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Showing posts from September, 2012

A Good Day

"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" Gene Hill from A Listening Walk and other stories.
Today was such a day, albeit I started a little earlier and ended earlier in order to escape the heat.  It was one of those days when I couldn't quite decide what to do.  Inertia is unacceptable, so I started loading gear into the car.  I figured that four fly rods should do nicely. I could have taken more, but every man has his limits.

I ended up on the Madison.  My intent was to stop briefly, do a quick recon of a fishing access site, and continue on to the upper part of the river.  I never left.

I started fiddling with my camera and took a few photos of flies.  Satisfied, I pulled on waders and selected an old fiberglass fly rod that I built some 35 years ago.  To it I attached a…

Sharptail Country

September heralds the beginning the best time of the year for the hunter and fisherman.  It is also the beginning of the serious road trip season.  Last week Jo and I loaded up the truck along with her three Brittany pups (aka the Twisted Sisters - Addie, Emma and Maggie).  With trailer in tow, we embarked on a road trip in search of birds on the Montana prairie.

Every trip is an adventure, the results never assured.  Many questions.  Anticipation.

Will there be birds?  Snakes?  How will the dogs do?  The shooter?  Will I get any decent photos?

The first day as Jeff Foxworthy would say was pandelerium.  It seems that it takes a day for the dogs, shooter and photographer to get the kinks out.  By the second day we were better coordinated.  The birds were smarter too.  

Conditions dictated that we be out at dawn.  It was hot and dry with temperatures pushing ninety degrees.  Hydration is always an issue.  Three dogs drink a lot of water, as do two humans.  Fortunately we saw no snakes…

Opening Day

Saturday was the opener for the upland game season in Montana.  Traditionally hot and dry, temperatures often push into the eighties.  Uncomfortable hunting conditions at best, for man and bird dog alike.  This year it was pleasantly different.  A front rolled through on Friday night.  We awoke to a cool damp Saturday morning.  It was even cooler in the mountains.  Daytime temperatures struggled to get out of the forties.  The clouds rolled in and out and eventually decided to stay.  It spat rain.  There was thunder and lightning followed by a spirited hailstorm.  All in all a pleasant day.


I'm not sure where this blog thing will go or what it will look like.  I'll keep it simple for now.

I've got many interests.  To borrow from Anthony Bourdain's intro on his show No Reservations....... I hunt, fish, hike and I'm hungry for more.

For many years my outdoor activities were pretty much centered around hunting.  Sheep hunting became a passion.  It was a bad habit, but it forced me to stay in shape and employed.  After all, one must pay for his vices.

About ten years ago the flame that was my passion for hunting began to flicker.  I knew that I'd eventually get back into flyfishing.  I didn't expect it to come so quickly or completely.  Three years ago I hung up my rifle.

Coincidental to my renewed devotion to flyfishing was a niggling interest in fishing for steelhead.  Another bad habit.  Central Montana doesn't offer the most convenient access to steelhead water, but it is within a days drive.  I fished the Clearwater River in Idaho for t…

Predicting Steelhead Run Timing

It happens every year.  Come late summer Northwest anglers eagerly begin checking Columbia River dam counts in order to gauge the size and timing of the upcoming seasons steelhead run.  I've done it too.  Daily.  

I may have a more reliable predictor.  In our yard is a Mount Royal plum tree.  When the plums are ripe it's time to fish the Clearwater River in Idaho.  It's almost foolproof.  Ripe plums equal catchable numbers of fish.  This year the tree is loaded with fruit and the plums are already purple.  The signs are encouraging.

Two years ago I stood on a ladder picking the ripe purple fruit in the dark with the aid of a headlamp.  It was the 26th of September.  I'd waited as long as possible.  I had just got home from work and had plans to drive to Idaho the next day.  
Yes, there were fish.  Disclaimer...... I had help, Bryan Miller from Orofino guided me.

So, will they ripen early this year?  Who knows?  I think I'll head out on the 27th.