Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This Site Has Moved!

Unfortunately it is the end! Good bye to Fly Fishing Life. Check out my brand new site, Where the Water Leads. It is up and running! Fly Fishing Life will always remain up so that I (and hopefully some of my followers), can still go back to view old posts. It's been a fun ride but it's time to change things. Now go bookmark the new site, 

P.S. Thanks to all of you who supported this blog. ^^Please support this one now^^!

Big Changes Coming

Change is on the horizon as Fly Fishing Life will be changing it's web address. Along with that change will be another change....the end of Fly Fishing Life. But don't worry people, the blog will be continued! A new name and new website only means better things to come. Stay tuned for the launch of the new blog...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time to nymph

It's a nymphing game now as those water temps continue to drop. Today I headed out to fish the Clark Fork with Riley. While we were putting on our waders, Chris showed up at the same access without even knowing that was where we were fishing. He joined us as we explored some new water.

Fishing was alright as I landed a couple decent cuttbows, a rainbow, and a small brown trout. Most fish actually took a tan rubber-legs stone rather than the always productive San Juan worm. Either way it was a nymphing game which is how it will remain until winter is over.

Winter also has some beautiful colors

Hopefully will be headed to the Mo after Thanksgiving break for some awesome streamer fishing. Have a great week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

In the mean time...

One might wonder what I do in my "other" free time when I am not on the river. The answer is playing guitar. Recently my good friend Tyler Adair has been getting into the music scene, one step at a time. She is an amazingly talented singer/songwriter and for her second song ever, she decided we would record it live as an acoustic cover. So check out Ty's brand new song "Secret" on YouTube! You wont be disappointed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Some more work today with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks region 2 biologists as we re-set some gill nets on a popular fishing lake. We had a small amount of ice to break through before we could successfully set several nets. The fish samples taken will contribute to valuable fish length data for the lake.

Gill net set 

Rob and Will entering data

Monday, November 12, 2012


Today was the first day since March where I couldn't feel my toes, my guides iced up, and my fingers became partially paralyzed from the cold. Even though it isn't officially winter, it sure felt like it today as I fished for a couple hours. Fishing turned out to be pretty good, despite the cold. Fish are already stacking up in that slower water.

Didn't miss this at all

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A tough election day

Happy Election Day! With my ballot already mailed in, Chris and I took off in search of feisty brown trout. We were hoping the really warm weather would kick things up a notch in the streamer department. Unfortunately fishing was kind of slow. I definitely got my ass kicked today, losing four fish including one break off. Chris landed a nice brown and bull trout. That was all the action that we saw!

Tying one on

Chris with a fine brown

It wasn't long until we were reminded that we live in Griz country....

Despite a tough day, it was very enjoyable due to the warm temperature (65 degrees!). Definitely does not feel like November in Montana. However, the weather this weekend is supposed to be FREEZING. Too cold to fish? No such thing.

Montana at it's finest

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Among the Mountains

Cam, Riley and I set out to summit the highest mountain  in the Bitterroot range on early Saturday morning.

We chose a class 3 climb, one that we were comfortable with but wasn't entirely easy. We hiked in to Baker Lake and set up base camp, surrounded by what seemed like an amphitheater of mountains.

Not a terrible camping spot

The summit of the towering mountain overlooking the lake (what we thought was the summit of Trapper) seemed somewhat intimidating. After setting up camp and losing a bunch of weight, we began out approach to the gully where we would make our ascent. 

The first section of the climb was the toughest... Rock and ice covered with a thin layer of snow. The going was slow and the crampons and ice axe came in handy.

The rest of our route was very nice with a solid base layer of snow. 

The ascent

Cam and Riley working up the snowfield

Once we reached the ridge, it was a strait shot to the summit. However, the peak that we had been aiming for the entire time, turned out to be south trapper peak instead. Once we summited, it was obvious to us that we were not on the highest point in the Bitterroots. 

The real summit of Trapper

With the late start that we had already gotten on the day and the small detour we had taken to the south ridge summit, we didn't have enough daylight to summit the main Trapper peak. We didn't want to risk descending in the dark, so we headed for base camp. The descent went fine and we were back at camp before dark. 

