Written by: Brian McGeehan, Montana Angler Fly Fishing
Early Spring (late March thru early May) is the most underrated time of year to fish in Montana. The trout are hungry after a long winter and have not seen a fly in months. Low water levels . . .
The post Pro Tips: My Top 5 Montana Rivers for Spring Fishing appeared first on Orvis News.
By now, most fly fishers have at least heard about Tenkara–a Japanese method of fly fishing developed about 200 years ago–and you’ve probably seen both pro-Tenkara websites and . . .
The post Videos: Understanding Tenkara Rods, Set Up and Flies appeared first on Orvis News.
Written by: Andrew Thomas, Picabo Angler
In March, I proposed to my girlfriend of six years, Whitney, on the banks of the Salmon River in Idaho. I had been telling her for some time–only partly tongue-in-cheek–that she would get a . . .
I the past year, I have been satisfied with fishing. I have not worried about pictures or video or even trying to remember every moment to share later on the interweb. I have just fished. I must admit, it was refreshing. There were no worries about the right angle for the camera or the right words to describe moments that are so often indescribable. It was just fishing. Today, I feel like sharing.
It was wonderful to sleep this morning. There was no worries of work or the remediation that takes place during summer school. The day was mine to enjoy. With several cool nights and a day of rain, I decided to see if I could find an early trout to help me celebrate our nation’s birthday. I sent Mike a text, and we met on our favorite local stream.
It was a wet morning with intermittent rain. The cool air and the rain made for perfect conditions to cover a great deal of water in our search for fish. We arrived to find the creek with a slight stain, but it was clearing quickly as it slowly meandered through the valley. Mike and I decided to fish a familiar stretch that we knew would hold a trout or two. We took a nice walk up stream and proceeded to drag small streamers through likely spots as we fished our way back to our parking spot.
It did not take long for Mike and I to find fish. After losing a fly, I tied on a new fly and was immediately rewarded for a patient drift. The tightening line was a wonderful reminder as to why we fish. I was surprised to see such a nice holdover as I raised that fish out of the depths of that pool. It was a fantastic fish for this river, and I was more than satisfied with today’s adventure. After a a couple of quick pictures, the trout quickly returned to his holding spot, and I was grateful for our encounter. I decided to walk further upstream in hopes of finding a few more willing fish. Mike stayed back and continued to fish the same stretch. I missed another trout or two over the next hour and returned to find Mike in the same spot. I was surprised to see that he had not moved. He found a few fish and was happy to stay in the same spot. Unfortunately, those fish were smallmouth. Fortunately, Mike loves to catch smallmouth!
It was an extremely enjoyable morning. We fished our way back to the the parking area without catching another fish. It did not matter, we were more than satisfied with the enjoyment the stream had provided us this morning. It was a great way to celebrate the freedom that this country provides to each one of us and more time well spent here in the Flatland.
I love mail! Seriously. There is just something special about finding things in that box addressed to you. That is unless it is a bill. One of the perks of this blog is that people will send us things to try or review. This week I received an awesome package from Isaac Sheehan at MidAm Mercantile. He sent me a handmade leather fishing journal to review and use.
Isaac and I had been corresponding via text messages for about a week. He asked me what I thought about the idea of an on stream journal. I thought the idea was solid, and the journal itself looked to be a very cool accessory that I could see myself using regularly. Isaac decided to send me one for my own review.
I must admit that I was surprised by the quality of this little journal. The leather and stitching were heirloom quality. I was impressed by the thought that went into this cool new accessory. The journal features American leather and waxed cord. There is a cool fly patch as well as a wells as a very neat built in leather tape measure. There was obviously a great deal of thought that went into the design of this little stream side note keeper.
I decided to use mine as a way for me to keep statistics and notes on the conditions, hatches and flies for each trip. The little notebook allows me to keep track of all of the day’s highlights and lowlights while they are still fresh in my head. I also write down the water temperature, the stream’s height and flow, the size and number of fish I caught that day, and where I caught or missed fish. It has become a great tool that I can refer to when deciding on where to fish or which gear to take long before I leave the house.
If you are like me and you love to write or keep records, This little leatherbound journal is the perfect accessory. It fits right in my chest pack or wader pocket. I strongly suggest giving Isaac some business. If you are interested in one for yourself, you can check out MidAm Mercantile here:
Isaac is a great young man that wants for his customers to be happy and satisfied with a product that will last several life times. He also told me that the journal could be personalized as well. With fishing season in full swing, and Father’s Day right around the corner, these little journals would make a great gift to anyone that enjoys time spent on the water.
There are stories and there are legends. Today, we fished in the footsteps of a legend. I am not sure when the legend began or how it even started, but myths becomes fantasy, and fantasy becomes fact. The fact is that Steely Dan is hero in the fishing world. A man that has set a standard that would take me several lifetimes to achieve; a standard that left me wondering if he was even real. Now chasing down Steely Dan has been a life-long dream, but fishing with the legend was something that I didn’t dare think was a possibility.
Yesterday, my cousin Zach and I attempted to chase down the legend of Steely Dan. We arrived at the river as early as possible hoping to find this legendary fisherman. When I pulled in to the lot, I found a man that I believed to be this legend. After a brief conversation, I was sure I was in the company of greatness. Zach and I had finally found this mythical man. We tried not to seem too eager. We limited our questions and followed without looking like stalkers.
Now, Steely Dan is not a flashy man. He is modest in both speech and dress. Most people would have expected to find a man modeled from an Orvis catalog. Steely Dan was fisherman. He wore a tattered hat, a torn satchel, and an old set of leaky waders. Zach and I watched in amazement as this man entered the river. He said very little and merely went about his business of fishing.
