My first time hearing about the Simms SHOOT OUT was in 2011, where I got my first glimpse at a fly fishing film competition. I wanted to compete in the SHOOT OUT one day, and the thought stuck in the back of my mind. In 2012 we were disappointed when we had heard that the 2012 SHOOT OUT filmakers had already been chosen, and once again sat back and watched the videos that were released. Last year really motivated us to kick some ass and get into the 2013 SHOOT OUT. Here we are mid-April and the moment we have been waiting for has finally come. We are stoked to have the opportunity to be one of four film makers competing in the Simms SHOOT OUT!
Zack and I are dedicated to putting together an amazing video. The competition requires us to film with one Simms guide for 2 days, and then 24 hours to put the video together. The interesting part is we will not know who we are filming with until the night before our first filming day. We are excited and cannot wait for the event to start!
We head out for Bozeman this morning. Make sure to follow our daily behind the scenes SHOOT OUT photos on Instagram @montanawild! We will be giving our viewers a behind the scenes look at what is going on so everyone can stay in the loop. Also you will get your chance on Thursday/Friday April 25th & 26th to vote for your favorite SHOOT OUT film via text message. Stay tuned!!!
I checked the stream flows via the USGS site after a week filled of stressful days in front of my computer. The past week had been full of blazing warm and sunny conditions that I had failed to take advantage of due to deadlines. I was now left with only one glorious day to fish. Regardless of the possible tsunami mud conditions, Zack and I took off in search of some big fish.
As we started our drive, the rain splattered against my windshield consistently reminding me that it was once again spring in Montana. It was going to be a full blown day of Gore-tex and streamers. We crossed our fingers as we made our trek to the first hole…. hopefully the chub hatch was going off today.
I shook the cobwebs off my fly rod and it wasn’t long before I felt my my line go tight after a couple slow twitches with my streamer. A little brown ball of fire had latched onto my fly, and I had my first fish of the day. I continued to hammer the banks, bouncing my streamer off the pale grass on the adjacent bank. Bam! I detected another tug, and once again felt that head shake that I have come to love.
Zack and I hooked into a couple small German browns, before we were hit with a Montana rain storm. The weather didn’t stop us from dropping streamer bombs. I found a grassy bank that overlooked a good stretch of deep, calm water. I made a perfect cast, landing my streamer on the bank and stripping it back into the water. Three strips and I felt my line stop dead in my hand. I strip-set and had a beautiful brown running for cover.
This year has really been my break through year with streamers. I have finally mastered some really productive patterns, and today these patterns were really getting the trout’s attention. Zack and I continued another 200 yards downriver. I brushed the drops of water off my pack, only to notice Zack had a sizable fish hooked downriver. Another beautiful brown trout, hungry for the home-grown streamer.
Green, purple, white, black, and tan streamers were producing fish. The rainbows were finally putting streamers on their list of preferred foods, but the browns were truly on the prowl. Once again Zack hooked into a flying brown trout. To see an +18in brown trout jump four times is pretty remarkable. This fish did just that and did not want to spend any downtime in our Larkin Works net. Too bad the trout didn’t have a choice.
All this action boosted our confidence, and Zack released this amazing brown, only to call out “I’m going to catch another one out of this same hole”. I grabbed the camera, and 1st cast Zack had another respectable brown trout.
We made the long walk back to the truck. What an amazing day! Our spring has been outstanding, and the fishing has been phenomenal. We have a big week coming up. We hope to see everyone at the Orvis “Down the Hatch” film event here in Missoula, Montana at the Wilma on Friday. The films start at 7pm and there are tickets available at Grizzly Hackle. All of the proceeds will go to Montana Trout Unlimited. We hope to see you all there!!
Missoula is an amazing place to live. There are very few cities where you have access to multiple fisheries within 30 miles of your home and actually would want to live. Warm sun and rising temps have been making their occasional appearance, and with this year’s early signs of spring comes amazing fishing.
