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Archive for the ‘Covered In Fish’ Category

Riverside Ring Tone

Answer your phone...

“Thanks for getting right back to me.”  “No problem Paul.  Sorry I missed your call, but I had to release a fish.”  “Where are you fishing?”  “On the Missouri River near Cascade Montana.”  After finishing the call and arranging a booking for several days in Alaska, I got back to work fishing.  On Wednesday,  The River Damsel posted that her android smart phone was her favorite piece of outdoor gear.  Some readers appeared confused by that, but her reasoning was sound.  For me, when it comes to justifying a fishing trip mid week, I must concur.  I specifically picked my spot knowing that I had cell coverage and could answer calls and email between sessions of catching fish in my favorite office…outside on a river.

 

Streamer Eater

Caught Shadow

I had anther reason for being on the water yesterday besides it being a better office and the fact that I have an incurable fishing jones.  Rich Strolis from Catching Shadows sent me some streamers to try out on the Missouri and the Kenai.  If the fish above taken on my first cast of the morning is any indication, then mission accomplished I will have to keep testing them.  You can see great videos of Rich’s flies on his Catching Shadows blog as well as some patterns featured on Midcurrent.

Another Ice Pick Eater

Ice Pick Eater

Thanks for the great flies Rich.  If you need to R&D any new patterns in the west and/or Alaska, I’m your man.  I’ll let you know how the caddis fish come May.

Cold and Hungry

Ice Pick Eater off an Ice Shelf

Look out for the frozen "jaws" of the Missouri River

Ice Fish - Look out for Frozen Jaws

Chomp

Get outa my face!

Splashes with Fishes

Turn and Burn

Colorful Shadow

Vibrant Rainbow

To anyone reading this post who might be momentarily envious of my office work yesterday, let me tell you about my karmic payback.  In my mad dash to quickly access the river, I plunged (glissaded) down a long steep hill to maximize my fishing time.

Bring crampons next time dumb ass

Payback Mountain

The trek back was anything but quick and accompanied by cursing and peppered with crazy giggles followed by more cursing.  I wondered if anyone across the river was witness to my madness.  I imagine a retired couple drinking tea and playing cards, suspending their game to gap in fascination at my plight.  In the time it took me to ascend, they could have called the neighbors and started a betting pool.  Will he or won’t he make it?  How long will it take? Oh, he went down hard.  Should we call 911?

I can clearly state that un-studded rubber soles worn smooth from too many trips by a cheap ass angler, are not great for steep snow covered hills (without crampons). I would guess that felt would work about the same, but you could not pay me enough to test that theory. To say that I slipped is laughable.  I went down at least a hundred times.  My fly reels looked like giant snow balls.  I slid around like a clown on a banana peel, changed course, post holed up a gully until I hit smooth rock, lost elevation, grabbed some prickly bushes, slid down ten precious feet on an old Bud Light can, froze my fingers, cut my jacket on some barbed wire and finally summited the meager hill, sweating like it was July.  It was great exercise.  When I tell my wife I am going to get some exercise, she gives me that knowing look that say’s; Nice try lazy fisherman.  She has no idea.

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The Post Room

Subzero and Snowing

Friday was the day.  For me, it was the first day since mid November where I just knew it when I went out the door.  I had the innate sense that the fishing was going to be on.  Well, in truth, my sense is partially developed from years of experience and understanding simple patterns.  Seven days of mild, above freezing highs in the middle of winter.  The strong Chinook winds that had been blowing were lying down as the next cold front approached.  The fish have no choice but to take advantage of water a degree or two above the norm, especially with the next arctic blast approaching. And I almost missed it.

Heading toward the Big Belts.

