19 Years In

Hard to believe it’s been 19 years since the original September 11. Time slips away, but to many if not most of us, memory doesn’t. Some dates serve as milestones in our lives, this date is certainly one of those. Hard to shake and hard to forget the shock and disbelief as things were going down. In many ways, it was a time when our country actually got on the same page for about a year. Unfortunately, we seem to have reverted to our respective corners and focused on our individual “rights” and placed that ahead of the collective needs of “We the People….” Strange how it takes a kick in the butt to pull us together so that later we can fall apart.

So how about for at least today, we try to treat each other with the respect we all deserve ….. let’s just try it and see, what the hell do we have to lose?

And the fishing you ask? Well generally, it’s pretty damn good. Hoppers were the main course until our recent snow fall. The air temp last Saturday when I got off the river was 102 degrees in the shade. Yes, that’s mighty toasty. However, we woke to snow on the ground and a rousing temperature high of 45 degrees two days later. The water temps plummeted from 66 to 45 and of course that pretty much freaked out the fish for about two days. Although fishing post snow was not a hopper fest, the fish were eating nymphs dredged low and slow if you hit them on the nose. Pat’s stones and psycho princes were the ticket de jour.

Yesterday and today we are back on the temperature roller coaster. We’re gaining heat to the point that by Monday and Tues next week, we’ll likely to set all time temperature highs for the date. What’s a boy or girl to do? Well not sure what other are going to do, but I still have lots of hopper dry flies handy, and I fully intend to use them and go visit a recently met friend on that industrialized irrigation ditch which holds monsters. The last call for hoppers is fast approaching. If you got the need, you’d better get r done.

Next menu items will be baetis and streamers as we once again switch gears and transition into real fall. It’s a bitter sweet time of year. Hate to see summer go, but can’t wait for the glory of a Big Sky fall.

What the Future Holds
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Busman’s Holiday and General Update

Yes it still remains hot and that has had an effect on the fishing.  Water temperatures on both the Stillwater and Jellystone have been in the 70’s as of late.  As you might imagine, fishing has been slow in the afternoons once the 68 degrees mark is reached.  Thus I’m doing the early morning thing and that has been paying off.  The bite is definitely better early.  Mostly we have been fishing a hopper trailed by a small-ish dry fly.  The other morning the fish were all over a #16 caddis, but unfortunately most of them were in the 12″ size class.  Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.

Other than hoppers, the surface bug activity has been rather slim.  The are trico’s on both the Yellowstone and Stillwater, but I’ve seen nothing but small heads and splashy rises …. nothing of consequence.  I’d like to tell you how the nymph fishing has been, but my folks of late have choose to go dry and I’m ok with that.  Oh, and during the right conditions, the streamer bite is starting to pick up and should continue to do so until late fall.

And now for something completely different.  This last week was not uber busy with guide trips. Thus a buddy and I slipped away early in the morning for a day of exploration via newly acquired pontoon boats on a stream with few trout and fewer folks who seem to care about this water.  It’s not unlike fishing in an industrialized agricultural irrigation ditch.  But over the years it become one of those places that if I’m really looking for a fatty, it’s the go to place.  And yes, earlier this week I was in need of a big fish.  Long story short, all was pretty darn quite during our outing until about 11 am although the trico’s were rather blizzard like before then.  Once the heat turned on (95 to 100 degrees), so did the fish.  I won’t bore you with the details other than to say we did well.  But as typically the case, the big one got away.  And I do mean he, she, or it was one hell of a big fish.

During the first of three skyrocket jumps, it was obvious the rainbow was way over twenty inches and fat like a piggy.  Then it took off on a ripp’n run well into my backing.  By applying all the power and tension which I figured the leader and rod could handled, I finally got it stopped and turned and I figured the fish was as good as mine.  I figured wrong.  For some unexplained reason, the fish was gone and the line was limp…. damn.  It took a little time to recover from that experience during which time a few expletives were heard randomly echoing from the canyon walls.

After having hooked up two more nice fish and losing them in the next hole, I finally checked my bug.  Well I’ll be damned, the hook was completely straight.  Wonder if that makes a difference?  Lesson learned the hard way which is usually the way I learn best.

One last thing, let’s all be aware of the water temperatures out there and take care of our finny friends.  Start early, stop early, tie flies in the afternoon …. tomorrow will be another day and much like Arnold said ….”I’ll be back”.




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Early Aug and It’s Hot

Mostly the air temperatures are hot,  they have been that way for awhile now and we’re told that situation will continue into the foreseeable future.  And as you may have guessed, the water temperatures are getting mighty warm as well.  Yesterday the Stillwater hit 72 degrees.  Not good for Mr. and Mrs. Trout.  So use your heads out there and when the water hits 68, it’s time to give the fish a break.

Fishing continues to be very inconsistent.  Some days there are dry flies in the mornings.  Either a #16 Purple Haze or Elk Hair Caddis have been taking fish here and there. Nothing really steady and certainly nothing very large.  The other day, I was amazed at the number of cookie cutter fish we were catching, not amazed at the numbers but rather the sameness of the fishes.  Sort of a trout version of the movie Ground Hog Day.  In addition to the fish looking for small bugs, more and more fish are beginning to show interest in grasshoppers, of which there are many.  I’m not really sure that the hoppers are making into the rivers in great numbers thus far, so maybe that explains the lack of all out hopper gobbling.  Time shall tell.

When low light conditions have prevailed, typically mornings or during periods of storm clouds, the streamer stripp’n has not been too bad.  Girdle bugs, buggers, and the fuzzy-wuzzy rabbit fur flies have been working their wonders and certainly producing larger fish.  Low and slow and off the banks in the deeper mid-river troughs have been where the big daddy’s have been found.  Today we stuck and landed a real dandy about 19″ and broke off one much, much larger one.  So they’re out there.

And now for our public service announcement.   Today the river is at about 1,000 cfs.  No rain is forecast for the next week or so.  It’s dropping fast and there are cross river gravel bars that are really starting to be a PITA.  Oh, and the White Bird take out has been cut off while Swinging Bridge has recently been “improved” by someone with a piece of equipment.  Helpful hint:  Take the irrigation channel to the take out.

Ride the donkey when you can, it all might change tomorrow.



Let’s take care of our spotted buddies


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