Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break Outlook

It is finally here...and could not have come at a better time. We are all free men. Free from horrible classes and school work. It is time to fish and clear our souls. Here is the outlook of our spring break!

Saturday: Drive to the Mo and fish until you die.

After that: Go fish somewhere else.

The rules are pretty simple... fish until you can't fish anymore (which may or may not happen). That is the goal. We will be living the Bum lifestyle for the next week, out of cars and with limited supplies.

Tom will be headed up from Idaho early in the week. I hope we can show him what the Mo is all about. Stay tuned for reports....when I can find Internet access. Until then, goodbye and tight lines!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I have just returned from 4 days of hardcore fishing in the great state of Mon....I mean Idaho! On Friday I embarked on my trip to central Idaho in search of my first ever steelhead. Things didn't go as well as I had planned, but I still had a great trip. The days went as followed.

On Friday I arrived at Ellis, Idaho and met up with Tom to try and nail my first steelie right off the bat. It was outrageously warm (near 70 degrees) and the fish were making a huge push upstream. That day, the hatchery numbers of steelhead on the Pahsimeroi River ( a major trib of the salmon), had more than doubled with over 400 fish entering the hatchery in one day. This was pretty impressive to me and it explained why we were not getting into fish. Later that evening, Tom talked to a few of his friends who guide on the Salmon. They explained to him that they had not touched a fish all day. I was not in any way deterred by the day and I went to bed ready to wake up early to get out on the water again.

Big Horned sheep

Tom working a nice run

Saturday morning Tom had to do some work around the ranch so Kate and I met up with Toms good friend Ryan. I had the opportunity to meet Ryan this past fall when I visited Kate and Tom and I must say, he knows what he's doing when it comes to fly fishing. "Beatty" as we call him, is as technical as they come and I have learned so much from just the one time that I fished with him. I was ready to learn more.

We headed to a nice stretch of river and got to fishing before 9:30. The day was slow again. I swung flies most of the time and I became pretty frustrated. It was weird being so confident on every single swing and then having your hopes crushed as your fly tails out into the slack water downstream of you and there is no take from a fish. I was very patient, but after 6 hours of swinging through multiple runs with multiple colored flies, my spirits were down. I did manage one grab on the day which I wasn't prepared for. We returned to the ranch and I wondered if I would ever even hook one of these elusive fish.

On Sunday we decided that we really wanted to just catch some fish so Kate, Tom, Beatty and I headed over to the Big Lost River to target some nice bows. We were not disappointed as we all got into the fish quickly. The amount of fish in the shallow creek was pretty amazing. They were very picky to start and it was hard to decipher the dry fly fishing, despite there being almost every single fish sipping midges.

An average Big Lost bow

A nice bow landed by Tom


Beatty was the man on Sunday with more than 20 fish. He had the pattern dialed in with a special still-water pattern that he invented. The fish just seemed to kill it. It was interesting to see such a unique fly pattern catching so many fish. I had a pretty great day but the best part what watching my sister Kate fight a nice bow that smacked her copper john. She had experienced a pretty rough day up until then but her patience was rewarded with the feisty fish. She fought the fish like a pro. I must say though, she was lucky to have Tom there to walk her through the fight.

Beatty, the fly fishing master

Kate fighting a feisty bow


We all managed double digits of fish and had a great time on the sunny, 70 degree day. The Big Lost is a pretty beautiful river, surrounded by peaks greater than 10,000 feet and we couldn't of asked for a better setting. Overall we all had a great day of fishing. We returned home and had some pizza and BBQ chicken at Beatty's.

The prestigious Big Lost

On Monday I decided that it would be best for me to get back to Missoula. Had some trouble getting back over Lost Trail pass which was covered with snow and ice. I eventually made it safely into Montana. Driving along the Bitterroot, I couldn't help myself. I fished for about an hour and a half on the upper root and managed close to 10 fish, most of them being cutties and one nice colored up cuttbow. The water was a little off colored but the fish still found the flies.

