Spring in the Rockies

Wondering around Montana and Wyoming over the past four weeks has been super good fun.   Winters in West Yellowstone can grind on you and if one does not get off the mountain and head to the lower elevations, things can get a bit stale.  What I am talking about is that fact that Spring does exist in other places outside of West Yell during March and April.  I wore flip flops, played golf in a t-shirt (still suck at golf) and witnessed someone actually mowing their lawn.

The joy of fishing and exploring new places this spring, has reminded me of why I moved out West 17 years ago.  It’s huge and fishing every nook and cranny is nearly impossible.  I get out on the local streams each spring, but sometimes, you just need to hit a river that you know nothing about.

Maybe a rumor, here and there….

Driven by a few times…never fished…..

A local friend who wants to fish on his days off…..another buddy willing to scout things out with….a drift boat and cooler full of beer.

Road trips that revolve around fishing don’t suck. Plan one soon.

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Varney Bridge.

With the help of a good friend, I get to fish today.   He says he’ll row the boat the entire day, but I wouldn’t mind rowing a bit.   Last time I wet a line?  January 18th.   Ya, that is a long time for someone who lives so close to world class fly fishing.  Weatherman says high of 58 and cloudy…..with a chance of rain.  The Madison, this morning, is 39 degrees and should get a little warmer by the afternoon.  Day lefts on crutches – 6. 

Yesterday,Today, tomorrow, the rest of life…angling

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Bison, photographed off the front porch.

This morning is warm, 33 degrees, overcast and not a hint of the W.  I should be headed back down to the river, but the dogs are staring at me and I know what they are thinking…… 

I spent the last two days fishing the Madison in the wind and a chilly 25 degrees was all Mother Nature could muster. Breaking ice out of the guides,  enduring cold feet, but catching trout none the less. The Madison, up high, is running about 39 degrees……..cold.  Midges came off in droves on Friday afternoon and brought fish to the surface.  Big fish…..but not stupid big fish.  They were keyed in on emerging midges and thankfully, I had plenty. A nice 20 in hook jawed brown was my biggest fish of the day.  Sorry, no pics of that trout…..so goes the peril of fishing alone.  Who needs pics anymore? I can still see him, swimming towards me, nymph in his nose, with that oh so stupid look his face.  That trout had probably eaten hundreds of those midges, but mine tasted a bit different.  I should be heading back down to the Madison again.  This is the weather, that I have been waiting for.  What are you waiting for?

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Spring anglers’s good buddy….Capniidae (Small Winter Stoneflies)

No, these are not Squala stoneflies.  They are much bigger, about a #10 or #8.  Over the years I have seen Squalas on the Madison, but not thick by any means. The stonefly pictured above is an important hatch in these parts during April, May and sometimes early June.  They hatch on the Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone, Big Hole, Missouri and most small creeks throughout Montana.

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Quake Lake Trees….I just had to.

This spring is shaping up to be one of the best angling springs I have seen in about 10 years.  The trout are hungry and feeding like it’s late May…….what will May be like????  After a 4-5 day float on Montana’s Smith River with the boys, I plan on heading to the Missouri River for as long as my wife will let me….I might not see her for a month….God bless Molly.

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G. Falls and brown trout.  Missouri River, May 2007.  Is he wet wading???

May and June on the Missouri is what heaven should be like for any angler who dreams of fishing in the after life. Never been to the Missouri?  You should join Big Sky Anglers and experience what downtown Craig, MT has to offer. Izaak’s (http://izaaksblog.com/)  is quite possibily the best restuarant in a trout town that we have ever been to.  Great food and great trout fishing……what else do you need?

Top 10 reasons to fish in Montana this spring

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“Ya, on Saturday, ya, I’m gonna need to you to come on in”..Sorry boss, I’m fishing in MT.

10. A warmer than normal Feb and March has brought fish out of deep water and into fishy runs….about 4 weeks earlier than normal.  Think brown trout on the banks in shallow water waiting for bait fish or midges.

9.  Too cold? Buck up, wear some layers, bring some coffee. Ever heard of hand warmers?  Can you cast a fly rod in your office? Maybe if you have a yarn-rod……but there is nothing to pull on the end of that rod.

8.  Less anglers means less pressure……come out during the week for the river to yourself.

7.  Thus far, the angling in 2010 has been pretty damn good.  Why not try it?

6.  Cheap lodging…….come find out.

5. $300 guide trips…….yes really…..that’s a 150 bucks off!

4. Tax season is almost over……you deserve it….

3.  Another beach vacation?  Come on, haven’t you read enough books this winter?

2.  Gentlemen’s hours on the river.   Sleep in, fish late.  Repeat…..there are 13 hours and 45 minutes of light during the day and it getting’s longer by 7 minutes every day.

1. The trout are hungry and a bit dumb….don’t wait……come now….or in a week….or in a month……but come to Montana.  Your wife will love you more when you return. 

SNOW!!

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Coming down hard. 

The past two days have seen some decent snow fall in SW Montana….finally.  We didn’t get much on the level, but it was sloppy and wet.  Up at Big Sky, at the top of Lone Peak, it was thigh deep yesterday afternoon. 

I received a great email this morning from a wonderful client, read below…..What are you doing this summer???

“63 more days till fly fishing paradise! I start looking forward to my trip to Montana and fishing with you and Greg the day I leave to go home from Helena! Everybody is getting excited about the trip!”  –  Kevin R.