Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sometimes You Just Have To Go Fishing

It's been a long week.  A lot of chores that need to be done.  Homework.  Family stuff.  Job.  Lack of sleep.  Stress.  Car broke down.  Do you know the feeling?  We all do.  Best solution? 

Go fishing of course.

Nice Cheeks
Now I'm not implying that the problems will be better when you get home, in fact, going fishing usually makes things worse.  You end up with less time to get your work done, the house is still a mess when you get home, the laundry is in a pile on the floor, the dishes are stacked up on the counter, and you are still broke or even more so.  

But when I find myself out of synch, Lord give me my fly rod and a river.  When I'm on the water all the less important stuff falls away and only what really matters remains.  At the end of a few hours on the water I feel like I can focus, come back to reality, think straight.     

Evening on the 'Root, aka Therapy Session
The best therapists that I know happen to be my 4 weight and a trout stream.  What I get while fly fishing is something that I rarely get doing anything else, clarity.  The river can be a great teacher, if you take the time to listen.  One thing that I get reminded of every time I'm knee deep in the water is that life is better lived at the speed of a trout stream.

Particularly that of a river like my home water, the Bitterroot.  This stream for the most part is easy going, meandering through the valley, in no hurry to leave, to get somewhere else.  It seems to be happy where it is, takes it's time getting to the next bend, hole, or riffle, and never takes the straight and easy route.  Sure, it has it's share of log-jams , a few blemishes (rip-rap banks), and some dead water.  But what person doesn't have a few of those things?

Like life, a river just keeps rolling along.  It's been flowing long before I was here, and it will keep on flowing long after I am gone.        

Big Spots
 So whenever the junk in life piles up, my fly rod will be at the ready.  Sometimes you can't always solve the problems in life right away.

Sometimes you just have to go fishing.

No Day Like Today

Do You Like Water?

Did you know that there are over 4,000 miles of dewatered rivers and streams in Montana alone?  I didn't, that is, until I watched this film.  Great information about Montana's convoluted and outdated/completely backwards confusing water laws.

If you care about stream flows in the West, this film is worth a look.

    "With streams and rivers drying up because of over-usage, Rob Harmon has implemented an ingenious market mechanism to bring back the water. Farmers and beer companies find their fates intertwined in the intriguing century-old tale of Prickly Pear Creek."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Breathe - New Film by RC Cone on F3T Theater

I was just in the middle of watching for free, the full length film entitled Breath from filmaker RC Cone.  I had to stop and write a post because two minutes into the film, I see my buddy Denny Mac on screen discussing fishing and hooking into a nice rainbow.  This is a great sequence, and I can honestly tell you there are few folks in this world more sincere and genuine than Denny.

OK, now I'm going to watch the rest of the film................

I'm back.  Great stuff. Loved the story, the locales, cinematography, the message, everything.  The story is a nice reminder of why we fish, it's about getting away from all the junk in life, but it's more than that to.  The title couldn't be more fitting, when you go fishing you can breathe, let go of whatever gets you down and find some truth.  If you fly fish, you know what I mean.  Best of all, from November 16-24 the next week you can watch it for free at the Fly Fishing Film Tour Website (F3T).  Check out the trailer below

Breathe. from RC Cone on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

America's Greatest Night of Fly Tying - Two Minute Fox Squirrel Nymph

Good tying session this Wednesday.  I got to think of a shorter title however.  How about AMGNFT for short?  Does that work?  Or maybe just Fly Tying Night... 

Nymphs seemed to be the theme of the evening, 'tis the season I suppose.

Pat's Rubberlegs Nymph
You can never have to many rubberlegs your the box.

 I ended up making up a bunch of Dave Whitlock's famous fox squirrel nymphs.  This simple pattern is DEADLY almost anytime of the year and even produces well on technical tailwaters.  I had one of my best days ever on the Missouri this summer throwing this bug in a size 14.  Who says fish will only eat the latest greatest microscopic nymphs?  Never underestimate the effectiveness of the old school patterns.  This fly is straight up buggy, see it in the water are you will understand what I am talking about.  Oh, and with some practice you can tie one in two minutes. 
Fox Squirrel Nymph
Trout Candy

- Hook:  Any nymph hook you prefer, I like standard length hooks.  You can tie these guys in really any size, but I tend to fish them most in sizes 14-18.
- Bead (optional): Brass or tungsten, sized to fit the hook.
- Tail: Fox Squirrel tail guard hairs.  Fox Squirrel tails are cheap and most fly tying outlets carry them.
- Abdomen: Feather-Craft Custom Dubbing Blend for the Red Fox Squirrel Nymph.  This is much easier than blending by hand!  Get the mix at Feather-Craft.
- Rib: Small gold tinsel or small gold wire, doesn't really matter what you use.
- Thorax: Fox Squirrel tail under-hair and guard hair.    