Overall it was an awesome trip to Idaho. I had a great time fishing new water and seeing Kate, Tom and Beatty. I didn't get the steelie that I wanted, but I'm sure I'll be back to Idaho soon to complete that goal. Thanks to Tom for everything and Beatty for giving me the knowledge that sometimes, one must think outside the fly box to catch fish. I look forward to returning to Idaho to fish again soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

To the Steel!

It's official! Tomorrow at noon I'm off to central Idaho to chase my first steelie (and most importantly see my sister Kate and Tom). Tom is confident that with the warm weather, the fish are going to be more active than in the past couple of weeks. I'm stoked and ready to give this a shot. I'd like to say I'm not leaving Idaho until I land one, but its easier said than done. However, I'm ready to give it my all. Only time will tell. My goal is to land a steelie on the swing. If the swing fails I will be ready with lots of eggs.

Plan A: The Swing (with somewhat traditional flies only)

Plan B: (the easy way out (kind of))

Either way, I'm going to fish till I land my first steelie, or drop dead trying. Goodbye for now (I might be gone until Tuesday).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Windy day with YGF

With some debate on whether we should have went or not, Ivan, author of Yukon Goes Fishing, and I headed out for a few cold and windy hours on the root. We were in search of some pike and big browns. This was my first time fishing with Ivan, although I had gotten to meet him a few weeks earlier. Ivan is full of knowledge and I enjoyed talking with him and picking his brain about different techniques and places that he's fished. I always enjoy the learning aspect of fly fishing, and yesterday I learned a lot.

Both Ivan and I stuck to streamers for most of the time. In the first section we fished, I was fishing a pretty decent sized articulated bunny leech when something smacked it in fairly shallow water. I fought the heavy and non sporadic creature for about 10 seconds and then my line shot back into my face. My leader had been sliced through. A pike is what I guessed, but I'll never know. I was at fault for the loss and I wished that I had my 40lb. mono as a leader rather than 3x tippet.

I continued to fish. Ivan had disappeared which led me to believe that he was at least seeing fish on the side braid that he was working. I had one more grab on a streamer but missed the fish. The weather was becoming increasingly worse and there was a constant blowing wind which made things even more miserable. I found some nice pike water pretty far downstream and worked most of it (this time with 40lb. mono) with no strikes. I think it was a little to cold for the pike to be very active. I headed back upstream and found Ivan who had missed his fish....a big brown of about 20 inches. He was pretty frustrated, but I was glad that I maybe had brought him some luck, considering all that I hear about people who fish with Ivan is how they are brought great luck by fishing with the man. He did manage a few 14 inch browns on the braid also.

Despite both losing good fish and having sub-par weather conditions, it was great to get out on the water after more than a week hiatus from what keeps me alive. I enjoyed fishing with Ivan and learning from him. He sure has a lot of knowledge and I know there will be more fishing outings with him in the near future.

This weekend feels like an Idaho weekend. My sister and Tom want me to come down to land steel. Easier said than done. Nevertheless, I'll be chasing one of my main goals of the year! This should be good...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sacrificing the Love

This semester has been tough. A lot tougher than I imagined it to be. A combination of organic chem, bio, and the properties of logarithms (guess what subject) has left me actually having to work very hard to keep up. Yes I'm sure all of you read the blog have been wondering why I haven't posted for a few days, which is very uncharacteristic of me. Truth is I've become a little behind in my school work. I made a promise to myself in the name of education! I decided I would not fish during the week and focus on school.
This week has been good for me in that I've been attending all classes as usual and paying attention. The two tests I have next week will determine if this hiatus from fly fishing was actually worth it. I consider it a scientific experiment......The effects of fly fishing on Alec Underwood's school performance. We'll see how this turns out.

