim, being the scientist that he is, caught on fast.  Rising trout on the Missouri can be some of the most picky sonsabitches anywhere, especially by late Fall.  We set up fishing to our first pod of the day, above the Railroad Trussles, and had seven or eight nice fish taking midges and spent BWOs.   With just one fly and some 5x, Tim went to work and managed to catch his first trout on dry fly in about two minutes.  His first fish moved a foot and half off it’s line to eat the fly.  He hooked and jumped a few more, then we moved on.  Well done Tim.  We spent the rest of day fishing streamers in between pods of trout.  The only fly we used for the pods, was my new twist on George Griffith’s Gnat.   Just after Christmas, I sent this pattern, and several others to Montana Fly Company for submission.  With any luck, they will add this my collection of patterns at MFC.

My twist on the Griffith’s Gnat – the Gnat King Cripple…..this was named after several beers while floating the Big Horn.

Mallard

We ventured downstream again today, this time to Mallard.  Most of us had never been below 13, and honestly, after fishing this lower stretch, I wouldn’t float anywhere else on the Big Horn.  Quality streamer water mixed with dry fly flats, almost alternating with each other was quite fun.   One could have nymphed up trout along the way, if you wanted.  We did not.   There was minimal wind displacement, maybe the occasional north breeze, which made for stacks of midges rolling down the river…..all day long.   They ate clusters and at times we had to find a smaller fly to fool a larger fish in the slow water.   On one particular island chain, all six of us were out wade fishing to rising fish.   Once the light was off the water, the river was alive with trout and fishing 3x with a #14 midge cluster was too much fun.

Tomorrow we are out of here and headed for Livingston.  They back to West Yellowstone for a couple of days on the Madison.   This spring has seen some great fishing thus far, are you coming out?