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 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!
After a short hiatus from fishing we decided to jump back into the swing of things on the lower Clark Fork with our friend Trevor who runs flyfishingwest. The plan was to get a morning float in due to the fact that we needed to work that evening, damn jobs. We met out at Wheat Montana where I ordered a very tasty cinnamon roll to get things going in the right direction for the day.
Now I’ve never fished this stretch before, but the word is that streamers usually work best early morning. Well we didn’t have much success with that. After getting harassed because I had a “pike” streamer on and working through a few different patterns, we didn’t even succeed in getting a little nibble. Good thing I still had half of that cinnamon roll to eat. There was basically zero TOPWATER action. Apparently this term is for bass fishing only according to Trevor. We’ll probably use it till we die and soon were resorting to calling our bobbers buoys just to keep things a little edgy. We tried a variety of flies, I mean lures and got a few small, uneducated fish to eat. Overall things were pretty slow, and the most excitement came from Trevor yelling at us angry guide style, giving us casting and rowing lessons, and Travis taking a little gel coat off the Clacka. I pretty much had a grand old time in the back of the boat with the shirt off catching some Vitamin D. I let Travis and Trevor fight it out for fisherman of the day. Finally about 300 yards from the takeout Travis had his buoy go under and he set the hook on a nice rainbow. After some yelling and vigorous rowing we were able to land the small beast before we were swept downstream into some burly Class IVXVII rapids.
I guess that made the day better? I dunno I was to busy looking at stonefly nymphs that keep the trout happy.
Even thought he fishing was slow I’m sure we will be back. The lower stretch is know for it’s evening caddis hatches, and we’ll be down there one of these days trying to see what it’s all about and hopefully running into a few rising fish.
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.
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.
Well another Monday has come and gone. Monday is one of our “off” days where we get a chance to hit the water. It’s always tough to try to pick a spot that you hope wasn’t viciously attacked by other fellow weekend warriors. No sooner could we drop our wader boots in the dirt, and a game warden had pulled up with a sly look on his face. Tom ended up being a great guy, and we chatted with him for a bit. Travis tried to give him his 2010 fishing license the first go round. Apparently it’s 2012. Tom also mentioned that someone had been seen with a camera on a tripod and a harpoon on the river, and asked us if we knew anything about it. Well either someone is pretty rugged and enjoys trying to harpoon fish in March, or someone mistook a GoPro on the end of a ski pole for a harpoon. Were not sure which but we geared up and settled into the first hole. Second cast and a trout was airborne. This little brown quickly got netted, and we let him torpedo through the flats and back into his home.
After a few drifts and by the looks of the hole, I felt the need for some extra lead. After tossing on a little shot, I quickly had a dip in the bobber and a trout on my fly. After a less than exciting fight I had a long, skinny rainbow in the bag.
Another slew of casts and some stripped streamers left us empty handed and we were off and rolling to a new spot. A few weeks ago I had drove into a new fishing access and the road was very muddy and a wild ride. I was hoping it was in a similar condition and we could get a few shots of us muddin to our fishing spot. Unfortunately, the road had dried up considerable and only a few patches of mud remained. That little bit of mud was all we needed to get some use out of the GoPro.
We were hoping that by facing it backwards it would avoid some of the mud slangin, but after the first good hole it was more than covered.
We once again set out for the river. I was able to catch a few smaller fish and got a chance to witness an elusive early March riser. I tied on a small BWO and it was on. About ten casts in and I had my first top-water action of the year. Unfortunately my knot failed, and I still am in search of my first fish on a dry.
I think we were able to get some more shots for our short film we have been shooting this winter/spring, so hopefully those can get tossed into the mix when we finally get to editing. Were looking at close to 30-35 hours of footage that’s piled up on the hard drives so it’s gonna be a little while before we have much to show, but it’s most definitely going to be our best yet. Stay tuned and hopefully this can break up your mid-week rut.
Lately we have been busy filming a bunch for a short film, so today we finally decided to take a break. We called up local fishing legend Ian Orlando and headed out to the Rock.
We haven’t been on this creek since pre-runoff 2011, so most of the holes we used to love and cherish have disappeared. Today was a day to explore and hopefully find some good pockets of fish. While the water looked good, the fishing was slow. I was able to get a few to eat but the good ones spit the hook.
We headed upriver in search of some new water and found a hole that looked fishy. Ian and I decided to play a game of FISH, and we both did well under pressure. Multiple rainbows and white dogs were fooled in this single hole. We didn’t really have rules, other than you had to catch a fish in less casts than the person before hand.
We left the remaining fish in the hole to rest in peace. After hiking upriver a good mile, we found nothing but flat water. We jumped in the Dodge and took the icy roads south. Along the way we managed to plow through some impressive puddles, which the Dodge handled like a champ. Our next fishing access was semi-ice covered, but looked like a fun/dangerous challenge.
The trout were being picky, but one hungry white dog made his way onto the ice. Not much to complain about when your fishing in pure sunshine and 50 degree weather in March! The fishing can only get better.