Zack and I have been busier than usual, not allowing us to get many days on the water. Between school, work, and planning some big projects, we are lucky if we make it to the river once a week. Although our days have been minimal, we have managed to land more big fish than ever before. I myself am having a record book year, landing 3 of my biggest rainbows to date. Our latest day on the water took us to the frigid waters of the west, and would be our first day testing some newly acquired gear.
We had just gotten a few fine products in the mail and we’re excited to break them in right. The Yeti Tundra 50 was full of the goods; beer, sandwiches, and cookies. After a mildly sketch drive to our location we saw the river and our emotions began to rise. Today would be the first day for us to break out the new rods and reels from Orvis and see if we could show them a good time on some of Montana’s finest waters. We put together the Helios 2 rods in weights 5 and 7 and pulled out a couple sexy Mirage reels. We’re not the kind of guys to get too picky over how nice or good looking our setups are as apparent by looking at Zack’s old Echo rod and Ross reel but damn these two Orvis setups look good. Function is priority number one and we quickly waded across to the far bank so we could get to casting. I had the 5 wt. with a double nymph setup and Zack was below me in the run with the 7wt and a streamer. On my second cast I saw my indicator dip and I was hooked up with a 26 inch rainbow. Yes, you read it correctly. My first hole, second cast with the new fly rod, and I was listening to the Mirage reel scream as I got bent over by a monster rainbow. Did I mention Zack hooked into a nice brown trout seconds later on a streamer? We were doubled-up and the circus had started. Zack managed to fight his brown trout and net my monster rainbow all at the same time! Crazy is right. Below is a sequence that Stan shot of the madness that went down.
^ Click for larger sequence ^
Zack managed to net my rainbow while still fighting a spunky brown. After a quick holler, I grabbed the net and quickly scooped up his seemingly small brown trout.
It was definitely a surreal moment. We quickly snapped a few photos of the two trout and sent the brown back on his way. It was time to pull the big boy out and preserve what may be my biggest rainbow for a long time.
He was a fine specimen and I felt truly blessed to catch such an awesome fish. Again this is another reason I love Montana, you really can catch steelhead here haha. We were off to a great start, and we didn’t stop hammering fish. The following photos speak for themselves.
To summarize our March day of fishing in one word, it would be stupefying. We brought a wheel barrow full of different trout species to the Larkin Works net (rainbow, cutthroat, brown, and bull trout).
The next day we received our new HDSLR. I don’t like to talk about it, but a couple weeks ago I dropped our at the time brand spanking new camera. The body cracked, but fortunately we had insurance. The bad thing is I had to send out our camera and we won’t be seeing it for over a month. We have some badass projects in the works over the next two months, and with no choice, I had to go broke funding another camera. Oh well, the investment continues. The next morning Zack and myself headed out for an early morning fishing/photo trip. We had to test out the new Nikon and see if the mojo surrounding the new rods and reels was as good as it seemed.
The temperature read 19 degrees as we left the truck. It was frigid and freezing and we had left our gloves at home. After about a half hour it appeared that some mojo still remained as I managed to hook a fat football of a rainbow. He was chunky and spunky, and gave our new camera the test we were looking for regardless of poor lighting conditions. We packed up our frozen streamers and headed back to Missoula, to slave away at another night of work.
Overall I can say I love the new rods and reels from Orvis. I never really thought a high-end setup would be worth the money that they often cost but I can say I was wrong. The way they cast is in another league and helps you get the fly in the right spot more often and a lot more easily. We’ll continue to try to sneak out over the coming weeks so we’ll have more photos and blog posts coming at you soon! Fishing is just starting to get HOT. We have a handful of awesome projects/films planned for this year. I cannot tell you how excited I am for 2013. God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.
Once a year you have a birthday. Yes, it’s just another day, but it’s always something you have to try to take advantage of and for Travis’ 24th we decided to spend the afternoon out on the river. The weather had stayed relatively warm, and we looked forward to a solid afternoon of hammering fish. Of course the thawing temps made for a slightly tricky and muddy drive into our location, but the tougher a spot is to get to the better the fishing.
As we geared up Travis decided that throwing up some birthday gang signs was the best way to let us know he was here to ruthlessly hassle fish all day.
