Life in Forks this season is great. We are seeing better than average numbers of fish to the fly each day, and getting on some different water than in years past. With the lower flows of the last couple weeks, we have been spending time all over the Hoh River, especially on the lower end down towards tide water. Let me tell you there is nothing that compares to a steelhead fresh from the salt water. These fish are snappy and very angry when hooked. Along with the Hoh, we have spent a few days on the Queets in the last week - which is a great river to escape the crowds on. Being the first year we are permitted by the ONP on the Queets - we will be back down south as soon as the flows drop into shape!
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 inches of rain fell on our heads as we slept last night, making for a nasty rise in all of our river flows. Luckily, I had a scheduled office day today to take care of some administration, napping, and gear work!
Want to hear it straight up from Rooster?? New for the Stonefly in the upcoming months will be streamside fishing reports from Washington, Alaska, and of course Montana. Hope you enjoy them - have a look at version one below!
As soon as the rivers start to drop in - we will be seeing a few more of these rascals - you can count on it!
Thanks for reading - see you next time.
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Have you ever noticed that regardless of the sport -you always want one more? One more cast, one more fish, one more flight of ducks, one more flush on a rooster pheasant - and now, one more good day on the Olympic Penninsula. We just had a good couple days of rain, the rivers bumped up (but remained fishable), and we should be looking at a great finish this week.
Maybe great enough to get one more good day in…..
I have 2 Rio Steelhead tapers that I will make you a great deal on. They are missing about 40 feet of the front end.
The other parts of the lines are on the bottom of the Sol Duc River. I watched 2 steelhead in the last 2 days demonstrate just how tough they can be. In and out of the backing in some bad water, and around a rock both times. The real sad part is both of these fish were pushing the 20# mark.
The rocks on the Duc are jagged and rather errantly placed - and both times the fish managed to cut the main body of the fly line and avoid having his photo taken.
Some guys are complaining of a poor return of fish this season, but we are seeing great opportunities. In my boat alone we hooked over 20 fish in the last 2 days.
Long days - on the water at first light and often times using headlamps to find the get-outs, but it has been paying off.
That is what the calendar at the Chinese Restaurant tells us. I guess we will have to wait and see if they know what they are talking about.
I have been on a couple really great waterfowl hunts lately - and had a good friend and great photographer come along. Brian Grossenbacher out of Bozeman got some great shots of a colder than normal goose hunt, and another mixed bag hunt on a spring creek that provided some of the best action I have seen in a while.
Check out his photos of these hunts, and more at www.grossenbacherphoto.com
Only a few days left until the show season starts, with Marlboro,MA next weekend, and Atlanta, GA the following one - there is sure plenty to do around here to get ready to leave. Its always a sad day when you leave Montana, but it is a great place to return to that is for sure.
Let me know if you like the photo’s from Brians site - he likes the feedback!
It wont be too long now and we will be chasing steelhead again!
they say pictures are worth a thousand words….. I believe whoever said that first was right!!
I am in the final stages of getting the new blog online, it should be finished today. Change your bookmarks to the new address please!
Rods are packed. Flies are tied. I have a couple pairs of shorts, an extra pair of glasses and a couple spools of ox Rio Flourocarbon. No checked baggage here.
Its fixin to snow here like it means it, and the mercury is dropping like a rock. All this snow is going to make for one great summer, but I’ll be honest - it’s time to get out of here for a while.
Its time to make a withdrawal from the bank of bad habits and go on a flats trip.
I thought it worth mentioning that we once again have a grocery store and liqour store in Twin Bridges! After 2 years without both, it is a welcome change. Sure, you can drive to Butte or Bozeman and save a few bucks, but why would you when you can walk down the street???
It will sure be nice this summer for the Beer Runs!
June is here, and it is a bit diferent around here than most Junes’ have been lately. A rancher told me the other day he has never seen it this green and wet in June. We have been fortunate with the river flows, and have been hovering on good to great conditions on the Beaverhead and Big Hole for the last week. My guess is the big stonefly hatch will be a bit later this season than we are used to - as everything including the caddis, the elk dropping calves and the run off are running about 2 weeks behind schedule.
No question a big shot of hot weather will swell our streams to unfishable levels - but our weather forecast is favorable and we should be on the water each day.
Start tying your hopppers now for August!
There is no doubt about it, fall is here. I spent last evening up on a ridge above Twin Bridges listening to a bull elk bugling (and not coming to my calls), in fact I could see the Madison, Jefferson and Ruby Rivers from my vantage point. What a great hunt.