Turns out the decision not to go for the summit was a good one because the winds picked up and a lot of snow was being blown off the top of the mountain. 

In the morning we decided against trying for a second time because of the new snow accumulations. We hiked out to the car to end the trip, our buisness being left unfinished with Trapper peak.

It was still a great trip with great friends as we learned more about our limits in mountaineering and trusting each other on the mountain. We will definitely be back someday to finally summit the real Trapper peak. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

A mountain adventure weekend

As much as I love the Missoula area rivers, the mountains are calling! This weekend, Cameron, Riley and I will attempt to summit Trapper Peak, the tallest peak in the Selway-Bitterroot Mountain Range at 10,157 feet. The weather forecast is perfect, snow conditions are okay and the avalanche danger not high. Tomorrow will be our summit day followed by a day of relaxing in a setting that can't be beat. An adventure awaits. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not always easy

A flip of the coin decided the river today. I was excited to fish in the September-like weather that we have right now (almost 60 degrees today), but it didn't turn out as good as I had hoped. I couldn't seem to land a decent fish today. In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't land a fish over 10 inches. Still, it makes me appreciate all the small fish that will be big someday. 

Gotta love Rock

Monday, October 29, 2012


Last fall, the northeast got hit pretty bad by Hurricane Irene. This season, Hurricane Sandy has been called everything from "the perfect storm" to "Frankenstorm" as it has made its way to the Northeast. But how bad will the storm be compared to Irene? It has already claimed several lives in the Caribbean. Hopefully the storm won't cause as much inland destruction from flooding as Irene did.

Hurricane Sandy headed up the U.S. coastline (image from Yahoo images)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Slowing Down

On Saturday I joined Bob once again for some more streamer fishing. We were hoping for another awesome day like last weekend, but it just didn't happen. In the past week, the Bitterroot valley has seen some pretty cold temps and some snow too. This change in weather definitely slowed things down. I struggled to even land a fish on Saturday as Bob stuck one awesome bow with a kype. I was saved by a small brown in one of the last runs that we fished. It looks like nymphing will be starting sooner than I had hoped.

Today, Riley and I hiked mount Jumbo and it's ridge towards the lower Rattlesnake Wilderness. It was nice to take a break from fishing for once.

The zoo

Friday, October 26, 2012


It seemed like just last week was the beginning of fall. Today snow covers the ground as Missoula was hit last night with a small storm. I did miss the snow, but it also indicates what is coming; WINTER.

Winter fishing in MT is a somewhat boring game that most of us hate...nymphing. However, we all have to admit, it is an easy game and by far the most effective technique as trout begin to stack up in that slow, deep water. I am not looking forward to nymphing, but eventually I know I'll have to loop on that thingamabobber and tie on those san juan worms. For now I'll be sticking with streamer fishing for as long as I can. 

Some recent photos: 

A beautiful, colored up rainbow

A snowy day on the water

The first covering of snow in Missoula

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jon Swartwout

Here is an article that was recently published about my good friend Jon Swartwout. As I've posted before about Jon, he is an amazingly talented artist and creates pieces that are of a very unique rustic Adirondack style....


Check out Jon's website for his studio, at http://fisheroftheberrystudio.squarespace.com/.

One of Jon's more recent paintings.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Predatory Perfectionists

All of you streamer junkies know the feeling. You watch your streamer swing through the depths of a run as you strip the fly from a high bank. You are watching patiently, waiting for your reflexes to react to what is about to happen. All of the sudden, your eyes change focus to the figure emerging from the depths, trailing your fly. You strip faster, as if you are making your fly imitate a fleeing fish. The missile aimed at your fly accelerates for the kill. You pause, and watch as the fish engulfs your fly...

Fall is by far my favorite time of year as I spend the majority of it throwing streamers for aggressive fish. To me, nothing excites me more than a big predatory trout. They know exactly what they want, and when they want your fly, they will get it. I have had some great fishing in the past couple weeks and it has just gotten better and better.

