Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Great Year

2011 was quite the year. A year of discovery, exploration, and most of all, learning. I think I've learned more about fly fishing this year than any other. Part of what I've done for the past few years is record everything about the year. That includes every fish, where it was caught, size of the fish, and technique used. I figured since fly fishing is such a big part of my life, why not record everything about it?


Stats

- 726 fish
- Approximately 141 days of fishing
- 14 new native brook trout streams discovered
- 32 new waters fished
- Best Month: September, 194 fish
- Biggest fish: Coho Salmon, 33", Quilcene River, WA
- Favorite River: Blackfoot River, MT
- Favorite Fly: San Juan Worm

             
          -Season Records- 

- Native Brook Trout: 13 inches, NY
- Rainbow: 20 inches, Missouri River, MT
- Cuttbow: 19 inches, Clark Fork River, MT
- Brown Trout: 24 inches, NY
- Westslope Cutthroat: 18 inches, N. Fork Blackfoot River, MT
- Bull Trout: 29 inches, Blackfoot River, MT
- Whitefish: 20 inches, Missouri River, MT
- Landlocked Salmon: 21 inches, NY
- Coho Salmon: 33 inches, Quilcene River, WA
- Lake Trout: 19 inches, NY



Fish of the Year

Blackfoot River Bull Trout


Photo of the Year

Chris Stiles releasing a nice Adirondack Brown


Trip of the Year

Chaffin Lakes Camping Trip


2011 is a year that I will never forget, especially because I moved to the fly fishing capital of the United States in August to attend the University of Montana. I've had the privilege of fishing some of the country's greatest rivers, while attending a very prestigious University. I also had the privilege of meeting some great people who became friends that I hope I will be able to fish with for the rest of my life.

I'm looking forward to exploring more great water in the west in the next year and I can only hope that 2012 turns out to be as good as 2011 did. I want to thank all of you who read the blog, and hope that you'll continue reading about my fishing experiences. They're only going to get better.

I'd like to give a special thanks to my friends Chris Gratton, Cody Melchior, Riley Fitting, Garret Visser, Cameron Best, Chris Lider, Connor Wing, Dave Falldin, Chris Stiles, and Tom Martiny for making this a great year of Fly Fishing.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year, best of luck for 2012, and of course, a great year of fishing!

                        - Alec Underwood

Friday, December 30, 2011

Variety

Today Chris and I fished the same small pond that we've been fishing for the past couple of days. This time, we decided to fish a different section of the pond that I've never fished before. I was hoping for a big pike in the very shallow section of the pond. In the first hour and a half we had a couple flags and landed a couple nice pike; a 19 incher for me and about a 24 inch fish by Stiles.


After the bite slowed down we started drilling holes to jig for perch. We worked our way along the shoreline and to a deep drop off near a point. The first hole I drilled near the point produced a really nice hit immediately. The fish felt pretty decent and I fought it for a while on the lightweight jig rod. I was surprised to find that it was a nice smallmouth bass.


Chris landed a nice smallie along the same drop off a few minutes later.


Before we left to get back to our base, I landed one more nice smallie on the drop off. It was cool to see smallmouths biting through the ice. These past couple of days have been different for me because I'm not so used to catching bass through the ice. Its a ton of fun though. When we returned to our main area we had a flag go off three times in a row. What we believe to be a very large pike first stole our bait, then broke the hook off and finally came back one more time to steal another bait, all on the same tip up within a 15 minute time period. It was really frustrating and we were pissed that we missed the fish three times in a row. Was it just a smart fish? Who knows.

I did end up getting what I wanted for the day; a nice pike. I had set up a tip up in very shallow water early in the day and it finally went off around 12:30. The fish really put up a fight and gave me a run for my money by making several short, powerful runs that were dangerously close to breaking the leader. I managed to land the fish though, a chunky 26 inch pike.



The day ended with a decent largemouth who took about 75 yards of line out before I set the hook on him.


Overall it was a good day of variety with 4 bass and 3 pike. I'm glad that I now know the area we fished today will produce fish. No 40 inch pike today, but its only a matter of time before I land one around 40 inches. In 2010 I landed a 33 inch pike and I've had even bigger fish on before. I know that if I put in the time, I'm going to land the fish I've been looking for. Tomorrow is not looking good with freezing rain and snow showers. However, if the weather lets up at all, I'll be out there on the ice.

