June 2010

Sunfish Fun!

Summer camp is on hold for the week of the 4th of July so I have been super dad for the past couple days.  The warm weather has had us running for the local pond by 10 am to escape the heat.  Most people relish the first few days of 80 degree weather, however I completely despise anything above 75.  On Monday we made the mistake of trying to get some productive work in with Jason from Montana Troutchasers lodge, the heat almost drove me over the edge.  Reece, Kylee and I made it out to the lodge by noon to help Jason install a couple of large plank structures to both sides of a bridge at the lodge.

Drill baby Drill!

Reece was a big help pre drilling the holes in the support braces for the ramps.  Unfortunately he was more interested in playing in the creek when it came time to carry the heavy planks.  By the time Jason and I got the ramps installed we were both dripping with sweat and it was time to head back to town for a swim and a cool down.

After dinner I took Reece, Sarah and Kylee over to the local pond to take a swim.  I put Sarah in her stroller with just a diaper and a shirt and when we arrived at the beach she couldn’t contain her excitement.  The evening sun was hot and the water felt great.  Sarah took a couple of dives into the pond and wound up drinking her fair share of water before we could pull her back upright.  She didn’t skip a beat, or make a fuss about it in the least.  Once we up righted her she was right back at it, splashing around and working her way to the next mouthful of water.

Can I have some algae with that pond water!

After her diaper completely disintegrated from all the water and her teeth began to clatter I decided it was time to head home and get ready for bed.  I had set up a tent in the back yard for the kids to sleep in and they were all very excited to sleep under the stars.

Tuesday morning greeted us with more warm weather and a promised forecast of afternoon showers.  After getting Sarah and Moira off to their respective daily routines, I had an hour or so to hang out and relax, Reece and Kylee came crawling out of the tent.  We had PB&J sandwiches made on hamburger buns for breakfast and then got our gear together to hit the pond.  Both Reece and Kylee wanted to use flyrods at the pond, which was great since I had just roto tilled the garden to prep it for planting.  Not having to deal with worms at the pond would be a nice change of pace.

We got to the pond and there were a lot of bluegills sitting on shallow gravel nest.  They weren’t too eager to come after our offerings so the kids decided it was time for some swimming.  I walked the edge and managed to land a handful of small Bass and a few of the more aggressive bluegills.  We moved to the rope swing and neither Reece of Kylee were willing to be the first to swim on the rope and launch into the pond.  There were a mess of bluegills sitting near the rope swing and after I caught three in a row their attention quickly shifted back to fishing.   We landed quite a few of the fish before they caught on to our routine so we moved ourselves towards the dock on the opposite side of the pond.  We made our way towards the dock when I spotted two enormous shapes swimming near the surface.  I had to do a double take to insure myself that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.  I have never seen anything in the pond other than trout, bass, bluegills and perch so seeing the Bournemouth shapes on the surface I was a little perplexed.  If they were bass they were certainly state record sized fish, by a mile.  Along with the huge fish there were several hundred bass and sunfish hanging near the downed trees.  I moved around towards the dock to give myself a shot at a back cast.  Once I got into position I had a good look at the large shape and could see the big reflective scales of a 10 lb or better carp.  After the first carp appeared another half dozen of them came up from the depths looking for a cottonseed meal.  I shot a cast about 4 feet in front of the lead carp and all of them shot into the depths as if I had thrown a rock in the water.  That was the end of the carp fishing for the day and it left me wondering where they had come from, especially since I have never seen carp in the pond before.

I proceeded to catch a couple of dozen bluegills on a Black Magic trailed with a Silvey’s caddis pupae.  The kids both reeled in a few of the fish and by then it was getting pretty hot, so they left me to head for the beach to swim and skip rocks.  I caught a couple more fish and then noticed the dark skies that were moving in from the West.  I packed it in for the day and watched the kids swim until the clouds blocked out the sun and we heard our first thunder boomer of the day.

