Archive for the ‘Spey’ Category

Trout Spey in MontanaThe 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.


KK battles a chomper

KK with a chomper

Traveling to the next T Spey zoneT-Spey'd

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.

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Spey caught walleye


After too many weeks of excuses due to cold weather, youth hockey games, honey dos and life’s details, I just needed to get on the water.  Sam Wike from the Big R Fly Shop had recently hired Justin Olson from Reno to come out and work in Montana.  Sam texted me late on Monday night; “Are you fishing tomorrow?”  Apparently, Justin was available and needed to visit his new home water.  I decided that yes, I am fishing tomorrow, even though my thermometer still registered single digits.  I’m not a wimp when it comes to cold weather fishing; I just hate it when my line freezes constantly.  At some point though, you just have to suck it up and go or you might be waiting until spring.

I picked up Justin at about 9:30 and we drove south up the Missouri.  It was a balmy 22 degrees when we got to Craig, so maybe the deep freeze was lifting.  We got on the water a little before 11 after stopping at Headhunters to get the fishing report.  Mark Raisler suggested we nymph pink stuff (a Missouri River curiosity that is very effective) like Czech Nymphs and Lightning Bugs, but we wanted to throw streamers.  Last year at the same time, I had fantastic action fishing slow water with a variety of strip leeches.  Justin showed up with an impressive group of big streamers and tales of huge Nevada Cutthroat and Browns.  He rigged up a shooting head and I decided to swing with a 6wt Spey and floating line.

When it’s really cold, fishing the spey rod is nice, because on the swing, you can alternate a hand in either pocket.  I like to swing from moderate current into almost dead water and then retrieve about half the cast back in.  I had a quick tight line grab on the swing and then hooked a rainbow on the retrieve.  I was fishing a white bunny leech that I have found effective for fewer but often larger fish than the darker colors.  After a few more swings, I had a solid grab and was expecting a golden flanked brown trout.  Instead, I soon found myself staring into the crystalline marbled eye of a very fat walleye.  Staring into that eye really took me back.  I can remember how those eyes seemed to glow with a wild consciousness, that captivated me as a young boy fishing Boulder Lake in northern Wisconsin.

There is a debate going on right now about Walleye below Holter Dam.  Recently, the Montana FW&P Commission set a “no limit” regulation on walleye from Holter Dam to Cascade Bridge and a “20 daily/40 in possession” limit from Cascade Bridge to Black Eagle Dam. These regulations were the result of a growing concern from trout anglers that the walleye population is rising and could impact the trout population.  I heard from two FW&P Biologists at a recent Missouri River Fly Fishers meeting on the subject.  Their data, though not conclusive, suggests that the walleye population is modest and increases and decreases with water volume along the same lines as the trout.  {“0………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….” Quote from my spoiled cat O’Malley who wants some salmon.}  They do not feel there is a big concern at the present time and the new regs are an overreaction.  From a few radio tagged fish, it is notable that some walleye move up to Holter Dam in the winter, but after spawning, they move downstream and spend the bulk of the season below Cascade.  Walleye are not native to Montana and thought to have been illegally planted in Canyon Ferry (upstream).  I don’t believe in “Bucket Biology”, but the current fishery is now solid and enhanced.  As there will always be some fish carried over the dams, they are likely here to stay.  My motto is “Any fish, anytime, on the fly.”, so I hope to hook a few more.  I might even fry one up.  It’s been a long time.

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I support Ross Reels, because they are based in Colorado, stay in touch with the fly fishing public and guides, provide exceptional customer service, and make great products.

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An updated version of the Evolution series with all metal exterior components and improved sound. Fishes great and sounds sweet!

RossTec® rod and reel cases

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Balance adjustable reel arm

A fully adjustable reel arm to accomplish prefect balance between a rod and reel

Reach® spey rods

Spey rods ranging from 6wt. through 9wt., designed by soulful spey junkies for all types of water.  I purchased the 6wt and I like it!

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Complete youth fly fishing outfits with instructional DVD by Tyler Befus

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Complete fly fishing outfits with instructional DVD by Mel Krieger

New Fly Reel Colors

New grey and green color options for the CLA and Vexsis reel series

New Durable Fly Reel Finish

New AGP finish is incredibly strong and more durable than any finish on competitive reels

AND don’t forget… all Ross products now come with a lifetime warranty, including all Essence FS and Journey Youth fly rods!

The weather sucks in Montana right now, but if all goes well, Brian Neilsen and I will float the MO for one last time on Wednesday, before I head for AK.  My Yukon is getting tuned up right now.  Not looking forward to the bill.

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I spent about six hours in the Missouri River near Craig, Montana with various fly rods in my hands and nothing but yarn on the leaders.  The day was in the mid 50s with moderate breezes.  A perfect spring day for fishing.  The trout got a break that day as all of us would otherwise have been hard at work to exercise some .  We were in the river to learn from Bruce Berry.  Bruce works with and reps for Beulah Rods and did a great job showing some single handers how to make several spey casts.  By the end of the day, all were launching lines across the river and smiling with anticipation of future swings with actual flies on the leaders.

Bruce Berry Spey Casting In Montana

Bruce Berry on the MO

Bruce was invited by Sam Wike from the Big R Fly Shop in Great Falls.  Bruce tied some steelhead flies and gave a fine technical presentation on all the rod and line styles for switch and spey for the monthly meeting of the Missouri River Fly Fishers last Thursday.  On Friday he got to fish with Kris Keller who works at Big R and Saturday and Sunday were spey clinics.  We hope he had fun in Great Falls and will come back next year.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the 11′ 7″ 5 wt Platinum Series Trout Spey from Beulah.

Got another email from Stacy in Baja today.  He spent 5 days on the East Cape running down the rooster and fished with Jeff Debrown of thereelbaja.com for a couple days.  Stacy has been catching some roosters, but is still trying for the holly grail Grande.  I am sure it won’t be long before I hear about it.

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