Short Trip

I wasn’t feeling too motivated to get out today. Rivers are high and even though it was sunny there was a definite chill in the air. Posted to the Facebook page (Simple Angler) that I wasn’t going when a fellow Missoulian suggested I hit a little side channel near the University. Sometimes all you need to get motivated is someone telling you to go enjoy the day. Thanks Brian.

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We’ve got a bit of an issue with homelessness in Missoula. This sign and all the trash I found bummed me out for a myriad of reasons I won’t get into here.

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No fish today but, I saw this beaver, a few chipmunks and an enormous heron flying just inches off the water.

I never regret getting out on the water. It’s the best medicine for a crappy attitude that I’ve discovered.

Happy angling.

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The Bitterroot Continues to Confound

To be fair, I’ve only made four trips to the ‘Root since I started fishing. Each time seems to be under poor conditions (once in extreme cold, once in heavy snow and once it started off snowing and changed to extremely sunny by the end of the float) so, I’m probably not giving it the best chance to be productive for me.

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Picked up my buddy Duncan and we headed down to just above Darby. He had some experience down that way from when he was a kid and I’d always heard the further up you go the smaller it gets so, why not. Rigged up, waded upstream a bit and started casting. I tied on a kebari and was casting along the bank when I saw a fish rise and take my fly. Set the hook, the fish jumped, probably just a 6 incher, and spit the hook. I won’t bury the lede, that was all the action we’d have today.

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On a side note, I’ve really enjoyed all the wildlife I’ve seen since taking up fishing. I’ve probably seen more in the last two years than I did in my previous 25+ living in Missoula.

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We tried a few other spots in this section but ended up getting back in the truck and heading further upstream. We stopped at the confluence of the East and West fork. My gut tells me we should have picked one and gone even further but, we didn’t today.

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The water looked really promising but neither of us had any action. Duncan said he tied on tons of different rigs and spent plenty of time on a few holes that had to be holding fish. I worked up-stream hard and fast. Tried kebari, elk hair caddis, rubber legs, worms, eggs, nothing got so much as a bump.

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As always, it was a fun day with a friend on the water. But the Bitterroot has once again left a sour taste in my mouth. Someday I’ll crack the code. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying.

I did manage one Cutthroat (IPA, thanks Blacksmith) on the way back to Missoula…

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Happy Angling!

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Thurston’s Birthday on Rock Creek

Last year, my buddy Thurston and I got out for some fat biking on Blue Mountain for his birthday. This year, fly fishing on Rock Creek. Choose your friends wisely and you too can have this much fun…

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We got up to Rock Creek and cracked into some delicious beer while we rigged up. Some beer snobs will probably hate seeing Ivan the Terrible in anything less than a stellar glass. And to them I say, lighten up. Thurston aged this for over a year and generously gifted it to me for Christmas. Never had any intention of sharing it with anyone but him and his Birthday seemed an appropriate time. We enjoyed our beer and finally got down on the water.

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Less than half an hour in, dragging a bacon and egg set up through the middle of a run I felt a tug. At first, I thought it was a whitefish since it ran deep. Next thing I know a big fat rainbow is breaking the surface. On the second jump, tragedy struck. The second section of my Amago snapped in half. I can only assume it was damaged last Summer when my Dad took a spill and stepped on a few of the other sections. I must’ve missed some damage to this one when having it warrantied. Thurston would later tell me he thought the fish was a goner for sure. I however, calmly (at least that’s how I remember it) just moved my grip up to the third section and promptly landed a 16.5″ rainbow on a broken rod.

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I’ve already done an entire post on how great Tenkara USA’s customer service is but, it’s worth noting that it was once again exceptional. I placed my order on Wednesday, tracking number said it would arrive on Monday and it showed up on Saturday. Stellar job Daniel and crew! (Thanks especially in this instance to TJ as he’s who I emailed back and forth with)

After my heart rate slowed a bit we moved upstream. Thurston was also throwing the bacon and egg setup and found pay dirt.

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No broken rod for him but, if I recall he was fishing is 4/5wt and this fish was giving him a run for his money. Finally he brought it in, just before a quick run that surely would’ve caused him to lose the fish.

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Beautiful Brown there, Birthday boy! We fished for a few more hours. I had no strikes, probably for the best as I was fishing a broken rod… Thurston saw one more while casting through some riffles but neither of us had any further fish to hand.