A great time was had by all and by the time Sarah and Moira returned from their day at work and at daycare the rain showers had cooled off the evening to a comfortable mid 60 degree temperature.  I couldn’t have asked for a better two days hanging out with the kids and enjoying my last bit of relaxation before the steady stream of clients join me for the summer.


Following in Dennis Hopper's footsteps!

My 20th High School Reunion is this summer in Colorado and I will be too busy to make the trip for the reunion.  In lieu of meeting up with old friends I was surprised when my high school buddy called telling me he was in town and wanted to stop by for a visit.  Jeremy made a stop about 12 years ago on his first solo voyage to Alaska.  He was at it again and this time he was much more equipped for the journey.   The first trip was just him on his bike, this time he had a trailer complete with fishing rods, pontoon boats, camping gear and a few items he picked up at a yard sale in the middle of nowhere Wyoming.

Lucky Pumpkin from a yard sale in Wyoming!

Jeremy’s arrival was just in time for my Daughter Sarah’s 2nd birthday party.  We had a great party with lots of kids and close friends.  Sarah was very excited to get a new to her bike from our good friends Phil and Kelly.  Her new word last week was “Bike” and she yelled it at the top of her lungs every time she saw someone riding one around town.  Jeremy’s arrival on his Harley was very exciting for her and then to top if off she got a bike of her own, which even has a baby seat on the back so she can take her dolls for a ride.

Jeremy was well rested and took off this morning.  His goal is to make to Anchorage where he will be doing some work for some other friends we had growing up in High School.  Other than that he is on a journey that would make Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda jealous, I know that I am.  Good luck Jeremy and enjoy the trip!

Madison River Salmonfly!

The myth of the Salmonflies is just that, a myth!  The bugs hatch and the fish eat them for about 3 hours during the 2 weeks the bugs are out.  Hitting the hatch just right is a great experience but the salmonflies have let me down far more often than they have lifted my spirits.  With the bugs about to pop on the Madison River I have been dreading clients wants to fish the famous hatch.

As we left town this morning our choices were to fish the lower river in hopes that some of the PMD’s , Yellow Sallies and Caddis would bring the fish to the surface or head up river and try to locate the big bugs.  The choice was made before we left town, since we had fished the lower river on Monday.  I pulled into the Ennis boat ramp to take a look at the river and to see if there were any adults up in the willows that line the bank upstream of the boat ramp.  I drove all the way to the back end of the campground and ran into the local Game Warden Ryan Gosse.  Ryan was over in the bushes looking at what appeared to be an old white truck topper that someone had discarded in the campground.  As I approached him the object that appeared to be a truck topper was really a full size Chevy Blazer that some one had tried to make a new road with.  In their feeble attempt to turn around they had backed into one of the divots that the ice jams made during the winter.  The Blazer was stuck up to it’s axles in the hole and all you could see was the hood and the top of the vehicle.  Unfortunately I left the camera next to the computer this morning so I don’t have a photo to prove how stupid this person was.  I told Ryan that I didn’t envy him for his job and we both had a quick laugh before I jumped back in the truck and headed up river.

Just the thought of salmonflies on the Madison spooks me anymore so I decided to pull a marathon float so that we could at least get in some productive fishing before we hit the bugs and a bunch of gorged fish that wouldn’t be interested in a meal even if you forced it down their throats.  We made our way for Story Ditch with a plan of floating all the way back to Ennis.  My back is not happy with me right now after subjecting it to the lengthy float.  As we pulled into the ramp the sheep were grazing in the parking lot and the two enormous white guard dogs were on full duty.  I had to honk my horn and get the sheep to move a bit in fear that the dogs would tear my leg off once I stepped out of the truck.  I quickly got the boat launched, the truck parked and we rowed to the other side of the river to get the boat set up and the rods rigged.  Those dogs are mean as shit and I don’t like being anywhere near them, if there is a BLM person reading this please get the guard dogs out of the ramp that everyone is using.

