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.
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.
High of 44degrees, variable winds, possible showers, time to dust off the fly gear! Zack and myself met up with our friend Jeff for an afternoon of winter fishing. Jeff had just two days ago pulled in a 20+in brown trout, so we had high hopes.
Jeff and Zack settled into two nice looking holes in the river. After about ten casts I saw a large brown trout come out of the water! Fish on! Zack had his first fish of 2012, and it put up one of the most amazing fights I’ve had the pleasure to witness. That brownie looked more like a dolphin coming out of the water than it did a trout! I managed to net the beast, but not before it snapped the tip of Zack’s fly rod.
With one fly rod down, Zack picked up the camera, while Jeff and myself searched for more fatties. Jeff hooked into a couple…… or should I say handful of fish, but couldn’t bring one to the net. I wasn’t having much luck, other than I was able to untangle more than one of my rats nests that I acquired. That’s a small success right?
I was determined to catch a fish. We hit hole after hole with not much success.
We got to a hole with an overhanging log, and after a couple attempts, I managed a perfect drift under the log. My indicator disappeared. I finally reeled in my first fish of the 2012 year! It was a 12in brown, but fought like every first fish of the year should (catching air, diving under logs, etc.). I passed the fly rod on to Zack, figuring he had the lucky touch that day. The next hole Zack fished he hooked into a MONSTER trout! The fish was on and off in a couple short tugs, but I got a glimpse of that trout for a split second, and let me tell you, it was a BEAST!
Zack pulled in a minnow rainbow a couple moments later and passed the St. Croix back to its master (me). I hooked up with my last fish of the day in a deep whirlpool. It turned out to be the first rainbow of the day.
Jeff was in overtime and had only a couple more holes to hook up with a fish for the day. As Zack and I were walking upstream Jeff starts whistlin and yellin. I ran downstream, crested some tall grass and saw that Jeff had an amazing rainbow in his net. Jeff had earned it, after hooking into so many fish earlier in the day.
What a great way to end a winter day in January. Today seemed alot more like spring fishing than it did winter fishing. With warm temperatures in the forecast, be looking for more fly fishing action from the Montana Wild Crew. Zack and I have been working around the clock on our 4 hunting episodes and giving a ‘facelift’ to Montana Wild. Expect BIG things in the near future.
Alright here is an edit that I did for my final project in one of my editing classes. All the pictures were taken from a GoPro HD. The video depicts our lifestyle here in Montana. Enjoy.
This was our first time testing these foreign waters. Rainbows seem to be the popular species of this creek and I don’t think we ever caught one under 16″. We walked many miles exploring Wild Horse Creek. Along the way we made friends with a deer who lead us to the most deep and hidden holes on the river. We managed to fish numerous bridge pools, and they turned out to produce big fish.
During the few days we spent here this spring we never saw another fisherman and only once was there another car parked at an access site.
Wading fast and deep waters is one of the biggest challenges of the man in charge of the camera.
Wild Horse Creek is a chain of numerous bends and large but sparse fish. Our biggest fish so far this year came out of this creek. Nymphs were the rig for success. We found that rubber legged stone flies and san jaun or copper johns all proved to catch fish. The land in this area consists mostly of farmlands and buck brush. Trying to avoid prickers was impossible, for the lined both sides of the river. Hopefully more management of agricultural use of the river can take place to ensure more consistent habitat for fish. Look for future Wild Horse Creek edits in the following months.
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.