Fox Squirrel Materials
What you will need.  Just add hook and bead.
 Poorly Written Instructions

 1. Put on your bead and wrap the hook with thread.
2. Cut off a small clump of hair from a Fox Squirrel tail and pick out the under-hair.  Do this by holding the long guard hairs in one hand and pulling on the underfur with the other.
3. Tye on the tail, keep it short and sparse.
4. Tie on your ribbing material
5. Dub the abdomen with the dubbing blend.  The skinnier the better, most nymphs are skinny, trust me on this one.
6. Rib the abdomen.  A couple of wraps will do the trick.  Tie off and cut the ribbing.
7. Take a small clumb of tail fur, guard hairs and all, and dub a small shaggy thorax.  I usually don't worry about making a dubbing loop, it works just fine when you dub it normally, just don't twist your dubbing too tight.  Brush back the guard hairs as you dub the thorax and it will be nice and shaggy like you want it.
8. Whip finish.
9. Tie some more.

You want this fly to be skinny, but also really shaggy "buggy."  To accomplish this, use your dubbing sparingly, but don't twist it super tight before you wrap it.  Have fun, this pattern catches LOTS of fish.
Fox Squirrel Nymph
Finished Product

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fly Giveaway Contest

Hey faithful Bum Trout readers.  There's a contest on over at the Bum Trout Facebook page, and while you are there, feel free to give us a "Like."  Thanks for the support in our first 6 months.  Looking forward to a bunch more.  Bum Trout Facebook Page.

Oh and by the way, it's starting to get cold here in Montana.  As I write this, it's 25 degrees outside.  With the change in the seasons, expect some fly-tying tutorials to be coming soon.  I'm going to be trying to figure out the whole video thing, hopefully sometime before 2013.  After all, isn't the world supposed to end soon?

I digress.  America's Greatest Night of Fly-Tying kicked off it's 2012-13 season down at the Bitterroot Brewery in Hamilton last Wednesday.  If you happen to live in the Bitterroot, come join us every Wednesday night from 5:00-7:30pm.

As far as the blog goes. Expect weekly fly-tying pics, a few gear reviews, and some fishing action when it gets above freezing.

Bitterroot Brewery Fly Tying
Suds and Bugs


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Does it Ever End?

Unfortunately it doesn't seem so.  Big money and out-of-state interests are still trying their best to ruin Montana.   The following is taken from a November 2, article in the Missoulian.

BUTTE – Conservative property rights groups and conservation organizations have become involved in the bitter, eight-year legal fight over access to Montana streams from bridges.

Two conservative groups – the United Property Owners of Montana and the Political Economy Research Center – have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case between a sportsmen’s group and Madison County. In addition, Montana Trout Unlimited has entered the fray on the other side to support the Public Lands Access Association in the case.

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2004, was against the county over access to the Ruby River, near Sheridan, from a bridge on the property of James Cox Kennedy, a billionaire media heir. The case prompted the passage of a law by the Legislature that guaranteed bridge access from established county roads, but this year a Madison County district judge ruled that access for recreational use is not guaranteed on roads established by a historic use through a prescriptive easement.

Bruce Farling, Montana Trout Unlimited executive director, said the case has become the latest in a series of attempts to overturn the state’s stream access law. That law guarantees anglers and recreationists the right to access public waters by staying within the ordinary high water mark of rivers and streams.

“They want to wreck the stream access law to keep people off of three bridges,” he said. “It could have some pretty big implications around the state.”

Follow the link to read more.  More groups join stream access suit.

Western Montana Fly Fishing
You Gotta Fight.  For Your Right.  To Wade.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Bum Gear Review - Airflo PolyLeader

All Bum Trout gear reviews are unbiased, honest, and nobody pays me to say anything.  I wish somebody would though....  

I'm usually not into doing gear reviews.  I'm not a big gear junky, my waders leak, I buy most of my fly lines from the fly shop bargain bins, etc... But every once in a while I find a product that I really like.  Enter the Airflo PolyLeaders. 

Now I have a bunch of sink tips of varying lengths and sizes, and one 300 grain full sinking line.  Now I love the full sinker for fishing from a boat on a big river like say the Missouri, Yellowstone, or Madison, but for wade fishing it's just too cumbersome.  Since the line likes to sink, I end up spending as much time untangling it from around my feet and rocks as I do actually fishing.  That's why you have sink tips right?  Correct, but one problem I have with un-tapered sink tips is how clunky they are to cast.  This is where the PolyLeader enters the game.

Airflo PolyLead Review
Guaranteed to Please
In my opinion Airflo really scored a home run with their sinking PolyLeaders.  They come in 5' and 10' lengths, and are available in a bunch of sink rates.  I have been using the 5' Super Fast Sinking PolyLeader lately for all of my wade fishing and can honestly tell you I love it.  The tapered design (just like your regular dry fly leaders), casts like a charm, and sinks fast enough to get the fly down and keep it there. 

Airflo PolyLead Review
Pick Your Flavor
I find the sink rate to be just right for wade fishing, you aren't hanging up in the rocks on every cast, and the 5' length still allows you to throw a mend in the line if needed.  With a simple blood or surgeons knot, attach 12-18 inches of 2x flourocarbon tippet and you are ready to go.

For $8.99 you can buy a couple of them.  Oh, and one will last you all season.  Not bad.  Find out more on the Rajeff Sports website: http://www.rajeffsports.com/polyleaders.php

Cheech's Leech
A Perfect Pair.  Courtesy of Western Flies and Guides Fly Shop.