Monday, December 17, 2007

Montana - Day 2... God's Country

Morning came early… a welcomed early I suppose. We stopped in the local shop, bought some flies and received some info, sipped some Joe and away we went. Unloading the car you could taste the Montana air. It was just as you picture it, crisp, cold and pure, it was good. Arriving at the water, the outside temp was freezing. We shoved off in anticipation of a better day.

Nate picked up a fish on a streamer and Nick banged one nymphing right away. Now nymphing is not my thing, I don't mind it but would rather fly the dry. I find it boring and blind fishing its not very fun for me, because I am no good at it. I'm more of a stalker of fish; sight fishing is more of my thing. Now upon watching the boys toss their weighted rigs and catching fish… I too tossed mine. In no time I was bored and eventually was in tangles… about 5 minutes later : ) But this time I didn't untangle it, instead I swore at it, returned to my toon and sat down in frustration. As fate happens, I happen to look up; there in the early morning stood an old timer way over on the other side. He was just watching the water, rod in hand fly on the keeper. I watched him as I clipped my nymph rig into 5.1 million pieces from utter love. What is he doing I kept thinking. He looked over at me, I waved, he frowned, I gave him the finger and laughed in hysterics… actually I didn't do that. I just smiled bigger and kept waving, but in my head I was thinking a lot more… guy must be from Utah I thought.

We pushed down stream, the entire float I couldn't help but think about the gray bearded fellow. I looked down stream and noticed a nice slow area surrounded by fast water, perfect. Everyone stopped with in eyesight and started fishing. About that time I saw a sipper, I looked closer, dorsal fins! So this is what the old timer is waiting for, are there midges? I positioned my self at the tail of the run, hidden behind a pile of rocks. I made the first cast and got a rejection, changed my angle and again rejected, so I switched flies. To my surprise the same thing happened. I retreated from my crouched stealthy position from behind the rocks. Sat down and thought it through. My conclusion is….???? And I busted out the bunny midge. No fish can resist this fly in a Midge hatch. After casting for 20 minutes and trying to coax a fish into eating the fly I was irritated. Stupid fish and a few other very choice words fish were blurted out : ) Oooh, ooh, wait… got a strike, I set the hook like a Bass Master and lost the fish. Crap, @#%$, *&^%$, that's really not what I said but you get the idea. Size 28 hooks require a more gentle approach to setting the hook, lifting the rod gingerly is probably best. After a few pricks and a few small fish, I was stumped. I scanned the water searching for bugs. I always think that I would use a seine if I had one but I don't ever think to get one when I am at the shop for some reason. All I saw were Midges, tiny Midges, big midges, stuck in the shuck Midges. I was moving around still irritated trying to keep my balance on the slimy bottom when I fell and racket my kneecap right on a rock as I was going down. It hurt so bad, almost like the time when I blew my other knee. I was a little wet but luckily I was all zipped up so I didn't take on water, a little wet though. My knee was throbbing, I was frustrated and really starting to get pissed ( I know getting mad and fishing, but for some reason I was) About the same time I was pondering what rock to pick up to toss in the hole, I saw something. Something so amazing that I just watched it float down stream not thinking of observing it a bit more. After I gathered my self I thought it might be an illusion. Then with parting clouds a beam of light came down and shine upon the…. stupid BWO, what BWO's. No wonder, all the pieces add up, the old man, the rejection of the fish, fish that taste it but don’t eat it and my frustration, if I only had a seine, I am an idiot!! So the next few hours, yes hours the river was in a full-blown hatch. Well, for some great reason we encountered a prolific hatch, big fish were feeding on top as well as the little guys. Soon the entire pool was up side by side. Fish in shallow water were rolling on them sideways. It was unbelievable… it was amazing. All fish are now up and feeding recklessly. At this point everyone manned their station and we stuck fish for the next few hours, working a hole and moving on to the next. Some great fish were caught and some great fish were lost. But it was a fantastic few hours. The fish were a bit picky though but it kept it fun and interesting, not easy though. Actually it was tough fishing. At the end of the day we grouped and discussed the hatch. Some patterns worked for a bit but no single fly killed it. We all went through a ton of patterns that day… a few stood out. One was an emerger that Nick had tied.

Back at the cabin we sat down to dinner and discuss the day. The conclusion was that the fish are keying on the BWO, duh…. but well after the hatch too. Nate busted out the vise and began to go through the less than par tying material we had brought. The hooks were the wrong type and size, the materials were not the right color or type of material etc. The end result was a drowned BWO. Nick sat down and tried to duplicate his go-to pattern, not the right stuff for both flies but they made due. We decided to take our arsenal and market the same run hoping for another prolific hatch.

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