Two more trips

I’ll be completely caught up after these two. Here we go…

I had Mom meet me at my house in the morning a few weeks back and we headed down the Bitterroot. Figured she could use a day in the mountains before starting the new school year. We hit up Kootenai Creek. Excellent hiking, easy fishing, and nice scenery.


Hiked up, dropped in the water and started getting into some little fish right away. Passed my glasses to her for the day (hence the double shades) so she could watch the fish rising (polarized makes a big difference, even in water this clear).

She took some pics/vids with her iPhone and quickly drained the battery so, I passed my camera over to her since she was enjoying snapping shots.

Here’s a “few” of me working the creek…

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Cloudy/cool/rainy forcast meant I broke out the Simms Guard Socks for the first time in awhile. The weather kept calm for the most part. We did start to get some showers towards the end but it was little more than a sprinkle.

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We came prepared though. Donned our rain coats and headed down to the trailhead when things seemed to be taking a turn.


On the way out we ran into this guy on the trail side. The folks over at /r/snakes seem to think it’s a rubber boa. Apparently a pretty rare sighting.


One last stop to take in the view before we got down to the trailhead. Into Stevensville for lunch at the Stevi Cafe (a must any time I’m down the ‘Root) and then down the street to Blacksmith Brewing.


Still a bit too warm out for a Pulaski Porter for me but, Mom enjoyed it. I stuck with the awesome Cutthroat IPA. Fun day indeed.

Just a few pics from a short outing with Duncan on Wednesday. Off work at six, on the water very shortly after for his first time on Rattlesnake. A few small guys in the Greenough Park area, back in the truck and further upstream. Light action for both of us, Duncan hooked into a big ol’ cutty in a hole I’ve always had good luck in. Fought it all the way in but it wormed away before I could snag a pic. Did get this one though…


Worked up as the light was dying. Dunc lost a fly to a backcast snag so I threw in the final hole.


A ridiculously gentle take and this guy was on the line. Healthy cutt on the last cast is a nice way to end a quick trip.

Fishing in western Montana. Ya just can’t beat it.

Happy angling all.

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Another photo dump

Shannon is at yoga for another thirty minutes or so and I felt like having a beer rather than going to the gym after work today. This is as good a time as any to get “caught up” on the fishing trips.

I got off work a couple Mondays ago, hit the gym and was still feeling a bit like I needed to get outside. Cut the gym trip a bit short, headed home and grabbed Shannon and Ri and we headed up the Rattlesnake for a little hike/fish action(by that I mean Shannon and Ri hiked around while I fished).


Shannon and Ri doing their thing.


Me doing mine. Rolled with the Daiwa Soyokaze for this trip. Went ultra minimal, only my Goertzen chest pack, wore my old school attire of gym shorts/tshirt and Vibram Five Fingers (it sucked, can’t believe how many times I fished in those before getting boots).


Shannon basically walked upstream on the path with the dog, occasionally popping down to get pics/chat with me while I headed directly upstream. Consequently, no fish pics. I didn’t catch any lunkers in the first portion. A few nice little cutt’s and browns. Did snag a 10″+ just before the end of this section though.


I always ‘OK’ my trips with my wife before I go but, I can’t recall a time she’s ever said no. And more often than not she encourages me to get out! You people who have SO’s who aren’t supportive of your habits chose poorly.


Some days, the solitude of fishing is exactly what I need. This day, I needed some cool water, pretty trout and my family close by. Ri was pretty adventurous with the water and also with a few passing dogs. After being attacked a few years back it’s good to see him open up to other animals a bit.


Shannon popped off for a few side tracks with Risdon. It’s too bad housing in the Rattlesnake is so ridiculously expensive, would be amazing to live up where we spend so much time recreating.


This was about the time I got into the last/largest brown of the outing. Good time cooling off and hanging with the fam.

Chronologically, my next trip was with down to Kootenai Creek. But, I took Mom on that one and she got some great pics so I think I’ll skip that for now and do a single post for that.

After a day of being productive on my weekend (a Thursday), I decided I needed some time on the water. It was getting close to sunset so I wanted something short and sweet. I hit Hobo Alley (the Rattlesnake from it’s confluence with the Clark Fork to Greenough Park, I didn’t hit the full section).


