This past week has been quite memorable for us here at Montana Wild. Thursday we debuted our Simms SHOOT OUT film Bent at the Ellen Theater in Bozeman, MT. Montana Wild came out on top and we cannot wait to share our film! Be looking for the film to release here on our website in the next couple days.
The next morning we headed back to Missoula to meet up with Stan for a 3-day bear hunt. That evening we packed into the backcountry, spotting a large bear about a mile off. We closed the distance, and watched as Stan took his very first black bear ever.
On Sunday Brandon and myself decided to do a little fishing, since we already had a bear down. The fishing was absolutely jaw dropping!!
Be looking for a bunch of blog posts over the next couple of weeks. We will be giving the low-down of our very exciting week!
Also a heads up to those who were planning on attending the Hunting Film Tour. The event dates have been moved back to August. Be checking back for updated information.
Well I apologize that the website has been updated so sporadically. Once school is over there should be a solid increase in quality posts. The last time we posted we gave a short review on some Orvis gear that we’ve been fishing with and it rocks. You can read that post here. Over the last few weeks it’s been one of the busiest times of the year for us. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say we were inside on our computers when it was 60 out and sunny and there were small swarms of skwallas out on the river. Yes we’re a little butt hurt but I think we’ll make it. This year it seems we’ve been weekend warriors. A few weeks back we made it out and took the day to fish a section of river we call Boneyard to Bike. Things started pretty well as I immediately hooked into a nice looking rainbow.
We pushed on knowing we’d have to keep the pace moving to get through all 3 miles before dark. Of course the day we make it out the weather was the typical Montana spring weather; sun one minute and snow the next.
I couldn’t complain though, just being able to fish is a blessing so you just take the weather you get and go. Also it just so happens to make things interesting for photos and video. We did bring the camera along that day and shot a decent amount of video so hopefully we can get to it in the next few weeks and have a little more fish porn to get you through runoff. We again moved downstream searching for the next big one. About half an hour later Travis went into his bag of flies and threw on a chunky little steamer. About five casts later and a hungry rainbow slashed up off the bottom and slammed into Travis’ steamer.
We now were both content for the day with a few nice fish on the board and we casually fished out the day without any other remarkable occurrences. The next chance we had to fish was this last Saturday when we met up with our good buddy Anthony Von Ruden who you’ll be seeing more of in the near future. He’s spent to much time over in North Dakota and was eager to hit the river.
Quickly I had to try to remind myself why I’m friends with such a good looking dude. We rigged up and proceeded to chat with the fellow Washington anglers who were camped at the spot. They asked if we’d fished here before and seemed to be searching for any information they could get. I told them a bit and said we were headed downstream. The guy said cool we’ll probably fish here for a bit and then head that way then. He walked off with his monstrous chew in cheek and proceeded to immediately walk and fish downsteam. Great. Well looks like were going to explore upstream today boys! We all loaded the truck back up and quietly drove upstream. Initially the fishing didn’t produce, but after beating enough water with a steamer the river began to come alive as a healthy brown hammered my steamer just off the bank near a fallen tree.
The group emotion slowly began to shift back to the positive vibes and it wasn’t long until the wig came out and spring break was in full effect.
Anthony proceeded to land a very respectable brown on a very ugly wooly bugger. I had had enough camera time at the moment and I grabbed his rod and began to beat the back end of the pool with that damn bugger. Of course about ten casts in a I hooked into a hefty trout.
It was quickly apparent that I’d hooked a healthy bull trout. After a short battle and a handy net job by Travis and another solid fish was in hand.
Apparently a solid mustache is the key ingredient to slightly above average fishing. We moved on exploring new waters that seemed to be quite nice on the eye and the fly rod. About another half mile up the river and Anthony stumbled into a mule deer buck that had seen his last days in the river. It was truly an epic sight and we got a few amazing photos.
After a short photo session we moved upstream where we met a young buck out fishing for “some of dem pike minnows!”. He was a pretty chill dude and we immediately adopted him.
That essentially wrapped up the day for us and we haven’t been back out since. I’d love to post more photos but it’s getting to lengthy already and it’s 1AM. If you’d like to see more of our photos on a more regular basis please follow us on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/Montana.Wild.Productions and on Instagram @ montanawild. Over the course of the rest of our spring break we’ve just been wrapping up a film which will be playing in this years Hunting Film Tour.
It’s going to be an awesome tour hitting 25+ cities across America and it’s put on by the same dudes that run the Fly Fishing Film Tour so please head over to their website @ www.huntingfilmtour.com to see the teasers and tour stops and dates. There will be a stop in Missoula, MT on May 3rd which we will be going to, and we want to get as many people there as we can. There are going to be some amazing films played and showing support for these types of events just grows the sport and helps people like us get more funding from sponsors so we can keep creating free content to hopefully stoke people out on the outdoors. It’s a win-win for everyone and it’s going to be a damn good time and a solid way to meet some fellow hunters.
And lastly we’ve been gearing up for spring bear and turkey seasons. It’s only a few weeks away and once May hits were going to be spending some serious time in the mountains so get ready to see some fur showing up here in the next couple months.
Until next time God bless and don’t forget to give thanks to the man upstairs for all the blessings that we get to enjoy each and every day.
A couple weeks ago our awesome delivery driver dropped us a very nice set of boxes on our doorstep. The word “Orvis” on the outside let us know that some killer products were finally here. At last we had got a new set of rods and reels, specifically the Orvis Helios 2 5wt and 7wt tip-flex rods and the Mirage II & III reels that lay packaged within those fine cardboard boxes. For the past few weeks we’ve had plenty of time out on the water with these sweet setups and they’ve gotten off to a hot start.
Upon receiving the fly rods, the first thing I noticed was the beautifully crafted carbon fiber tube that safe guards each rod. I could now safely run over my fly rods tubes with a monster truck. Both rods are 4 piece, 9ft fly rods. Zack and myself feel that in order to truly fish Montana rivers to the fullest, you need a dry fly/nymph rod and a streamer rod, hence the 5wt & 7wt selection. Some holes are just too tasty to not have a streamer rod ready to go, and we find ourselves leaning towards the addicting streamer game more and more. We assembled the Mirage reels into the beautiful Helios 2 reel seats. Now these setups are sexy to say the least and not only perform great, but look badass. We are far from gear snobs. If it doesn’t function then I don’t want it, but I’m always ok with an upgrade. The setups we are rocking are as follows:
As soon as I strung out my first cast with the 5wt, the whizz I could hear of the line shooting through the guides put a smile of my face. These rods can shoot some line! Not to mention the swing weight of the 5wt makes casting effortless. Either that or I have been hitting the gym way too frequently. The tip flex, fast action suits my fly fishing style well, allowing me to cast extremely accurate and makes mending line a breeze. I have never felt like I have had this much control over my fly line.
