Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Happy Leap day! I really wanted to get out on the water today and catch a leap day trout. However, with some sporadic, random Montana weather, I decided against it. I also have some lab write ups that I need to finish. School's gotta be more important than fly fishing occasionally. I did get outside for a little bit to hike the M-trail. Some beautiful views from the face of Mt. Sentinel.

Be sure to pick up a new license, for today is the last day that licenses are valid in Montana.

Looking ahead to March

Tomorrow is March! March = Skwalas. Skwalas = Crazy Trout. Crazy Trout = Happiness. Preparing for the madness of the famous hatch of skwalas on the 'root'. It's going to be a great month!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I love Montana

Montana is not a paradise for everyone. It is for me though. I will admit, I am literally in love with Montana. There's nothing like waking up and walking to breakfast while looking into the rattlesnake wilderness at the snow capped mountains on a cloudless, beautiful Montana morning. And there's nothing like being surrounded by people with the same passions as yourself. What also makes me happy, is to be surrounded by people who have their own passions. To me, cool people have a passion (or passions). Whether its snowboarding, hiking, fly fishing or any activity, there are no shortage of cool people in Montana.

After class today, Chris and I headed across town to the Clark Fork to fish for a few hours. Couldn't of asked for a nicer afternoon on the water. I managed one small bow and a whitefish.

Catch of the Day

Not quite sure what is in store for the weekend. Licenses must be renewed ($70) by March 1st, so I may not be fishing this weekend! I should probably get a job (I've been saying that for the past 2 months).

Monday, February 27, 2012

Urban Fishing

Occasionally I like to head down to the Clark Fork within walking distance of campus. It's where I first fished when I arrived at college over 6 months ago. After five classes today, I needed to clear my mind. Cody, Garret and I drove over to the double tree run and fished for a little bit. Cody shot photos and Garret and I attempted to nymph up some fish. We each had trouty success (one fish each).

Photos by Cody

Garret's Cutty

Ran into Zach and Anthony from FCFT as we were leaving. Cool to see other friends in the urban fly fishing setting of Missoula.

Cody's Birthday on the Bitterroot!

Cody and I headed to the Bitterroot on Sunday morning for his birthday. We met up with Ivan, author of the outstanding blog Yukon Goes Fishing, and Anthony, co author of FCFT. It was a convergence of four authors of fly fishing blogs!

Ivan and Anthony headed upstream from the access and Cody and I fished downstream. It turned out to be a beautiful day on the root and the fishing wasn't too bad either. Cody spent some of the day testing out his new toy, a brand new Nikon DSLR. He took some great shots. He also landed a nice bow on his 3rd cast. What a way to start off your birthday!

Birthday fish!

A nice bow from the 'root'

Cody's nice brown

An offering to the Pike Gods

Gettin that Go Pro shot

It was a fun day and it seemed as though Cody had a nice birthday. Thank you to Cody's mom for generously paying for us to go out and eat some pizza. We were saved from yet another terrible dinner at the food zoo(U of M cafeteria)! And of course thanks to my best bud Cody for being a great friend!

Friday, February 24, 2012

High and Murky

The Clark Fork water level jumped up a little bit in the past couple days. Little did Garret, Cody and I know that the water would be so murky. We got to the river and found about 5 inches of visibility. I streamer fished and shot a lot of footage with the GoPro. Cody tested out his brand new birthday present, a Nikon DSLR camera. He took some great pitures today including this beautiful one.