Two casts and I brought in a little cutty while a couple watched from the balcony of their Double Tree hotel room. I always have an instant calming sensation upon hooking up with the first fish. Until that point there is always this nagging sensation of “I should’ve done this, that, or the other thing”. But once I watch one rise to a dry fly, my brain shuts off and the fishing really starts.

Worked my way upstream with no action. I was about to cross from right bank to left bank when I decided I should cast into the run before wading in, good plan…


Solid brown took my fly. Worked my way up to Broadway where I hooked into a ~14″ rainbow. No pic of that one, it flopped out of my hand while I was fumbling for the camera. Collapsed the rod and called it a night. Several fish in about 45 minutes of wading. Once again, exactly what I needed.

Next time out, my buddy Duncan and I bikefished up the Rattlesnake. You can head to Missoula Bicycle Works’ Blog to read about that one and see some pics. It was pretty awesome and I immediately started looking at what gear I “need” to do more of that type of activity upon getting home.

Next up was Rattlesnake once again. It’s just so damn close and easy. This one was more to scope out a planned trip for Monday. I started at the connector trail footbridge and worked up to the dam (fishing on RC ends 100yds below the dam and is closed until Beeskove Creek, sixish miles up from the Rattlesnake Trailhead.


Things started off slow, a few little Cutt’s like the one above. Then things shut off until I got to some “falls”. Found myself a nice mix of cutts, browns and bows. From that point until the dam, not a thing. That section either sucks or just hasn’t been good to me thus far.

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I find “city” deer horribly annoying. I find actual wildlife awesome. Spooked this little buck as I worked my way up towards the dam.

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Hooked into one last cutt in this last run, just shy of the “No Fishing Upstream” sign. I’ve heard stories of people fishing closer to the dam. I’d imagine it would be an epic day, but too many epic days is what got us into the situation we’re in now with the need for conservation so, I turned around and headed home like a law abiding angler.


Can’t understand why people don’t think there are big fish in this water when they have a food supply like this…

The above trip was exploratory, as I mentioned. Monday afternoon I was due to head out with a buddy of mine to hit that section. He had to cancel unfortunately so, I hit Greenough Park on my own. Good decision. Within minutes of arriving, I had this section of water staring at me…


And dragged this guy out from a tough lie under the fallen tree.

DSCF2017 DSCF2018Approximately 14″ cutty in a heavily trafficked public park. Montana’s rivers/creeks are pretty damn healthy. We need to keep them that way. All to often I find garbage from bums, floaters, hikers, and just shitty people in general. I try to pack out more than I pack in and you should too.

Worked my way upstream from there, scenery was awesome as always but, the fishing sadly turned obsessive. It’s a side of my brain I’m not a fan of and something that fishing usually has been able to quiet lately. Still, a fantastic evening on the water with some awesome fish in hand.

DSCF2020And with that, I’m (mostly) caught up. Still got the trip to Kootenai with Mom to go but, that one should show up soon.

I posted the cutty from last night to Facebook with the caption “A crappy way to spend a Monday evening.” and got the best response I could’ve hoped for… “Why does your life have to suck so bad?” Yup, them’s the breaks. Somehow, I lucked into a pretty amazing situation. That or, I’ve learned how to be happy with the stuff in my life. It’s too bad we all have times were we can’t do that but, I’m super grateful that now isn’t one of those times in mine.


I’m done with this so, that’s all for tonight.

Happy angling all.



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Bike Fishing

A little something different today. My friend Duncan and I got out on our bikes for a fishing excursion on Wednesday. It was a fun time. I did a little write up on the trip for our blog over at Missoula Bicycle Works. Head over and give it a look. Next time around I’ll do one for this blog specifically, maybe address what I changed from my first attempt and what I’d change for future outings.

I do have some other trips I just need to get write ups done on, keep an eye out for those soon.

Happy angling all!