COMING TOMORROW:   Year in Review- The best of 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Icing Up

Last night it was about 5 degrees here in upstate NY. Even though we got some rain on Wednesday, the cold temps iced everything back up and everything was solid today. Chris and I headed over to Brant lake around 8am to see if there was fishable ice. We found a nice solid layer of ice that was smooth as can be. However, it just wasn't thick enough to fish on(about 2 and a half inches).


I headed back home to fish my lake for the day with the bait that I had left from the past couple of days. I was disappointed that I got a late start and it was a slow first hour. I missed a couple fish and also had 2 fish break me off. I think I'll be changing all my leaders tonight to prevent that from happening again. I did manage to land a couple fish in the next hour or so.The first was a 19 inch pike and the second was about 23 inches.





Once noon hit, I decided to switch things up and put a couple tip ups deep for some perch. I used smaller minnows and I was surprised when I got a flag in some deeper water. I set the hook on the fish and it felt like a decent one. I knew it wasn't a pike but I didn't know exactly what it was. It ended up being a nice largemouth bass, the first one I've landed ice fishing.



The last couple hours of fishing was pretty slow with only a couple missed fish. Tomorrow I'll be changing up my strategy and positioning my lines on another area of the pond. I want a big pike tomorrow and I have a perfect place to try for one. We'll see how it goes. Other ponds will be fishable soon, for the cold temps are causing lots of ponds to ice solid.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ESOX

The first day of ice fishing this season turned out to be a good one. Chris and I were on the ice by 8am. the first hour and a half was a busy one with about 7 flags. We landed a couple nice pike with the biggest being about 22 inches.




Things shut down for a while after the first couple of hours but then heated back up from noon to 2 pm when the sun came out. We landed 3 more fish with all of them being 12-20" in length.




video

Overall it was one of the best days I've ever had on the pond we were fishing. It was a busy day too and I think the longest that I actually sat down for was about 20 minutes. The rest of the time we were running for flags and changing bait. To top it all off, it was a nice day out. Its official, the ice fishing season is finally here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ice is Here

The original plan this morning was to go and troll the open waters of Brant Lake. Chris and I didn't find too much open water at all. In the past couple of days, Brant has made ice like crazy and about half of the lake has a full freeze. The ice still isn't quite safe enough to fish on but it'll only be a few more days.


Plan B was Schroon Lake. We got there and found not much ice. We decided to give it a go. An eagle payed us a visit overhead within the first 15 minutes and t
hats just about the best thing we came across for the hour or so that we trolled. No hits, no fish. Still it was was no doubt a beautiful day on the water. The sun kept us comfortable and from being cold.


Tried out the new GoPro Hero 2 when we were on the water. It did not fail to impress. Check out this short clip on youtube....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY3ryDtBA-8

Stopped on the way home and found fishable ice. Chris and I will be out tomorrow morning early for the first ice fishing of the winter!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Its been a great Christmas already. I really only asked for two things for Christmas and I was happy that I was able to get both of them. A 9' 6wt. Hydros from Orvis and an HD Hero2 GoPro camera.




I have already tested the camera and its pretty amazing. Within the next year I plan on making my very own fly fishing documentary. Time to get started!

I also checked the ice on Tripp lake today. I was able to stand on it and drill a hole (although the ice did crack). I didn't break through though and there was just under 2 inches of ice. Still going to be a few days before I can get out on the ice and actually fish.

Merry Christmas to everyone and best of luck if you're out on the water today.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cold Day to Fish

Chris Stiles and I headed up to the Indian River today to try and hook into any hold-overs left from the stocking done this year. Usually there is a chance to hook one, even during the cold northeastern winter. It was no doubt a freezing day to fish. The low temperature last night was 6 degrees and even when Chris and I got to the river the temperature was only 16 degrees. However, the sun was out and it was a nice day. The water was a little high but we decided to give it a go. We both had double nymph rigs and split shot to dredge the pools below the dam.


Chris began fishing the first big eddy below the dam while I went downstream and started nymphing a nice seam. It only took a few minutes for my guides to begin freezing up. I didn't have any chapstick but my line didn't hold up to bad through the guides anyway. I fished down the entire run with nothing but a few snags on the bottom. I watched Chris fish the same seam that I did and then we decided that our time would be better spent if we started looking for a few ponds that are ice fishable.


The rest of the day we checked out a few waters including Brant and Schroon lake only to be disappointed that there wasn't fishable ice. The lake that we found the most ice on was actually Tripp lake (in my back yard), which had about and inch and a half of ice. I'd say its only a few more cold days until we'll be able to ice fish. Until then though, I think I'll be trolling a few of the local open lakes with streamers for landlocked salmon.