A fly trip to fish and film the Missouri river…
Winter?… What Winter? It’s pretty much spring here in the Western part of the state, and spring means one thing, some mean fishing to break in the new year. The plan was to cruise over to the Missouri River and catch some more nice fish to start off the year. We got up at 4:30 AM to get the boat and headed off down the highway headed east. Temperatures dipped to -8 degrees along the drive, and we were wondering if we may have underestimated Old Man Winter. Fortunately, as we wound down through the windy highway to Wolf Creek the temperature quickly rose into the mid 20s. We swung into Craig and stopped by the Headhunters fly shop. The guys were super nice and we picked up a few nymphs. The fly selection definitely can be drastically different at times compared to the river’s surrounding Missoula. If your lost just ask anyone at the Headhunters and they’ll put you on the right track.
After getting our shuttle taken care of with Mark, we got back in the truck and headed to the put-in at the dam. We quickly got to the put-in only to realize Travis had left our boots in the truck bed. They had been wet and had frozen on the way over. A mandatory beer delay had to take place while we did some thawing. We soon were in our waders and gearing up to another trio of Missoulian anglers. By the time we put the boat in there were about 7 other boats that had showed up for a day of fishing. Some of these fellows seemed to have a little attitude. As Jeff put it, “These dudes are mean muggin us.” Let’s just say we got the vibe that either these guys didn’t like us being there or they really must hate fly fishing. I can only account for the other boaters that day, but we all were pumped up to be getting on the river. We even left a PBR for the shuttle driver (we left a note telling him not to drink and drive).
Finally we were drifting down the river and fishing. Travis was rocking a Sow bug and a Lightning bug rig with some splitshot about 8′ deep. It was windy and on the cold side, but things soon heated up as Travis hooked into a solid rainbow. After a few missed netting attempts, Jeff was finally able to slide the black rubber net under our first fish of the day.
The Missouri River is known for it’s large fish size and entertaining wind. This respectable rainbow is extremely common and very often outdone proving this is an exceptional trout fishery and one everyone should fish at least once.
After that things started to pick up. Travis had multiple hookups on some large Whitefish and one smaller Brown trout. Jeff was getting itchy at the oars and soon the guys switched spots and we got back to fishing.
Finally we were catching up to some boats that had left earlier in the day. They were anchored up fishing some nice bends in the river. We stopped for lunch and then quickly drifted through in search of our own little slice of river that would hold a good number of hungry fish.
I immediately spotted a nice pool where a small branch of the Mo came back and met the main channel. We beached the boat and Jeff started casting. The pool was slow with a nice drop off providing some holding water for what appeared should be a good number of fish. After only a couple casts Jeff had a strong rainbow on the end of his line. I’m sure he told himself to “let er run!” Jeff had his first nice fish of the day just as another group of floaters drifted by.
We proceeded on as the sun was beginning to drift lower and lower. We continued to get into fish and we were more than happy with the day considering it was only the 4th of February. Travis and I have never fished this river before and Jeff has only a handful of times. Reading a river that large is definitely a different mindset. I’m glad we were able to read enough good water and get the fly in the right spot. Oh and it always helps when the fish cooperates.
The fishing only got better as the further the sun started to set over the western skies. Again this warm weather had some good things going for the river. There was a strong midge hatch from about 1-530 PM and we saw numerous fish hitting top water. With the fish feeding we were able to land another few good rainbows to add to the day’s list.
The river was in full form as we found good trout and good views throughout the whole float. I felt like I was capturing some good video of the day and vibes were high. As we neared the end of our day, Travis once again layed into another fun fighting rainbow. If you start it with a bang then ya better end it with one to.
We found our way to the boat ramp in Craig and got the raft loaded for the long ride home. Another solid day on the river in the books and many more on the way. Travis is working on editing all the footage together from that day and we hope to have that up for you guys by Friday. If your around Missoula we hope to see you at the Fly Fishing Film Tour on Friday night.
March 27, 2011
Considering it was a Sunday and often you’ll see some people fishing on the Creek, we decided to head out a little earlier than usual. The drive out and the first hour of fishing we were in falling snow and temperatures in mid 30s.
The fish sure weren’t shy on this day. Travis started off with a string of 3 or 4 fish out of just the first hole and it was on.
I originally set a goal of 10 fish combined but we blew that out of the water. In the end we caught around 20-25 fish between the two of use with at least five or so kicking off before the net.
Check out our edit below of the day. Be sure to see my freak out at the end. Filming does put pressure on you to “bring em home” and I showed it haha.
With the Montana archery season spanning about 4 1/2 months, we hadn’t had a chance to think about fishing. This turned out to be a great thing because the time off made me appreciate the chance to get out an fish even more. The first day of the year February 19. This turned out to be about two months earlier than we had ever made it out on the river. With the weather hovering around freezing and the sun trying to poke through the clouds we headed out from the car.
We decided upon the Bitteroot River outside Florence. After a short walk and some time feeling out our fishing after a long break I hooked up on my first fish. That first fish made me feel like I was filming a modern day “A River Runs Through It.” He gave me a couple jumps at an attempt to shake the fly but I wasn’t having it.
Reading the water definitely changes from winter and summer and once I got this figured out I landed a few more fish. The fish I found were slow chest deep moving water and when they got on they were fighters.
Travis got to test out his brand new St. Croix Legend Ultra 8’6″ 5wt. rod and G. Loomis Venture 5 reel. Unfortunately he didn’t bring any to net today but I’m sure he’ll be making up for it soon.
Soon a snowy front had pushed over the Bitteroots and we decided not to fight iced guides and a snowstorm. Despite the cold, iced up guides, and slow fishing we had a blast and we look forward to some great spring fishing.