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Two Weeks Worth

Can’t believe August is half over. Feels like the drift boat trip was just yesterday. I’ve gotten after it several times since then, here goes…


Duncan and I got out on the water the night of the Paul McCartney concert. I think our time was better spent. Six pack of Bud Diesel, couple gas station corndogs and a tube of pringles. I got into a nice fish right away. Dunc was cursed. I’ve never seen a fish strike a fly so many times and never managed to take.

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Only two fish for me, none for Duncan. Even a rough night on a blue ribbon trout stream is a pretty good way to spend your time.

My wife, Shannon, has been studying for the BAR exam all Summer. It was so nice to get out on the water with her once it was finally over. She opted to just hike along and enjoy the cool water rather than fish on this trip.


Can’t get enough of the gorgeous little cutthroats in this creek. Watching them rocket up to dry flys in the gin-clear water keeps me coming back for more.


Tenkara was built for this.


As I said, awesome to finally feel like I’ve got my Wife back after she worked her ass off all Summer. It was a hot one so, dipping the feet in the water felt amazing.


Pleasant surprise of the trip, the fish seem to be healthier this year than any other I’ve fished this section of water. I pulled out tons of little/mid size guys and more than a few in this size range (about 10-12″). Fall fishing is going to be killer if the streams keep up the way they’ve been all summer.


Bugs used to bother me. Now I love ‘em and I tend to take butterflys as good omens.

I texted Matt something along the lines of “How do you feel about getting up stupid early and heading south to fish on Sunday?” Fast forward a day or two and he’s outside my house at 6am. After a quick stop at Florence Coffee Co we’re off. The Super Moon was setting over Blue Mountain and it was blood red. Pretty awesome view to start the morning. Didn’t bother trying to take a picture.


Flys hit the water shortly after seven and fish were in hand not long after. Things started off a bit slow and picked up as the temps warmed through the morning.

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Excellent way to start a Sunday, and this was all before I had to be at work at 11.

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Every time I think “I need to branch out and try other creeks.” I have a stellar day on this one that just makes me want to return again and again.

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We mostly stayed in the water and worked our way upstream. We only popped up to the trail once or twice.


Caught more of these than I would bother to count. I suggested Duncan head here the following day and his assessment was something along the lines of “You just catch fish until you’re tired of it then hike out.” He even saw some skinny dippers on his trip, not something I’ve run into up there just yet.


Off the water, another stop at a Florence Coffee Co and I was at work before 11. Pretty great way to wake up.

I think I’m going to end this post here. I’ve got three more little outings but I’ll save them for later.

Happy angling all.

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Tenkara+Drift Boat

Chad wanted to get out in his boat. I’m a sucker for a free ride. Grabbed a six pack of Trout Slayer and met him at the bike shop and off we went. We were on the water a little after five.

It’s amazing what a year of fishing and rowing will change. Chad navigated the water expertly, put me in spots and gave me the best chance to get into fish. Which, I promptly did.


Big fat brown on a hopper to start the day. After struggling to remove a deep set hook I decided not to do the hero pose but rather get it back in the water ASAP.

This section last year resulted in water over the bow and in my lap.


We donned life jackets and headed down.

I was scared. Also, it was raining. But it was no big deal. Did I mention Chad really knows what he’s doing on the oars compared to last year?

I caught more fish. Lots more really. All pretty damn good sized. But tenkara is only for small fish in mountain streams. Don’t bother searching for anything over twelve inches or using it on big water. It just doesn’t work.

Chad fished too. He even caught some.

I didn’t take as many pictures of fish as I used to, was too busy catching them and being glad about where I live and who I recreate with.

It was a great evening. Chads awesome Aunt Kristi organized shuttle service for us and by that I mean she took our calls and Chads awesome Uncle Cameron came and picked him up. We owe ya guys, thanks!
Chad got the trailer with Cameron, I watched bats fly around in the dark at the take out. We stopped at Burger King and ate way too much gross fast food.
Pretty solid Friday afternoon/evening.
Happy angling all.

