The Boys on the Dearborn

The Boys on the Dearborn

Spring runoff is in full affect and river fishing is extremely limited.  The Mighty Mo is one of the only area waters that has clear water and since it was my long time buddies last couple weeks of life as a free man we needed to get out and blow of a little steam.  The plan came together over a few days and we all decided to head for the Mo for a little fishing, lots of drinking and a float down one of Montana’s most beautiful rivers.  Russ and Brian headed up on Friday night along with Russ’s buddies Doug, Joe and Stan.  Shook and I decided one night sleeping in the dirt would be sufficent so we stayed in our own beds on Friday night and planned on an early start on Saturday morning.

I picked up Shook at 6 am and we made the two and half hour drive to the Mo, with a couple of stops at the Man Stores in Helena to find Russ a few gag gifts for his Bachelor’s weekend.  Shook picked up a beer cuzzie and I got him a nice nipple for the top of his beer can.  We arrived in the thriving metropolis of Craig by 1o am and the crew was just starting to kick the hangover from the night of sleeping in the dirt and partying at the Craig Bar.   The plan was to fish the Mo on Saturday and then take a nice pleasure cruise down the Dearborn River on Sunday.  Since the crew had the shakes and were trying to get their wits about them I decided to take a quick run down river to see how much mud the Dearborn was pumping into the Mo.  The upper river was very busy with boats and I much prefer to float below Craig for the scenery of the canyon and less of the crowds.  The Dearborn was high and dirty but it was not blowing mud all the way across the Mo and by the time it mixed in with the main flow at Mid Cannon it was still a very fishable river.  I made my way back to the camp and we loaded up the rafts and headed for the Put in at the Dearborn access.  After getting the boats in the water and running the shuttle we shoved off.

Fishing was pretty slow for us but I can’t say we gave it more than about a half hour or serious fishing.  The flows on the Mo were near 12,000 C.F.S. and the volume of water requires alot of rowing and some serious attention to fishing.  By the time we made it to Mid Cannon we had lashed two of the rafts together and were in for a beer cruise while we dangled a few lines out of the boats.  We did manage to hook up a few fiesty bows but for the most part it was about hanging out with friends and enjoying the Canyon.  We got off the water by 4 pm and headed for Craig where we rented a cabin for the night.  We had plans to head to the dam and drown some worms for some walleys but the front porch of the cabin and the shrimp appetizers kept us there till the band started to play on the deck at Izzac’s Bar.  The Bridger Creek Boys kicked up the Bluegrass music and we headed over to the deck to enjoy the show.   Thank goodness Doug made up the appetizers because we all skipped dinner and enjoyed the Pendelton Whiskey along with the great music.  Russ even tried out his two step lessons he took for the wedding and there was plenty of heckling from the rest of us.  The band played well past dark and when it was over we headed for the Craig bar for a few more drinks.    I made it for one round at the Bar and after nearly falling from my bar stool I decided it was time to head back to the cabin for some shut eye.  The rest of the crew made it till the bar maid told them they had to leave and I was sure happy I didn’t join in on the late night Tombstone Pizza blitz at the Bar.

We woke up on Sunday and we were all in need of a quick hangover cure.  Izzac’s provided the chicken fried steak and the bloody Mary’s that helped a few of us get going for the day.  Doug, Joe and Stan needed to get back home so it was just Russ, his brother, Brian, Shook and I in for the 19 mile float down the Dearborn.  We made the putin by 10 am and set out for the float.  The river was high and there was not even a few inches of clarity, which was a good thing since we all wanted to try and get home at a reasonable hour.  I was the only one who had been down the Dearborn before and the rest of the guys really enjoyed the amazing Canyon of the Dearborn.

IMGP1692We hit the takeout by 4 pm and made our way back to Bozeman for a much needed good nights sleep.  Russ has exactly two more weeks until he is a kept man.  I wish him and his new bride all the best, but life does change once they have their claws in you Russ.