Now on to the 7wt. Over the past year we have realized our addiction to streamer fishing, even more so when your swinging your own hand tied flies. The tug truly is the drug for us. Most people don’t know the caliber of trout we have here in Montana. There are some large fish that can really pull some serious weight.
The 7wt is a streamer chucking beast. One back cast and you can send a streamer across the entire river. Power, finesse, and control all come to mind while handling the Helios 2 7wt. Bull trout, big rainbows, and angry browns are the target fish when stripping streamers, and the 7wt got to test its strength against all these trout species during our test. With the 7wt you can handle everything from light to heavy streamers. Not to mention you can really move large fish and keep them from downfall when needed. Below are some of the fish taken via the Helios 2 on just the first day out.
Both the 5wt & 7wt were outfitted with black Mirage II & III reels. The light-weight aluminum Mirage reel uses the same technology as the brakes on fighter jets. Is it absolutely neccessary? No, but it’s damn nice if your in the market for a new reel and they look so good your bound to get a few numbers when the bikini hatch hits. It also has a positive click system which I thoroughly enjoy. Being able to set my drag accordingly and quickly is a great function of this reel. The Mirage is unaffected by saltwater, dirt, garb, and grime, making it an all-around bomb proof large arbor reel.
If your looking to upgrade your fly rod, make sure to at the least test a Helios 2 if there’s one at your local shop. I’m sure you’ll fall in love. Also be looking for the Orvis Helio 2 & Mirage reels in our upcoming short films. We recently filmed an all-streamer video, but unfortunately our SD card failed on us and the data was unrecoverable which totally blew. We’ll be out with the camera in tow soon and be sure to follow us over on Facebook and if your on Instagram look us up @montanawild. Cheers!
On February 7 we set out for yet again another one day film project. Sometimes the action is too good to not bring the camera along and it would be a good time get back into the swing of filming some fishing. The weather was close to perfect for January, and we were hoping to make the best of it. Anthony was along to put his new found filming creativity to work as a second angle for the project, along with adding his own behind the camera commentary. After a couple of slow hours, Zack finally hooked into a nice rainbow. The rainbow floundered in the shallows before gaining his bearings and heading for a sunken tree. As he headed towards the snag the line broke and the game was over. At that point we decided it was a good time for a short lunch. Fifteen minutes later Zack was back casting into the same hole, looking for Redemption. Little did we know he would hook into the same rainbow and this time bring him to the net.
I hope you enjoyed the video and be sure to treat yourself to a day on the water soon. Cheers!
This past Sunday we hit the river for the first time in 2013. After about a month of no filming I felt like it would be good to just get out and film an afternoon of fishing and see what happened. We found a nice stretch of water and with the help of our good friend Stan Spoharski the cameras started rolling. By the time the sun began setting Travis had landed a few respectable fish and the day was officially a success. As this was the last week of my winter break I decided to bust out this edit and just see what came of it. As I started going through the clips I realized that winter fishing is very much about solitude. Travis and I decided to make a short video that is a bit different than our regular fly fishing films, but I like how it turned out and look forward to getting some amazing footage on the water this year. Enjoy, and as always please watch in HD with a pair of headphones.
Be checking back soon for a post about our recent winter fishing antics and our second hunting episode all dropping within the next few weeks!
This is part two of our recap of 2012. If you missed Part 1 be sure to check right here before reading on.
Summer started slow this year. The water ran high through June, and we didn’t get much in for fishing. In late June we decided to get back out and test our luck on some water that we hadn’t visited in months. It paid off as I fooled a large brown on a green drake just as the sun was setting in the west.
From there on out the fishing was stellar. The following week we took a small day trip to another one of our favorite creeks and found some fish willing to eat. Travis made the best of the day and finished with a nice cutthroat.
I had the camera along and documented the afternoon in a short piece titled “Creekside.”
We soon had elk on our minds and traveled to a few of our elk haunts to put up trail cameras for the summer.
We found good sign in our spots and had four cameras up by the middle of June. In mid-July we took our first backcountry fishing trip of the year. It took us into some amazing country and the fishing was great.
From there we had a few mellow weeks and then embarked on our annual fishing trip to some of the most beautiful country we’ve set foot in. It would be a weeklong fly fishing trip in the backcountry and the weather was perfect. The beginning of our trip started off with us exploring some new water upstream of where we had fished last year. After bushwacking to the river we were left with minimal options for a campsite. The spot we found couldn’t have been better and it started our trip out with a bang.
The fishing was exceptional as always if you were willing to put in the time to get back away from the easy access. This area, although remote, is just like any fishing in Montana. The easy to access spots usually get fished hard and the best water always requires a little extra effort. Up here any extra effort tends to pay off big time.
To read more about Part one of our trip see our post “The Unknown – Backcountry Cutties.” Not only did we catch a bunch of beautiful cutthroat but we also managed to find and land some bull trout. These fish are a little bit tougher to find and catch but we landed one each day we tied the streamers on the big rods.
To read and see more photos from our trip be sure to check out our post “The Unknown – Backroad Bull Trout.” It was a killer trip and we filmed a bunch. We came home and began sorting through the hours and hours of footage. What we came up with turned out to be our best piece of the year and probably our best fly fishing short to date. Enjoy “Wild & Clear.”
That trip would be our last fishing trip of 2012 and was a great end to another awesome summer of fishing. Again we shifted back to the upcoming elk season and we made it back into the mountains to check our cameras and scout some areas around Missoula that we knew held elk. We documented a day in the elk woods as we scouted in mid-August in a short film titled “Recon.”
In late August we made a two and a half day trip to Southwest Montana in search of antelope with our bows. We got at least a half dozen stalks in and it was never tough to locate the antelope. Getting in close undetected was definitely difficult.
On the last day we were able to cut off a large group of antelope does and unfortunately Travis missed as his arrow sailed right over her back. It was a great chance to tune up our spot and stalk skills as we would be heading out the next week to chase elk in the open country of the Missouri Breaks. Soon it was opening day of Montana’s archery season and our good friend Tyler had met up with us. After his brother failed to show up for opening day, we decided to bring him along on the first morning and see if we could get into some elk. Only an hour after daylight we had a bull on the ground. After a group of four bulls came up the hill right to us, Tyler was presented a shot on a medium size bull and sent one right through both lungs. He had taken his first elk and it was an awesome experience to share with him.
