A look inside the "Trout Life" under the Big Sky

Archive for May, 2011

Actually Bummin’ Around

The FCFT crew, as a whole, is now homeless.  It’s a chosen homelessness, so the good kind… You know, leases never seem to end and begin at the same time. But hey, at least we got our deposit back.

So I am writing this with a backpack full of my essentials as a desk and a really really nice friends couch as a bed/chair/office.  So long story short… Posts may be few and far between as internet could be hard to come by.

On a better note. FCFT got some love from the big dogs at headhunters over in Craig. You should give it a look because it is pretty cool. And for the record, we all have jobs and none of us are good at hacky sack.

http://www.headhuntersflyshop.com/wp/archives/4185

Runoff is in full swing and the rivers are lookin’ pretty burly. Fishing looks pretty grim for the foreseeable future. So hang in there and keep your heads up, at least the sun is shining.

Maybe we should use runoff to work on that double haul or do some sit-ups?

-FCFT

I would post up some pictures but my camera is locked in a car and the key is lost… Hopefully tomorrow.

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Long Time No See

It’s that time of year. The time when everything just seems to happen at once.

Runoff, Finals, Trips back to the middle of the country, and Moving from one rental to another.

I know the saying “Excuses are like…”

We will work hard to keep updating the site and while fishing is very limited at this point, (maybe lakes and ponds) we will do our best to power through and keep on keepin’ on. I guess runoff falls into the “Fly fishing lifestyle”…

So until the rivers return too normal, at least fishable, levels and a housing situation moves above the back of the truck bare with us and keep your fingers crossed.

Runoff is that time of year to get in shape for fishing season. We all know that bronzed 6-pack abs do more than a good drift and the right fly.

-FCFT

Enjoy some of the pictures from “Non-Fishing” excursions.

Trout Scout

Thanks for sticking with us.


New Video

Here is the video we promised. Let us know what you think.

Thanks a lot.

-FCFT

-The video looks a lot better in HD. It is worth the buffer time to watch it in 720.


4 Guys, 3 Rivers, 2 Tents, and 1 Box of Oatmeal Cream Pies

The FCFT crew made the run over the mountains and through the woods to The Big Hole,  The Beaverhead, and Poindexter Slough for a long weekend of fishing.

Leaving Missoula with a forecast of 65 and sunny is hard. Especially when the low in wisdom is supposed to be 15 with wind gusts up to 30 mph that night. But you only live once so the truck was packed and rubber hit the road.

"It's harder to catch a fish with one eye"

The fishing was slow and the weather was poor. We froze, ripped waders, and got lost more than a few times. But here are some photos of the weekends adventures.

Gear Box

Poindexter

Trophy Fish

Adonis

Beaver Brown

We fished hard and found a few fish. Although it was a bit on the slow side, we are already planning a summer trip back down to SW MT. Clear water and hatching bugs would only make things that much better.

Haulin'

Thats a little better now.

Team FCFT mascot

Check out that gill plate

Where is this secret spot?

Full Frontal

The wise and all knowing Sean with his insights

Thats a slice of our weekend. We didn’t get much filming done due to weather and actual lack of big fish. We are working on a little film that has a lot of driving and a little bit of flowing water. Hopefully we can have that up late tonight. So keep an eye out.

And just in case you are wondering. The mondo box of Oatmeal Cream Pies is just as great as it used to be. They work for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Thanks so much for the support. You all are the reason we are doing this. Let us know what we can do to make everything better.

-FCFT


The Whitefish.

The Big Hole river in Southwest Montana is one of a kind. Its ice cold headwaters, the vastly different topography it flows through, and even the fish that call it home are unique. The Big hole flows with a reputation to be home to some monstrous browns. The Big Hole is also the last river in the lower 48 that has a native population of Arctic Grayling.

The Big Hole is one of those rivers that, if given the opportunity to fish, cannot be passed up. With a legitimate chance at catching trophy browns and elusive grayling the Big Hole is a “Must Fish” water.

However…

The Big Hole is also home to the not so trophy or elusive whitefish.

You can say they put up a great fight, or that they eat the same flies trout do, or even that they are great when they are smoked. But at the end of the day, Its not a trout…Its a whitefish.

