February has been a great month for us her in SW Montana. Our snowpack is increasing every day. Even though we haven’t had a chance to get out on the water, we have been busy doing office stuff, receiving fly orders, and making arrangements for our clients that have booked for this upcoming summer. Before we know it, the guiding season will be upon us and it’s full on, “Go time.” We are looking forward to our first trips in the spring. Spring is a great time to fish Southwestern Montana. The first hatches of the year, hungry trout and minimal pressure. Check out our blog article and what our early season trips are all about.
Peak months are booking up, if you are interested in booking a trip with our seasoned guiding staff be sure to reach out to us before too long. We would love to show you our many blue ribbon rivers and the wild trout that inhabit them. Whether you are looking to improve your fly fishing skills or learn the basics of fly fishing in the Rockies, our patient and knowledgeable guide staff will ensure you have an enjoyable and successful day on the river.
Are you in the Los Angles area? Allegiant Airlines has just added another direct flight from LA to Bozeman for just $59 each way starting in June. This is an unbeatable price to come explore Southwestern Montana’s blue ribbon rivers and streams.
Regards, Dane Huzarski
EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MONTANA SPRING FISHING
I have been sitting at the tying bench cranking out flies and letting my mind wander to days in shorts, rowing down the river soaking up the sun, and looking for trout poking their snouts through the surface and delicately slurping in insects.
If you have not been to Bozeman, Montana before, you might be surprised about the amenities for fishermen in the area. It is a college town of about 50,000 residents. It boasts many diverse restaurants for every taste.
This month's three flies are spring time patterns that I am very fond of. The first pattern is called a brassie. This fly has deep roots for me and my Montana experience. Way back, in about 1991 I made my first journey to Montana on a father and son fishing trip to the Big Horn River. We were with a group of my father's friends and staying in a brand new lodge on the river. This designation trip was new to me and my father and I didn’t have any idea how it would impact me. We fished for three days in the spring and I have many fond memories of this trip. Probably the reason I made the break to Bozeman from Reno, NV in 1994. One of the least fondest memories was getting a size 18 brassie hooked in my lip on a windy day. The guide was great and removed it without much fuss. Not only do I remember this fly because of where it landed but because how effective it was on those trout for those three days. This is such a simple pattern to tie and so effective on the trout, a perfect combination for trout looking for midges on tailwaters. I use this pattern quite often on the Missouri River as they like it just as much as those Big Horn trout. You can tie this in all kinds of colors, but my favorites are copper, red and two stranded combos of red/black and silver/black.
The second fly is the Innis golden stone. When I first started out guiding in Big Sky, I spent my winters guiding skiers looking to take a break from the mountain. During the winter, half day trips during the warmest part of the day were the most productive. Fishing the slower pools with nymphs was the most effective way to catch those wild rainbows. The fly shop I worked at had this pattern tied locally. After a few years the pattern disappeared and was hard to find in any fly shop. Two weeks ago I met the inventor of this pattern here in Bozeman. He has a new fly tying company and I picked up a few dozen of these stones for my boxes. I am glad that I have found this pattern again and look forward to fishing it as soon as the weather breaks.
My last pattern is called a Captive Midge. This is a very low riding dry fly that I fish when casting to trout eating adult midges. It can be hard to see on the water, but when the trout get slightly picky and won’t eat a griffith’s gnat, I go to this pattern. I like patterns with trailing shucks and this small dry seems to fool the trout as it represents a midge stuck just in the surface film trying to emerge. Give this fly a try when they refuse a bigger midge pattern. It just might crack the code.
Note: Fly patterns, terms, concepts and fishing tips help develop your knowledge and ultimate success on the river. The information above is unique and provided specifically for Montana Trout Wranglers email subscribers.
I ventured out to a small creek today in search of finding some photo worthy creatures to capture. It was -13 degrees when I awoke but once it hit +6 I grabbed my camera gear and jumped in the truck. Usually there is an abundance of wildlife to photograph. Many deer, pheasants, eagles, and rising trout in this area. It must have been the low temps, because not a lot was stirring in the hay fields. Where I generally see 200 pheasants, I came across two, where eagles soar looking for prey I only saw three. One was perched about 500 yards away, one was on a telephone pole on the busy paved road and another that I had a good look at in an aspen received a paparazzi like photo shoot. Once I returned home I downloaded the pictures and erased over 200 blurry or unusable images. I narrowed down my favorites to about five selections, asked the family which picture they liked best and they picked this. Now it’s not as regal as the eagle, but I liked the picture. I am not a “small” bird watcher. I know a few by name, but like looking at eagles and hawks with their big talons and wide wingspans impresses me. I did a little research and I believe that this is a Black Capped Chickadee. I know I have a few clients that will let me know if I have made a mistake identifying this bird.
I have to admit, I was at a well-known bridge where I see trout rising frequently. I saw a fish rise right next to the ice and waited with camera ready for the trout to rise again. I waited and waited in position and nothing happened. After about 10 minutes, my attention was diverted to this guy flying from bush to bush along the bank. I snapped a few photos, jumped back in the truck which was still running and headed down the road. After finding that young eagle who posed eagerly for me I was excited to get back home and see how the 300+ pictures turned out.
It’s always interesting to be standing 40’ away from a gorgeous young eagle, sitting still in an aspen and come to find out 2/3 of the pictures have a small branch blocking the subject. Or the blurry pics from trying to shoot from a running truck or standing knee deep on the side of a backcountry road with a heavy lens in the cold. I do not see myself as a professional photographer, but sometimes when working with flighty subjects the rush to get the shot makes me overlook the subtle things that screw up a good photo.
So, here is a picture of a chickadee? I wanted to believe that he is hunting midges on the waters edge. Or maybe he just wanted to feel the snow between his toes?