If you’d like to see more about our first week of elk hunting you can see more at “Brown and Down” and “Elk season continues.” For the rest of the week we hunted hard and found bulls everyday. We even called in a 5×5 to 20 yards, only to not get a shot opportunity. The next week we were back and conditions had changed drastically. There were hunters everywhere and the elk had congregated heavily in the thick willows that lined the riverbottom. Without a boat and a tree stand set it was going to be tough. After five days we had only located one mature bull that we could stalk. We were able to sneak to 70 yards undetected but without further cover we couldn’t get any closer. As is always the case, the wind swirled and the gig was up. After that we decided to give our spot in the dark timber a go. It was a stark contrast to what we had been hunting.
We found lots of sign but the elk weren’t being vocal. We had just missed the rut and it’s almost impossible to take a bull without being able to call one in. The second morning we had one come to 20 yards but the brush was so thick that Travis was never presented a shot and finally the bull spooked when he circled and caught our wind. We were starting to get a little worried and decided to change up the tactics the following day. After not finding any water sources we made our way to one that seemed too close to the road to be a good option. After further investigation we found that the small bit of water was actually getting used fairly hard. We decided to set up on a wallow that had fresh bear sign and wait. About an hour into the hunt and a monsterous, old bull stepped out at 8 yards. After almost two minutes at full draw, he finally turned broadside at 30 yards the the rest is history.
I had achieved my goal of arrowing a mature bull. I was super stoked and to top it off Travis got it all on film and it’s going to be an awesome episode that will be released in 2013. I had this bull aged and he ended up being a 14 year old elk. You can read the whole story on my 2012 Archery elk right here.
After that we continued to hunt hard in an attempt to get Travis and elk with his bow. After being unable to seal the deal with his Anarchy, it was on to rifle season. We invited our Dad down for three days and would be hunting elk east of Missoula. After two days of no fresh sign, we decided to move locations. A snow storm was blowing through that night and we hoped the fresh snow would give us the upper hand the next day. The following morning we woke up to a fresh blanket of snow. We hiked up onto the ridge where Travis had shot his bull before and began searching for tracks. After crossing a fresh set of grizzly tracks, we soon found tracks from a small herd of elk. After spotting two through the trees and not getting any shot opprotunities, emotions were down. We continued on and a few minutes later Travis spotted a black wolf cruising through the timber. He dropped to a knee and with one shot, killed his first wolf.
For more photos and the full story see our post “A New kind of Predator.”
Over the following months, we spent our time exploring new country in search of a big, old mountain buck. We got to see some amazing country and we hiked a lot of miles.
We found some awesome spots that we’ll be back to next year but we never did find that big mountain buck we were looking for. Soon it was Thanksgiving and we were back home chasing whitetails up the mountain behind my parents home. It was tough hunting, as spot and stalk would be our go to tactic. The deer weren’t responding well to any type of calling and the brush was very thick making our efforts seem worthless. On the last morning we were headed up the mountain when we spotted a nice whitetail staring at us off the side of the trail. Travis quickly sized him up and decided he’d be a great first whitetail. After two shots he had his first whitetail buck.
It was a nice 8 point and after some photos and a little video, it was time to take care of the meat and head back to Missoula. Again we ventured back into the mountains to see if I could get it done on the last weekend.
Once again we covered lots of miles and glassed up a lot of country. We found a few nice bucks but not quite what I had set out to tag. Unfortunately I would go another season without punching my deer tag. At least it will fuel the fire for next year as I look to bag a big mountain buck. After that we finally caught up on some sleep and editing. In early December we made it out to fish for the first time in months. We met up with our good buddy Anthony Von Ruden and hit a local spot. The weather was pretty nasty as the temperature was in the low 40s and a steady rain was coming down. We soon found that the fishing was red hot as we all began hammering into fish.
The action kept up for the next couple hours and Travis landed his largest rainbow of the year. It was a chunky bow that would rival some of it’s Alaskan counterparts. To see more from this day be sure to check out our post “Brown December.”
The rest of December found us working hard to get proposals out to all of our hunting sponsors so we can continue to make hunting films in 2013. We also spent countless hours going through all of our fly fishing footage from 2012. We finished our Fish Reel for 2012 and scheduled flights to go to the SHOT show to kick off 2013. Below is our 2011 Fish Reel and our most recent 2012 Fish Reel. I think that the progression is apparent and I can’t wait to see how 2013 shapes up for us.
Thanks again for all the support you guys have shown us and we are very excited about the projects we have planned for 2013.
2012 has been a whirlwind year. Travis and I have been blessed to experience so much throughout the year. It had it’s ups and downs but was by far the best year of my life. We put a lot of hard work in this year to make sure we continued to progress as individuals, hunters, filmmakers, photographers, businessmen and generally in all aspects of our lives. I can say we learned a lot, and we’re looking forward to 2013 as it’s going to be bigger and better than ever! A lot happened in 2012 and there’s a lot I could say but I’ll try to make it brief and to the point.
2012 started out with us chasing coyotes on the Hi-Line. Hunting season for the most part was over and the skiing was sub-par so we decided to call for some coyotes with our good friend Tyler McCann. After two days of poor weather, things finally shaped up and the coyotes started running to the call. We were able to put 4 on the ground the last day and made a short film called “Valley Gold.”
After that we came back to Missoula and got busy working on putting together our best fishing shots of 2011. We were able to finish up our 2011 Fish Reel, which I’ll post at the end of Part 2 to compare to this years reel. After watching all of our footage from the 2011 year we were motivated to go try our luck for the year despite the cold weather. This would be the earliest I’d fished, and it turned out to be a great day. My first fish of 2012 was a very respectable brown that broke the tip of my rod.
After that it was mainly school and work. Of course we had to have some kind of escape and our good friend Jeff Heiskell convinced us to go tackle the Missouri for a day. It was an awesome float and our first time on the Mo. We all caught our share of healthy fish and of course the colors during winter/early spring never fail to impress.
We brought the camera along that day and we were able to put together a nice short film that documented the day.
A few short weeks later we were back for two days and this time we found some fish looking up. We all got our first dry fly takes of the year and all were solid fish. You can read more about that day here. Again the camera was in tow and we created the short film “200 East.”
After that we returned home and went back to school. Between school and work, we had been feverously editing our hunts from 2010 into four episodes. I’ll spare the details here, but the following links will take you to each episode. Episode 1 – The Copper Ranch. Episode 2 – The Haggard Horns Buck. Episode 3 – The Bull Chase. Episode 4 – The Bear Creek Bull.
A few weeks later and it was officially spring. Our mindset had shifted from fishing to hunting and we began to get the bows sighted in and ready for Montana’s spring bear season.
Again we took the time to try to share and spread the stoke and created a short film documenting a few pieces of our what we do to prepare for bear season. The piece was aptly named “Preparation.”