It was a good day on the water, even though Chris or I didn't hook up with any fish. It was the first time I've fished with him since August and it was good to be back on the water with my fishing buddy. I'm going to try and get out to fish tomorrow and hopefully will get a Christmas fish or two.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thanks Rain

I wasn't sure what the water levels and clarity of Lewis Creek would be like after the rain that we got yesterday throughout the northeast. I knew we had gotten a decent amount of rain, but I haven't spent enough time on VT water to be able to tell what the conditions would be like. Nevertheless, Tom and I were out the door of my sisters house by 9 am and headed for the stream in search of some lake run steel.

View of the Adirondacks from VT


We got to the river around 10am and rigged up. I had my 7 wt. with me, equipped with my brand new power taper wonderline. This morning before we headed out, I tried casting the new line in the field. I managed to cast almost the entire line (appox. 80 ft). I was very excited to actually get the line in the water. I had my 7wt set up for nymphing and my other rod with a full sinking line for streamers. Tom also had his rod set up for swinging flies.



It was no surprise that the water was high and dirty when we reached the stream. We decided to fish a section that I haven't fished before and found a very nice pool immediately. Tom may have had one strike in the pool but he wasn't sure if it was a take or bottom. I headed downstream and couldn't find any nice water. We headed back up to the car and then to the falls.

Before I grabbed my chest pack to head down the bank to the falls, a Vermont Guide stopped his car and jokingly says to me "Man you must have some pretty high expectations today." Yeah you could say that. Truth was I really didn't have any expectations of even hooking into a fish today. I was very happy to just be out on the water.

I stood at the falls for a long time looking for any fish trying to pass. Nada. Tom fished the pool with a flashy streamer and I followed up with a different color. No fish, no strikes.


We drove upstream a ways and fished one more section for a little while with no results. Although conditions were pretty bad, it was still a beautiful day on the water. It was about 45 degrees and there was even some midges hatching here and there. I was somewhat disappointed that I couldn't get Tom hooked up with a fish from the Northeast. I think that if it hadn't rained, one of us would have hooked up with a fish.

I've had a nice couple days in VT and I look forward to coming back in the coming weeks. Hopefully water flows will be closer to normal when I return. As for NY, still no ice. Chris Stiles and I should be headed somewhere to fish very soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vermont

Today Tom, Kate and I headed over to Vermont to visit my other sister Alison and her husband Jamie. We all had a nice time visiting them. Tomorrow I'll be taking Tom to Lewis creek, a Lake Champlain Tributary with lake run steelhead and Landlocked Salmon. The water level is up a little bit from the rain that we got today. However, I just cant wait to get out on the water. Any fish tomorrow will just be a bonus. Hopefully either Tom or I can hook up with one of the feisty steelhead that are moving up Lewis Creek. Reports have been pretty good lately and we'll probably be swinging some flashy colored streamers. This rain will also help to move some fish into the system. Stay tuned for a full report on tomorrows fishing.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home at Last

My flights were all on time yesterday and I got to the airport around 9:15pm. I was very tired from the long day of traveling. Today I mostly hung out with my brother and sister, and relaxed. It feels good to be home. I also got a chance to stop by and see my fishing buddy Chris Stiles today. We discussed fishing and life. But mostly fishing. There is almost a full layer of ice on my lake (it all formed last night) and if we get a few more days that were as cold as yesterday, I should be able to ice fish very soon. More updates to come on when and where I'll be headed.

Missoula after takeoff


Friday, December 16, 2011

Grizzlies vs. Sam Houston St.

Catch the grizzlies on ESPN tonight as they continue their NCAA playoff run in the national semi-final against the Sam Houston St. Bearkats. Kickoff starts at 7:05pm CT (8pm EST). Should be a great game. Hopefully the Grizzlies can defeat the No. 1 seed Sam Houston(who is undefeated), and make the National title game.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FINALS

I'm not gonna lie, I have not fished for the past few days because...its finals week. It's gone well so far and I'm done with 2 finals, with 3 to go. However, tomorrow is the big day with my Chemistry and math finals. I've studied pretty hard today and come up with some really elaborate 'cheat sheets'(note sheets), that we are allowed to use for the finals.


Got to take a nice break in between studying today and go downtown in Missoula with some friends to eat lunch. I must admit I haven't completely explored the city that I now live in and it was nice to eat at a new place and see more of Missoula. We saw a funny sign along the way.


