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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.



Not For Naught...

Took a drive out to the river the other day.  It's high water time, so I hadn't planned on fishing.
Still, it's good to get out of the house for a few hours.  Walk around, shoot a few photos, breathe the sweet spring air.
Everything is green.  Finally.  There's no annoying bugs yet either.  Don't worry, they're coming.  Do you know where your bug dope is?
Best of all, I came home with a prize. A massive haul of three morels.  Not quite enough for a meal.   Luckily I'd accumulated a stash of dried ones over the years. They've been stored in glass jars waiting for a date with the frying pan.  The fresh ones are more flavorful, less rubbery.  But, the dried ones do in a pinch.
So, tortellini with morels and asparagus.  Today was the day.
It's a simple dish.  Along with the tortellini, asparagus and mushrooms, butter and bacon round out the flavors.
And, there's a little garlic for vampire abatement.  A little parmesan.  A splash of milk.  Done.
Ma…

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.




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…