Soon it was time to lace up the boots and head into the hills in search of bears. The first four or five days were slow and we failed to find any bears. It was a good time to get back in shape and retrain the eyes. Soon the bears began to pop up and we were on them daily. Travis hadn’t shot a bear before and was ready to make his first year count. After ten days we finally found a mature bear for Travis to take a shot at. He was able to put a .300 Win Mag through the vitals and had his first bear on the ground. You can read the whole story here.
After Travis killed his bear I was on a mission to get one with my bow. Unfortunately I missed a great chocolate phase black bear and got very close on another couple stalks but was unable to seal the deal. If you want to see and read more click here.
To wrap up our spring we spent a lot of hours sorting through our all the footage we had accrued during February and March and created a short spring fly fishing film we called “Contrast.”
That led us right into summer and again we were fishing and hunting as usual. Be checking back for Part 2 which will be up tomorrow and documents our summer and fall of 2012.
Merry Christmas! Travis and I would like to thank everyone that supported us and enjoyed our work in 2012. We feel very blessed to have been able to experience and share so much throughout the year. We hope that 2013 will be even bigger and better and can’t wait to begin working on new projects. This time of year is a little slow for us as far as content, but I can assure you we’ve been working harder then ever. Hopefully we’ll have a recap of 2012 up soon.
The last few weeks have been a blur. As the snow has been slowly stacking up in the mountains we finally have been able to make it out to try our hand at some mountain lion hunting. A little scouting found no cat tracks and a healthy assortment of wolf tracks. As we headed back towards Missoula, we decided to try our luck on a small slice of the Clark Fork that we have been eyeing for some time. Travis has been putting together some tasty looking streamers on the vice this winter and was eager to give them a shot. After only a half dozen casts he had a nice brown hooked and in the net.
We soon ran out of light and had to call it a day. It wasn’t long though until we were back out in the mountains looking for cat tracks. We met up with our friend Adam Johnson who had his dogs with him, and hopes were high that we could find a good track to run. We met up with Casey Richardson and spent the day looking for a track. Unfortunately, we found a lot of wolf tracks, meaning the dogs wouldn’t be going anywhere that day. These dogs live for this and they were bummed that they couldn’t be turned loose.
This week we made it home for Christmas. We got to spend some time relaxing and enjoying good friends and family. The weather was great, and we got to get out with the horses and cruise up the mountain.
It wasn’t long until we were reminded of our endeavor to find a mountain lion, as we came upon a cow elk that had been killed by a cat a few weeks earlier.
We also had a chance this past week to collaborate on a video project with the guys at Seacat Creative over in Bozeman.
We were able to jump in the drivers seat and edit a desert sheep hunt that took place down in Mexico. With Adam and Steven’s help the project really came together and will be an awesome piece. The video is something we worked very hard on and are very proud of. It will be going live here in early 2013. We’ll have more details as the launch gets closer and hopefully our first hunting episode from 2012 will be up sometime in January. I hope everyone has an awesome holiday season! Cheers!
After a few weeks of wading through hundreds of hours of fishing footage we have finally cut it down to a short and sweet four minutes. These are some of our best shots from 2012. We are excited by the progress we have achieved and are looking forward to 2013!
***Please watch in HD. You’ll benefit two ways – 1) a better viewing experience and 2) improved patience. Enjoy!***
Thanks for the continued support of our site and our hunting and fishing projects. If you’d like to see more and help us out, please head over to our Facebook and give us a [LIKE] @ facebook.com/Montana.Wild.Productions.
It’s here! Our final fly fishing short film of 2012, and it’s a real dandy. From underwater footage of wild cutthroats rising to our flies to the elusive bull trout. We present WILD & CLEAR!
***Please watch in HD. You’ll benefit two ways – 1) a better viewing experience and 2) improved patience. Enjoy!***
BACKSTORY: This summer we once again planned a week long fishing trip. It took us to the northwest corner of Montana in search of native cutthroat and bull trout in some of the most beautiful waters an angler can find. We were joined by our good friend Ian Orlando, and this would be his first trip into these remote parts. We had an amazing time and caught many fish. If you’d like to read about this trip please view our previous post that documented our stay @ The Unknown Part 1 and The Unknown Part 2.
Thanks for the continued support of our site and our hunting and fishing projects. If you’d like to see more and help us out, please head over to our Facebook and give us a [LIKE] @ facebook.com/Montana.Wild.Productions.
If you missed the first write up about our recent fly fishing trip into the Montana backcountry, be sure to read the post “The Unknown – Backcountry Cutties.” During our six day trip we not only set out to explore some of Montana’s most beautiful water, but to legally target and fish for native bull trout.
In the earlier part of this century and also within the last few decades, the bull trout was seen as a cannibal of the trout family. Many viewed it as a trash fish because of it’s highly predatory nature and its voracious appetite for other fish. There numbers soon began to plummet due to extensive logging ruining spawning habitat along with unchecked fishing practices. Today they are now found in healthy numbers and are addictive to catch. We had never fished for these trout but felt confident we could get into a few. Very few people fish for bull trout so as long as you can find them, you should be able to catch some. I figured they would be easiest to find on the main river with its deep holes and long runs. We decided to bushwack down to the river off a nearby dirt road and set up camp. To say the canyon we’d be fishing was stunning was an understatement.
We immediately scouted for a suitable campsite. Fortunately we found a small sandy area along the river and got situated. Bull trout can grow upwards of 3 feet and are very powerful fish. For this trip we decided to take a couple 8wts. It’s best to play these fish quickly and without a sturdy rod, a big fish might be running downstream with no end in sight. A big thanks goes out to Dan @ Grizzly Hackle. He was gracious enough to help outfit us for our trip. If your around Missoula, be sure to swing by. Whether it’s trout, steelhead, or tarpon, they have what you’re looking for.
We quickly set up the rods and hit the river. Immediately we found great looking water. I honestly felt like I was in some exotic place and surely not Montana.
The water is deep emerald and the surrounding rich forests and moss covered cliffs made me feel like I was in New Zealand or deep in the Canadian backcountry. The first hole looked promising and we spent almost an hour drifting streamers through every nook and cranny amongst the rocks.
Finally I heard those magic words, “I got one!” Travis had hooked into the first bull trout of the trip. After a short fight we had a nice bully in the net.
Travis was pumped up. This was his first bull trout on a streamer and things were looking good. We kept moving up the canyon, methodically working each hole. One of the problems we encountered on this stretch was the depth of each hole. Often you couldn’t see the bottom. I know some of the holes were at least 20 feet deep and with the current it was just plain tough to get your streamer deep enough and in the right spot.
We fished hard that day but never got into another bull trout. The scenery keep us in good spirits and we slowly worked our way back to camp.