As for now its March Madness, in 2 ways; Skwalas, which Cody spotted a few of today when he got out on the Bitterroot, and of course the NCAA tournament. No love for Montana today as they fell to the 4th ranked Wisconsin badgers. They had a great season nonetheless! My brackets are suffering......not too bad but today I was 10-5 for games; a pitiful performance if I do say so myself. Tomorrow has to be a better day, especially since I can finally fish.

This weekend is both Chris and Garrets Birthday weekend! Not sure if Garret will be around but I know we'll all be living it up either way. Probably on the Bitterroot

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bitterroot Pike

On Saturday I decided to hit the lower root to chase some pike. I must admit, I do miss the pike from back home in upstate NY. I stopped in at the Kingfisher and got some great intel from the guys, including where to access the lower river and where to target some big pike. After grabbing a couple big flies and some 40lb. mono, I headed down US 93 to an access below Lolo.

Go Big or Go Home

I walked downstream from the access and found a large back channel that was mostly still water. I worked the very back corner of the channel and immediately had a couple follows from medium sized pike. I fished it for a while and found some very big (and very spooky) browns, including one that trailed my streamer right to my feet. I couldn't manage to actually hook up with any pike.

After 4 hours of casting to spooky browns, I decided to head up river to catch some fish. I stopped in at Bell Crossing to find 41 cars (yes I counted), with half of them without boat trailers. I guessed there had to be at least a dozen guys wade fishing. I couldn't believe how packed it was. I drove further up river and eventually found my own water near Hamilton. I landed a few trout and a few whitefish and then called it a day. It was a beautiful day on the water with temps in the mid 60's.

All shots taken from some sweet GoPro footage! I'm looking to start making another short vid again soon. This time featuring none other but the Root.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Passing up the Mo

Who would do such a thing? Who could pass up the Mo? Well to tell you the truth, I did! I didn't really want to pass up the Mo, however when you make a promise to some people, you gotta keep it. This will be yet another Bitterroot weekend. The weather today was outstanding and reached into the 60's! Chris and I drove down the Bitterroot Valley and fished a nice side channel where Chris had done well yesterday.
My cousin nick called me in the middle of fishing and we had a great conversation. Nick is currently attending school in British Columbia and training for cross country skiing (yes he's good).   He's now in Utah racing and will soon be headed back to the east coast to compete in more races. While talking to Nick, I was jokingly casting into a fast run and I hooked up with a small bow. I managed to fight the fish and keep Nick on the phone the whole time. Hows that for Multi-tasking!? It was nice catching up with him.

After finding Chris and watching him nymph up some whities, I called my grandpa and talked with him while I sat on the bank of the root. It was great talking with him about when he fished the Bitterroot many years ago. After exchanging some stories, I found Chris again and we headed back to the car. It was a relaxing afternoon of fishing. No skwalas sighted and the whitefish were again in abundance.

Cody and Garret are currently in Craig at the Mo. They'll be fishing all day tomorrow. As for me, I think I'll be chasing pike tomorrow on the root. Might as well try and help out the trout population by nailing one of those big suckers!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Going to the Big Dance!

The grizzlies men's basketball team won the Big Sky Championships Tournament last night in ecstatic fashion! The crown went absolutely wild after the grizzlies made a huge run to seal the game and a spot in the NCAA tournament!

It was an awesome game and I hope the Griz can continue their run in the big dance. GO GRIZ!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Warm Weather Continues

Cody, Garret and I hit the Root for a few hours today after a Organic Chemistry exam. Ahh, how nice it is to clear the brain of such terrible information such as redox reactions and glycolysis. It wasn't all that bad but we really did need to clear our minds. We took a short drive to an access not too far from Missoula and began fishing. I managed three hookups in the first run of the day and lost all three fish. One of them was a chunky decent sized brown. What was going on? I have no idea. The rest of the day was full of whitefish for all of us. Garret managed a nice bow before we headed back towards the car and Cody managed a chunky bow as well, who took some nice leaps.