We started off nymphing a short leash with a Rubberlegs and a worm.  The fish were on it pretty much right out of the gate and we continued to fish the short leash rig until we stopped for lunch a few hours later.  After lunch it was time to see if the fish had any interest in looking to the surface, even though there were no adults out at all.  I tied on a Chubby Chernobly and dropped a black rubberlegs off the rear.  Immediately we hooked a nice brown on the dropper, which gave us a great fight.  After releasing the fish we floated a few hundred yards and another nice brown toilet bowled the Chubby.  Larry managed to land the nice brown and we were both very excited to see the fish take the dry fly.  We had a couple more fish eat the chubby and a lot of fish eat the dropper fished below the surface.   The fishing remained good until we reached Varney Bridge.

Once we got downstream of Varney the fish seemed to disappear.  I switched back up to a nymph rig and we manged to hit one more hot stretch where we landed several more fish and then we struggled to even turn a head the rest of the way to Ennis.  I am not sure if the fish below Varney had gorged themselves on the big nymphs or if we just didn’t have the luck to make the magic happen.  We never saw an adult Salmonfly but I am sure they will be out in the next couple of days, especially since I will be sitting on a pond with a bunch of non anglers who want nothing more than to get back to their pack of smokes!

Nice one Larry!

It has almost been a week since we have seen a day where it rained all day and the rivers are starting to come around a bit in Southwestern Montana.  Afternoon showers are still hitting us but they have only been lasting a couple of hours rather than all day down pours.  The Madison is dropping slowly each day out of Hebgen and the West Fork must be getting cleaner.  The Lower Madison had a foot and half of visibility on Monday and the fishing was decent.  Larry is a great client and close friend who I have been guiding for the past 13 years.  We had a day planned for Monday and the Lower Madison was the only viable option without taking the 2 and half hour trip to Mo.  Larry is a very out going person who has made friends with many of the folks that have provided him with services over the years.  Today he invited along his friend Jeff Bell who works for Mountain Hot Tubs, who we have fished with in the past.  We met Jeff at the K2 deli in between Four Corners and Belgrade, which if you are looking for some great sandwiches you should stop in a see Aaron.  Larry also needed to purchase his annual fishing license so after meeting up with Jeff we made a quick detour to the fly shop to purchase a license and stay in the good graces with the State of Montana.

We hit the river around 10 am and the water clarity was a bit worse than the previous day due to huge storm that dropped buckets of water on the area, however there was still plenty of clarity to entice a few fish from the depths.  Jeff followed us to the river so that we could float the river a couple of times and run the shuttles with his car.  We arrived at the Warm Springs ramp and there were a handful of trailers in the parking lot, which was a good sign that the fishing season was getting started again after all the high water.  Dave Hall was at the ramp with his accountant, paying off some of his tax bill in the form of a guided trip and Dave said it fished pretty well the day before.   Larry loves to fish dry flies but with the clarity of the water and the lack of bug activity I convinced him that he should pull out the 6 weight and try some nymphs.  Jeff started off with two girdle bugs and I tied on a black rubberlegs trailed with a caddis nymph for Larry.  We shoved off and it took a few lost flies and plenty of snags until Larry had the first fish of the day on.   The fish took off and came unbuttoned just after Larry realized it was a fish.  Jeff had broken off one of his heavily weighted flies so I gave him a good ole fashioned “Dirt Snake” to trail off the back of his girdle bug.  As we made our way to the old bridge pylon, Jeff’s indicator took a dive and he landed our first fish of the day.  I quickly netted the 13 inch brown and released him as fast as I could so that we could get another one off the rip rap wall that produces plenty of fish throughout the course of the year.  It took him another couple of cast and he hooked into another medium sized rainbow that jumped and spit the hook.   Jeff placed his cast right back into the rip rap and a third fish took the offering right as the fly hit the water, our spirits were lifted by the flurry of action and I sighed in relief that the fish were on the feed in the off color water.