With the clouds rolling in we decided to call it a day and hang out by the fire.
We had an amazing view of the river, a hot tasty meal, and good conversation to finish up the day. Just down river there was an osprey nest perched on a tall dead tree next to a tall cliff. Mom was screaming her head off and even did a bit of fishing.
Over the course of the trip we got a chance to fish a lot of water. Another day of our trip was spent exploring a second deep canyon upriver.
This canyon is only accessible from one end or the other. We worked in from the bottom and immediately were met with beautiful water. This canyon consists of long deep pools, large boulders, and some solid rapids. The water is ideal for bull trout, but again we were up against very deep holes. With little room to cast it was difficult to properly fish much of the water.
After a few hours we were beat down. The water looked perfect but the fish just weren’t emerging from the shadows.
Just as I was about to turn and begin fishing back to the truck I heard Travis yelling. I headed over to see what was going on. He had a bull trout chasing from one of the larger boulders, and I intently watched as he worked his streamer along the boulder. After a few misses he finally connected. Although it was a juvenille bully, it did re-energized me to continue working a deep run. After a long cast I let my fly drift back and down about 60 feet. I then slowly twitched my streamer across the current. Boom! These trout attack the fly and often it initially feels as if you have a snag. They soon realize their caught and the fight begins. After a few surges and small runs, I turned him into the shallows and chalked up my first bull trout of the trip.
Over the course of our trip we learned a lot about where to look for bull trout and how to fish for them. The key is to go deep and get twitchy. White and grey seemed to work best for us. Also they enjoy lurking next to any type of rock formation that allows them cover and a quick path to small fish passing by. Another characteristic we found was that when they do feed, they often will fall back into the tail out of a pool where the river condenses into a smaller area. Two pictures down are three bull trout sitting in a tail out of a pool we found.
Travis was also pretty excited that his homegrown flies did the trick. Grey Gandalf was doing work and a couple white variations had success also. The few days we spent fishing for bull trout was very educational for us. We were able to successfully explore a few areas that held bull trout and learned more about where to find these bad boys. We even got a chance to sight fish for them. I’m already looking forward to next summer as we found another spot where the bull trout are fairly numerous and should be easy to catch with the knowledge we acquired during this trip.
As they say, “The tug is the drug.” Watching your streamer get hammered is by far one of the most fun aspects of fly fishing that I have yet to experience. I now understand more of why people love fishing the salt flats for tarpon. Maybe one day. Hopefully Travis and I can get working on the video before hunting season get’s too far underway. I think we got some awesome footage and can’t wait to share it with everyone.
There is nothing better than putting in that extra effort to fish some of the most beautiful waters in Montana. 7-8 miles of nothing but wilderness is always an adventure, but when your packing 30+ lbs of camera gear between two people, it makes it a little more challenging. We set out to capture spunky trout in the clear waters of Montana.
*Please watch in HD
Here’s our first summer fly fishing video. After runoff we’ve been doing a decent amount of fishing, but just haven’t really had good enough fishing to justify taking the time to try to film an edit. On Sunday I decided that summer just doesn’t last as long as you ever hope and that the camera was coming out. Travis and I headed up to a small creek in the Blackfoot Valley and got ready for an afternoon on the water. This is what we came up with. Watch in HD you fishin fools!
Here’s the link to our original write up on the afternoon – Creekside
I’m sure we’ll be filming again soon enough, and we hope to have more summer fishing up soon to keep the stoke alive.
Sun, fishing, and beer. They all go together real well. Maybe throw in a few other items of choice, and it’s hard to beat a good summer day in Montana. Recently Travis and I decided to hit up some smaller water and see if we could find a trout to snipe. No sooner had we pulled into our parking spot and there were already fish rising within sight. We tied on some tiny dries and started wading upstream. After failing to connect on a few rising fish we soon moved to the next bend and sat and waited to see the next nose break the surface. After 15 minutes of imagining rising fish, the silence was broken by a wild thrash on the surface. A few minutes later and another hit. We had a target. After about 6 casts he took my green drake, and immediately I knew I had a nice slab on the other end. After a few jumps and a long stay on the bottom, Travis netted my largest brown and on a dry to boot.
I was pumped up. To top it off the camera was rolling, and I think we got some quality footage. He definitely filled the net up and it was difficult to even grab him with one hand. It’s been a very long time since I’ve landed a fish over 18″ (the Missouri doesn’t count) on a dry. Last summer seemed to sneer in our faces as we struggled to find any solid fish during the summer months. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come this summer.
We’ll be back home on the lake for the weekend and no fishing is planned for a little while but we’ll be back after it soon enough. We’re banking on the fishing really being off the charts in a few weeks and we plan on getting out with the camera and hopefully cranking out an edit in the near future.
Summer is never long enough so we always try to make the most of the weekends knowing they come in short supply. This weekend the plan was to fish, scout, and sit a stand or two in the open country in hopes of luring in a coyote. We left the house at 6AM and drove east to a spot we’ve called coyotes at before. We walked in to our stand and called for about half an hour in hopes of getting to test out the new Vortex on the AR-15.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to call anything in. This area only holds a couple smart coyotes and trying to call them in the summer makes things even more difficult. We figured if we were going to be in the area we’d give it a shot. We quickly moved on and headed back down to the river and got geared up for a long day on the water. We were fishing the upper Clark Fork, and with the warm weather we hoped a hatch might come off at some point during the day.
Things started out a bit slow as the water was still running high and fast, but the clarity was fairly decent. Of course the one day we decide to take a good drive and commit a day to fishing the wind decides to make a heavy appearance. It would only pick up as the day wore on. The Clark Fork fished just mediocre. We never netted a trout over 14 inches. A handful of healthy whitefish decided to eat and put on a good show. The eagles have a strong presence on the upper stretches of river as we saw at least eight during the first four hours of fishing. They were very vocal and we saw two nests with juvenile eagles in them.
After numerous missed hits and plenty of walking under the summer sun we decided to move on to new waters with a small pit stop at the local gas station for some tasty ice cream. Once again we began exploring miles of new water. Of course the wind only decided to pick things up a notch and began to make just about any cast impossible. We even managed to watch a three hundred pound willow tree branch get ripped from a tree. Mother nature sure can be hard to get along with sometimes. We kept fishing where we could cast downwind.
We soon worked up a feeder of the Clark Fork in search of any browns lurking in the deeper pools and undercut banks. We had lots of strikes from smaller fish and a few larger browns and rainbows chase and nip the tails of our streamers, but we never laid into anything of good size. We tried a variety of different patterns and found that white was really moving the fish. We finally trekked back to the truck and fired up the grill.