After a couple fishless holes we finally got on track as Travis shined in true birthday form with a nice rainbrown.
Following a short fight Travis had his first trout in the net. It was a good looking fish, but there were more to catch and we pushed upstream.
Over the course of the next hour the fishing continued to progressively get better. Multiple fish were hooked from the same hole and even a birthday double was had by Travis and Stan.
Finally we reached a big deep hole that I had discovered last spring. It’s the perfect water for fish to hold in year round and the size and depth always makes it interesting to see what you can pull out of it. After a couple minutes of discussion and a few Pop Tarts, it was decided we would have a friendly fish off. Six casts and then on to the next person. I was up first. After five casts I finally remembered where I needed my fly to be and made my last cast. Mid-drift and my bobber (man that word sucks) disappeared. With the hookset of a bass fisherman, I had a nice rainbow locked up on the end of my line.
After a short fight I landed him and made sure he got his photo taken so all his fish buddies could see him on the internet.
Up next was the birthday boy. He proceeded to crip walk into the hole and hammer an even larger fish. Damn Birthdays.
That was the last good fish of the day and fittingly Travis had begun and ended our day on the river. It was a great day to spend with friends and a birthday that will be tough to top next year. We’ll be dropping a short fly fishing film soon that we filmed back on the 7th so be checking in. If you haven’t already be sure to give us a [LIKE] over on Facebook.
This past Sunday, as a crew of three, we headed out in search of some winter trout. Stan came along to help film second angles during this one day film mission.
The sun was breaking through the clouds when we arrived, bringing the daily temp to 33degrees. Perfect for January winter fishing! The river looked promising, flowing with ice cold blue water. The first hole was definitely holding fish, but there were no takers for the streamer setup. The nymph gang quickly produced a nice jumping rainbow, instantly re-energizing my passion for fly fishing.
We moved upriver, to the next series of curvy banks. Once again the holes looked like a breeding pool for large trout, but nothing wanted to bite. We picked up again and moved to the next section of slowly churning pools. I dropped in a cast, which was hit mid-drift. A nice cutthroat tore through the water. The fishing was starting to pick up.
Another couple casts and I hooked into my biggest fish of the day. This fish wasn’t going to get airborne, but he had a couple good power boosts throughout the fight, proving he wanted nothing to do with my net.
Zack and Stan recorded the usual Hollywood fish shots, putting our day to rest, as the sun started to sink over the horizon. Another day in solitude. Film mission was a WRAP! If you missed our post highlighting our video be sure to watch it now.
The following day we once again met up with Stan. The sun looked like it was going to make a strong appearance for the day.
The fishing once again started slow, but soon was heating up as we pushed into the afternoon hours. Stan pulled multiple healthy fish to the net. Proving the pat’s rubber leg was the fly of choice.
At one point we pulled +8 fish out of a single hole. We would occasionally hook into a nasty white dog, but for the most part the trout were feeding.
We shot hundreds of photos throughout the day, hoping to capture at least a few quality images to share and help spread the winter fishing stoke.
This last week we were again itching to hit the river. Our friend Anthony just got back from the nasty weather in N. Dakota, and we decided to let him in on the fishing we have been experiencing.
The brush in the river really makes for difficult making good drifts with nymph rigs, but that didn’t stop Anthony from pulling in fish. We all landed our share of fish, making the cold hands warm once again.
Most holes during the day were productive, with multiple fish wanting to take a subsurface fly.
It was yet again, another great day on the river. Being able to enjoy this caliber of fishing in January is amazing and one of the reasons I’m glad to call Montana home.
December in Montana. The weather is unpredictable and many have put up the fly rods and rifles for the year. It’s a risk-reward time of the year when it comes down to fishing. Just catching fish is a success and often it’s just painfully slow on the water. With the rain steadily falling we threw the waders in the truck and met up with Anthony from the False Casts and Flat Tires crew and hit the road. Not surprisingly we were the first truck at the access. We figured most would settle for a beer and some football on a cold rainy day with the mercury hovering just above 40 degrees. Our plan was to settle for a beer and some streamers on a piece of water we hadn’t visited in a good 6 months. It only took about 5 minutes before Anthony decided to get the ball rolling.
