Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why I love Cutthroats

Around here if you want to catch a trout you have a few options.  Not just water, but species to.  Browns, rainbows, brookies, and the natives, cutthroats and bulls.  I love each one for different reasons, but this time of year I really love cutthroats, why?

1.  Cutties love the dry fly.
2.  Cutties love the dry fly.

Royal Trude meets Westslope Cutthroat.

3.  Cutties also love the streamer.

Bugger meets Westslope Cutthroat.

4.  They are beautiful fish, that live in beautiful places

Cutts don't live in ugly places.
5.  There's nothing like catching native fish in their native water.

Not all small stream fish are small.
Do you love Cutthroats?  

About to send one back home.

Adios until next time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Signs of Fall - Hecubas

It's that time again.  It hit me today.  The sun had that look to it, the wind had a little bite tonight.  The forecast calls for lows into the 30's.  Fall, it's on it's way.

The beginning of the sweet season is almost here.  What triggers that thought is different for everyone.  Is it the shorter days, the need for a jacket in the morning, elk bugling, birds headed south, Hunting season, the start of school, football season?

For the angler, the fall fishing shift begins subtly.  Water temps start to drop, the streamer bite begins heating up, and are fall bugs begin to appear.

One of the first of the "Fall" bugs at least in my mind is the Hecuba.  A relative of the venerable Green Drake, Hecubas begin to show themselves just as we start the slow shift into fall fishing mode.  These big mayflies, though rarely numerous, never the less make an impression on the trout, and for me signal the time to start stocking the boxes for the fall mahogany, baetis, and october caddis hatches, as well as load up on the streamers...

It's almost here, I'm ready.  Come on fall.

Hecuba Dun (i think).

Sunday, August 19, 2012

From the Sky - Tenkara

Tenkara, have you tried it?

Tenkara (Which translates "from heaven" or "from the skies") is the traditional Japanese method of fly fishing which incorporates a long flexible rod with a fixed line on the end, and no reel.  The first time I heard of Tenkara was when I first met Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon flies.  Craig told me about this amazing new way of fishing, at first I was skeptical but I ordered a rod anyway.

My first rod was a 12ft. Iwana from Tenkara USA.  Yes you heard it right, it's 12ft. long.  By the way if you are at all interested in Tenkara, please check out Tenkara USA they have all of the information and gear you will ever need. 

The Tenkara method is hundreds of years old which has given it time to prove it's effectiveness.  When I unpacked my rod I didn't know what I was getting into, as soon as I fished it, I knew.  The long rod (and keeping the tip high), allows you to fish pocket water like you never thought possible.  There's no more mending, dragging flies, tricky drifts.  Nothing is off limits, you can hit ever pocket, every seam.  Sound like fun?

 If you enjoy fishing small water, give Tenkara a try, I can guarantee you will be glad you did.  Enjoy the pics from a few recent Tenkara outings on one of my favorites waters.  

Who Needs a Reel?

Beautiful Native
A Favorite Water.  A Favorite Way to Fish.
Insert Shameless Plug:  Tenkara USA's rods are awesome!
After just one time out on my favorite creek fishing Tenkara, my 3 weight western rod has been collecting a lot of dust.  You'd think a long rod would make fishing tight water more difficult, that's what I thought.  Truth be told it's exactly the opposite once you get used to the length of the rod.         

Westslope Perfection

Chuck's Trude in Action
The End

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Carp and Browns

Carp and Browns, no it's not a new breakfast item at McDonald's, although I might be on to something here.  Carp and Brown Trout were the subject of a recent day of fishing in Central Montana.  I must say the fishing was fantastic and if you guessed the number of anglers I saw in a 14 hour day of fishing to be zero, well then you would be correct. 

To start things off right, a day of prairie fly fishing begins with some morning carp action down on the lower Missouri, and by lower I mean lower.  On this morning, several 10-15lb. carp were found tailing in one of my favorite side channels, and I was fortunate to convince one to eat my black bugger.  I started actively pursuing carp several years ago and I gotta say, they are a blast to fish for.  It's the combination of super technical sight fishing, the real possibility of hooking a fish over 20 lbs., and the sheer brute force and power these fish display once hooked that have me coming back for more again, and again.  If you want to have an idea of what a carp pulls like, hook your 8 weight to the back of a diesel truck, it's about like that.

The Bum's Bonefish

 What I love about fishing the lower Mo is that you never know what you might conjure up from the depths in a days fishing.  Carp, bass, walleye, trout, catfish, the list goes on.  I once saw a 10 year old kid hauling a 30 plus inch pike down Front street in Fort Benton.  Below are two wierd interesting species.

Goldeye a Montana Native

A Freshwater Drum I Believe

The afternoon shifted to a little known and very spring creekish stream out in the middle of a hay field.  A few friends keyed me into this creek and the amazing hopper action that occurs every August.  

It did not disappoint.  Several hours and many shredded hoppers later, I had landed several browns over 16 inches and a few pushing 20.  Not bad from a creek no wider than a kitchen table, I'll take it. 

Great Hopper Habitat, I Think Yes! 

One of Many

Not bad Central Montana, not bad at all. 
 I'm back in the west now.  Remember folks there's lots of fish to be had east of the mountains for those willing to look.  Anyone up for a road trip?

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Big Sky

Wow, it's been awhile since my last post and even longer since I've last been fishing.  Such is what happens during harvest season.  After 2 weeks of straight work I have a little break so expect some fishy related postings soon. 

Until then...

I never got what they meant by "Big Sky State" until I took a trip over to Central Montana.  After the first sunset it hit me, oh yeah, that's what they mean.  In the Western part of the state sure we have mountains, but it is nice to get a break from them once in a while and head east to the prairie.  Here you won't find many tourist traps, luxury resorts, or crazy folks in a hurry to get to a National Park.  No, here all you will find are family farms and truly good people, Salt of the Earth type folks. 

The prairie has it's own beauty albeit a different sort of beauty than the peaks of the Rockies.  Every August I make my annual pilgrimage over here to get refreshed and renewed, and do a little fishing, crowds not included.

Only "Big Sky" pics today.  Enjoy.