What I have noticed in Missoula, is that the city has no problem with expressing its love for fly fishing.



Only 2 more days and then I'm headed home to NY. Reports from my fishing buddy Chris Stiles are not too promising. Still not enough ice to fish on so I think we'll be fishing moving water until the ice gets thick enough. Not that I have a problem with that. As long as I'm fishing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Best 3 Quotes Ever

Here are a few quotes from Norman Maclean's book A River Runs Through It, probably one of the best books you will ever read. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do. You don't need to enjoy fly fishing in order to love this book. It'll make you think about everything; and I mean Everything. Now living in Missoula, I have a better understanding of these quotes. The first one is true, the second is how I like to think, and the last one is what you make of it.

“The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.”

“All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren't noticing which makes you see something that isn't even visible.”

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”





                          - Norman Maclean

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Clark Fork 12/11

Had an icy afternoon yesterday on the Clark Fork. I fished an access about 20 miles upstream of Missoula, hoping that there would not be as much ice compared to the lower river. Turns out there was just as much ice. I had a pretty tough time getting a vertical drift with my nymphs.


I fished for a while and couldn't manage to hook up with any fish. I spent the next half hour sitting on the bank. It was a nice day on the stream, even though I could barely fish.



Friday, December 9, 2011

ESPN in Missoula

Tonight the Griz play in the NCAA quarterfinals against the 5th seed Northern Iowa. ESPN has been setting up for past couple of days and they have even brought lights. The game will be the first night game in the stadium this year and it should be a great game. Last night they tested the lights, giving all of us a preview of what Washington-Grizzly stadium will look like for the game.


Catch the game on ESPN at 6pm MST(8pm EST for all you easterners back home), and look for a bunch of us to be near the front rows of the student section. We'll have a Canadian blanket to support #26 Jordan Canada. But mostly, to stay warm (it'll be under 20 degrees for the game).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Clark Fork

Even though conditions on the lower Clark Fork have been a bit icy/slushy, today's weather couldn't be passed up. It was a crystal clear day with temps in the mid 30's as Chris and I headed to an access that we've been fishing at for the past month. Its deep, slow runs provide perfect water for winter fish. We got to the river around 2:15. I headed right down to my run that I've consistently been catching fish in. Surprisingly there weren't too many floating ice chunks (far less than down near Missoula) and it didn't feel too cold out. I fished the top end of the run with no takes and then came to the steep drop off where I have always manage into a fish. Sure enough a few drifts later with a san juan worm and I had a take. I set the hook into what felt like a log. The fish quickly jolted downstream. Some big head shakes, and I knew it was a decent fish. I didn't think it was that big of a fish and as I tried to horse the fish to the shallows I started to realize that it was actually a really nice fish. The fish wasn't budging so I let the fight play out and the fish began to tire. I brought the fish into the shallows just as Chris had reached me. This is when I noticed how fat this fish was. It was a very wide and chunky fish and had some length to it also. To top it all off the fish was beautiful, speckled with hundreds of bold black spots, a huge pink stripe, red gill plates and white tipped fins. The upper scales near the back of the fish showed up gold in the setting sun. 




Numb fingers and toes were ignored as I slipped the fish into the icy water and watched as it jetted off into the depths where I hooked it. It was a great moment. I was glad that Chris had showed up when he did because I wanted a picture with the fish. I returned to the same deep run and put my san juan worm right along the same drop off. A few casts later and I was hooked up again with a small whitefish.

Immediately after I released it, Chris was hooked up with a fish in the head of the run. It was his first December fish in Montana, although it was a whitefish. However, a fish is a fish and Chris was happy.

Chris fighting his first December fish

We fished the same run for a while and then decided to head back up to the car. Our guides were freezing up good and the temperature was dropping quickly. We both took a section of the long bridge pool and had a couple missed takes. It was a great day on the water and a successful one at that. I don't know why, but that Cuttbow that I caught today was a very memorable fish. Then again, I say that about most of fish that I catch. I think I'm at the point in my life where every fish is a memorable one, no matter what the size, type, or color. And that's is what I've come to realize in fly fishing....every fish is perfect, in its very own way.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Ice/ Learning to Tie

Still plenty of ice chunks in the Clark Fork today as the temps only reached about 33 degrees. It was actually a pretty warm day compared to the past couple of weeks, but its still keeping the ice plates together.