I have no problems with catching the “Rocky Mountain Bonefish” throughout the course of a day on the water. They do have the ability to fill the Morale tank on brutally cold and slow winter days (until you see its a whitefish and not that trout you were hoping for).

I said I have no problems catching whitefish, but I guess there is always an exception.

When the indicator paused  in the soft water right behind the submerged rock I set. For a second the lifeless tension on the other end of the line meant that I had in fact caught the rock and not a fish. Giving the line a hopefully freeing tug from the rock my line began to move, but not how the current should have put belly in the line. The indicator went under again and the fly line shot up stream. Realizing that I had indeed set the hook on a fish I had to take the defensive side of the fight because the fish was taking off.

It normally doesn’t take long in a freestone river to figure out what is on the other end of the line. With the snow squall in action and the tea colored water of preemptive run-off this fish was managing to stay a mystery. After 6x tippet back and forth battle the giant fish gave in and let the reel catch up on him.

Now at this point I am starting to see a dark figure in the water. I was planning on netting a 22 inch brown, a great way to start of 3 days of fishing.

Then something weird happened. That dark figure rolled over and a silvery side and belly triggered a knee-jerk reaction of a Montana state record grayling…But thats impossible, grayling are small little fish…With the net handle deep in the water my premonitions of a classic “Grip N’ Grin” vanished. That monster thrashing in the bottom the net now was not a brown trout, a famous Big Hole brookie, or even a flimsy grayling… It was a whitefish.

A whitefish is a whitefish but this was the biggest whitefish I have ever seen.

Don't you put that on me Ricky Bobby

Confused, disappointed, dumbfounded, awe struck… all of the above. I snapped a few pictures of the fish and let if slide back into its lair.

I had caught a couple trout before the whitefish, one that was a healthy and pretty cutthroat. But then the fish shut down for a while, then a few hours went by. All of the sudden it was dark, we were sitting in the truck trying to defrost our fingers and it hit me…I hadn’t caught a fish since I caught The Whitefish.

The next day the crew fished the Big Hole near Glen. Lots of boats, bad weather, and lots of walking and river crossings made for a long day. I missed a giant brown that jumped completely out of the water for my streamer right off the bat. Then things started to get slow. Everyone had hooked up on some nice fish. But I kept missing fish, breaking them off, or finding someway to keep them out of the net and in the river.

Skunked. Fish-less. On the Big Hole. Something was up.

Sunday came and we found ourselves on the Beaverhead. The river with the most trophy fish per square mile in all of Montana. Things were looking up. First to the access. On and off overcast. Bugs hatching. Today was the day. It started slow for everyone as the water warmed and the fish woke up. Then we found a deep pool that held some fish. Everyone pulled fish out. Streamers, nymphs, and even dries, but I didn’t. I would fish the same rig, the same spot, and the same drift but wouldn’t have a take. Sean, Stan, or Anthony would come right behind me and hook up. Something was a foot.

Sunset rolled around and battle stories were being traded. Then the fact that I hadn’t caught a fish today… Wait, wait, or yesterday…No since The Whitefish, came to light. It was determined that that fish had in fact cursed me, and that curse was holding strong. After a heated debate about a remedy, that included lighting rods on fire, making sacrifices, and jumping naked into the river all as possible fixes, it was decided that only a whitefish would solve the problem.

After 600 miles, 3 rivers and a slough, countless fly changes, and a series of anger management drills I ended the weekend with two trout and The Whitefish, all in the first hour.

Back home in Missoula it took everything I had left to pick up a rod and fish the Clark Monday evening after work.

Nothing. Two hours on the river and nothing but logs and grass…Then that indicator paused. I set out of sarcasm more than a want to hook a fish. To my surprise the line had a pulse and that silvery flash of the Rocky Mountain Bonefish was wiggling at my feet. FINALLY.

Two minutes later I was running down the bank using my palm to slow down the reel as the big ‘Bow cleared the water. Getting my hand on the muscle covered in spots lifted a weight off my shoulders. I was free from the grip of The Whitefish.

You don't know how happy I am to see you.

So the next time you are fishing the upper Big Hole and that rock looks like it will hold a big fish. It will. But trust me, you don’t want to set the hook on that fish.