We hooked a couple of more fish between the 35 mph corner and the bridge but the fishing was not as good as the rip rap bank had been.  The dirt snake produced all the fish to this point so I decided it was time to change up the big front fly on both rods.  It was time for the Zonker Duel to begin and I tied on an Olive Zonker for Jeff and a Copper Zonker for Larry.  We floated past the camp ground and with the higher water I took the shallow route through Doc’s Channel.  Jeff hooked a nice Brown right at the head of the channel and we landed the fish part way down the channel.

Doc's Channel Brown Trout

I dropped the anchor and netted the fish for Jeff, the Olive Zonker was the first to strike and had a one fish lead.  After pulling up the anchor I told Larry to cast to the tan colored patch that was coming up on the left side of the boat.  Larry made a great cast and the flies headed straight for the drop in the middle of the river, the flies made it about 20 feet and the indicator took off upstream like a rocket.  Larry set the hook and he was into a decent Brown.  We landed the fish and the duel was back to even with one fish each.  We stopped at the end of the channel and ate our lunches after the fast action we had just had in the channel.

After lunch we continued on our float and had very little success until we were within sight of the Black’s Ford Boat ramp.  Larry hooked and landed another decent brown and we made the decision to take another float from Warm Springs to the Cherry Creek access.  The Copper Zonker was up 2 to 1 and we needed to continue the competition.   We made it back to the Warm Springs ramp and the after work crowd was on it’s way for an evening float.  We ran into Ashby Bell, another guide from the area and after giving him some shit for being in Wyoming we shoved off to continue the duel.   I knew where we had caught fish and where we hadn’t from the first float so it was time to try a new strategy.  The first float I concentrated mostly on the banks with the thought that the fish were up near the banks due to the high water and the fact that there had been some big salmon fly nymphs on the shore in the last week or two.  The banks produced a bit on the first float but I decided to move to the middle and try fishing the weed beds instead.  As we rolled up on the first weed beds below the ramp Jeff placed a perfect cast into one of the gaps and his indicator took off up stream.  He landed a nice 15 inch bow and I figured I had unlocked the code, it was time to concentrate on the weed beds and the gaps inbetween them.  We continued on down the river fishing the weed beds and we managed to land 4 more fish on the second float of the day.  Unfortunately the code I thought I had busted was about as productive as fishing the banks.  We ended the day with a few brave soles floating by us in inner tubes, which is a sign that summer is really upon us.  The final count in the duel was dead even with 5 fish on both the Copper Zonker and the Olive Zonker.  It was a decent day of fishing and the best part was I didn’t have to dawn the rain coat or out run and any lightning.

It’s off to the Upper tomorrow and we will see if we can get lucky and hit a few fish on the surface with a few Salmonfly’s.

Mountain Palace Rain Storm

My good friend and fellow Outfitter Joe Moore, from Big Sky Anglers called me a month ago and needed help with a three day trip on the Mighty Mo.  I had the days open and was excited to work with Joe for another round of trips.  Joe and I met up in Three Forks, the day prior to the trip so that we could make a grocery run in Helena for our guide lunches and meals while we were on the river.  We both left town in driving rain storms and were excited to see the rain let up by the time we made it to Three Forks.  The drive to Helena was uneventful and we made our stop for grocery’s and a few additional items, including a bottle of Canadian Hunter Whiskey.  I must admit that I purchased the cheap whiskey because of the awesome label on the bottle, their marketing sucked me in and I felt a little dirty for falling for the same gimmicks that many wineries rely on for selling their high priced grapes.  It was good to get out of Helena because finding your way through their many confusing intersections, coupled with road construction, can be a daunting task.  Joe and I arrived in Craig in the late afternoon with plans of sneaking in a quick float that evening.  When we arrived it was overcast with a threat of rain so we headed over to our friend Mike Kuhnert’s place to get settled in for the upcoming days of guiding.  Mike was gracious to offer up his home to us while he was off in Alaska chasing around King Salmon with his spey rod.  We unloaded our gear and stocked the fridge with all the food prior to heading over to Headhunters Fly  Shop to see if our clients had checked into their cabin.  The guys and gals at Headhunters are doing a bang up job with their shop and you can’t find a friendlier and more welcoming group of people anywhere.  John was in the shop and after saying hello he mentioned that our guys were not here yet.  John was getting ready to head home so we gave the clients a ring on their phone to see if they were in route and they were still back in Bozeman where they had spent the afternoon fishing on the MZ ranch after their flights had arrived in Bozeman.  John gave them directions to the cabin and told them where the key would be when they arrived later that evening.