I'm an explorer

From some Go Pro footage

No fish today. The weather this weekend doesn't look too nice. Sunday is Cody's official birthday. I think we'll be celebrating on the Bitterroot!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hello Beautiful

After a short hiatus, I finally have the Helios again! And man did I miss it. The world lightest rod has done nothing but impress me, especially with its roll casting ability. A couple weeks ago I was walking back downstream from streamer fishing a nice pool and I stepped on (and snapped) my Helios. I almost cried. Orvis did a great job at getting the rod back to me ASAP and I'm really happy that I have it back! Welcome home beautiful! Time to go bend it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Ever since I became obsessed with fly fishing, I have had one dream; to fish some of the worlds greatest rivers. I've been thinking a lot about where I've fished in my life and I am satisfied with what I've done so far. Now its time to think about things on a bigger scale. I realized that this is probably the best time(this next 10 year period) to begin chasing my dream. What better a way than to go to a different country and study? I have begun to look into the study abroad program here at U of M. There are many options for countries and I have thought for a long time, which one would be a really cool place to go study?.....and fish. Maybe mostly fish. Who knows.

Truth is, there are a lot of places I want to travel to. The one that really caught my eye was New Zealand. I've done quite a bit of research on the country and I'll be completely honest.....I still have no idea what the country is like. All I know is that it is known for its awe inspiring natural beauty and friendly culture. I also know that there is some of the best trout fishing in the world in New Zealand. The beautiful back country rivers of are unlike those in the US. No 3000 fish per mile. I've read about (and been told) that many of the rivers in New Zealand only have a few fish per mile. The only great thing about that fact is that those 'few fish' are big. Really BIG. Sounds like my kind of fishing. I really like to assess the situation and find that big fish and present to it. Reading stuff about New Zealand has me drooling. If I could leave tomorrow, I totally would. However, I know that this major decision in my life will require a lot more thinking and research. It's a long term goal. One that I'm going to complete before I die. The rivers are calling!

Photo by

Monday, February 20, 2012

A great weekend on the Mo

On September 16th, 2011, Cody and I headed to the Missouri for the first time ever. We had only heard the stories. We were so excited for our first trip on the Mo. I ended up having one of the worst days of fishing that I've ever had in my life. I managed one small rainbow and got my ass kicked the rest of the time with 30 mph winds and a bunch of frustration. I was very hesitant the next time when asked if I wanted to make a trip to the Mo. I knew it was just one bad day though. Since then I've been to the Mo about six more times and have since fallen in love with the river. She can be mean sometimes, but persistence is the key. We've fished with other friends on the Mo too but this time it was going to be the original two! Cody and Alec.

In the past month, I've taken a weekend trip to the Mo three times. Pretty good for a "poor college student." I owe a lot of thanks to my mom and dad who have helped me out with money for gas. Thanks parents. Cody and I headed out early on Saturday morning. We arrived at the Mo about three hours later and hit up Headhunters Fly shop for a shuttle. We decided to do a float from Craig to Mid Canyon, a section with less crowd and arguably, bigger fish.

The Original two!

The first couple of hours went great. I stuck with streamers and landed some nice bows off of deep banks. I started with flashy flies but quickly resorted to my favorite small black and brown streamers. They worked pretty well.

I met up with Cody after a while. He had four fish and so did I. He had landed three fish on dries and one on a streamer. I filmed him for a while and we watched as an eagle dive bombed to the river and snatched up a nice rainbow. It was cool to watch and I actually got it on the Go Pro. I'll be putting it in my next movie. Cody began to float on and I followed shortly after.

I saw Cody walk up on the high bank to talk to two game wardens. And then begun our first happening of the trip! I rowed over to see what was up. I figured they were just checking licenses but I was wrong. I was pretty disturbed when they explained to us that we would not be able to continue our float for "Insufficient number of PFD to wit."(as read on the tickets that we were both issued.) $45 EACH! our day was pretty much ruined as they explained to us our options. I know that the officers were just doing their job, but this is what really bothered me........ Instead of the guys asking if we needed a ride to Craig, they proceeded to tell us our option was to walk. Walk. Two and a half miles? Hell no. Cody politely asked for a ride and the officers actually hesitated because of the boxes in the back seat of the truck. I was stunned that these two guys would even hesitate at the thought of giving us a ride. Had they not given us a ride, Cody and I would have surely continued our float. It's crazy how some people can be. I do believe their is a difference between doing your job the right way or the wrong way. As we stood there talking to the officers before they did give Cody a ride into Craig, a drift boat passed by the bank. They didn't even ask to see their PFD's. Unbelievable.