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Not that it really mattered to us. We debated calling it quits after those first two catches but, we couldn’t tear ourselves away from the water.

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We finished our planned loop, explored some new braids that weren’t there last fall and then headed back to the truck for one last beer before heading back to town.

Rock Creek is quickly becoming my favorite spot to wet line. I love Rattlesnake Creek for how close it is to home and how challenging it can be but, something about Rock Creek just speaks to me. And it’s always nice to share a good day on the water with a friend.

Happy Birthday, Thurston!

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And happy angling everyone else!

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Rock Creek

Chad picked me up from work and we headed out to Rock Creek. It was probably around six when we actually got on the water. He’s been wanting to reach the confluence with the Clark Fork so we skipped around some holes we’d normally fish in the lower section. He was throwing streamers, I had a stonefly/egg combo on to start.

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I was casting through a run when I saw a splash just downstream from where I was casting in a seam. I ran my setup through a time or two then called Chad over. After a few casts something hit, Chad set and his tippet promptly broke. We didn’t get a look at it but it must’ve been a decent sized fish. No doubt in my mind anyway.

A few more bends in the river and we’d reached a section neither of us had fished yet. I had a strike and saw a flash but missed the set. Kept casting to the same spot and hooked up with a good-sized whitefish.

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My best whitefish impersonation… Haven’t caught a trout since January first. Apparently I’m only able to catch whites and suckers now. Oh well.

We kept moving downstream, didn’t get all the way to the confluence before we decided to head back up the car before dark.

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Happy angling.

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Bitterroot Float

Gonna keep it short and sweet. It was snowing when I got up, it got progressively nicer as we floated from Bell’s Crossing to Stevensville. Bones and I had no luck, Chad got into two nice fish after Bones took over rowing. Tenkara was not the key to success today but, as always it was good to get out. Still have yet to catch anything out of the ‘Root. Maybe next time.

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Thanks to Chad for another fun boat trip. And thanks to Bones for rowing and putting up with us two weirdos. Look forward to the next time with these two!

Happy angling!

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Late posting, as usual

My dog needs to be groomed. His hair is far too long and he smells awful. Only reason I mention this is because I had to turn down a fishing invite from a friend today because the dog has an appointment for this afternoon. Bummer. But, it did remind me of a quick trip I went on in January. Not a lot to report from that outing. Did some wading, explored some braids and brought in a whitefish via Montana prince nymph on my Amago. Here’s a few pics.

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Until next time, happy angling.

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Happy New Year

Three New Years Days in a row with no hangover. This is officially a trend. Once again I was up early and didn’t need a bloody mary. Chad showed up about 8:30 and we piled into the 4Runner and headed up Rock Creek. If you remember last years post, http://simpleangler.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year/, this would be the point where things went a bit wonky. Thankfully, no vehicle issues this year.

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We skipped the first parking spot as we were worried the 4Runner might not be able to make it out, stopped here and rigged up. We were once again blessed with blue skies and this year it was warm. I told Chad I had a good feeling and we started fishing right away.

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Chad started dragging a double setup through this deep channel and I moved upstream just a bit. Just a few casts in I had what looked like a good-sized whitefish take my Montana Prince nymph. I wasn’t expecting it however, poor set and the surprise of seeing a fish on the line resulted in it releasing itself rather quickly.

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We moved a bit further upstream and the Sun peeked over the mountains. If that one bite was all the action we had for the day I’d have been perfectly satisfied.

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I was on the opposite bank from Chad when I looked up and saw his rod bent over and him fighting a fish. He reeled in a good-sized whitefish, very possibly the first fish caught by anyone on Rock Creek in 2014.

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We got to this hole, right near an excellent place to get back on the road and head to the truck. I had this big grin on my face because I’d just pulled in a beautiful trout.

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Last year, I didn’t catch my first fish until February ( http://simpleangler.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/beers-buds-and-bass/ ) and I didn’t catch my first trout until March ( http://simpleangler.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/sun-snow-and-a-rainbow-trout/ ). I’m hoping this is a sign of good things to come in 2014.

There’s no better way to end a fishing trip than having your last cast bring a fish in so, I collapsed the Amago and we made our way back to the 4Runner.

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I can’t think of a much better way than to spend the first morning of a New Year than enjoying the outdoors with a good friend. I hope you all had a wonderful New Years Eve and a fun-filled New Years Day. See you on the water in 2014.

Happy angling!

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