Joe and I settled into the house to watch a bit of world cup soccer and make up some dinner.  Joe brought some very good elk burger with him and we made up a helping of  “Hamburger Helper” to tide us over for the night.  We hit the sack early because we knew we would need to be ready to row in 18,500 C.F.S. of water on the Mighty Mo.

We woke up to wet rainy weather on day one and fortunately we had planned on doing one hot meal for the guys.  I packed up the Coleman stove while Joe got the cooler in order with all the food.  We showed up to meet the clients at around 8:30 and they were eager to get on the river. One of the clients had forgotten his boots so I lent him my spare boots so he didn’t have to cram his feet into his wet wading shoes.  The clients were three friends that grew up together in Oklahoma City and they get together for an annual fishing trip each year.  Jay was an Ear Nose and Throat specialist from Oklahoma City, Jason was an scientist who works for a company that makes Vitamin D supplements for chicken feed near Chicago and Chris was an attorney from New York City.  All there were in their late 30’s and both Joe and I were excited to have some younger guys who weren’t afraid of some cold weather and they would have to suffer through the first day’s weather.  We put in at Craig the first day and floated all the way to Prewitt Creek.  With the high flows you need to float a long section to make it a full day.  The fishing started off a little slow for me on the first day as I had some work to do to help Jason learn how to cast 12 feet of leader and a 3/0 split shot rig.  The fish were sitting in their usual haunts, they just were a lot deeper with all the water in the river.  Jason finally hooked and landed his first fish about an hour and a half into the day, which it is always great to get that first fish in the boat.  After that the fishing started to pick up and we managed to get several fish to the net before we hit our lunch spot at the Dearborn hand launch ramp.  All three of them were pretty chilled from the wet rainy weather and our hot BBQ beef sandwiches did a great job of at least warming the soul.  After lunch we set back out and the fishing really started to pickup for us.  Jason landed a very nice brown just below the Doll house and we pulled over to get a few shots of the fish.  I didn’t manage to get a great shot of the fish because Joe and the other guys were anchored next to us and Jason wasn’t sure which side of the boat to hold the fish up for a photo op.

Jason's "Doll House" Brown

We finished out the day with several more fish and by the time we hit the ramp everyone was ready to get out of the rain and sit in a nice warm truck.

We awoke on day two with bright blue sunshine filled skies and everyone was very excited that the rain had left us.   We met up with the guys at their cabin around 9 am and no of us were really excited to get an early start, primarily because the US was playing Slovenia in the world cup.  We sat at the cabin until the the US went down by two goals and then we determined it was time to head out fishing since the US was most likely going to loose the game.  On the way up to Wolf Creek to put in the US scored two more goals and had a third game winning goal called off, which has stirred plenty of controversy for the world cup.  I am not a soccer fan at all, primarily because soccer players are far to melodramatic when they get fouled and I have a tough time with the games lack of scoring.  It was entertaining to have the world cup game on and it was definitely the talk of the town for the next few days.

