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Fifty-Sixty

I fished twice this week. The first day it was fifty degrees.  Yesterday, the temperature reached into the lower sixties. There was little wind. The holdover robins and resident chickadees carried on as if it were spring.
Not bad for February, in Montana.
And, unlike Punxsatawny Phil, I saw my shadow.
The midges never showed, either day.  So, it was a nymphing game.
With no rising fish, there was no need to go ultra fine as far as tippet.  So, I fished with impunity and used 5X.  What a luxury.  It's amazing how strong tippet material has become.
Yesterday, I lost a bunch of fish before finally sliding the net under one.  Some days are like that. Get a pull or two out of a fish, then its gone.  Maybe just a roll...gone.  A flash...gone.  Or, a quick tail flop on the surface, and then....gone.  Brief meetings all.  Mere casual acquaintances.  Long distance releases.  A whole bunch of Sayonara amigos.





After lunch I got the folding lawn chair out of the car.  Some folks pack cell p…

Winterscape

Today was a snow day.  And, I'd made plans to fish.  I got up early and did the requisite shoveling, then left, hoping that there would be less snow over the hill.  Nope.  I was pushing snow with my bumper when I got to the creek.  Ok, so it's a little Toyota with a low bumper.  Getting stuck was a concern.  I decided "what the hell" and went for it.  I'd deal with getting back out to pavement later.
With all of the fresh snow it was a beautiful morning.   It was quite a show when the sun started to peek through the clouds.  I'm always content to snap photos.  And I never tire of scenery.  The same scene on any give day is different.  And, some days it changes constantly, in moments.





So, I started the morning off by nymphing, grudgingly.  I got a couple of fish, and, that was enough.  I proved to myself that I don't care to nymph. That's not what I came out for.
Well, the light just kept getting better.  I went for a stroll and took more photos.   I …

Cold Day In Paradise

It was nine below when I pulled out of the driveway on  Saturday, the second day of January. Moments earlier, my wife had remarked that it was thirty-six above in Fairbanks.  Who'd of thunk it?  Forty-five degrees warmer in the interior of Alaska than in Montana.  This bit of trivia means little other than in passing conversation.  It assumes some greater significance for us in that one of our Brittany pups would soon be boarding a plane, destined for a life of chasing ruffed grouse and ptarmigan in the far north.
So, frigid temperatures notwithstanding, I decided to take a drive.  In the least, I'd make a token appearance creekside.  It was to be a brilliantly clear day and  I didn't want to miss it.  I planned on a day of thinking about fishing rather than wetting a line. When I arrived at the creek it had warmed nicely, to two below. Thank God for barrel stoves!  I wasted no time in crumpling paper and stuffing kindling and bigger wood into the stove.  My fingers were …

Last Chance at Winter

Just a few images from a winter trip to the Henry's Fork in Idaho.   The Henry's Fork is not a winter fly fishing destination.  The area is normally buried under many feet of snow which makes it a haven for folks on snowmobiles.   This was a near perfect winter day.  Overcast, comfortable, calm.  The midges were out.  The blue-winged olives didn't come out to play.  And the trout?  They came out too, and played, a little.



















I fished until late afternoon.
The tally for the day was twice my last outing.
Two fish.
Wow.
Where did the time go?

I've used this quote before, but am compelled to use it again as it sums up the day perfectly.

"I wondered for quite a while about the fascination of fly fishing.  Why is it that I can wade into a stream at 10 in the morning, look at my watch in a "couple" of hours, and find out that it's late in the afternoon"........by Gene Hill from A Listening Walk and other stories.

March Pheasant

A day of chasing dogs and pheasants. Todays cast of dogs: Addie, Emma and Maggie, aka the twisted sisters.  Each dog had its turn.  Old lady Lucy stayed home.  Someone had to guard the yard from marauding rabbits.



The day started out cool, which, as it would turn out was a blessing.  Hot dogs don't hunt too good, hot humans either.  We didn't have to worry.  No sweat today.  The wind blew through us most of the day.  Thankfully it was from the south.



A skiff of snow lingered.  Handy for tracking the wily running rooster. 








The usual gig.  The birds were out there, just had to find them.  You get some, others get away, unscathed.  Once they get up and get wind under their wings, away they go.  And the ones you see first?  They've probably already seen you.  Can you say adios?







It's amazing how cagy a pen reared bird can be.  They can be strutting around, eating grain in the morning.  A few hours later, out in the field, they seem to realize....what do they realize?  Hell…

Pulse

Normally, the rise to magnum food forms is attended by a more violent effort , causing a more pronounced break in the surface, sending out concentric circles that expand in all directions.    Vincent C. Marinaro --- A Modern Dry-Fly Code

Does the sight of surface feeding trout quicken your pulse?  How about the dainty rise of a midging fish.  And what of the "toilet flush rise" or fish hurtling skyward like cruise missiles?

I fished the other day, started the day nymphing half-heartedly. But once I noticed some sporadic rises, the jig was up.  No more nymphing for me.  It was dry fly leader time.  Time for a midge cluster and midge pupa too.
I cast.  Cast again.  Threw in some slack.  A fish rose.  I snubbed it.
The process was repeated, several times.  Same results.
After educating these few fish, the pool got quiet.  At least I got a couple to eat.
It was time for an exploratory walk to look for heads.  I eventually found a few more risers. Patient sippers they were, thei…

A February Float

Floating, fishing, February and Montana usually don't end up in the same sentence.  Other than wishful thinking, riverbanks clad in aufweis and or totally frozen rivers usually guarantee that river craft stay in their rightful place in the garage.
So given our mild winter and recent spate of fifty and sixty degree days, I gave it a go.  I was on the water by 10:30 a.m.  It was still a bit chilly, overcast too.  The promise was for fifty plus, not much wind.  A perfectly comfortable day I hoped. And, I dearly hoped for a midge hatch.  But what the heck, at least I'd be on the water, floating to boot.  Did I say February?
Fish activity wise, not much was happening as I bobbed downstream.  I stopped at a promising spot and rigged up with a single Possie bugger.  It's a pattern that struck my fancy a few years ago while perusing The Caddis Fly:  Oregon Fly Fishing Blog (their tying video can be found here.) For some reason, I never got around to using it.  This day it was a g…