Just checking out wordpress from my phone. Heading to Florida to chase Silver Kings / Tarpon in a few hours. Wanted to set up mobile blogging from my Blackberry. Consider this tested.
The Lance Gleason 406 Productions short for the Simms Ice Out Shoot Out was filmed on the Missouri River between Great Falls and Helena Montana. This is my home water from late October to late May. Notice the Fish More knuckles when you watch the video. Despite wintery weather hanging on, that’s what I’m always intending to do. I can’t get enough of Trout Spey action on the Missouri. The one positive to the colder weather, is that fish are still taking streamers on the swing. A little action can help, but its still a tight line pull instead of an active cast and strip. I love the anticipation and the resulting grabs. These are not gentle plucks, but jolting yanks.
I’m writing an article for Fish Alaska Magazine with Trout Spey as the topic. I’ve got a deadline, so I’d better get back to it. Looking forward to bending on Big Alaska Rainbows soon.
Ice Out is more a state of mind than an actual occurrence this year in Montana. Simms has a great motto: What’s the weather forecast? Who cares… When it comes to being ensconced in the best gear in the industry, Simms has us covered. If it was December, I’d be fine with today’s weather, but I’d really like to fish in some water that at least pushed into the mid 40s. It’s been snowing since I got back yesterday evening. This morning, my truck looked like a cripple with a white shuck that would not break free.
This years event started on Thursday with a stop at Simms for registration and factory tour followed by an open house (with Montana Beer) at the The Rivers Edge Fly Shop. The Hop Juice IPA works for me. Then it was on to the Ellen Theater for an evening with Brian O’keefe and Todd Moen from Catch Magazine. If you fly fish, you likely know about Catch Magazine, but if you don’t, here is an example.
On Friday, we had several morning sessions and then it was off to the Copper Springs Ranch for the Guide Olympics. No one was really quite sure what to expect and there were a few spectator only guides. I tried two events and made it to the final round of the rod rigging. Thanks to Eric Neufeld for heckling me and saving me from a possible win. As it turned out, there were great prizes for each event and a gold, silver, bronze award for the most points accrued. Congratulations to Mike “AG” for being the 1st guide gold medal winner.
Saturday was packed with informative sessions and a product feedback working group. I submerged the urge to sneak out and fish the Gallatin and attended all the sessions throughout the weekend. I also talked with Andrew Bennett from Deneki Outdoors. Who wants to join me at Andros South March 24-31, 2012? The final evening wrap up was again at the Ellen Theater. It included the Simms Shootout, co hosted by Tom Bie and The Drake along with the awards for the guide olympics. There were also a few articles of flying swag.
RA Beattie took first place, but all four films were great
After the films, we hit the street in Bozeman for late night fun. Mike Ward from Adipose Boatworks brought along the wheelchair from his Project Healing Waters Driftboat to keep things interesting. My friends Stephen Paulding and Natalia Aulenbacher from Cooper Landing, AK managed to duck out about midnight, but I was still ready to take them fishing by 8am. We cruised up past Helena and walked into some good water on the Missouri. I got a chance to break in my new G4Z waders and River Tech boots. It was fun watching Steve and Natalia catch fish in Montana. My Sage 6119 has been officially broken in and is sweet with either the Rio 6/7 Switch Line or a 425 grain Rio Skagit Flight. We fought some wind, but caught plenty of fish to polish off a great Ice Out weekend.
Posted in Beer, Montana, Montana Fly Fishing, New Gear, Reviews | Tagged 406 Productions, Adipose Boatworks, Andros South, Bozeman, Brian O'keefe, Catch Magazine, fly fishing, Hop Juice IPA, Montana, RA Beattie, Simms Fly Fishing, Simms Ice Out 2011 Guide Event, Simms Pro, The Drake, Todd Moen | Leave a Comment »
On my way down to Bozeman. Might drop a line in the MO for a few fish first.
I had a great time at Ice Out in 2010. I’ll be meeting up with a few fellow Alaskan guides and plenty of folks from Montana and across the states. The beer will flow, the flap will be interesting and the energy will be fishy.
Tonight’s program is an “Evening with Catch Magazine” hosted by Brian O’keefe and Todd Moen.
Its guide fun time before the work begins.
Fly anglers love to debate stuff. Do fish see color? (Absolutely) Does fly line color matter? (Sometimes) Is fishing a dry fly the only true form of fly fishing? (Absolutely…not) Is dry fly fishing better than anything else? (Sometimes) Do trout on the Missouri River really think a pink Ray Charles is an egg? (Are you kidding me?) Do these waders make my butt look big? (Who Cares?) What is the best state for fly fishing? The Fly Talk Blog at Field&Stream just wanted to pick a fight.
Obviously, the best state depends on species and how you like to fish, but I’m soundly in the top five in any event. Michigan ranked #1. I was born in Michigan and caught my first wild char (brook trout) there. I’m now a resident of Montana, because I live here for more than 6 months of the year. Montana ranked #5. I caught my first cutthroat here about 30yrs ago. There is something about this place that gets into your head and your heart. Then there is Alaska. Alaska is ranked #4 and that is where I guide, because, well, it’s Alaska. Somehow, Wyoming and Louisiana got in there ahead of AK and MT. I have fished a bit in Wyoming, but never in Louisiana, though I’d certainly give it a try.
Wyoming does have some great water and a low population density. Those are two of my keys to fly fishing greatness. I just don’t think it edges out Montana. Michigan does have tremendous variety, including transplanted salmon and steelhead, but Alaska has something no other state has. Pure, indigenous, wild fish! For me, that puts it squarely at Number 1. You can call me a snob. I will chase any fish, anytime, on the fly, but I prefer wild native fish in their natural range and waters.
If I want to catch a steelhead, do I really care weather I go to Oregon or Washington or Idaho? If I want to catch a bass, I can do that just about anywhere. If I want to catch a redfish, I can do that from Texas to the Keys to the Carolinas. If I want to chase troutzilla; I’m not talking about some freak of science triploid fish, but a real native rainbow the size of a King Salmon; I go to Alaska!
Of course, Alaska is also blessed with lots of tasty, healthy, wild, salmon. (Say no to Pebble Mine)
I also think another key to the question of crowning the best fly fishing state is this. Where do you most want to go? Lets hear it.
Posted in Alaska, Fishy Thoughts, Montana | Tagged Alaska, Field&Stream, fly fishing debate, FlyTalk Picks the 12 Best States for Flyfishing in the U.S.A., John West Salmon, Michigan, Montana, troutzilla | 11 Comments »
I’ve been hooked a few times myself, but never like this.
This may not be a fly fishing video, but I got my start as an angler chucking huge treble hook laden chunks of wood in Northern Wisconsin. As a boy, there was something awesome about the big splash down those old plugs would make. As a trout / flats fly fisherman now, that’s no longer an approach I use. I’d love to get back to some of my old familiar waters and chase muskie again on-the-fly.
I once had to defend myself from a pack of wild dogs with my muskie rod and a big triple treble hooked plug like the Suick. It got me out of a very precarious predicament. I also still bear a scar where one of those 3X trebles buried through my knuckle while attached to a thrashing 40″ Muskie. Good times.