Zach and I beat the water to death. In our search for steelhead, we found bass and suckers instead. It was after landing a large sucker that Steely Dan said something that I will never forget. “I don’t want a sucker biting my egg sack!” At that moment, I knew that not only was this man a fishing legend, but he was one of the wisest men I had ever shared time with on a river.
Now yesterday was my birthday, and I think Steely Dan knew. He did his best not to show us up. He would escape our attention now and then. I’m sure he was catching fish when we weren’t looking, but he was gracious enough not to make us look bad. I know he could have easily landed forty fish, but he was nice enough to allow us not to witness the ease with which he normally catches fish.
It was a long and amazing day. Zach and I were exhausted, but Steely Dan looked as if he could have fished all night. At the end of the day, we hesitantly parted ways. I was so excited. I could not wait to share my adventures with my friends and family here. I took several pictures throughout the day, and to my amazement, Steely Dan had managed to avoid them all. It was as if he was never even there…Someday Steely Dan! Someday.
For many of you that follow us here, you know that I am addicted to trout. I don’t care how big or small they are. I love catching them. I love seeing them. I love everything about them. For me, trout are the perfect fish. They live in beautiful places, they sip dry flies, and quite frankly, they are a perfect fish. With all of that said, I live in Ohio. We do not have a plethora of trout streams and opportunities are few to find trout locally, so today I chased bass.
Let me start this by saying that I look at bass as a pacifier. I do not chase pond bass very often. I try to save them for the summer months or for when I am fishing the in-law’s pond. Now don’t get me wrong, bass are fun to catch. I thoroughly enjoy watching a large mouth explode on a surface fly. Summer bass can be some of the most exciting and explosive takes in fresh water, but these were not summer bass.
I got a call from Walt about fishing a local private pond today. Walt is my neighbor. Everyone should have a neighbor like Walt. He had permission to fish a local five acre spot that I knew to be full of bass. In fact, it has too many bass. The majority of the fish there are all around twelve inches. They are aggressive and very fun, but the big fish are few and far between.
With water temperatures still fairly low and the bass gearing up for the spawn, I threw on a large crystal bugger and began to catch fish. In my first five casts, I caught four and lost a fifth. It was the type of fishing that I expected from this spot. We caught close to sixty bass in the two hours that we were there. It was very entertaining, but also very easy. Walt and I finished in a spot that in our last twenty casts, we caught a fish on every cast. It may have been too easy.
The two best times to fish are when it is raining and when it is not. There has been a lot of rain here this week. However, there is just something special about fishing in a steady rain while wading a river. It brings back many great memories of time spent on the water with friends and family. It also helps to scare off any one else that was considering a fishing trip. Tonight was a perfect combination of good water and steady rain. I decided to make my way to my favorite local river.
With storms forecast for the rest of the week, I was figuring that today would be the last day that this water would be fishable. I arrived to find the water in perfect shape, but it was running a little quicker than I had anticipated. I should have grabbed a bigger rod with some sinking line, but I didn’t. I would just make due with the light rod I did bring.
I tied on some heavier tippet and grabbed the biggest streamer I had in the box. I also decided to fish a stretch of water that was unfamiliar to me. I planned on covering as much water as possible. I wanted to find some fish that I could visit later during some of the good caddis hatches that are soon to come.
The creek quickly gave up one of the many small fish that I am used to finding there. As I worked my way downstream, I missed many fish as I worked the crystal bugger through all of the likely looking spots. I managed to catch a few of the short fall stocked fish. There was some great looking water that the floating line would just not allow me to get the fly down deep enough to thoroughly fish. However, I did manage to find a solid twelve inch holdover that crushed my fly.
I was feeling pretty good at this point and then my lovely rain turned into a full blown downpour. It was quick to pass, but the heavy rain seemed to slow the aggressive fish down. I continued to work my way downstream, and I struggled to find another strike. When I did get a fish to chase the fly, I would get only one shot and that was it.
In a likely looking spot, I finally found a fish to blog about. From under a tangle of roots, I hooked a fish that fought harder than I was used too on this creek. I soon realized that this was a much better holdover and maybe my best trout from this creek. After a great fight, the fish was near the shore and generously posed for a quick picture. I was thrilled to find such a nice fish on such a soggy evening.
I think I need to get a little more serious about finding a big fish on this river. My next trip will include a larger rod, a sinking line, and a few articulated streamers!
After a beautiful morning with the family, Matthew and I decided to meet Mr. Mike on the Mad for a few hours of fishing. I had high hopes of finding a few rising fish in the upper stretches, but the beautiful weather and the holiday had several others thinking the same thing. Every bridge crossing seemed to have a car or two parked there, so we had to search to find some quiet water.
We did eventually find some unmolested water, and Mr. Mike found a couple of willing fish. Matthew found a few aggressive chubs, and I followed them both and struggled to find anything. I was fine with that. It was great just having Matthew there with me. He is more fun than even he realizes. He also has an amazing ability to tie the most incredible knots in his leader.
There was a great hatch of small stone flies, but we never saw a fish rise all afternoon. It would have been a great day to chuck some big streamers in the lower reaches of the river, but I am not sure Matthew is ready for that type of fishing and the perils of that type of wading.
We made two additional stops and we were able to find trout in both spots. Mike picked up another while I lost a really nice fish at the bank. One final stop allowed me to find and land two solid fish before it was time to grab dinner and head home. It was a great way to spend a beautiful afternoon.