We grilled for about an hour and then sipped some beers until dark. A long day under the sun wears you out quick, and it wasn’t long until we were out for the night. The next day we decided to get into the mountains and do a bit of backup elk scouting. Even though we both drew tags for elk we always like to keep tabs on some areas that have potential. It’s always nice to have a few spots to hunt that are within an hour of home and having cams up gives us an idea of what’s lurking in the dark timber come September. We decided to make a 3 mile loop around a mountain where I’ve ran into some good bulls in the past. We found a fair amount of fresh sign, and the area still seems promising. We aren’t the only hunters in the area though. About half way through our hike we found a marker on a tree along a good game trail.
We kept moving on unfazed though. We know the area gets pressure, it’s just a matter of hunting harder and smarter than the 90% of hunters that won’t give it that extra bit during season. We soon came across a seep in the mountain where the deer and elk water as they move from their feeding and bedding areas. This was going to be camera spot number 2 for the year. We quickly set up the camera that will catch animals in both the seep and walking along the game trail.
We bought a couple Moultrie M80 game cameras this year and hopefully they will work well and give us some cool pictures to look at in about a month. We skirted around the hillside and back to the truck. We parked in a nice clearing and to our surprise held a healthy population of gophers. Well let’s just say we spent some time slinging lead at gophers. Managing the small game population always provides some good fun, and after about an hour of shooting the gophers had wised up and kept their heads below ground. We moved on and drove back down to the river. We were sitting in the truck enjoying some PB&J’s when a couple guys pulled up with their personal drift boats in tow. They came over and we chatted for a while. They claimed to be from Missoula and acted like they knew the river. Either they were pulling our chain (California plates made us think twice about this) or they haven’t learned much about fishing etiquette on the river. We told them we were going to fish one large pool about a quarter mile upstream. Of course we had been fishing there about ten minutes when they showed up and proceeded to fish the same hole about 70 yards downstream. I wasn’t a fan of their bad manners or the wind so we picked up and decided to call it a day. The fishing wasn’t even close to hot so it was an easy decision. The weekend was a bit duller than we had planned, but it can only get better from here on out right?
Memorial Day weekend is always hit or miss in Montana. Well this year it was a big ole swing and a miss. If there was one good thing about the crappy weather though it was the fact that we were forced to stay home and glue our butts in front of the computer and do some long awaited editing. Two eight hour days and I’m glad to say were finished with our first short fishing film of the year. We should have that up here later this week so be checking back and we’ll also be releasing our 4th and final installment of hunting episodes from 2011.
Well by Monday we had the itch to get back after it and we geared up for a long day doing something in the great outdoors of Montana. We drove up into the mountains and headed off on a gated logging road in search of bears. We were in new country and sort of looking for sign and hoping the area was a good one. We ended up making it up to the snow line which probably wasn’t the best hunting strategy following a snow storm in the mountains. I think the weather had pushed everything down towards the valley but I wanted to check out a new area. We found some sign and a pretty solid area that we’ll definitely go back to as soon as the weather warms up and the bears start moving up to higher country.
We headed back to the truck and figured we’d kill the afternoon with some fly fishing. The water is still high and off colored and even the creeks are tough fishing but soon enough there was some tug in the line and a little fishy in the net. I led things off with a solid string of whitefish and couldn’t seem to trick the old trout but Travis finally warmed up and landed a few nice browns.
We ventured back to the truck and got back into hunt mode to finish off the holiday. We once again found a gated road and headed off on the bikes. This spring weather makes for some on and off showers that come and go like a ____________ (insert your own lolz here). It made for some beautiful scenery or some very gay bears in the area.
The video below was basically how we felt about it.
After that we kept hiking for another mile and a half but didn’t see much other than a lone cow elk. We cruised back and got to the bikes and loaded up. Of course it was all downhill and when your on a bike you can cruise pretty fast. Well just our luck about two minutes into biking back down the mountain we round a bend at about 20mph and there’s a cinnamon black bear feeding up the road. He saw us and went scorching back into the woods. We tried tricking him into making a second appearance with the distress call but he was a little too smart for that trickery. Of course we had the pleasure of seeing another rainbow right afterwards.
We figured it would be pretty unreal if we were to find a bear at the end of the rainbow. Like all such dreams we didn’t find a bear at the end and had to call it a day.
5:30 came a little to early but the chance to fish got me out of bed after only a couple snoozes. With the local rivers looking nice and brown, we decided to hit up the Missouri River with our good friend Jeff and get a couple days of fishing in. [If you missed our first trip to the Missouri River read about it here.] After a couple hours we rolled into Craig and got our shuttle situated at the Headhunters Fly Shop. These guys know how to run a fly shop and if your in need of almost anything, chances are they can get it for you or point you in the right direction. Soon we were on the river and the weather was impeccable. No wind and decently warm temperatures kept our hopes high.
The day started off with a handful of small fish. Although fun, we were hoping for something a touch bigger to get the rods bent on.
We soon drifted off the main channel of the Mo and got into one of the small side channels. There were a lot of midges on the water and a few risers. We stripped streamers through the slower holes but with minimal success.
We kept moving and found a pod of risers. After about an hour of fishing we only came away with two misses on top. We were running 5X tippet and a small BWO and were able to trick a few but no fish in hand. We learned that some days 6 or 7X and a very, very tiny fly are the only option on these trouts meal plan.
We kept the train chugging downriver only to be interrupted by another bathroom break. Only this time is was a very opportune time to pull over. As we sat on the side of the river cracking fresh PBR’s, we saw a single riser about 100 yards downstream. A short drift and we were anchored up on the entrance to a small side channel with one slurping fish in sight. A few empty handed drifts with the nymphs and I had had enough. We were going to get one on top or go out trying. I was able to get a slurp from the back of the boat and we decided to get out and put our dry fly fishing to the test. After about an hour all three of us were able to catch rainbows on dries ranging from 17-20 inches. These fish had moved up into a small hole only about 40′ square and about 2-3 feet deep.
After putting the hurt on the few risers in that hole we pulled anchor and kept things rolling. Again we found pods of rising fish but couldn’t connect with the setup we were running. When they say these fish will humble you, they aren’t lying.
After floating past countless risers with no luck we slowly drifted back into Craig America. It’s definitely a very cool experience to see a big fish nosing up and sipping ever so slightly. To catch one like that is even more exciting. We rolled in around 730 and drifting past the last seam we were able to see a train of rising fish. There were at least 20-30 trout nosing out of the water with anywhere from 5-10 up at a time. And there were some big ones in the bunch. That’s something you just don’t see around Missoula and I can see the appeal that the Missouri has to offer. Unfortunately, our batting average on these fish was probably close to like 5% or less. When it’s midges on the meal plan the fishing can be agonizingly tough and a little maddening.
