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Best of All...

“Best of all he loved the fall the fall with the tawny and grey the leaves yellow on the cottonwoods leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies"

by Ernest Hemingway


I've waited a long time to have the time to enjoy my favorite season.  There's never been enough time.  Too many competing interests.  A longbow and rifle required regular mountain walks.  They now gather dust.  Work, well what can be said.  It demanded a lot of time and effort too.  Well, I've retired my counting tray and spatula and shut off the part of my brain that had been devoted to work.    My mind and body can now be re-purposed.  A fly rod beckons.  Make that several.  And fish.  There are too many uncaught trout.  If they're lucky, they'll stay that way.  I plan to have a little say in that matter though. 




So, two weeks into this next life what have I to show?   Well, gas.  You know, for the car.  There's been a half dozen trips to the creek.  Mos…

What They Eat....

In spite of all of the regional hype and hoopla, I'm not real big on fishing terrestrials.  I do pack a few simple hoppers to the river.  A few small black beetles too.  Ocassionally I'll even knot one on.  Ants? Never fished them.  Of course I've tied a few.  For a recent high country trip I tied a few more.  You see, I've never fished dry flies for high country trout.  Why bother I thought.  Too much work.  Those fish will usually eat anything.
But I'd read that golden trout were fond of ants.  And, on the first afternoon, with fish rising, I put the little ant to work.  Now, I'd seen no ants around the lake, nor any other bugs floating on the surface.  But, enough of something was getting the attention of those goldens.
As it turned out, I could have packed a single fly for the first day of fishing.  Not one pattern, but rather, one measly fly. A dozen or so scrappy willing golden trout enthusiastically ate it.  It seemed odd sitting lakeside, drying the fl…

Where They Live.....

With privilege comes price. 
 The cost?
  A three thousand foot climb.
The reward?
The purest gold in Montana.






Cool Change...

A few days sandwiched between the nineties of summer make for glorious hiking and camping conditions.  Rarely can one backpack on a mid sixty degree August afternoon.  Imagine, summer hiking without breaking a sweat, what a luxury.  Such was the weekend past.
And, like my last trip, bugs were a non issue.  Two mosquitos lit on the back of my hand. That's right, two, the entire weekend.  They took too long working up the nerve to bite and consequently were cheerfully squashed.  Like the saying goes, snooze you lose.  Being able to sit outside and in the tent with the screen door unzipped, sans bugs, was ok by me.
A few clouds and showers rolled through during the afternoon and evening.  Barely enough to wet things down.  The peaceful patter of raindrops on the tent fly made for a relaxing night.
And of course, a few nice fish iced the proverbial weekend cake.


























Into the Burn

Way back in 1910 a series of forest fires torched the Northern Rockies.  Depending on the quoted source, the fires may have numbered in the thousands.  Catastrophic winds at the most inopportune time coalesced many of the fires into a few huge ones.  There was a great loss of life, property and timber.  No doubt a lot of elk got barbecued too.

Well, one of the burned areas straddles the Montana and Idaho border.  Appropriately known as the Great Burn, it's been considered as a candidate for wilderness designation.  I hope that it receives some protection.  It's a neat area.

Here are a few images from a overnight trip to the Montana side of the burn.  The lead photo doesn't do justice to the overwhelming serenity of the morning.




























Although I hiked alone, I had plenty of company.  A pair of inquisitive hummingbirds hovered outside my open tent door while I sipped coffee at daybreak.  Soon after, a moose announced its arrival by belly-flopping into the lake.  Meanwhile, a grea…

The Waiting Game

A lone angler waits for the arrival of brown drakes in the magical light of an early evening.  Whether they show or not, immersion in the scene is reward enough.

Table...

A few images from a short day hike to the north flank of Table Mountain in the Spanish Peaks.  Beautiful blue sky day.  Lush greenery.  Flowers galore.  Most hikers call it quits at Lava lake.












Oh yeah, parmesan crusted fish for lunch.

Silver Creek Mornings.....

Last week it was time for another quick road trip.  Wanting to check out the brown drake hatch, I tried to get to Silver Creek earlier.  They came and went.  I didn't.
So, another good looking weather window opened.  An opportunity to chase clear water, do a little camping.  My tent erecting skills needed the practice.
The best thing about Silver Creek is getting there at sunrise and listening to the birds.  I love watching the hills and valley light up with the first morning rays.  Besides, what else is a guy supposed to do when he gets up at 4:30 and drinks all of the coffee?




First morning.  Blue-winged olives.  A smattering of PMD's.  There was a flight of what looked to be white miller caddis like those seen on the Firehole in Yellowstone.

Fish?  Loads of little ones.  Most chased the white miller.  A few on the olive.  Best fish of the morning was a brown that mouthed a small rainbow.  One credible brown ate the olive but it came loose when it rolled and I couldn't …