On Sunday, I headed out with Bob, of the blog Bum Trout. I've been fortunate enough to fish with Bob more often now than earlier in the year, and I have to say, Bob knows his stuff. After having slow fishing for most of the frigid morning, Bob suggested another section of river. It was only a matter of time before the streamer fishing lit up in a fashion that rarely happens... Fish, after fish, after fish in the same run.

Bob with a beautifully colored brown

Bob working the tail out of a nice pool

After landing several solid fish, I decided to switch things up and go bigger. It wasn't long until something smashed the 6 inch articulated streamer I had tied on. It just happened to be that big predatory brown, probably the largest I've landed in Montana.

A predatory perfectionist

The big brown was the icing on the cake for a great afternoon of streamer fishing. Every fish that we landed was a decent one and one that hit hard, like a true aggressive predator. Thanks to Bob for a great day of fishing and for capturing some great shots of the big brown. Make sure to check out Bob's blog at http://www.bumtrout.blogspot.com/... you won't be disappointed. 

Fall on the Bitterroot

Sunday, October 21, 2012

MFWP Bears

I recently have begun work with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks again. But instead of helping the fisheries crew, I'll be working with wildlife management specialist Bob Wiesner. On Saturday morning, Bob called me to see if I'd like to go on a bear call. A sow was killed the previous night, leaving two orphaned cubs. Our job was to get the dead sow out of the trap and then transport the cubs to Helena.

Not quite as friendly as they seem

Bob Wiesner estimating the age of the sow.

After separating the sow from the cubs, we transported the cubs part way to Helena. In Helena, the cubs will be taken care of probably until spring when they will be released. It was a great experience getting to be so close to the cubs and examining the dead sow. I'm looking forward to doing more work with Bob in the future.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Save Bristol Bay

If you are a fly fisherman, then you've probably heard about the proposed pebble mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, at some point in the past few years. It's being called the most controversial environmental topic of our time and for good reason...

For the past 10 years or so, mining corporations Northern Dynasty and Anglo American have formed a partnership to plan and construct the largest open pit mine in the entire world due to the huge deposit of gold and copper that was found by Northern Dynasty in the early 2000's. The mine would be constructed at the headwaters of two of the eight major rivers that feed into Bristol Bay.

The mine poses many threats to the Bristol Bay watershed, including the threat of 2.5 billion tons of toxic waste that will be produced from the mine. How Pebble plans to contain that much toxic waste correctly, without letting any of it into the watershed is beyond me.

Currently, the commercial and sport fishing industries generate over 500 million dollars a year and provide a way of living for native Alaskans. Bristol Bay provides the largest runs of King and Sockeye salmon in the world and has a huge impact on commercial fishing every year. The salmon are also a key factor in the ecosystem, as animals and plants rely on them for food and nutrients. It would hurt badly to see this fishery ruined because of the greediness of these international mining corporations.

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came out with a watershed assessment of Bristol Bay. The scientific report that was conducted for more than a year, states that even without a major accident, the mine would block miles and miles of salmon habitat.

The EPA, Under Section 404C of the Clean Water Act, is authorized, "after public hearings, and a science review process, to protect rivers and wetlands that are important to for fish spawning and wildlife habitat." It seems as though it is now up to the EPA to save the Bristol Bay area from being damaged or destroyed forever.

I have been following this controversy for several years now and have written about it quite a lot. A few weeks ago I took the initiative to donate to Save Bristol Bay, part of Trout Unlimited's Alaska program.  By buying an awesome no pebble mine sticker, not only are saying screw the pebble mine, you will also be helping because the money that you pay for the sticker goes towards fighting the mine. Get yours today at  http://www.savebristolbay.org/.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beautiful day on the Bitterroot

Fished with Chris for a few hours on the root today. It was a decent afternoon and we were even payed a close visit from a pair of bald eagles. It never gets old.

Chris and the Eagle

Being Sneaky

The colors of fall

We weren't the only ones fishing

Such a beautiful day in the Bitterroot valley makes me really appreciate where I live. Ready for a weekend of fishing... Just like every weekend.