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Showing posts with the label brown trout

Window

In between rain drops, a spur of the moment road trip to scratch the fishing itch.  Our local rivers are flooding.  Angling options are few.  With dam discharges on the Bighorn temporarily curtailed to a fishable 6000 c.f.s. this presented a brief window of fishing opportunity. 








The reward for making the drive?
Midges, blue-winged olives and brown trout.  Enough to keep this dry fly fisher happy.



All Day Long

Some days are tough, the fish tougher.
On spring creeks, it's the season of in between hatches.
The day starts with great promise.
Blue sky.  Warm.  Calm.
It doesn't last.
The bugs fail to make their appointment.  It doesn't matter.  If they show they'd get blown off the water anyway.
Still, one doesn't quit for fear of missing something.  Maybe there will be a window.  An opportunity.
So you persist.
Squalls come through.  As if conditions aren't tough enough already.




But you hang in there.  You've made it this far.
Four o'clock.  Lunch time. 
Can't call it a day yet.  
Maybe the wind will lie down at dusk.
Maybe, anything.  A crumb.
Just one shot.
Please.
The sun pops out, now low on the horizon.



What's that? A dimple.  Up against the bank.
The fish eats on the first cast.
A gift.
All day for one shot.
It was worth it.




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…

One Colossal Brown Trout

I noticed this big dead brown trout on DePuy Spring Creek a week ago.  It was longer than two of my size 12 wading boots, and would have been the fish of a lifetime for most any fly fisher.  I concluded that the likelihood of landing such a fish on a three weight, small fly and light tippet was virtually zero.  At least I got my hands on a big one, even if it was dead!
I encounter a few such big browns each fall.  They're covered with a white fuzzy fungal growth known as Saprolegnia, which attacks fish that are stressed and weakened.  Spawning takes a toll as fish jostle on redds, chasing and biting each other, removing protective mucus and thus opening the door for the fungus to take hold.  

Madison Brown

Here is a bank sipper from a recent foray to the Madison.  A few caddis were drifting on the surface when I arrived in mid-afternoon.  Not a huge hatch, but enough to get my attention, and that of some fish too.  This fish showed itself.  I missed it, put it down, rested it for a while.  When I returned, it was back, rising, picking off the occasional caddis.  A few drifts later it exploded on my fly.  I might not get a better one this year, at least not on a dry.    
So, what was the fly du jour?  Lately I've taken to tying a variety of parachute type caddis. Anything that might be more visible is just fine for my aging eyes.  They are ties of Mike Lawson's EZ Caddis. You can see him tie the fly here. I've tied pink posted ones, some with white posts, some with a combo of pink and fluorescent yellow, black too.   A tan hackled, orange posted one got this brown.  














And, since a brown trout from the Madison River was the star of this post, I thought it appropriate to includ…

Watching, Waiting, Hoping......

Watching, waiting, hoping.  That's what I've been doing for the last month or so.  A few bugs, drifting aimlessly on the surface of the water would make my day.  Patience is a necessity.  At the mercy of bugs with no schedule, I'm on Baetis standard time, whatever that is.  So, I wait.
The days start earlier now, last longer too.  It makes no difference to the bugs, or the fish.  I leave home earlier, thinking maybe, just maybe this will be the day.  A fish feeding frenzy, right from the get go.  Heaven forbid I should miss it.  No worries, I don't.  Nothing doing.  All quiet on the stream front.
But there is activity.  Rainbows are in the creek now.  They chase each other, jockeying for position on the gravels.  Across the creek, a fisherman ambles through the grass, working upstream, alternately in and out of the water.  It's a mink.  Stealthy.  Doesn't seem to bother the spawning rainbows.  They continue their business, the mink continues hiking and swimmin…

Bink, bink, bink.....

Not too many bugs on the water yesterday.  A few clouds of Tricos midmorning.  Then, a brief sparse spinner fall brought fish to the surface in one run.  A half dozen fish cruised the run, lazily sucking in the tiny spinners.  On a quiet morning, you could hear the fish smacking their lips.  I just love the sound of a happily feeding fish.  They weren't easy though.  I continually reinforce the fact that fish in low clear water are exceptionally spooky.  The flash of a fly line is death. Make a cast and the fish stop feeding.  Guess what?  Game over.  Then the wait starts.  Maybe they'll come back and resume dining.  In a few minutes, or fifteen.   I got one real nice one, on of all things, a small parachute Adams. 
It was a great eat, followed by the usual anxious moments.  A small fly, attached to 6X, attached to a fish headed downstream, attached to an angler mired waist deep in midstream muck.  I wondered if the fish would stop.  Then, would I be able to get it back?  I d…

Desperately Seeking The PMD

They're called pale morning duns, not pale crack of dawn duns.  Standing in the water at 5:30 guarantees that not much will  happen until let's say, ten.  I learned that lesson a couple of weeks ago on the Missouri.  Yesterday, different river, they arrived later.  Much later.  Like in the afternoon.  I was starting to sweat it, literally.  No bugs, no fish activity, it was hot as hell too. Thankfully the bugs eventually showed.  It's impressive when the bugs start hatching and the fish get on them.  A lifeless stream surface can suddenly bustle with fish breaking the surface. 



While waiting for the vaunted hatch, I watched and tried in vain to catch one sizable brown trout. For hours.  It was content to sway in the current and grab bugs as they drifted by.  I attached some fine netting to my trout net, caught a few PMD nymphs.  Actually the screen job was unnecessary, the nymphs were clearly visible.  I thought, piece of cake. I'll get him lickity split.  I tied on a…