The best part of the whole game warden experience was surely before Cody got in their truck. The officer asked Cody to put his hands on his head and proceeded to pat him down for weapons. I couldn't believe it. I was actually laughing my ass off at how ridiculous the whole situation was. Cody went to Craig and I fished until he returned with two PFD's that Headhunters generously gave us to use for the weekend. We continued our float.

Now that the ridiculousness was over, we could finally get back to fishing. We had killed more than an hour and by the time we got to Stickney access, it was getting late. We still had some water to cover and Cody was way ahead of me. I didn't fish much in the last hour or so. When I finally got to our takeout, Cody was blasting music from the truck and I knew that something great had happened to overcome our downed moods because of the game wardens. He quickly explained to me "the most epic fight of my life" and showed me the picture of the brown he caught. The photo speaks for itself.......

I was just as excited as he was. It was a monster brown and I wish I had been there to see it. The photo credit goes to some Albertans who had witnessed the fish take Cody into his backing and beyond. Truly a trophy Montana brown. Congrats Cody!

We headed back to the Campground at Craig and set up camp. It was a good day on the water and I ended with 7 fish, all on streamers.

During the evening we went to Headhunters to talk a little with the owners Mark and John. For many years, Headhunters has been Montana's premier fly shop and guide service composed of a great staff, great products and great guide service. I guess the one word used to sum up Headhunters is just Great. As I let my Go Pro charge in the shop, Cody and I started to talk to Mark and John about an variety of different topics like guiding, cameras, video editing programs, steelhead, etc. It was only us four in the shop. We literally talked for two and a half hours. John was very helpful with giving me suggestions for editing programs and we talked a lot about the Missouri video that I made last week. Mark actually decided to post my video on the Headhunters Blog. I was very happy with the kind words that Mark said about Cody and I. The post can be viewed here....

After our long talk with the guys, we walked back to the campground. Wouldn't you know it, the guys over at False Casts and Flat Tires, another Missoula based fly fishing blog, were camped next to us. Cody and I introduced ourselves and that started the night. We enjoyed talking to the guys for many hours around the campfire. I don't think our conversations ever left the topic of fishing once. It was a great night and cool to meet some more trout bums from U of M.

In the morning I decided that I was going to wade instead of float. Bob, a fly guy from Stevensville that we also met the previous night, was going to wade too and we decided to fish the same section. We started up near the dam and I quickly picked up a nice bow on a black streamer. Bob was nymphing and immediately started nailing fish, one after one.

I went above him and started fishing a slot. I made a cast upstream and began twitching my streamer downstream through the slot. I felt some weight and I set the hook. I had snagged my fly on a rock. At least, that's what I had initially thought....The rock began to move. I was very confused. I saw that I had snagged the fish in the tail. I thought it was a massive brown but as I struggled to bring the fish closer, I could see the big scales.....It was a carp. A really big one. I fought the fish for a while and finally brought the fish in close. It was an ugly carp with only one eye. Bob snapped a few pics as I held the fish, still wondering how the hell I had managed to snag the fish while twitching the streamer through that slot. Just weird.

Not quite the trophy fish I was looking for on this trip, but still a big fish. We left the dam and walked downstream. I went right to my bank where I usually do well and Bob headed across to an island. The fish were stacked up like cord wood. There was a good amount of fish eating midges, but I stuck with streamers. The fish were loving small brown and black woolly buggers. In about an hour and a half I had landed a dozen fish and missed a bunch more. All of the fish were decent with one of them being a beautiful, fat bow that was around 19 inches.

The takes were very subtle and were characterized by a small amount of weight on the line. It almost felt as if the fly is catching on the bottom of the river, which can be misleading at times.