So this morning we decided it was staff appreciation day, and we brought Eric the Chef, Ke’lah the general saint and office manager, and Sue our housekeeper down to the Spring Creek to try their luck on the smarter than average big browns that live in there.
Well, it didn’t take Eric long to land his biggest brown ever (first cast)…
Ke’lah got in on the action after missing a few opportunities as well….
As for Sue, well the big one got away!
Here is to a great fall for everyone, whether it is chasing big browns, big elk, or whitetails in the river bottoms - its a great time to be in Montana!
Thanks for reading -
Things are changing around here pretty fast. The high water days of spring are behind us now. As of the last few days, we are in-between hatches and right on the edge of the terrestrial bite turning on. There are a few fish around willing to cooperate, certain banks on certain days on certain rivers…. you get the drift. It’s also been pretty interesting ono teh Spring Creek these days. The fish in that clear water are SUPER spooky, but can be tricked on occasion, today NOT being one of those days. With 10 hookups and zero to hand by 2 oclock, we decided it was time to find some shade and enjoy a cold one. A good choice, by any standard.
Here is a guides eye view of some pretty tough fish…
More to come as hopper season winds up!
Until then ….. let ‘em eat it!
Lets face it - we do a tremendous amount of nymph fishing out west. I am always looking for a better way, and stumbled across these new indicators during steelhead season. So far so good, they are easy to rig, ride nice and high, and allow that important 90 degree line angle to your flies. Check them out at their website, www.floatmasterco.net or give us a call if you would like to give some a try.
A few times a summer guests ask me how long I have been in this business. My answer usually varies from 15 to 20 years (counting Alaska, Washington, Panama and Montana) - but I just found out I have been mistaken.
If you check out this photo, from circa 1980 in Winchendon, MA - you will see that I actually have been in the outfitting business for quite some time. Maybe it was the whiskey, but apparently I had forgotten about my first venture in the outfitting business - selling nightcrawlers. Thanks for the photo sister Sue.
Most of our guests this summer got to know our latest addition - Willy the chocolate lab. I am pleased to annouce that he is well on his way to becoming more than a potlicking couch potato. He went on his first waterfowl hunt last weekend, and passed with flying colors, retrieving a big old goose for his first retrieve. He sat still in the blind, and for the most part payed pretty close attention.
As for the fall fishing - there have been a few big fish to hand lately - one of the nicer ones that I have netted came from the Big Hole River last week with Kent and Joel. After this cold snap I expect to see a few more of these!
What a great time of year. Pheasant hunting this afternoon with my dogs, Brown trout on the Big Hole in the morning, and checking tree stands for the Whitetail season - there is NO shortage of things to do around here. However - no, I haven’t “got my elk yet". (one of the more common greetings heard on the main street of Twin Bridges in the fall…..)
Thanks for reading. Watch for our new video on the home page in the next couple days.
If you have never done it, it may be hard to comprehend. Fishing somewhere that is SO much fun, you cannot imagine that you have to eventually put the tackle away and get on that plane and head back to reality. I wish someone could figure out a decompression chamber for traveling anglers. The Margaritaville bar in the Cancun airport was close, but it almost made the trip home worse. A vacation to recover from your vacation. Thats what we all need.
I always say that getting anywhere that has great fishing involves often times 4 or more modes of transportation. Thsi trip was no different - trucks, planes, hotels, taxicabs, more planes, more taxis, buses and boats. But boy was it worth it.
We visited Pesca Maya fishing lodge in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. www.pescamaya.com The food, the service and the guides were all top shelf. I could expect nothing more from a fishig vacation than what I just experienced. We fished the massive lagoon system on the west side of a narrow strip of land, south of Tolum, where Boca Paila is located, and on the southernmost tip is a small village named Punta Allen. Two days were able to cross the mouth of Ascension Bay and fish the vast system of flats and lagoons along the south shore. The waters and numbers of fish were mind boggling. We caught dozens of bonefish and snook, had over 12 tarpon hooked up, and I had mulitple shots at permit - landing one on the last day of our trip.
No wonder everyone makes such a fuss about Permit. That is one of the greatest fish I have ever put a fly into.
To check out more of my photos from the tropics, and some great action shots check out my photogallery here
One week left to get packed and migrate to the Washington coast, its going to be busy around here!
