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Showing posts from July, 2014

Crazy Mountain Interlude

Yesterday was hike day.  The destination:  Cottonwood Lake in the Crazy Mountains.  The "Crazies"  are an isolated "island" mountain range in south central Montana.  A few widely dispersed dusty dirt roads provide access to the a limited number of trailheads.  
The trail starts as an old roadbed.  After a couple of miles, it morphs into a standard hiking trail as it climbs its way into the high country.  Since its a scenic drainage, and not too far from Bozeman, its predictably popular with hikers. 
After a couple of hours of hiking and admiring the views, I made it to the lake . I noted no fish activity, even though it was reportedly stocked a couple of years ago (I have caught fish here in the past).  I walked around the lake but didn't see any cruising fish. No matter. 
Still feeling good after a short break, I pondered my next move.  Rig the rod or hike further?  I decided that it was time to exorcise an old demon by attempting another scramble up to Grass…

Beating the Heat

A couple of weeks ago everyone was lamenting the cool rainy weather.  Would it ever end?  Hell, yes.  It always does.  And, it did.  The heat got turned on.  Temperatures promptly achieved their rightful place in the nineties.
Those same few weeks ago the mountains were still locked in snow.  It doesn't take much sun and warmth to drive it off. Once a few rocks get exposed, away it goes.
The fourth of July is a pretty traditional date to shoot for as regards getting into some alpine trout fishing.  Some years its still too early.
Yesterday was a good day for a walk.  I always try to start the day early and take advantage of hiking on a shady trail. Above 9000 feet, the snow was retreating rapidly.  There were still a few snowbanks. The lakes had thawed but I don't think that the ice had been off for long.
Best of all, the fish were in good shape.  Nice and fat, a surprise for so early in the season.

















Impressions

I wrote this one off years ago as just another fishless puddle.  Alders crowd the lakeshore. Casting options are limited.  I walked around the lake, stumbling over blowdown, cussing the aforementioned alders. That first visit, no fish rose.  I didn't bother to rig up,  It was a tactical error.  First impressions can be misleading. There were some impressive piles of bear poop though.
A few years later I decided to take another look.  Same scenario.  No riseforms.  No sign of fish. This time I strung my rod.  Casting fruitlessly from a precarious perch, I was ready to give up. Then I saw the shadow.  At least I thought I saw something.  More casts.  The shadow reappeared.  Jaws junior  came back and decided that it was time to eat.
Once a year we go back.  Just to check on the fish.  There aren't many.
We went back over the weekend.  The fish were still there.  Like us, a year older.
We saw a pine marten.  Mosquitos.  No grizzlies.