It was a great afternoon and I was pretty tired. Cody had done another float and landed some nice fish on dries. I think everyone had a pretty good day. Back at the campground, the guys from FCFT decided they were going to head back to Missoula. Their influential action and thought of sleeping in and actual bed was not ignored and we also decided against staying another night. We had done well for both days and had gotten our fill. However, something tells me we'll probably be back next weekend for some more. Whether you have a great day, or get your ass kicked, the Mo is an addiction.

Thanks again to Mark and John of Headhunters for your generosity. You guys make our trips to the Mo worth it every time.

Back from the Mo!

WOW! What a great two days at the Mo with Cody. Lots of fish and some interesting happenings. Just got back to Missoula and I'm pretty exhausted. I thought about staying up late tonight to write the post but I'm afraid I just don't have it in me. Now I'll have the entire day tomorrow to make a great post about our trip. Stay tuned for some great photos, great fish and of course, a great story!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Clark Fork Afternoon

Headed up the Clark Fork today with Riley to fish for a couple hours. I shot a lot of GoPro footage and the trout must have known the camera was rolling. I landed one whitefish and had no other hits. I primarily nymphed but changed it up and streamer fished a little bit also. Not much action on the day but it was a beautiful day to be out.

Riley did find a tiny black stonefly that had come out of the snowbank where we parked the car. Good to see bugs. Hopefully it won't be too long until the skwala stoneflies begin to hatch.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photography 1/28- 2/14

Here are some of the nicer photos that I've taken in the past couple of weeks. They can also be viewed on the Photography page.


The Mo

Rattlesnake Wilderness

Missouri Bow

The Mo

Clark Fork Cuttbow

Iced up on the Clark Fork

Driving to the Mo

Cast on the Bitterroot

Hiking 2/14

My friend Cameron and I headed out to do a hike in the Rattlesnake wilderness yesterday. My VW passat surprisingly made it up sawmill gulch road, which was covered with ice and snow. It was a beautiful day and the temps felt like they were in the upper 40's. As we hiked, it got warm enough to hike in T-shirts. There wasn't too much snow on the trails and we completed the 5 or 6 mile hike in about an hour and a half. There was some nice views at the top. On the way down we took some Go Pro video, Bear Grylls style, running and jumping down the mountain. It was a lot of fun. Here are some shots from the day.

Men Vs. Wild racing down the mountain

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It is Here!

After about a week of frustrating video editing and converting files over and over again, I am pleased to present my very first video production, featuring the Missouri River! I had a great day last weekend on the Mo and shot some great footage. This past week I've been borrowing my friend Cameron's computer to edit the video with i-movie. It took me a little while to get used to the editor, but now I am used to it and I hope for my next vid, things will go a bit smoother. There is only one problem with this is NOT in HD like I had promised. For some reason, editing the video from i-movie and exporting the file to YouTube caused the file to drop in quality. The highest it can play is 480p. I've spent the last couple of hours trying to figure out how to convert the file to a higher quality, but for some reason it just wont happen. However, I am very happy with the way the video turned out. So here it is! My first fly fishing mini-film. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Clark Fork Afternoon/ F3T! (2/10)

Fished for a quick couple of hours on the Clark Fork Yesterday with Cody and Garret. We hit an access that I've never been to before. Cody had done well there the day before so we decided to give it a go before the F3T! I only brought my streamer rod. Cody and Garret headed downstream while I walked up to a nice pool. There was a downed tree out in the current. I casted my streamer right to the edge of it and slowly stripped it back....Smack! on the first cast. The fish felt heavy and I didn't see it until it was right in front of me. The fish bolted downstream towards a mess of sticks and debris. It was a decent fish. What I couldn't figure out was why the fish was fighting so hard. I thought that I had probably foul hooked the fish, but I was wrong. The fish was just a tough, chunky, feisty cutthroat. I'm not going to lie, I was yanking on that fish with the 6 wt, hydros and the fish would not give in. Finally the fish began to tire out. I snapped a few pics of the beautiful cutty and released him. It was a cool looking fish with a nicely developed lower jaw.