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A 3-for

Been out fishing a few times since my last posting, I’ve just been too lazy to get anything written. I’m also nearing my free storage limit on here, need to decide what I’m going to do about that…


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Chad texted me while I was at work a few Sundays ago. “Thinking of fishing <redacted> for a few hours tonight, you game?” I was, (I’m still not getting specific about locations anymore, it was the Clark Fork, but if you want to know where you either need to figure it out yourself or come pick me up and have a cooler of beer to bribe me with…) so after work I headed home, geared up and he came and got me and of we went. Gorgeous evening. We hiked a long ways. Second photo above was where we both got into our first fish. Me at the downstream end of that log, Chad at the head of it. Both rainbows.

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Kept working our way up river. Forgot to mention the field of stinging nettle we hacked our way through to get to the previous points. My legs itched for two days.


End of the line headed upstream. Back down we go, we went down a side channel, both got into some more little rainbows (wasn’t quick on the draw with the camera this trip at all). Bugs were starting to come off in droves at this point in the evening. We ended up essentially sight fishing. We’d watch for risers, head down the bank then cast in the same area.

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I found “IT”…


Of course my camera battery decided to kick the bucket here. Chad’s got a 16″ rainbow on the line here (he taped it, it was a true 16), I got myself a 13″ shortly after and we called it a day. Pretty solid way to spend a Sunday evening.

This past Sunday was a scorcher. Shannon had some studying left to do so I decided to get out of her hair for a bit after work. Quick trip to a creek for me to cool off.


This is only my second full summer fishing so it’s going to be interesting to see how runoff has changed the creeks. The channel on the left in the above photo was barely a trickle last year, now it seems that may be the new direction the creek will flow, we’ll see in a few weeks.


This section was totally dammed last season. The logs stacked up higher than my shoulders. Now it’s a free run. I still managed to snag a fish that was hiding under the cutbank by some tree roots on the right.

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Interesting little “water feature”. The whole “voluntarily” thing kind of irks me. Don’t act all high and mighty about what you’re doing when it needs to be done to preserve an ecosystem… My troutbum/hippie conversion continues to progress, I found myself kicking down rock walls folks have built as “pools” in the creek. Not sure why people feel the need to cause damage to enjoy nature… Anyway…


Oh right, this is a fishing blog, better show a fish picture. Yellow stimi was the fly for the day. Nice little brownie, after this guy I moved upstream, fish a little more, kicked down a “pool” wall then headed home, picking up some pizza and wings on the way. Again, nice Sunday evening.


Matt and I met up on the bikes and headed up the creek on Thursday after he got off work. Still hot as heck in Missoula so it was nice to get in the cool water. And Matt had never fished this area before, always fun to show folks some nice spots to wet a line.


I hooked an 11″ cutt and not long after Matt was into this nice brown. Shortly after that he got a rainbow, no pics of that one as it was a bit of a clusterfuck situation, he was up high on a log when he hooked it, I went in to deal with it, managed to hook myself in the hand then spill half my beer. Oh well.

Back to the bikes and upstream to fish another section.


I used to hate bugs. Now things like this get my heart pumping.


I’m not sure Daniel would appreciate a Tenkara+Beer story for the TUSA page, besides, he could link to just about any of my blogs if he wanted that…

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Matt snagged a Cutt somewhere in this section, just a bull trout shy of a grand slam. I took a little guy with my final cast and we called it an evening. Back to the bikes.


Mmmmm, bikes…


Missoula in the summer is a pretty awesome place. In this photo we’ve got a fly fisher, some kayakers, I think a dog, some float tubers, 20+ people in a floatilla of rafts, and some SUPers. Just your average Thursday.


Yo, Simms, why don’t you make an SPD compatible wading boot?

Happy angling all.

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Two fishing trips

Monday, Matt and I headed out after I got off work for some fishing. This is the 4th time I’ve been on this creek lately. It’s come down pretty rapidly from my first outing. If this warm weather we’re having sticks around I’d bet it’s going to get down to tiny levels soon. If that’s the case, this outing makes for a nice end to this excellent early season stream.