During this hiatus from fishing, I've been teaching Chris how to tie flies. He's learning very quickly and has tied almost every day since I began teaching him. His dry flies are already looking pretty good and the next step will be for him to learn how to tie a wide variety of patterns to fill up his fly boxes.

Photo Credit : Dave Falldin



Getting Icy

I was debating going fishing today on the Clark Fork and was glad that I didn't. I headed down to the river with Cameron and a few other friends to check out the ice flows. It was literally a giant slushy. There were lots of ice chunks and there was quite a bit of ice build up on the banks of the river. Not sure how it is upstream, but I think its probably pretty similar and probably tough to fish in. Until the ice chunks stop flowing, there won't be any fishing for me.



Clark Fork ice buildup

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Surprise on the Clark

I fished the same section that I've been fishing on the Clark Fork this afternoon and had a nice surprise. I didn't waste any time when I got to the river and I made my way downstream to a nice deep, slow run where I've had success lately. I fished it for a little while with no strikes. I nymphed a little deeper in the run and got hit right on the edge of the drop off. I set the hook on a decent fish. I played it for a while until I could clearly see the fish. I was confused at first because it was a very dark colored fish. Then as the fish came closer I could tell it was a bull trout. It was quite the nice surprise from the Clark Fork. It was about a 16 inch bully and it had taken my san juan worm pattern. I snapped a couple pics really quick and returned the fish ASAP.




The fish had basically destroyed my fly but I kept it on and fished the same drop off. A few steps downstream and a few casts later and I was hooked up again, this time with a beautiful Cuttbow of about 15 inches, which also took the san juan.




I nymphed the run for a while longer and then called it quits. It was a beautiful day on the river with no clouds at all and not as cold as I expected. The fish were active also. Just another day in paradise.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Slowing Down

Its getting progressively colder here in the Missoula area and the fishing is also. I've been out a few times this week and have been skunked twice. The fish are definitely becoming less active and nymphing is now basically the only productive technique. I'll probably continue fishing on warmer days but for the most part I'll be focusing on finishing up my first semester of college. I'm very excited to head back to NY and see my family and friends. The weather there is still very warm and the ice reports from my fishing buddy Chris Stiles are not very good. There is literally no ice on the lakes or ponds right now and I'm hoping by the time that I get home there is at least fishable ice somewhere nearby.

I'd also like to get over to Vermont to see my sister Alison and my brother-in-law Jamie as well as my cousins. I might even get to fish a little with Chris, who lives in Northern Vermont.

My sister Kate and her boyfriend Tom, who I had the pleasure to fish with in Idaho a few months ago (see post: Great Weekend In Idaho, September), will also be visiting NY to see the family. I hope I'll be able to take Tom out on the ice and put him on some big upstate NY northern pike.

So many people to see in one month. I feel like I'll be pretty busy seeing everyone. Still, my goal is to have a relaxing break seeing family, friends and sitting on a bunch of frozen ponds, freezing my ass off. Some fish would also be nice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wish I Was a Fisherman

Clark Fork Afternoon

Just hit the Clark Fork near campus for a few hours in between classes. I nymphed some nice looking water. Nada! At least its warm out (about 44 right now). I'll take all these warm days that I can get. Tomorrow's looking warm also. Later in the week however, its a different story. Temps on Thursday and Friday will be in the low 20's for a high. Not really looking forward to getting out on the water when its that cold.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Clark Fork in Good Condition

I fished the Clark fork today with Chris and had a pretty decent couple hours of fishing. We fished a section where I've gotten into a couple of fish lately. The section has some nice slow moving runs that are great for nymphing. I tied up some of my very own san juan worm patterns for today, made out of a pretty natural looking material. The fish found it pretty natural looking also.

We got to the access around noon. I left my boots in Chris's car overnight and had to smash the ice out of them. Before I could even get in the water Chris was hooked up with a fish, but the hook pulled out. I headed down to the run where I missed a big brown on Thanksgiving day. On the way I missed a fish and also broke off both flies. I wasn't having the best day so far. I fished through the nice run with no hits. I crossed the river and began to walk down the right bank fishing small pockets along the way. Then I came across a nice deep run that looked perfect for nymphing. I drifted my nymphs right along the edge of the sandy/gravel drop off and got nailed on the first cast. It was a nice colored up cuttbow of about 14 inches.