The rest of the fishing was slow. I met up with Garret and Cody after following their foot prints in the snow for over a mile. They were definitely in the walking mood and they covered a lot of water. It looked like it payed off though. Cody had landed 1 bow and a whitefish and Garret had landed a beautiful bow. They were both nymphing.

After fishing we ate dinner real quick and flew over to the Wilma Theater for the event that we'd been waiting for! The 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour! The place was packed, a sold out crowd of over 1,100 anglers, a new record for the F3T. Looks like Missoula is really the epicenter of Fly Fishing. The they were really great. I can't even say which one was my favorite. They were all amazing. From "Sipping Dry", a film on the famous hatches of the Mo, to "Doc of the Drakes", a piece about the Brown Drake hatch on Silver Creek in Idaho and a man still chasing fish at the age of 84. All were amazing, and I could of sat there all night. It gave me a lot of ideas of where I want to fish before I die. Time to get started.....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fly Fishing Film Tour Arrives in Missoula!

The 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour has arrived in Missoula! Cody, Chris, Garret and I as well as just about every other fly fisherman in Missoula will be attending tonight. The featured films look pretty sweet. The one I'm most excited to see is "Sipping Dry", a film about the Missouri. To watch all the trailers for films that will be showing tonight, head on over to the F3T's website.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tying Inventory/ 2 Headed Trout

Every couple of weeks, my desk become cluttered with fly tying materials and junk. I have put off cleaning my desk for a very long time and it finally got to the point today where I was unable to find anything that I actually wanted to find. I decided to do a mass cleaning and an inventory of all the fly tying material I own.

I made some surprising discoveries while cleaning. I managed to find my glasses and a wide variety of other items that I've been looking for. I also found that I had a whole other golden pheasant pelt that I didn't even know I had. Good stuff.

On to other news (I feel like a news anchor)...... I read a very interesting article today on a 2 headed trout found near a mine in eastern Idaho. The photo was found in a scientific report that also contained photos of several other deformities. The report was being used by the company J.R. Simplot to justify an increased level of selenium pollution in creeks near the mine. However, after the report was reviewed, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Fisheries biologist Joseph Skorupa found some flaws in the report.

The researchers who conducted the study failed to take into account the migrating fish as a total population count and also underestimated the number of fish that would suffer deformities in the creeks adjacent to the mine. Another flaw that was found in the report was that the selenium levels in one of the creeks exceeded even the standard levels of selenium that Simplot had proposed. Sounds like the company's own report came back to bite them. It really bothers me to see a company like this, trying to justify what they are doing to fish, birds and other animals.

For years the Clark Fork was polluted with mining deposits and the effects of that pollution show today. In the fall of 2011, I listened to a lecture by Patrick Saffel, the regional fisheries manager for western Montana. He explained that the population of trout in the Clark Fork is at about 1/5 of its capacity and that most juvenile trout are not surviving because of the toxins in the water from years of mining pollution. This still bothers me to no end and too see some of the same stuff going on today makes me want to start a riot or something. Either way, I think we can all gain one thing from this article.....Mining = Bad for trout.

Check out the full article at

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Clark Fork Afternoon

Went out and fished the Clark Fork for a few hours this afternoon with Chris. The action was pretty slow. Chris landed a little bow in the 'good pool'. We fished down from the access pretty far but didn't find any amazing looking water. I headed back upstream and actually took a short nap on the river bank. It felt pretty nice.

Nice place for a nap

On the way back up, Chris landed a nice 15 inch bull trout on a big olive streamer. It was good to see another bully being caught in the Clark Fork. The population must be on the rise. When I reached the access site, I decided to take one more shot at a fish. Besides, who likes getting skunked? I fished a deep pool on the far side of the river with a flashy streamer. A nice bow took it on the third cast.

I was happy to get at least 1 fish. It was still a really enjoyable time on the river today with temps in the upper 30's and no clouds in the sky. I'm really starting to love the Montana winter, especially when its sunny and somewhat warm.