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Bighorn River Day....

Every angler visits a piece of water for the first time.  These are my impressions as a first timer to the Bighorn.  I imply no level expertise.
It's a bit of a haul for a day trip, but doable for the young and the tough.  I left Bozeman around 4:30 a.m. and met up with Satoshi in Livingston.  He was the young and tough part of the venture. For Satoshi, it was a guides day off.  Of course he ended up rowing the boat.
As I'd lamented in recent posts, spring has been slow to appear in Montana.  It was equally slow in appearing as we headed east.  Patches of snow still lay in gullies as we drove through the Crow Reservation.  Frozen fields were covered with sheets of water from the slowly melting snow.  It was raining when we arrived at Ft. Smith.  In no hurry to launch, we took our time, visited a couple of the fly shops, decided on a float strategy, and arranged for a shuttle. 
No secret, the Bighorn is a known quantity among the western fly fishing crowd. Folks either fish wh…

Glimmer....

Someone needs to have a talk with that blasted oversized weather forecasting rodent.  You've heard of Phil from Punxsutawney?  Six more weeks of winter he said. 
Liar.
It's looking more like six months.
Green grass.  In Montana.  In July.  Maybe.









No matter.  I ventured to the creek earlier this week.  Sans rod, I walked a section to check for spawning fish.  Happily, I can report that some of the graveled areas were finally occupied by rainbows going about their business.  A bit further on, a few fish were rising reliably.  That was good enough for me!  I hightailed it back to the car to retrieve fishing tackle.  They were still sipping midges when I returned.  And, they were cooperative too!



They ate these the next day.......


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…

In Days Of Yore.....

Indulge me, I'm reminiscing.
We're looking at an old film photo from the late 1970's.  Kodachrome, just like the Paul Simon song.
This is Montana, before the river (and everyone else) ran through it.
The camera was set on self timer and rested on streamside rocks.

A selfie if you will.  I was way ahead of todays kids and their cell phones.
More nimble and quicker then, I had ten seconds to run for the water while making the resulting shot look like I was fishing.  I think that I was shooting around twelve feet of line.  Backwards.
Back then my dry fly arsenal consisted of a few crudely tied Humpy's.  Some folks called them Goofus Bugs.  For me, matching the hatch was pretty simple.  Open fly box.  Ponder.  Which one?  Hmm...   I think I'll pick a Humpy.  
Graphite rods were in their infancy.  I couldn't afford one made of bamboo by Orvis. So, the fly rod was fiberglass.  I built it.  Now really, who "builds" a fly rod?  I just bought the blank from D…

Butter Sandwiches.....

I've gotten to the point where fishing has become an increasingly less important part of fishing.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  There must be something to it as I keep going fishing without engaging in the act.  Indeed, I'd spent the previous four creek visits dawdling, reading, hiking and taking photos.  The trips weren't a complete loss, I may have dozed off a time or two as well.
However, this day I'd rig a rod and wet a fly.  It was time to justify the moniker of fisherman and use some of the accumulated dust gathering gear.  It was time to catch a fish.
Remarkably, the fishing rust hadn't settled too deeply.  I got a couple out of a sheltered run. Thinking that I could handle another fish or two, I meandered downstream on the snowy deer-tracked trail. The creek, here a straightaway, was considerably more exposed.  The wind had managed to gather the proverbial steam, albeit, without the requisite warmth.
Whitecaps rolled on the normally pla…

Hopper Time

It's time to take a break from shoveling snow.  Time to dream of green grass, warm breezes and summer sun.
So what if it's winter.  It's hopper time.
Time to tie them at least.  Also  time to take a break from tying midges.  Imagine that, something big enough to see without an electron microscope.
I don't fish terrestrials much, other than the occasional beetle.  But, as far as hoppers go, this is my favorite.  Excepting the rubber legs, its all natural.  Just elk hair and turkey.
The pattern goes by a couple of names.  Bullet  head hopper.  Mike Lawson's Henry's Fork hopper.
No need to reinvent the egg, so I won't.  Here are a few links which detail the tying steps excellently:
This site has animations of the tying steps.....bullethead hopper by a fellow named Derek Porter.
Al Campbell at Fly Anglers On Line offers a slightly different version of the Henry's Fork Hopper.
The main difference between the two versions is in how the abdomen is tied in.  …

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....