The fish had taken my san juan worm, and I was happy that I caught something on my own pattern. I went right back to the same spot. I set the hook on a fish but lost him after about a 5 second fight. I took a few steps downstream and hooked up again, this time with a rainbow that was about 10 inches. By this time the materials of the pattern that I tied were being destroyed. The chenille was falling apart but I was still getting strikes. I tied on a new one and headed downstream. I found another nice riffle run and fished through it. I ended up snapping my last san juan worm off towards the tail end of the run. My feet were pretty numb and my hands were cold also, even though I had gloves on. I decided to head back upstream towards the car. While I was waiting for Chris I managed one whitefish in the pool near the access.

Overall it was a good day and I've really come to like that section. The only thing that was bad was my feet. I'm bringing out the wool socks now (which I should have done back in October). I don't think I actually had feeling in my toes until a few hours after we got back to campus. Winter is no doubt here, even though there is a lack of snow.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Successful Thanksgiving

My cousin Willie came up from Colorado to join me for thanksgiving break. On Wednesday Chris and I showed him our basic day to day lives. We headed up to Rock Creek for a few hours to try and hook into some fish. It was unusually warm on Wednesday (almost 50 degrees), and I was excited to see if I could hook into anything. We drove about 15 miles upstream until we hit a section of the road that was pure ice. We were sliding a bunch and once we found a forest service guy sanding the road and he explained to us that a car basically slid off the road and flipped over the other day, we decided to turn back. We found a nice section downstream and gave it a go. I decided to nymph for the day. A lightning bud and san juan worm were my flies of choice. It was the first time I've used a san juan worm out west and it really worked well. I had a couple of strikes in the first run we went to. Although it was warm, the edges of the creek were pretty iced up. It was easy fishing right off the ice and I didn't have to get in the water at all.


After fishing the section for a while we headed back to the car and went downstream further. Garret showed up to join us. We found an access out of the way from the main road and began fishing it. I hooked into 2 fish in a small eddy and lost them. There was a nice pool downstream so I told Willie to come cross the river. I had given him some really crappy wading boots (the only ones available) and he was slipping pretty often. I tried to cross with him. The problem was that it was some fast moving water. I made the mistake of trying to keep Will upstream of me. It wasn't the best idea I've ever had. It only took a few steps before he slipped and took me out. We were in the water and soaked to the bone. The water was pretty damn cold and we scrambled to the bank to get out. What followed after was about 2 minutes of us cracking up laughing. I've never felt like that much of a moron and I'm sure Willie hadn't either. We ran to the car only to find that it was locked. We walked downstream to get the keys from Chris. I was very glad that it was really warm out and I wasn't cold at all. We found Chris and Garret downstream and we talked with them for a while. Chris had a big brown follow his streamer in a few times but couldn't entice the fish to take. We witnessed Garret land a decent rainbow nymphing and then ran back to the car. Willie hadn't gotten too much water in his waders, but I was soaked. I had about a foot of water in each leg of my waders and I was getting pretty cold just standing there. We waited in the car for Chris and then headed back to campus. Even though we had fallen in the river, I still had a great day with my cousin. Me falling into a Montana river in winter had to happen some day and I'm glad I got to share the wonderful experience with my cousin.


Thanksgiving day turned out to be a warm one also. Not as warm as Wednesday, but still in the 40's. Chris and I agreed to go fish a run where I had a few strikes on streamers last month. The run was a perfect streamer and nymphing run. I stuck with the nymphs. We got there and began fishing a few small riffle runs with no strikes. I waded right down to the run and began nymphing it. About half way down the run I set the hook on a nice fish. I saw a big colored up brown come up to the surface. The fishes head broke the surface and then the worst happened.....the fish broke off. My indicator was floating downstream. The leader had snapped at the indicator. I was pissed. I chased my indicator down and re-rigged.

After Chris missed a take on a streamer I fished the run again with no strikes. I headed back upstream and fished the deep hole near the bridge. Surprisingly I hooked up with a nice little cutthroat who took the san juan worm. It felt really good to land a fish for the first time in almost 2 weeks.


I nymphed the pool for a while longer and then hooked up with something I never would of expected. A dead fish......



This was about a 24 inch river sucker. One of the weirdest catches I've had out west so far. Easily the most disgusting also.

After that we called it a day and headed for home. We ate our thanksgiving dinner at the Montana Club, which was very good. Overall it was a great thanksgiving. Sunday and Monday look to be pretty good with temps in the 40's. Chris and I should get into some fish. As far as streamer fishing goes, I'd say its almost over. From here on out I'm nymphing until I go home for Christmas break.