We put the boats in at the Wolf Creek bridge, Jay jumped in my boat while Chris and Jason jumped in with Joe.  Joe fished the near side of the river and I headed to the far side to do a few row backs.  The fishing was good right out of the gate and stayed productive all day long.  Jay landed several nice fish within sight of the boat ramp and then he caught a beautifully colored Brown just below the confluence with Prickly Pear Creek.  It took us several hours to get around the corner where we ate lunch across the river from California Island.  The nicer weather had us all in better spirits and the fishing was very good with the warm sun beating down on us.  We lost track of the other boat for a while and met back up in the channels below the Jackson’s Rock.  The highlight of the day was when we were both anchored shooting the breeze and I grabbed Jay’s rod, a sage TCX or something along those lines, to see how it cast.  I made a few cast and set the flies on a drift down the run.  As the flies drifted downstream of the boat my sindicator disappeared into the depths and I set the hook on a nice rainbow.  The fish immediately took for the skies and jumped several feet out of the water.  I knew that I had 2x tippet to the fly so I horsed the fish in and as it neared our boats the fish jumped for the skies again and landed right in the bow of Joe’s boat.  The fish landed on top of Jason’s rod and tangled his flies into a huge knot.  Joe unhooked the fish and released it back into the water.  I had to apologize because Joe had just gotten the flies retied and now he had to fix the mess that I made off Jason’s bugs.   We all had a great laugh and once Joe got the bugs retied we set off for the ramp at Spite Hill.  Day two was a great day and it was sure nice to sit in the sun rather than the rain from the day prior.

Day three was another great weather day with lots of sunshine and even warmer weather.  We once again put the boats in at the Craig ramp and I took Jason and Jay for the day while Chris jumped in with Joe.  We rowed the boats upstream of the ramp at Craig to give the run just above the ramp a try.  Jay landed a nice rainbow on our first drift and Joe was right behind us with a fish of his own.

First Fish of the day!

After a couple of drifts through the run I headed downstream to the islands that had produced the fish in the boat scene from the day before.  We managed to wrangle a few fish before arriving at the run and we made it about 10 feet into the run before Jay hooked a rainbow that put on a great display of acrobatics for us.  We fished the run for about an hour and landed a lot of fish before Joe and Chris met back up with us.  We did the row around in the run for a while longer and then set off to eat lunch across from Bernies House below the bridge.  As we rounded the corner there were a family hanging out in the shade of the lunch spot we wanted so we continued on and had lunch at the Stickney Creek Boat ramp.  We arrived just in time as the bachelor party was setting up at the house adjacent to the boat ramp.  The kegs were being unloaded and they pulled up a truck and unloaded a basketball hoop in the middle of the yard.  It was only noon but we knew that there were going to be some rowdy guys hanging out in Joe’s Bar later that evening.

After lunch we shoved off just as Peter Skidmore and Luke Andrews rounded the corner.  Joe and I fished along side both of them for an hour or so and we all wound up in a run just above the Dearborn River.  We had all pulled in to take turns in the run and for a quick BS session.  Peter pulled out and his client hooked a nice fish right at the head of the run.  His client now had an audience and as Peter pulled back into the shore the fish ran for the other boats.  Joe and Luke both pulled out their nets and it was now a race to see who could net the fish.  Joe had a stab at the fish but eventually Peter was able to get the fish into his net for his client.

Get the Net!

After the BS session we all spread out until we met up again as we all raced a lightning storm at the end of the day.  It was a race to the ramp and by the time we hit the Mountain Palace ramp the storm let up and we had a nice drive back to Craig.

The fishing was great and we had a fun time all three days.  Jason, Jay and Chris were great clients and both Joe and I are looking forward to fishing with them again next year.  Now it’s back to fight the high muddy waters around home.