The Drive

 

Friday was my day to clean the house in preparation for my son’s 11th year birthday party, Airsoft Gun war and sleepover on Saturday.  There was also laundry to do among other domestic tasks, plus my own list of business details.  I had better be on time to pick up my wife from school with a Pomegranate Martini ready within moments of her walking in the door.  At 9:30am, I was at my computer, looking at the weather forecast for Craig, MT and thinking that this is it.  Ideal conditions on the water and I’m at home trying to make the right choice.  I flashed on a recent post from Headhunters: “As a general rule, the only bad decisions we make exclude fishing.”  That sealed it.

Missouri River Montana

Can you feel it!

Fish Ahead

The Walk

I threw on my waders and hit the road.  My fishing gear was already loaded and ready for just such an effort.  I grabbed my wife’s new camera that I had purchased for her Christmas present, thinking it would be a good idea to test it out on the Montana landscape and possibly a fish or two.  I had a particular spot in mind.  It was only 35 min away.  I should be able to test the waters, the camera and make it back in time to bust out some chores.

Fish On

Fish On

Missouri River Rainbow

Don't be embarrased.

 

Missouri River in January

Streamer Chomper

Perfect Trout

Perfect Trout

Hardy Bridge

Heading Home

Fish Eye

Your Wife Will Get You!

Within an hour’s time, I cleaned the upstairs bathroom, swept the living room and kitchen, shop vac’ed the hard to reach corners along with the front entryway, shook out the rugs and sugared the rim of a martini glass.  I was at the school entrance by 3:45.  No one even asked about my day.

On Saturday morning, my wife grabbed the camera to film my daughter who was in a vocal competition.  I was busy making final birthday party prep.  When she got home, I got the business.  What were you doing all day yesterday hmmm?

The fishing was just as I expected.  It was almost unfair.  I am still smiling as I look out the window at a cold winter landscape once again.  We’ve had about 4” of snow and the temps are going sub zero again.

I’ve been busy for 24 hours keeping up with the boys, feeding them, cleaning up after them and sending them off and cleaning up again.  I’ll get the laundry done now and I’ll have time to work all day tomorrow on business.  The bruise where my wife pinched me will soon fade.  I made a great decision to go fishing!

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Sockeye spawn in full swing and the trout and dollies are gorging. Sometimes we excercise them with hard boiled eggs.

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First cast for silvers this year in my favorite hole. Fish on! The Cerwinka boys had a great day with some big rainbows, some chrome silvers and litterally dollies by the ton.

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Sometimes we see rainbows that make us just go “Look at this beautiful fish!” Everyone has to stop for a momment and admire one of natures special treasures for the fly fishing trout angler. Here’s one of todays masterpieces.

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38 degrees in the morning. T-shirt by 8:30. Sunny, warm and a savage dolly bite. A few nice rainbows. Tony D got a 29″ beauty. Grown men were playing like little boys in a fishing frenzy. Skilak Lake was glass on the west side. Early fall bliss.

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So far so good for late run sockeye. Daily counts from 50 to 80 thousand fish. The catching is good!

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Had a 20+” rainbow launch right in the boat after the hookup. Sockeye are rolling very well. Daily limits and many released. No brown bears on the river yet, but three in my driveway and another peeking in Stacy’s window. Been cool and cloudy, but that means good fishing weather.

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Missouri River Montana

Missouri River near Craig Montana


Winter is coming back, but in northwest central Montana, we have enjoyed almost two weeks of mild to warm temps. I got out on the Missouri River near Craig Montana for three days of great fishing. The first day I worked a typical nymphing rig on a big seam and landed some nice fish. The next day, I tied on a streamer just for fun and did not change for two days. Despite cold water, the fish really seemed to relish the big bite and streamer fishing was excellent.
I love the tug. The catch was mostly rainbows, but a few browns joined in and even a walleye chomped a big brown leech. Now I’m looking forward to the February thaw and the slide into spring when things get interesting. Time now to get back on the slopes for a few weeks.
Missouri River Montana Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout from Missouri River


Montana Missouri River Brown Trout

Montana Missouri River Brown Trout

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