Back in my charter boat days I used to follow Tred Barta and his fishing styles pretty closely. A fairly argumentative character, known for “The Barta Way", he still remains an icon in both the saltwater and bowhunting worlds. Recently, Tred suffered a terrible tragedy known as a spinal stroke. More on his accident and condition HERE. Paralysis is reality for this condition, and a once unstopable outdoorsman may very well see his next elk or the Jersey Canyons from a wheelchair.
He has always said “Dont take ANYTHING for granted". I think we should all apply that to our lives more. Whether it is teaching your children to fish, training that new puppy, or walking up the river one more hole - we all have room for improvements - me especially.
The only thing lacking after a week at Playa Blanca is a “decompression chamber". 6 days on the flats - a grand slam, multiple shots at permit each day - and way too much tequila made for one heck of a vacation.
I will get photos up tommorrow. Right now its time to go say goodnight to a 3 year old that really missed her daddy this week!
Once again I cant believe we went to Mexico for only one week. Its just not enough time to really get into the swing of things….
The week started out with everyone having multiple shots at Permit - some hooked up, some broke off, some refusals, some landed! What a great start. Everyone found a few bones, some snook and baby tarpon early in the week. Personally I thought I was coming out of the gate strong with a nice permit at noon on the first day. Well - it didnt take long and I was cussing my cast and the fish for not cooperating with me the rest of the week!
As the week pregressed, the weather had us pinned down a couple days, with wind and cloud cover making the fish a bit tough to spot. We nickel and dimed them though and everyone would meet for drinks that evening with sometimes hysterical reports of blown attempts, broken off fish, and of course a few landed fish. For the right fish - you get to uphold the tradition of your first permit and eat the tequila soaked scorpion - wich everyone got to try at least once!
As the weather mellowed and the wind shifted to the south, things picked up considerably, with a couple grand slams being a couple of the highlights. Great job Tyler!
As with any world class fishery, words cant describe it, and photos seldomly get the point across…. here are copule of the highlights.
Like I siad earlier, you just seem to get that hookset down about noon on the last day.
Luckily for Dayna, that was when it really mattered!
What a great trip, with great friends - both new and old. Next season we have the lodge booked for 4 weeks, and its not to early to throw your name in the hat for the last two weeks of February!
Thanks for reading - stay tuned for some photos from the Washington coast and some chrome steelhead.
Someone had pointed out lately that there are “other” fish around here than huge brown trout. How about a big old bow to cover that category?
Ian Davis and Dave paying a little respect to the ‘bows of Southwest Montana.
As we are hovering around the hump day of our season, it’s interesting to watch the styles and flies of the day change. The days of tying on a stonefly nymph and a random beadhead are behind us for a little while. The fish are getting a bit more selective as the water drops. The terrestrial game is in its infant stages, with some zones of the river producing some pretty remarkable hopper and beetle action in the afternoons. It wont be long and we will be feeding the fish foam on a more regular basis.
In the mean time, you are starting to get your moneys worth out of your guide - tapping into the knowledge of the bugs (or lack of them at times), and the holding water the fish will be in.
Its a great time to be a guide in Montana - especially with the water flows and the recent cloudy weather.
As of today its a few days in the office for Rooster - time to let the sunburnt ears turn a different color.
After a week of southern hospitality, and the gratuitous head cold from air travel in the winter it feels great to be back in Montana. It was great seeing all of the folks that stopped by our booth at the show and I look forward to getting some of you on the water this summer.
The weather in MT is a brisk -7F which means the heaters in the shop will be working overtime this week as I start tying steelhead bugs for the coastal season which starts in a couple weeks!
55 degrees and steelheading like the old days. Thanks for a great day on the water Bill and Brad - the switch rod masters.
The next two weeks are going to be good fishing in these parts!
Yessir. I did. Not a huge bull. No big photo safari. I didnt call one in and shoot him with a bow either (my preferred situation). However we did have a great spot&stalk hunt in which an old friend of mine and I each put a big old cow elk in the freezer. That pretty much does it for big game season for me. As far as table fare is concerned, it just doesn’t get too much better. Now its time to get these couch potato labradors out in the wheat country of Montana to chase some roosters. I cant wait.
In other news - It looks like R.A. Beattie and Simms have some good footage from their stay at The Stonefly this August up on the Simms website - check it out here Simms Montana Part 1.
Whats next? Log books, Fly tyin’, Trade Shows, Mexico and Steelhead season. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Thanks for reading.