We quickly moved upstream with eats in almost every hole. I quickly was on the board when a beautiful brown hammered my fly just feet from me as I was finishing my retrieve.
It was almost silly the streamer bite was so good. Any decent water seemed to hold a fiery brown willing to mount a vicious attack on any invader of its territory. Soon Anthony had another killer fish on. He had been holding in a very small sliver of water, and a precise cast fooled him.
We kept skipping past each other as we fished upstream. Soon Travis was hollering just upriver. I looked and saw the Echo doubled over. I quickly made it to him to help net his fish. After a few minutes it was apparent this wasn’t just any fish. This was a PIG! After a couple close calls I finally slipped the net under a rainbow that could be mistaken for one straight out of Alaska.
We snapped a few hero photos of this stud rainbow and then let him slink back to his lair.
After everyone’s success it was time to crack open a cold PBR and take it all in. Laughs were had all the way around. Despite the inclement weather it had easily turned into one of the best days on the water. We had been fortunate enough to catch one of those moments where the fish are just eating and it doesn’t matter what you put in front of their face. Unfortunately this brown wasn’t so fortunate. He had seen his last Montana summer and most likely had died of old age.
Again we kept the streamer train moving. After our early success we soon began to loose a little steam. Multiple eats resulted in near misses and the hook just didn’t set. The rain had subsided and the bite seemed to cool off. I was able to trick one last brown though.
He was a solid fighter as he took to the air 3 or 4 times before finally making it to the net. It’s always fun to see the differences between every brown trout. Some are bright and others more subdued in color. The size, shape and type of jaw always seem to vary and are one of my favorite species of trout to catch. It had been a stellar couple of hours, but all good things must come to an end. As we worked back down stream we were left with nary a bite. As quickly as it had started it had shut down. We hit the golden hour that day and all left with smiles on our faces. I want to thank Anthony for bringing his camera and snapping some killer photos. I’m sure we’ll be back on the water soon. If you haven’t fished in the winter before then get out and get after it! You don’t catch fish on the couch.
This year we explored once again the great Wilderness of Montana with fly rods and cameras in tow. Let me tell you, Wilderness is one badass dude. It’s a place where a man can get lost and never make it out. It’s the perfect spot to find some of the most amazing country you’ll lay eyes on. An adventure lies in your back yard here in Montana, and this is only one of the many gems found in this amazing state. The fishing is top notch for those willing to push themselves a bit and by the end of the trip, society looks like a much larger nuisance than you ever thought possible. Waking up to this sure helps a guy out after 10 hours on the river with 30+ pounds of camera gear and miles of treacherous river travel laid down.
No, it’s not easy. But is it worth it? Hell ya! Granted your gonna fall and get smacked around by mother earth. You’ll be sore, injured, mad, and tired at times.
But when you lay your eyes on a killer pool around the next bend and nail a wild cutthroat on the first cast, your emotions get tossed upside down. It’s a roller coaster and our good friend Ian Orlando got a good taste of it. Ian just graduated college in Missoula and is one of our good buddies. He told us he was working on getting a big boy job, and we figured we better show him a real fishing trip before he got to far into the real world. Little did he know that Travis and I are just a bit crazy. We took Ian to places where if you fall, your dead or in some serious trouble. It all pays off in the end though.
For this trip we had six days blocked out to explore the crystal clear waters of the wilderness of Montana. Were not going to openly tell you the location because anyone with half a brain could figure it out. It’s more fun that way right? The plan was to spend our time laying out line for native cutthroat and bull trout that inhabit these waters. Of the six days we only spent a half day fishing water that we had fished before. The rest was all exploration with only the help of some Google Earth maps at home. When you hike in a few miles and find that there is in fact no trail down to the river, you only have one option. Bushwack. Travis and I both hunt so this is nothing new. The same principles apply to both sports as far as being successful. Go where no one wants to go and find the fish. It helps when this is the view on the way down to the river.
A few of these days were spent camping upriver along stretches with difficult access. When we made it down to the river we weren’t left with many suitable camping spots. Turns out the best spot had the best view.
