Tuesday, May 23, 2017


The delay since the last post largely has to do with me forgetting my laptop on the last run back uo to Craig. The internet sucks up there anyway, so I probably would have kept my ramblings to a minimum anyway.

The river was crazy crowded this past weekend, but I lucked out with some creative wanderings on Saturday and stumbled upon a much cleaner lower river than I expected. While most of the boats were upstream, we pretty much had it to ourselves on the last day of my MO run. The worm bite was as good as it gets with fish after fish puking earthworms up everywhere on the boats and in my net, Their bellies were distended and they had that look of being totally gorged while being entirely incapable of not eating more.

I headed back on Sunday and ended up making a run down to Ashton for some meetings with some folks with Patagonia and a few other dealers. Lots of cool stuff on the way and a ton of windshield time the last few days.

Windshield time is good for me, helps clear it all out and get things into perspective. There is a ton of snow yet to come out of the mountains and I am grateful to live here, rather than most other places. Lots of work ahead though.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Been back up on the MO since Sunday night. Continues to fish silly well with nymphs but no heads up and streamer fishing is questionable at best. But, if you are into numbers and working water, its's a helluva place to spend the day.
The water is coming up, but so far so good in terms of water conditions and the bite. Rumor has it that more water is coming and that they are expecting flows to be near 10000 by this weekend. Interesting change in where the fish hold and feed as the water is coming up. Although the water changes, the fish are still eating Scuds and Caddis Pupa about 7-8' below the indicator with an AB split shot.
Amazing part of being on the water most days this year is the change that is right in form of my nose, everyday. One day you see a yellow flower, the next day there are 5, and the next day the hillside is covered. Everyday changes so much this time of year, so quickly. To see it is a gift.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Neck deep in the MO right now, like I haven't been in years. Crashing in a borrowed camper, eating brats in the parking lot, tying flies at night and watching the sun go down. Days have been fish-filled, ramp to ramp.
I know that I have flip-flopped more than once on this whole fish guiding thing...I'll probably do it more. So what is what I say. Its not like I'm flip-flopping on whether I like girls or guys! I like being a fly fishing guide right now...a lot. Everyone needs something I guess, I need to be on the water.
Fishing has been really, really good up here the last couple of weeks. Not stupid good, but really good. Scuds and sowbug in the morning with a caddis pupa dropper. Switching to worms and fire beads around 2. Worms probably work all day if you are so inclined.

Sunday, May 07, 2017


Heading back to the Missouri for another week of fun on the water and - I suspect - a whole lot of fish eating. I don't know that the fishing has been any better than any other year so far up there, but it has been pretty damn solid day after day. Wind, sun, clouds, and rain hasn't really seemed to matter so far in terms of the bite.

Plus, the bugs have been thin at most and invisible for the most part. Sure, you can find gobs of Baetis coming off mid-day if you have some clouds, but it hasn't gotten too many fish up. Caddis started flitting around late last week on the lower river, so maybe that will get going more this week and get some fish up. However, looks like this week should be mild so I doubt that will be the case. Maybe the March Browns will get going good though.

It has been great to be back up there after a year off in 2016. Something about that river just feels like a great vacation destination is supposed to feel. Nice to visit, but probably wouldn't want to live there.

In my case, though, it's not really the fishing or the guiding that has been making this so much fun for me. It is the "dudes and dudettes" that I get to share the day with, laughing at bent rods, silly sayings, and shaking my head in awe when they come tight to another hot fish, exploding away from the boat.
Appreciation and gratitude underlie everything for me when I'm immersed in all, day after day.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017


Epic day on the MO today thanks to some great anglers, hungry fish, and amazing rowing skills by yours truly. Just a little bit of a breeze kicked up this afternoon...along with the appearance of a relatively dense BWO hatch. No heads up, but the fish kept eating well enough. Sowbugs, sowbug, and sow bugs with some pink nymphs (Amex) getting most of the action this morning. Inside bends and deep troughs were money money. Fishing 8' with an AB and two tungsten bugs and bite is good.