The weather was nice and warm today and it looks as if it will stay that way for the weekend.
This is strait from the NOAA forecast for Hamilton, MT....

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 51. South southeast wind between 5 and 7 mph.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 61. South wind between 7 and 10 mph.
Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 58.
Sunday: A slight chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 56.

Can you dig it?  I can! Bitterroot or the Mo? Its a tough pick. Only time will tell......

Monday, March 5, 2012

Licensed to Guide

It has been a very long process but after 8 months of procrastination and not having money, I am pleased to announce, that I am now officially a licensed fly fishing guide in the state of New York! Yes, it probably took a lot longer than it should have and I actually have been a guide for the past couple of months (I passed my guides exam but couldn't pay the fee). If I do return to New York this summer, you can bet that I will be starting up my own guide service. Undies Guide Service? Who knows!

Weekend on the 'Root'!


Cody, Chris and I headed to the upper Bitterroot today to nymph up some cutties. The temps were warm and we experienced some trouty (and suckery) success! When we arrived at the access we watched a kid kicking around some rocks and collecting bugs to fish with for whitefish. In about two minutes the kid brought back about 50 skwala stonefly nymphs.  It was a good indicator to us what the fish would be feeding on.

In the first run of the day I landed four fish, two of which were cutties and the other two were UGLY. The action was quick!

The Sucker pose

After fishing a couple runs, Cody and I went upstream and found multiple consistently rising fish. Cody tied on a midge and gave it a go. First cast...."Boom goes the dynamite."

He switched over to nymphs and we shared the run for the next hour and a half. The run was stacked with fish and we landed over 10 including two doubles! The big loss of the day was the brown that I hooked. I thought it was just a big sucker. However, when the golden brown slab launched itself a couple feet out of the water, Cody and I both said "wow that's a nice fish". The fish even had a well developed kype. The jump is where the fish threw the fly. It was a tough loss.

We stayed until the fish stopped feeding. The last fish of the run was a nice cutty that I landed.

Pics by Cody

Overall it was a great afternoon with plenty of fish. We did see some bugs flying around, but they were primarily little stones and midges of course.


Sunday was going to be warm. Very warm. The three of us headed south in the Bitterroot Valley for day 2 on the Root! The plan was to meet up with Bob (who we met and fished with on the Mo a few weeks ago). Bob, who lives in Stevensville, was prepared to show us some great water and hopefully some great fish. We park one car a few miles downstream of an access and then spent the day walking and fishing the stretch.

Bob started hitting fish real early, including a 17 inch cuttbow, while Cody and I had a slower start. Eventually Cody and I started hitting fish. The whitefish were out in numbers, but we found some trout too.

Bob reaching for the catch.

Streamers really produced well later in the day and I think that all 5 of my trout came on streamers. I don't think we could have asked for a nicer day to fish. Temps were in the upper 50's! There were actually many times during our fishing where I debated fishing shirtless because it really was hot out.  Not too many rising fish, but I did see a few adult skwalas. It won't take long for all of the skwalas to come out if the weather stays like this.

We all had a great time this weekend on the Root and we hope that you got out to fish in this beautiful weather also! If you didn't, you are either very busy or very dumb. Have a good week and stay tuned for any reports! Hopefully I'll get out at some point tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Face Lift!

It's been a few months (I think) since I've changed up the style of the blog. Not quite sure how I feel about it right now but I've worked on it for some time and I'm generally happy with how it looks. We'll see how long the look lasts. Got constructive criticism? Shoot me an email and let me know what you think of the blog. You can be totally honest.

This weekend is looking prime! Nice forecast and warm temps. Could we possibly see some bugs?? Some real bugs (not midges)?? Sunday and Monday call for temps near 50 degrees in the Bitterroot Valley. I wouldn't be surprised if we found some stones flying around. If so, the trout will be happy, and so will I.

Stay tuned for the weekend reports. It's going to be a good one!