If only there were sun in Montana to make Rainbow's

After two beautiful days we have returned to dreary wet weather.  This morning as my son Reece and I were heading to his summer camp, Reece said to me that the weather was miserable.  I told him that yes, we haven’t seen much sunshine this spring.  He then told me “The rain is just the clouds crying!”  With the amount of crying the clouds have been doing I think it is time that Mother Nature take a trip to the psychologist to get some help.  If Prozac, Valium or one of the other anti depressants doesn’t work then I would be happy to check her into the loony bin at the Warm Springs Hospital.  I typically love fowl weather and get a kick out of hearing everyone bitch and moan about it, but this weather pattern we have been is starting to wear on me a bit and I am longing for a bit of sunshine.

I hope that the forecasters are off a bit for the coming days since I will be on the Missouri River with some clients for the next four days.  The forecast does not look great and I hope that things change for the sake of the guys who will be traveling here to fish.  The fish won’t mind the cold, blowing and wet conditions since they are used to being wet, but the anglers may not enjoy it quite as much.  I am looking forward to being on the Mo again since all the other rivers in the area are blown but hopefully I will  be able to shed the waders at least one day and enjoy a bit of sun.

We will see you all when I return on Sunday, enjoy the weather and give Mother Nature a hug and tell her it will all be alright.

Forecast for Wolf Creek Montana.

-Day Forecast for ZIP Code 59648 Customize Your Icons!
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
56° F | 45° F
54° F | 40° F
Chance of Rain
65° F | 43° F
Chance of a Thunderstorm
67° F | 47° F
Chance of a Thunderstorm
68° F | 47° F

100% chance of precipitation

80% chance of precipitation
Chance of Rain

20% chance of precipitation
Chance of T-storms

20% chance of precipitation
Chance of T-storms

40% chance of precipitation

Bozeman Ponds

Flows are starting to drop or at least level off on some of the local rivers but they are still to high and dirty for any legitimate fishing opportunities.  Reece had his first day of camp today, which only runs during the morning, so we headed to the pond next to our house for a little more bass and bluegill fishing.   The bright blue sunshine finally brought the fish up to the surface and fortunately Reece and Kylee begged and pleaded with me to bring along the fly rod.  After digging more worms from the garden the kids jumped on their bikes while Trico and I hoofed it to the ponds.  The nice weather brought folks out to the ponds to enjoy our first summer day of the year.  Kids were swinging on the rope swing, mother’s were sunbathing on the beach, dogs were fetching sticks and we even had the fortune to see to young high school sweethearts making out while they were in the pond.

"Young love, I think her father just pulled into the parking lot!"

The kids were eager to get the hot spot on the dock, but when we arrived at the pond there were already some other folks on the dock.  So we headed for the next best spot on the lake, near the rope swing.  There has been a nice size bass sitting on her nest near the rope swing and we have yet to succeed in irritating her enough to eat our offerings.  The kids were eager to get a shot at the bass and they both had their lines in the water before I made my way out onto the peninsula.   The small bass were all up on the surface and a few of them were sipping the occasional midge that was on the surface of the pond.  I only brought a few flies with me and in the past I have had success hanging a leech pattern off the back of a foam bodied fly.  I had a few new patterns to field test that my good friend Zach from Idylwilde flies sent out,  I choose one of the Orange bodied Chubby Chernobly’s that was in the care package.   It took exactly two cast to entice the first bass of the day to gulp the Chubby from the surface of the pond.

Montana Bass

Montana is not know for it’s Bass fishing and with our short summers the fish don’t have a chance to put on a bunch of weight.  The bass in the pond are mostly under 10 inches long but it is a riot watching them come to the fly.   Unlike many trout, the bass take their sweet old time deciding on whether or not they want to eat your fly.  They usually come charging to the fly and then stop dead in their tracks just before the fly.  They inspect the bug and  suddenly they attack the fly after they find a reason to eat it.  Sometimes it takes a small twitch of the fly and other times it is just a matter of time until they decide it is worth eating.  It is a ball to watch the small Bass and Bluegills, plus you never know what other sights you may see hanging out next to the Mall.

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