I was done with all of this last year, but back at it and having more fun than I've had on the sticks in years. Kinda nice...really nice.

Monday, May 01, 2017


Has it really been that long? Time is starting to fly again and that is the one thing that I was hoping to slow down this year, Why must it always got by so damn fast anymore?

Ive been busy the last few weeks nevertheless. Working on the river, around the shop, and doing some family time as well. Probably should be doing more family time than anything else as junior is graduating soon and the little googan will be driving before I know it.

Fishing is a double-edged sword for me though. If I don't fish, I'm no good to be around and if I do fish...I'm not around. I think that I will keep fishing and try to be around when I'm not fishing. Probably won't work though, so I'll just keep fishing and be miserable to be around when I'm not fishing.

Anyway, I'm in Craig for a few weeks, working on the Missouri for my Spring Pilgrimage which I abandoned last year. Turns out that I missed it more than I thought I would and am not nearly as burnt out on guiding as I have been the last couple of years.

Had the chance to fish with my wife and the little googan Saturday and Sunday. They got some fish, enjoyed brief periods of nice weather while testing my ability to speak in kind words with a happy heart. I kind of failed that test, but I did apologize later!

The river is in good shape, coming up a little bit with increased flows. Too high for the wade anglers though and getting to that point where it helps if you've fished it a bunch during higher flows. Midges and BWO's with very few heads up. Give it a couple of days with stable weather and clouds and I bet we see some March Browns and a few heads up in the seams here sooner or later.

Looking forward to the rest of the week for a change though!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 20, 2017

A Long Time Ago it Seems
It was lunchtime in September 2015 on a river in Southwest Montana. The wind was blowing from the North and the Cottonwood leaves were choking the few back-eddies that still had water in them. I don’t remember if there were bugs out or not. I was guiding two of my longtime clients on a day that was dramatically different than the previous twenty something days in a row. There were clouds, we wore waders, I think I even had a jacket and a beanie on around lunchtime. It was a lunch to remember for me.

The bite had been slow in the morning and then we switched to stripping streamers. There for a couple of hours, fish were coming out of everywhere that you always think they should be. Giant white flies, stripped fast and all the way back to the boat. The action was frantic at times.

Sage had just released two new models of fly rods that August, the Bolt and the Accel. They came in at a weird price point ($650) and were based on Graphite V Technology which was relatively outdated by this time. The Bolt is a very fast-action rod while the Accel is more of an “all-purpose” medium-fast action rod. By this time in September that year, I had watched several of my clients make these rods look pretty awesome to fish with, but I was yet to wet a line with one personally. Brenda was fishing the 790 Bolt with an Outbound Short WF/I line from Rio and making it look EZ!

We stopped for lunch just above some froggy water that forms after a little rip-rap pinch on the other side of the river. I told the ladies that I was going to make a few casts and swing a fly around a bit while they ate lunch and relaxed out of the wind. Three or four casts later and about 80’ out, something serious tugged the Goldie midway through the swing. It came tight, jumped, and took line with fury. Brenda grabbed my net and came down to help me land the fish, which turned out to be an honest to goodness 25” of Brown Trout. I decided that I liked the rod pretty well at that moment.

For whatever reason, these two line of rods have not been overly popular. I’ve fished them both a lot over the last two years and am always just thrilled with how well they fish and their durability. They are light in hand, have unique finishes, and really handle line well both in the air and on the water. They are both USA made and have lifetime warranties to the original owners. They are worth a look if you are looking to step up to a premium fly rod, but that $800 price point is out of the question. These two rods are nicer than many other companies high-end rod choices, to be honest.

From April 21-April 30, you can save 15% on the purchase of any Bolt or Accel in our fly shop or our online store. It’s rare to see a promotion like this at this stage in the season out west, so give it some thought and check these rods out. We are well stocked with a wide range of size offerings, so we probably have just the rod you are looking for. If you need a reel to go with them, we also are offering 15% off the Sage 3200 series of fly reels during the last 10 days of April.