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Showing posts with the label Absaroka Mountains

March Minimalism

I like March.  It's an awakening of sorts.  After a winter of introspection, I revert to childhood.  It's time to get out and play in the water.  Except of course when one fishes a spring creek.  Then, it's best to stay out of the pool if possible.
Winter and spring in Montana.  One season morphs into the other, often with no discernible difference between the days.  In spite of the snow, a few fish nose their way into the creek from the Yellowstone.  Maybe the weeds start to grow.  A little green on the stream bottom is most welcome.  It's important too, bugs need something to eat, a place to hide.  So do the fish.



My fly rod has been strung for weeks.  Once fishing starts in earnest, it stays strung. All season.    After all, it's important to have a nice straight leader.  There's a fly attached too.  Now we know that a prudent angler doesn't tie on a fly until getting to the water.  But let's face it, the process of bug elimination is a short one.
T…

Closer To Home

October.
A month of miles and road trips.
Montana.  Idaho.  Washington. 
Chasing trout, steelhead, bird hunting photos.
The last week was spent closer to home.














Getting reacquainted
with a few friends....








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…

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…

The Magic Hour

A nice day recently.  In contrast to a windy previous day, this day was calm.  A quiet morning, with light snow gave way to a pleasant day with peeks of sunshine.

I nymphed half heartedly in the morning, then quit by eleven, hoping to find a few rising fish.

I broke for tea.  Settled in, and waited.

And waited some more.

After an hour, a fish rose.

Eventually, another.

After a half hour three fish were working.  Something had their attention.  It was time to slip into the water for a closer look.
A few midges buzzed but the fish weren't interested in my offerings.  
Midge cluster.  Nope.
Hatching midge.  Nope.
Pupa.  Nope.
A blue winged olive drifted by.  Well now.  I better take a look in my fly box.





The fish were rising more steadily now.  Their rises more enthusiastic.  Not the soft dimple of midging fish.
A fish ate on the first cast with the cdc olive.  It was a beautiful cutthroat.
I dried the fly, waited.  The next target rose, close.  Another cast.  Another eat.  This ti…

Of Peaks and Pachyderms.....

Today I sat atop a pachyderm of epic proportions.  That being one Elephanthead Mountain, elevation 9,430 feet.
Given the spate of hot weather and hoot owl restrictions, hiking would be the order of the day, sans fishing tackle. I wanted to hit the trail early.  But alas, I dallied and made it to the trailhead by 8:30.  Much later than preferred.  I was still recovering from Saturdays extravaganza, wherein I was up at 2:30 and out the door by three, trying to make it to a trailhead in the Beartooths for a morning hike and to catch a fish or two.
So, todays hike would be hiking for the sake of hiking.  Just a little exercise.  Take in a little scenery along the way.

It's a nice hike, maybe nine miles round trip, with a few thousand feet of vertical thrown in.  The road to the trailhead is a little bumpy.  En route, it passes the historic 63 Ranch.
In spite of the late start, I got lucky, much of the trail was still shaded.  It was still comfortably cool, even walking through the op…

March Winds Down

March, as I mentioned in an earlier post is a month of waiting.  Dry fly fishers wait for bugs.  We (ok, I) wait(ed) for nice weather.  Well, the first half of the month was pretty nice. The past couple of weeks, rather unsettled.   I had the opportunity to fish, or rather, endure, a variety of conditions.
I'd always wanted to fish during a snowstorm.  I did, and, let's just say that's an itch that I don't need to scratch again.  I don't care if the blue-winged olive hatch rivals the plague of the locusts. For the record, it didn't.  Even the olives had enough sense to stay in out of the snow.





Fishing in the rain?  Did that too.  Don't need to do that again either (unless I'm steelhead fishing in Alaska).   Lets just say that the novelty of being miserable wore off long ago.
So, on to fairer days.....






Today was a beauty.  It was dead calm when I arrived.  The sun had yet to hit the valley floor.  When it did, the wind kicked in.  Immediately.  Absolute…