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Absence

Winter and what passes as spring can be painfully slow and cruel to the angler.  I had anxiously waited for the opportunity to ply some small freestone stream for a trout. The catch?  Would there be any clear water to fish?  Most of our nearby rivers had already blown.  The small creeks likely not far behind.

A short drive would put me in touch with an old friend, a little stream that I'd neglected for so many years.  I stood in this same spot, some thirty plus years ago.  It was the same Saturday in May. The traditional opening day for fishing our small Montana streams.

Up early, I arrived at the stream and found it quite fishable, a pleasant surprise.  Near heaven, it was the most perfect of mornings.  I've said it before.  Give me a fifty degree day, overcast and light mist.  What could be better?

The first pool produced a fish on the first cast.  The next three casts resulted in solid hookups with streamside vegetation.  One tree and two bushes.  Not bad, four casts and …
Recent posts

Another Day, Another Spring Creek....

With the valley rivers blown, and several days off, I needed an alternative if I wanted to fish.  I'd originally planned to fish the Missouri, but it doesn't offer much to the wading angler when it's flowing near 9000 c.f.s.  Given my soft spot for spring creeks, I booked a day on Nelson's Spring Creek.  It was a first for me, as I've spent my spring creek fishing career across the Yellowstone at Depuy's.








Nelson's is regarded as being the most difficult of the Paradise Valley spring creeks. Now tell me, who doesn't appreciate a little challenge?  Surely I could manage a fish or two.  Well the first piece of water that I looked into contained hundreds, maybe thousands of trout.  Did I mention that they also raise fish commercially for local restaurants?  Oh well, these fish weren't nearly as standoffish as their  spring creek brethren.





I spent the morning exploring while waiting for some sort of a hatch to come off. There were plenty of fish.  The c…

Kirk Hill

I refer here to the natural area, not the guy.  
Us fisherman need to stay in shape, sniff a few posies too.  Fact is, with high water, our mid-May fishing options are limited. We still need to get out of the house, get a little air and stretch the old legs. 
Kirk Hill is a short low elevation hike near Bozeman.  It's a popular nature and wildflower hike.  Trail runners like it too.  I got reacquainted with this trail yesterday.











With the cool wet spring that we've had, we're relatively early into green-up.  But, there's still lots of early season flowers for us naturalist types.  Here then are the common ones, along with a few sights from along the trail.....






























Bear Trap

It was warm.  Heat radiated off of the canyon walls.  The temperature on my car gauge stretched into the low 80's.
Geez, what's this?
Sweat.
I've avoided Bear Trap Canyon, outside of winter, for decades.  It can be hot.  Dry. Theres snakes.  The last summer hike that I took, I saw seven rattlers, on the trail.   That's plenty for one day, don't you think?
Then there's ticks, poison ivy too.
It's really not that bad.  One does need to watch where one places important appendages though.



Ah, poison ivy.  It's incorrectly been called poison oak.  What we have here is western poison ivy.  It  grows as an upright vine and can be found along the banks of the Madison.  While fishing, I've also seen it along the Missouri and Clark Fork Rivers in Montana, the Selway, Lochsa and Clearwater in Idaho, and the Grande Ronde in Washington.  I still have flashbacks to childhood summers spent broken out and itchy from rashes.  The rash on unmentionable body parts i…

About Time....

It took forty years, and then some.  I'd read about it.  Thought about it.  Driven by it.  Shot elk in the nearby mountains.  Regarded the flotillas of angler laden drift boats.  But fished it? 
Nope.
Until today.
I planned to hike up Beartrap Canyon on the lower Madison, but didn't stop. I kept on driving, all the way to Three Dollar Bridge. 
The upper Madison is, as they say, one big riffle.
And it contains fish. 
After all of the years, they missed me.
Thank you.

More On Fishing Midges...

I started one recent day by waiting out the wind.  The forecast said it would blow.  I hoped that it would stop.  I whiled away the morning by reading.  I had no choice. Lunch would have to wait because I'd bought along a portable barbecue.  And, wieners don't barbecue very well in a gale.





Well, sometime after two the water surface calmed and fish started rising.  
I got a couple right off, then couldn't get a sniff.  I thought that I'd found and tied the perfect fly.  Dummy me.  The fish deemed otherwise.  They kept rising, and ignored my presentations.  I dubbed these the "untouchables".  I kept trying, then moved a short distance and picked off a few more.





But, I couldn't resist one more shot at the "untouchables".  Still fickle, they had no qualms about resisting my offerings.  So, I moved on and played with some of their more willing brethren.   And oh yes, I got to barbecue.





Another day started and stayed windless.  Fish rose steadily thr…

Just Lift

The fishing reflexes are either dulled or inappropriately heightened after a winter of accumulated rust.    The excitement of a surface take often prompts a "halibut hook set", something that is not conducive to a fruitful relationship with a fish.  A little practice is all it takes.  Soon we remember to "just lift".





We fished yesterday.  It was a once yearly gathering on the spring creek.  The enthusiasm is still there.  Although I have noticed that bending over to net fish isn't as easy as it used to be.  I can hear a distinct creak as the knees strain and fail to bend.  No wonder we have back problems.





Larry and Kirk drove down from Helena and, we met for breakfast at the Western Cafe in Bozeman.  Great atmosphere and food too.  A few enormous trout that had been snaked out of local fishing holes in "days of yore" grace the walls and add to the fishing ambience.  Properly fortified with breakfast, we made the drive "over the pass".
We ar…