We had four things on our minds while out there: fish, food, water, sleep. Usually we would be on the river by 8 or 9 AM everyday. The areas we fished are difficulty to navigate as they often were in canyons with rock walls and steep forested slopes on both sides. Getting out early and staying out late helps when three guys are fishing and the camera is rolling.
The fish would feed fairly consistently on top during the majority of the trip. The smaller canyon creeks held the best dry fly fishing as they saw little to no pressure. We did see some boot tracks in a few spots where we thought we’d be the only ones fishing. Apparently a few others think like us. Only one morning did we see a strong hatch. During the end of July and into August, caddis are the #1 bug on the trouts menu. The morning that we had a strong hatch was awesome. You had fishing rising everywhere and the bugs were fairly heavy. Fortunately these fish don’t see too many fakes floating overhead and often destroy almost any fly. That day was almost too easy. Other than that day though there wasn’t much for bugs. Some days it definitely was tough to turn the big fish up and often it was tough to keep the small trout off your fly.
Certain holes are so slow and clear it’s hard not to jump the gun on the hookset as you see a trout rise from behind a boulder.
The clear water made for some great GoPro shots. Without spooking the fish we made it into a few holes and caught some awesome footage of rising fish. Be looking for a solid video to be released in the future. When the fishing is good and the scenery world class, it’s hard not to push yourself out here. When every corner tops the next and the fish seem endless at times it really helps a guy push all day to fish as much water as possible.
Often our days would end just before the sun would set. Perfect time to boil up some water and watch the view as your freeze dried meal cooked. Let me tell you those things taste amazing in the backcountry. After a long day you really appreciate a good meal. We also found that strawberry cheesecake is a necessary item to round out a good day on the river. Just add water!
Shortly after dinner Ian often took on the look of one tired ass bum. He quickly found his way into the tent and zipped into his sleeping bag. Out here you have to be able to treat your own water to stay longer than a day. Having a good water filter is huge. It’s the best way to keep three people hydrated and nothing beats a full Nalgene of cold river water out there. Each night we had to make a trip for water so we could get up and begin our day. Fortunately we had a small creek nearby.
Each morning was better than the next. Get up, eat, and toss on the waders. Hit the water and start tossing line. When the hardwork pays off and all your intuition and time spent scouring maps leads you to a one of a kind hole it’s a pretty damn sweet.
Ian was able to swing into the groove quick enough on the trip. His first cast of the trip yielded a great cutty and held his own during the trip. I gotta say it though, he did break a rod during the trip. I laughed my ass off while he got all torn up about it. Turns out everything’s gonna be alright, and he quickly forgot and got back to fishing.
Even though Ian got a damn good trip, we didn’t let him off the hook all the way. Travis was fishing to a fish up a long narrow canyon below camp. It was a long cast in tight quarters. After hassling Travis, I finally got to throw it a few times. After two great casts my fly finally found a target. Ian’s neck.
Woops. After deciding that it was going to be difficult to get it back through the skin to de-barb the hook, it was decided that it was coming back out the way it went in. I figured it would just have to be quick and painful. I grabbed the fly tightly and gave a big yank. Uhhh damn. It was still stuck in his neck. My hand had slipped off the fly. Round 2 began shortly after. This time the fishing pliers got used. After securely grabbing the hook a quick yank had the hook out. I was pretty amazed at how good his neck looked. There was only a small pinhole in his neck and zero blood. Fish on brother!
Travis happened to decided to fish better than our last trip and continued to lay into trout after trout.
