Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back To The Blog

Like I say after swinging flies for 3 or 4 hours and finally hooking up with a fish “It’s about damn time!”. It has been a while since I wrote in this blog and I don’t have any good excuse except I just didn’t feel like it. Since I last wrote (or posted if you want to be more in tune with modern terminology which I don’t) a lot has gone on around here. I have been at my new job since August of 2011, our rental property was jacked off the foundation and a new basement put under it, my daughter and two grandson’s lived with us from January through August since they are our tenants and needed a place to live while the new foundation was being put in place, I spent a lot of time on the MO fishing of course, numerous boxes of cigars have been consumed along with numerous bottles of bourbon, my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by fishing the Yellowstone river and playing golf in Livingston, MT. which was incredible since we managed to be present for the first stone fly hatch on that river in seven years, and I went on my fourth steelhead fishing trip after not being able to go the last 3 seasons which resulted in catching my second steelhead (a thirty one inch fish).

Fishing on the MO this year was incredible since we finally had a normal water year after four high water years. It was a stellar dry fly year. The drift boat is still going strong, and I haven’t used my Watermaster kick boat since I bought the drift boat. The fish in the MO have regained their moxy with their return to making long powerful runs when hooked as evident by two fish taking me into my backing and several others taking me to my backing. We’ll see what next year brings. I didn’t spend as much time as I was planning fishing the river below Craig but did make several floats below Craig. I met a new fishing partner and we have fished together twice.

This weekend we are going elk hunting together. We’ll see how that goes. He has proven an excellent fishing partner (which means he rows at least half the time and does a good job of it). However I am suspicious of his willingness to share his elk hunting honey hole with me. I think he may just want someone to help get his elk out. That’s a small price to pay though if I also get an elk. At the least maybe he will share some of the meat. I consider hunting season a pain in the ass since it starts in October and occurs during some of the best time to fish the MO.

I am contemplating another steelhead trip maybe in February or March. I ventured to a new river for steelhead this year. Instead of fishing the Clearwater River I drove another eighty miles to the Grande Rhone River in Washington. A couple of guides I talked to at Headhunters fly shop recommended it saying that the catch rate would be better. I only caught the one fish, but it took me three years to catch my first fish on the Clearwater so I can’t complain too much. I met some great guys there and saw a lot of new country.

My cigar is almost done and the coffee (no not bourbon it is morning and I have to go to work soon) is getting cold so I will call this good for my first post in a while. I do plan to start posting again on a regular basis but no guarantees. Here’s to hunting season ending and a return to winter fishing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Float of 2012

I’ve been fishing off and on all winter, but last Sunday was my first outing with the drift boat since probably late November or early December. It was a windy day on the MO which is usually the case in March but it was good to get the boat out again. I diverted from my norm and floated from Craig down stream to Stickney Creek. For many years I have fished from Holter dam to Craig with the occasional float below Craig. This year I am planning to get to know the water below Craig better. Things started out a little slow which isn’t surprising this time of year with water temps at 36 degrees, but I was hoping for more of what I experienced the previous weekend which was incredible. Once I got on the right fly (an olive wooly bugger with black hackle and tail) I killed them. Well not really I did release them. The thing that pissed me off was there was a guy 100 yards down stream form me that had a fish on every time I looked up. I changed flies a couple of times trying to get it right but hadn’t found the right one yet. Then he finally got tired of hauling in fish and started walking back toward me along the bank. I had waded in to the bank and was again changing flies and trying to get some feeling in my feet. He stopped and showed the fly he’d been using which was a black bugger. He gave me one and wished me luck. I tied his fly on and picked up a couple of fish but still didn’t do as well as he did. This was probably because I was following him in the run and was fishing the water he had just fished 15 or 20 minutes before. I decided to break for lunch and a cigar then went to a different spot I had wanted to try. I tied on the olive and black bugger and after a few casts was in the game with a fish on every 3 to 5 casts. This last Sunday however it was not quit as good. There was still plenty of action as I was getting lots of strikes but for some reason wasn’t hooking up very often. The wind got worse and the day wore on and I was just about ready to bag it and head for the take out when the wind died down to almost dead calm and I started fishing a run I never tried before and  had several tugs and managed to hook up with a few of them. Finally the sun was getting low and some storm clouds were getting close so I called it a day. It was still calm and quiet. I opened a bottle of Fat Tire and lit a cigar then headed to the take out. It was a perfect ending to a challenging day of being battered by constant wind. After loading the boat I drove to Head Hunters to pay my shuttle bill. When I got there they were just closing up so I said I would catch them next time I came through. They know I can’t stay away long. Then the young daughter of one of the owners (about 8yrs old) looked up at me with eyes the size of silver dollars and excitedly informed me in no uncertain terms that she caught 15 fish that day which her mother quickly confirmed. I told here she would have to teach me how to catch fish some time. It was great to see someone so young get so excited about fishing instead of video games. It did an old fisherman’s heart good and gave me a little hope that maybe in 20 or 30 years there will still be some body around to give a shit about our rivers and the fish in them. If the wind isn’t to bad maybe I will get out and chase some leprechauns on the river then at Joe’s in Craig.

Best wishes & good fishing

Monday, January 23, 2012

A return from a two year hiatus and the birth of a new fly

Yep! You read right. I have returned to fly tying after a two year dry spell the result of a remodeling project several years in the making which has resulted in the invention of a new fly. You may have heard of the streamer called the Butt Monkey and the streamer called Krafty’s Kreelex, well this new fly derives its name from a combination of the names of these two flies and me trying to tie a fly I have never tied using material I have never used after two years of not tying a single fly. I have dubbed it the “Butt Ugly Kreelex”. The recipe for this fly is identical to that of Krafty’s Kreelex added is the feeble effort of a so so so fly tier. I have progressed with remodeling my den far enough to again be able to get to my fly tying bench and was looking forward to spending some quality time at the vise. Last year I had ridiculous success fishing the Krafty’s Kreelex on the MO until my favorite fly shop (Headhunters) sold me the last of their supply of said fly. None of the other fly shops in the immediate vicinity carried said fly so I have had to make due with other less ridiculously effective flies. After finding the recipe for Krafty’s Kreelex on the web and seeing a video demonstrating how simple this pattern is to tie I figured it would be no problem to whip out a dozen or two, the result being three “Butt Ugly Kreelexs”. Another result being the discovery that instructional videos while instructional are deceiving with regards to level of difficulty. My first attempt with to light a thread resulted in breaking the thread several times, cutting all material away with an exacto knife, and driving across town to acquire thread a bit to thick. The second attempt resulted in a really butt ugly kreelex. The third and fourth attempt, with the aid of bourbon and a cigar showed moderate improvement with some concern for the combination of a lit cigar and copious amounts of head cement. Not to mention the intoxicating effect of inhaling head cement and drinking copious amounts of bourbon. I’m am still unsure if the slightly noted improvements in the fly where a result of gaining experience or the use of good bourbon and tobacco. The flies would never catch a fly fisher looking to buy some flies but I suspect they will catch trout. As is the case with most, if not all, of my fly tying efforts these flies will never be the subject of macro photography or other forms of public display but will under go extensive field testing. Final judgment is in the mouths of the fish.