Before I get to the pics, there was a recent incident at a local bike “park” that’s made me rethink how I’ll be writing my posts. After getting some attention in the press, and some supposed complaints from hikers, an area known as the Gravel Pit was bulldozed. It killed an excellent riding location for a lot of people, including a ton of kids. Now, creeks/streams are obviously not the same as “illegal” dirty jumps and I don’t consider this little blog to be “press” by any means but, to remain on the better safe than sorry side of things I’ll probably only be listing what river the creeks I fish dumps in to, if at all. I don’t think the story loses anything by not explicitly naming where I am and maybe it keeps the number of users to a minimum. Maybe I’m just falling down the rabbit hole of “paranoid fly-fisher” but really, I don’t care. Even if it doesn’t keep anyone off certain stretches of water I can be sure I didn’t add to any crowding.



Matt was rapidly into a fish. First cast if I’m not mistaken. As this is such a small stream, I didn’t bother taking pics of any of our fish on this day. You’ve seen plenty of small trout if you’ve read any of my other posts.


We fished up-stream for a little ways before things got too brushy. We popped out here and headed back down to the truck to drive further upstream. As Matt put it, I outsmarted myself with my GPS. I marked where I like to stop on this stretch but, the GPS did some funky zooming and I came up a bit short, depriving Matt of the chance to fish a nice fall pool. Oh well, good reason to make one more trip soon. Back to the truck and up to the bridge.


After we took some fish in these pools around the bridge, we cracked some SHIFT, a very pleasant surprise from Matt (I’ve been looking for it at my local grocery store but they aren’t stocking it for some reason), and then headed up for the last run.


While the likely hood of lunkers is slim, I do want to try dragging a streamer through this hole. It’s deep and the fish we took on dries from here were decent for this stream. Again, another great reason to go back. We packed it in and headed back to town before dark. Not a bad way to spend a Monday evening after work.

Tuesday at work I had a shitty attitude. No other polite way of saying it. We’re running pretty light staff this season at the bike shop, weekends are hectic and no “weekend” days off seems to be getting to me. Chad noticed and suggested/ordered that I take today off. AG being the awesome boss he is was cool with it so, I slept in a bit. Had some coffee and read some blogs. Ate lunch at #1 Gyro with Shannon and then headed down the Bitterroot. I’m determined to fish new water this year so, I picked a stream on the east side of the highway that I thought might be fishable and off I went.


Today is the hottest day of the year so far and it felt unbelievably good to get thigh deep in this water. After miles of “No Hunting/No Trespassing/Private” signs I was getting a bit discouraged that this wouldn’t be worth future trips. Didn’t take long for that to go away.


I parked at a campground, saw a guy and his kid heading out with a fishing pole and then had the whole area to myself. Lots of neat little bridges made stream access pretty simple.

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I popped down to the water and was into several cutthroat in rapid succession. Moving my way upstream, things got small fast. The creek split into two channels, one had a trail along it so I followed that, it was barely a trickle. I headed back down and started to make my way up the other side but, it was a full on bushwhack. And the water it self had to many trees across it and was too fast/deep to wade so, I made my way back downstream to see if I’d have any better luck/access.


Found myself a nice little run and pulled this guy out before I set foot in the water. Waded out to the middle and proceeded to spend the next hour catching every fish I could in a 50 yard run. I stopped counting almost immediately and the fish kept getting bigger and more colorful. Here’s just a handful…

DSCF1737 DSCF1738 DSCF1739 DSCF1740 DSCF1741DSCF1742I foul hooked a beautiful little brookie but, didn’t feel right snapping a pic of that one. Tangled itself in my line as I was bringing it in so I just wanted it off the hook and in the water as quickly as possible.

This fish however, was selfie worthy…


Used my Daiwa Soyokaze today and it was perfect for this water and these fish. My Amago would’ve worked, and at times the reach would have been nice, but a little shorter rod made for some playful fights.

I was about to pack it in, having said to myself that the next fish would be the last (yes, it really was that fast today) when a leg dangled over the bill of my hat.


The fishing gods had smiled on me today for sure. Let this head back to the water to make one of the fish I’d already caught and released happy with a big meal and threw out my line looking for that last fish.

DSCF1749All in all, a fantastic, refreshing day on the water. Refreshed and ready to head back to work after my two remaining days off and looking forward to my next chance to get on the water. Plus, I made a little stop on my way home, why shouldn’t this evening be pleasant as well?


Happy angling all.


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