Day 2 we were up an hoping for a bit better day on the river. After some eggs in camp scrambled up with a tasty stick, we were back over to the Headhunters to pick up a few flies and get a shuttle all squared up. Contrary to the weather forecast, we had strong winds and clear skies. The bugs weren’t out in the numbers they were from the day before and the fishing was just plain slow.
We again floated the dam to Craig. The fish were few and far between and small. Not exactly fulfilling our vision for the day.
Around 3PM the wind started to die down and the fish started rising again. We were again in a side channel, trying to snipe those pesky sipping trout.
We counted close to a hundred noses over the last two hours of the float but just couldn’t find the mojo. The casts were right but the setup wasn’t fooling them. 5X wasn’t cutting it and a #18 midge apparently wasn’t either. Hey we’ve been fishing nymphs all winter and spring so we were happy just to get a few over the course of the two days on top. We weren’t the only ones having trouble either. Lots of fellow floaters were complaining of slow conditions from the dam to Craig. Apparently we should have floated from Craig to Mid-Canyon as we found a note from our buddy Tyler Trudeau saying they got into about 40 fish on their float. The Missouri River is one that your going to spend some serious time on before you can say you understand it. We had a great time and hopefully next time the river will be a touch more generous. We did get a small amount of video so we’ll probably make a short mash up here in the next couple of weeks. Be checking back as we near spring hunting season, get closer to getting Contrast done, and hopefully get a small video from this trip up on the site.
It’s spring break and of course the weather could be better. Yep it’s spring in Montana. Saturday we had a mellow day and went up to the Deep Creek Range to shoot the rifles.
We had some new loads to fire through the 6×284 and the .300 Win Mag. Both rifles were on point with some minor adjustments. Let’s say we’re very deadly at 300 and anything bigger than a coyote should be very scared at 500. If worst comes to worst the .300 will have to do some bear damage again this spring but let’s hope we can get up close and personal with the bows.
Today we decided to attempt to fish despite all the rivers spiking up in flows. We went up on the Bitteroot and found dirty, but fishable water. Travis has been tying up some streamers and he wanted to give them a go. About an hour into the day he hooked up on a nice brown with an freshly tied streamer.
I had a large rainbow snap a nymph off and then proceed to jump out of the water to taunt me. Travis lost a big one, and I missed a few nibbles on the streamer rig. We fished till about 4 and decided to call it a day. Unless your really itching to fish I’d stay home and do other things. Once the flows start to drop, which is a big if right now, the fishing should heat up again. Only saw 2 skwallas and there wasn’t much for any type of bug activity on top. We’ll be heading to the Mo tomorrow for a two day fish trip and I can already predict that there will be lots of photos and video to come from the trip. Check back soon and until then “carpe diem.”
Finally some video is showing up here at Montana Wild. Check out the teaser for our 1st short film of the year, CONTRAST!
It took more time than I could have ever anticipated to sort and organize all of the footage we have captured for this short film (over 40 hours of HD footage). This piece contains our highest quality cinematography to date and this is only a tease of what’s to come. It is insane how much you learn everyday about filming and editing! CONTRAST is set to showcase a single river in Montana, which we fished over the course of the late winter and early spring of this year. We didn’t write a script or set out with a direction in mind for this project, we just fished and filmed. We were able to catch 5 species of fish and have a number of great hook-ups to show. It’s going to be a daunting task to sort through all the footage and piece something together that is captivating and unique. We should start editing shortly and hope to release this in it’s entirety by the end of April.
After a long week of school and work, we finally had some light poking through at the end of the tunnel. Sunday was forecasted to be in the upper 50s and we figured the fishing just might be worth a little excursion. Despite the great conditions we were hearing about on the Bitteroot, we decided to avoid the crowds and boat parade for smaller and lesser known water. We wanted to fish a long, winding stretch of river with no access that we had yet to fish, and decided to make the four mile hike downstream from access to access. We dropped Travis’s bike off around 11:30 AM at the lower access and drove the truck back upriver about 4 miles and got ready for a long day. We knew we would find some lightly fished water and hopefully a hog or two.
As we worked downstream things started off slow. Sometimes you go 10-15 holes without a fish out there, but once you find them they stack up. Travis unfortunately had some ill fate attempting to catch fish. He had numerous missed hook ups and a few spit the fly before making it to the net. I put him on the bench and grabbed the St. Croix and got to casting. With so many pockets of fishable water, we made slow progress. About two hours into the days adventure, I hooked into a bright red rainbow that was around the 20 inch mark. Unfortunately, Travis and I have had some rough times trying to net my larger fish this year. This one again broke off in an attempt to tote this beast up from the depths and allow Travis to get the net under him. Some choice words were had and we pushed on. Pushing past the halfway point and with the sun beginning to lower on the horizon, I finally got to net a solid chromer.
The water was looking better and better as we moved on. Over the course of the day we missed our share of good trout. I know between the two of us we probably lost/missed about 4-6 18+” fish. I guess we left them for next time eh. This unlucky trout was spunky and it felt good to get one solid one on camera for the day.
We pushed onward to the west. The only problem with the long hike was we couldn’t spend as much time as we would like to thoroughly fish all the holes. The good thing was that the walking was easy and the weather was in top notch form. We only saw two risers and one skwalla on the water. This river just doesn’t fish on top like the other rivers in the area. The character more than makes up for it I say. Soon we were forced to walk the last mile back to the bike as the sun was beginning to set for the day. Travis had to bike back on the highway and doing so while it was still light seemed like a better bet then a nighttime ride alongside high speed traffic. As I sat and waited I decided to battle the dropping temps by getting in a little fishing right at the access. Ironically, we walked all day to find good trout and I caught one of the biggest of the day right within view of the road and withing ten feet of the parking area. This stud of a bow took it upon himself to break the surface with aggression. After forcing him into submission Travis finally showed up to snap a few photos.
This fish was in stark contrast to the other rainbow I had caught that day. His mouth was at least 2-3 times larger and his teeth some of the sharpest I’ve seen on a fish of his size. He is a sure fish eater and must have been warming up his evening with an appetizer as he munched my stonefly nymph.
Overall, it was one solid day on the water here in Montana. With a little ambition and some free time, you can find an adventure in your own backyard. That’s the great thing about Montana. You don’t need a fancy trip to another state or country to get some solid thrills and feel miles from civilization. Check back tomorrow as we release the teaser for our new short film Contrast. Until then, tight lines to ya!
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.
If you missed our last post, Travis landed a very respectable bull trout on Sunday. It was the last fish of the day and his biggest to date.