A big shout out goes out to Vortex Optics, Grizzly Hackle, and Cuttroat Leaders. All of these companies are strong supporters of the outdoor lifestyle. Vortex Optics makes amazing hunting optics and appreciates the outdoors as a whole. Their support of a fly fishing trip solidified my respect for them as an outdoor brand. If your a hunter or are in the market for a great set of binoculars be sure to check them out at vortexoptics.com. Grizzly Hackle is an awesome fly shop in Missoula. It’s run by Dan Shepherd who’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. They helped us out on this trip and always have the angler’s success in mind. Swing buy grizzlyhackle.com to see the best fishing reports for the local Missoula rivers. And all week we were running Cutthroat Leaders on our dry fly and nymph rods. These things rock and you need to pick up a pair and at least give them a try. Hit them up at cutthroatleader.com
Now the cutthroat fishing was amazing. They’re some of the most beautiful fish you’ll find and they fight hard for their size. Speaking of fighting hard, these waters also lay claim to the home of the menacing bull trout. These elusive fish are fickle beasts. They either destroy your fly or simply sit in place even with the fly only inches from their faces. On this trip we were lucky enough to fish for these fish. We learned a lot about where they live and how to fish them on this trip. We might have tricked a few so be sure to read Part 2 right HERE.
After a long night of studying I was ready to get another exam over with and head to the river. After a solid twenty minutes I was the first one done and happy to be leaving campus for the day. The more and more I go to school the more I resent it due to the fact that I learn twice as much during during the course of my life then I’ll ever be able to attribute to the classroom. Just as we were about to leave the house we heard a knock on the door. A new lens for our camera had showed up and I was pretty amped. After some weekend eBay maneuvering I was able to get my hands on a new but MINT Nikkor lens. I was a little skeptical about buying glass over eBay, but it showed up basically in new condition and it shipped crazy quick.
Our lenses are of fair quality, but we knew an upgrade was in short order. I won’t get all techy on you but it’s sweet and we got to break it in right away. With the rivers dropping after a solid bump in the flows, we were hoping to catch some hungry fish off guard. Things started off slow, but as we got further and further from the access we started seeing a few hits. Travis quickly let a couple slip the hook, followed up by a couple white dogs and a small rainbow. I soon thereafter stepped up to the plate and started drifting a couple nymphs on a slow water seam. Two quick seams split and then came back together leaving a prime piece of real estate for a hungry trout. Sure enough a few short casts later I had a pretty solid fish fight going. A good brown came leaping out of the water multiple times and sealing his fate as another fish fallen victim to the internet.
We know there’s some large browns lurking in this river but haven’t caught anything worthy until today. We’re trying to wrap up filming for our still un-named film, but it seems like every time we go out we add to the bank of solid footy. This one should make the cut.
We kept working upstream and a few holes later my eye was caught by a slim slice of holding water. This was a quick run about 4 feet wide by 20 feet long and only about knee deep. First cast I hooked into a large and colorful spawing rainbow. As I lured him closer to the net he somehow managed to eat my nymph. “#$%%!” was the reaction from us both as we both yelled at each other. We fished well into the afternoon without much excitement. Travis was able to end the day with a fair rainbow that came from a small turbulent hole. The camera rolled once again as we reached the turning back point for the day.
We ended the day with a timelapse mission on the way home. Unfortunately, it was quite windy out and the wind wreaked havoc on that plan. The footage turned out all bumpy from the cameras being swayed by the wind. Oh well, we learned something at least. We got a few solid pictures anyway.
Another long week is ahead of us. We’ll have more product and gear showing up this week so I’m sure there will be more soon here at Montana Wild.
I figured since we launched out website that I’d encourage everyone who enjoys our site to subscribe. By subscribing you’ll always be the first to know when we make a new post or upload a video. Just head over to the right side of the page and enter your email into the subscription box and click “subscribe.” You’ll also be helping us gain the traction needed to improve our content and production. We’ll be making 2012 an even bigger and better year and we’ll have much more content to share with you guys this go round. I hope you all have either been making it out on the water or getting ready to hunt this spring, if not we’ll I guess just have to live vicariously through our posts. Have a great weekend and we’ll be posting up some more sweet spring fishing in the coming days.
So it’s been about two months since we made it on our yearly fishing trip up North near the South Fork of the Flathead River. This country is amazing. Finally we found time to get an edit done. Be sure to watch in HD.
To check out the original post with pictures and some backstory on the trip click here. In the future we’ll have a shorter ”highlight” style edit up to accompany this one.
Also, I just shot my first elk so be looking for an update on that next week.