The following morning everyone is up early and ready to go. Needing coffee and a morning snack the guys are looking at each other. Around 8:15 a women arrives at the hotel and starts getting breakfast prepared. Argentines work on a different schedule than Americans and mornings are not for getting up early for. The fishing guides soon arrive and help speed up the process by shuttling coffee to us and getting things up to speed. Soon we are loading bags into their trucks and off to the river. After about a 45 minute drive we arrive at the river and load up the boat with our gear, splash the boats and we are off for an overnight camp trip on the Chimmihein River.
This February I found myself packing in a haste to load my bags with clothes, fishing equipment and camera gear for a three week trip to Patagonia. This would be my second trip in the past two years to this region, but I still felt unprepared. Work and other commitments, such as coaching the high school wrestling team, had made my days and nights filled. I made a serious commitment to bring all my camera gear and take as many pictures as possible. I stayed up late one night and did as many Americans do: placed a sizable order from Amazon Prime. I ordered everything I thought I might possibly need, learning from my past trip to Argentina. Too much really, I now realize as I write this, but I wanted to be prepared and had little experience for the region at this time frame.
With the winter sinking its teeth in here in Montana, there is not a lot of opportunity to go fishing. But like a lot of my other hobbies, I still like to take care of my gear and make sure it is in good working order and play with my toys every now and then. During the off season it is always a good idea to give your gear a tune up. Just like your automobile, your fishing gear needs a little maintenance to insure your next day on the water goes smoothly.
In the winter we spend less time outside on the water and more time at the vise re-filling the boxes or researching on the internet. I have compiled a list of websites where I get information from, keep up with the industry news and learn new and innovative patterns to tie and try.
Soft hackle flies have been around from almost the beginning of the sport. They are not a dry fly and not a nymph in most cases. They have a special niche in the sport and many people have neither taken the time to fish them or have forgotten about them totally. They can be a deadly fly in your fly box and there isn’t a wrong way to fish them. Their simplistic patterns make them easy to tie in many different combinations to cover different emergences and patterns.
Some of our new clients ask us how many we are allowed to keep when fishing, or how many coolers should they bring to take home their catch. This is always a touchy subject but many people do not understand how valuable our trout are to us and our local economy. I do not think that you would be able to find a guide, outfitter or fly shop in the state that would allow this.
Some years when we have low water and unseasonable hot weather the state will put into effect the most common restriction called a “Hoot Owl” restriction. It allows the rivers to be closed to fishing from 2pm-midnight.
Many of our customers are surprised about the size of leaders and tippets we use for our western rivers.
Technology is all around us these days and is evolving and making our lives easier. In the fly fishing industry it is also now an integral part of our daily program.
Sometimes conditions are not perfect for fly fishing, especially in the spring time with the snow pack melting in the mountains. With inconsistent weather patterns moving through, many of our local rivers can be fishable one day and unfishable the next. This time of year you have to be flexible to find the best conditions. This week I took a few days on a road trip with a fellow guide in search of fishable water for upcoming clients. Here is a photo essay of the trip.
Next February we will be hosting a trip to Patagonia with Chocolate Lab Expeditions. We have 6 open spaces available. I have known Ron, the owner, for many years and fished with him this past December. He runs a first class operation and the fishing was fantastic. Visiting Patagonia was an experience in itself, and this is going to a great trip in a great culture. The following is the itinerary for the trip. If I can answer any other questions please send me an email.