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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Onward We Go

Well, it’s darn near August and likely time for a quick update on the happenings around the neighborhood.

Guess what? It’s hot and dry and it’s gonna stay that way for the foreseeable future. The Hootie Owl fishing constraints that I suggested in the last post have come to fruition. All fishing on the Stillwater and Jellystone Rivers must cease at or before 2 pm. The same can be said for most of the larger trout waters located principally in southwestern Montana. And if you’re smart and care about the health of our trout, you will self-impose the same restrictions on non-Hoot Owled bodies of water such as the Rock Creek and other smaller cricks. It’s been one hell of a summer and from the looks of things, It’s not likely to change so we must adjust our behaviors and DO THE RIGHT THING!

Thus, if you’re going to fish for our spotted friends….. It’s early to bed, early to rise, start fishing at dawn and don’t make up lies.

Most of the folks with whom I have been spending time are here to fish. They’re not here to sight see, or do the all night bar hop, nor attempting to be a weekend motorcycle tuff guy. They are here to fish and thus we have been on the river near the crack of dawn most mornings. And the fishing and catching you ask? PDG (pretty damn good). A variety of bugs, streamers and techniques depending on the specific condition, has produced mighty fine fishing and catching. But to be honest, the caliber of the fisher folk does make a difference, like a really huge difference. I’ve been blessed as of late. Hope that continues.

And now our Public Service Announcement: Take care of the fish! So far they are looking good, fat, healthy, and darn spunky, let’s keep them that way. I suggest you eliminate the grip and grin and if you need a picture, keep them in the water. Minimize the time the fish is held or unhooked. Yea, I know you gotta do what ya gotta do to release them, but time out of the drink does matter.

Be nice to others! It’s been busy out there and on some days, like real busy. The pandemic has driven folks to the out of doors and I can’t blame them for that, but we all need to help some of the newbies, they need it. The river is dropping quickly and that will serve to thin the masses, I hope.

ps …. all picture from here on out will be pulled from the RFO vault. No fish were or will be harmed in the making of this bloggie thing.

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