Final Days

Well if you look at the calendar, it’s the middle of October, fishing will be slowing down significantly over the next month and then …. it’s over. Bottom line is that if you still got the need for spotted fish, you’d best get r done. And as of right now, the autumn beauty of the river and creek bottoms is still well worth the gander. But that too shall soon cease Get it when you can.

It’s been interesting since I last checked in. Air temps have generally been warm to very warm …..except for the 12″ of snow we received a week ago. The white stuff is gone and it did marvelous things for the volume of water in our local waters. Rock Creek was pretty much dried up two weeks ago. But now it’s somewhat difficult to cross. That’s a telling story of the amount of precipitation received and the fact that FINALLY, the irrigators have shut down the withdrawal ditches. I could go on and on about the lack of water this year, but I’m going to choose to be watchful and an optimist. Time shall tell how much, if any, adversity befell the trout and all the other itty bitty critters that live or depend on clean clear water. Suffice it to say, it was a tough year to be a fish.

One can’t just sit and stew and brew, so out to the rivers I have ventured. The missions were simple, soak up the beautiful when it still last and store enough of to make it through what is suppose to be a very nasty winter. The scenery has been stunning and the fishing has certainly been better than expected. The browns are beginning to spawn and their attitudes and coloration reflect their focus, so please watch where you are stepping. I’m noticing a number of spawning beds nestled in the gravels along the stream edges. Given the difficulties these fish experienced this summer, every redd, every egg, and every fry matters.

Catching has not been what I’d describe as rocket science. The usual streamers are working just fine. It’s more a matter of getting the big and uglies in front of the fish, they usually do the rest. Rainbows have seemed to favor smallish nymphs in the riffles and I’ve seen some real nice fish caught over the last few weeks on #16 beaded headed whatevers. Browns, as usual have favored girdle bugs …. no news there.

It’s going fast …. might want to find your snow shovel ….. the end is near (so to speak).

And one last thought …. If you like what you see, thank the staff photographer and his smarty pants phone. My camera is toast but his works wonders ….

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Years that is, it’s been that long since the tragedy of 9/11. Hard to believe and harder yet to relive the events of the day. As it has been for 20 years, I’ll be on the river. And I’m going to do my very best to catch some trout today. But there will be a part of me that involuntarily lives in the moments and events that took place. I suspect that we shall all fall back to where we where and what we were doing before our world changed.

It’s hard and painful to remember. But remember we must … and maybe if we all try real hard and put away our petty differences, maybe, just maybe we can come together as a United States for at least a little while. We’re stronger together than we are apart. Think about it, take action and make a difference. It shouldn’t be that damn difficult.

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Falling into September

Welcome to the month of September, we’ve been waiting for you. Thankfully, the uber hot temperatures have left us and it’s feeling like …. well September. Cool in the morning and pretty warm in the afternoons, or as I like to think about it, polar tech in the morning and shorts by the afternoon. Hints of yellow, red, and orange leaves are beginning to show and it’s only going to be better from here until the inevitability of the white stuff.

And speaking of which, the snow we received last week in the high country was absolutely stunning and muchly appreciated. In fact, the unanticipated but serious moisture which we received two weeks ago was just what the doctor order. That 2 inches of rain added 2 weeks of floating on the Stillwater, but that influence is gone now and the river has dropped so much this week (currently <400 CFS) that it is currently not floatable. Doing a little investigative work, it appears that the water coming from the West Rosebud and Mystic Lake has pretty much been turned off (200 CFS to 30 CFS currently). Not sure why or how long that will last, but it has had a profound influence on the River Stillwater.

So what’s a fisher to do? Easy answer …. go somewhere else and do a little exploration. If there is anything we have in spades around these parts, it’s smaller wadable creeks and streams all of which contain fish…. little gems all around.

And the fishing/catching you ask? The honest answer is that it depends on the day and the fishers. Generally, things are getting better to much better and the crowds are pretty much gone. Most, if not all the out-of-area outfitters/guides from Livingston, Bozeman and Missoula have left which is good for both the fish and the fishing as well as my mental health. It’s been back to normal, just you and me and the river, no one else around, as it should be.

And the catching? We’ve been picking up more respectable fish as of late, resulting from stripping the big and ugly stuff. The other day, the morning session was nothing short of great. The gentleman with whom I was spending the day damn near lost his mind on all the fish that hit the streamers, good times. Once the sun punches through the smoke, it’s been strictly a nymph game which eventually evolves into a dry/dropper or hopper/dropper affair by the afternoon. Thus you gotta stay nimble and observant. As we move further into fall, it will soon be baetis time, so I guess the bottom line is …. bring a diversity of bugs, cause ya just never know what might be happening.

We have about 6, maybe 8 weeks left to the fishing season, I’ll be out there till the bitter end. It should be easy to recognize me, I’ll be the guy with the big grin on my face and happy clients in the boat. One last thought. The fish. Above all else take care of the fish, they are still vulnerable to over use, over photography, and over handling. I’ve been pinching the barbs on all my flies, I suggest you do the same. Treat them well and they shall do the same for us.

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