The very next day we were back on the river. The sun was out but the temperatures were a touch lower than in previous days. Cold hands and iced up guides were about the only bad thing we had going for us though. The very first hole I hooked into another bull trout. Back-to-back bull trout on film in two days. I guess the fishing is pretty good right now. This bullie came screaming out of the water at me after I set the hook, nearly spraying me with ice cold water. After attempting to keep him in the tail end of the pool, he decided to run downstream. The chase was on and soon I was tangled up in my line with both feet. I shuffled about 200 yards downstream through continuous riffles trying to get close enough to net him. Finally, he tired and I got in front of him. He drifted into my net and I had my best bull trout to date.
We continued fishing without much luck and decided to switch spots. After a short lunch we were back on the river. I wanted to fish a couple holes within throwing distance of the truck, and figured I could tough it out in my sweatshirt and without gloves. A stiff breeze had picked up and it got miserable quick. I was about to pack it up when my bobber sunk under once again. I had another solid fish on and once again got run over attempting to land him. My fish landing abilities have been far from beautiful, but once again I made it work out and we had another solid trout in the net and on camera.
I landed a few more fish but nothing too exceptional. We picked up our gear and headed to one last spot as the sun dipped low in the west. The only thing we caught were more cold hands and iced up rod guides.
We have gotten a chance to log some solid shots so far this winter/spring. Hopefully we can pull in some more fish on film in the following weeks as we hope to make a short video highlighting the exceptional early season fishing of Montana.
Well it’s officially one year since we started Montana Wild. When we started this blog we didn’t know what we were doing or where we would take it, and its still not quite clear. One thing sticks out vividly though, and that’s all the good times we had doing it. I’m sure glad we did because we have a lot of great memories to look back on and had a lot of laughs along the way. I guess I did have a vision of where it would hopefully take us though. I figured that outdoor media was behind the trend of other adventure sports and what better way to make your passion into a career than to start documenting our escapades with photos and video. So far it’s working out, and I’m pretty excited with the progress and the quality of work we produced in our first year. We’ve made this a full time job and hope to not look back. We’ve already surpassed our short term goals and were setting the bar even higher for 2012. I think there’s been a noticeable progression since our first post and video. In the next week we’ll have a post up that gives a recap of our first year and how far we’ve made it.
Today Travis and I decided that we’d celebrate the first year by hitting the river in hopes of logging some shots. We left the house early and made our way to the river. The weather wasn’t ideal for filming or fishing, but we were set on making the best of it.
After a few empty holes, I finally had a trout succumb to my trickery. I could tell he was a good fish and he decided to take me for a ride. The river was small and he decided he’d had enough of that pool for one day. He slipped back into the rapids and I had to follow him back to the next small pocket of slow water. With all the downed logs in this river I had to keep him on the correct side of the river to actually get another chance to net him. After some awkward angles and a few tense moments I slipped my net under his fat belly and had myself a very respectable cutbow.
After a few camera shots we got him back into the water to be caught another day.
We fished the rest of the day and caught a healthy number of fish but nothing worth writing home about. Hey it’s another day on the river and another blessing to be counted. Tomorrow we’ll be back out and Travis is going to be running the rod and reel. I’ll be running the Nikon and hopefully capturing some moments to be remembered. Until then tight lines to ya.
Another weekend is upon us. We’ve been back on the sprawling expanse of rivers that course across Montana, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Friday we set out to begin filming for one of a few short videos we’ll be producing this spring. Not much for details on the project other than we’re going to be filming about 7-10 days for just this project, and I hope we can make it better than I envision it in my head.
The day started with a bang though. Travis and I were looking for a new area to fish and had our eyes out for the parking area. We passed it and turned around. As we took a left off the highway, our attention was on the river and where we were about to park. We only had to cross the railroad tracks and gear up. As we slowly neared the tracks I instinctively looked right and left. When my eyes made it to the left side of the vehicle I saw a gut wrenching site, a train barrelling down upon us. I stopped on a dime as the train roared past us just 15 feet away. No horn, no warning, just raw reality. A little unnerving doesn’t quite describe it, but I’m glad it happened. I truly think God meant for that train to scare us. It humbled both of us and made a lasting reminder that life is never to be taken for granted. We enjoy so many amazing things in our lives and especially in a state such as Montana. It’s just a good reminder to be thankful for what you have and to make sure you put forth your best foot each and every day because you never now when it’s going to be your last. We quickly tried to forget what had just happened and get out on the river. About five minutes after wetting my boots I was into a spunky rainbow. Three fish were pulled from that hole and the vibes were good. We knew some big fished lived amongst the depths and snags of the river and it was only a matter of time before we laid into one.
We moved on and decided to hit a hole hidden under a bridge that has netted us some good fish in the past. With the camera rolling I began methodically working the hole. After about 5 minutes I hooked up on a strong fish. At first it was more dead weight than anything. I slowly worked the fish into the slow side water and caught my first glimpse of this beast of a fish. It looked like a baby steelhead. Once it saw me it was headed deep back into the current. I yelled to Travis that I was gonna need a bit of help to land this brute. After about 10 minutes of trying to wear him down, I wasn’t making much progress. With a 5wt rod and 4x tippet I had less control than the fish did. As he tired he wouldn’t move into the slow water. He would only slowly drift backwards towards the tail of the pool. I knew if he made it out of the pool I was toast. Travis got in as deep as he could and we gave it a go. I pulled as hard as I dared to try to get him close to the surface. It was now or never and I tried to impart my will upon him. Travis swooped in with the net and chaos ensued. The fish fought with all its might. All I could see was a monstrous trout thrashing on the wooden edge of the net. My line went slack and I hoped to see the net rise from the water with my largest fish ever. Unfortunately, it came up empty. That pig of a fish won. We were a little upset, but after our close call with the train I easily remembered how blessed I was just to be on the river with my brother. Travis estimated this rainbow at about 24-26 inches. It was the biggest fish either of us have seen in the rivers of Montana. We continued to fish on and did catch a small brown who was set on trying to fly. A decent rainbow finished our day off and considering the time of year we were pretty stoked. We still have room to improve.
Today Annie and I headed up to Rock Creek to see how the infamous river was faring with such a light winter. It wasn’t long before Annie had her first fish hooked up.
The river sure has changed since last spring. The heavy runoff we saw last year has altered almost every hole. It’s cool because it’s almost like fishing the river for the first time again. There’s still a decent amount of snow and the water temp isn’t quite there yet. There’s fish to be had but not in true spring fashion. We landed about 5 fish today, and I was reminded that the fish of Rock Creek make up for their size with their stunning colors.
Tomorrow Travis and I are headed back out for a full day on the river. Hopefully, we can get some shots. I can’t decide if snow is going to be a good thing or not. Might make for some sweet shots or it might make for some slow fishing. I guess well find out soon.