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

Posts tagged “Fly Fishing

We’re Back

To paraphrase the Moose Jockey’s from up North who run LoFiFly… Every now and then your blog and blogging efforts go to shit. Sometimes it’s a little drawn out.

Sorry we’re not sorry. We were busy. Hunting season went from Sept 1st till Jan 15th. That’s a long time and it’s also a lot of work. But we now have an apartment with skulls on the wall and meat in the freezer. So it was worth it.

But we are back. Because we need it…And apparently enough of you want it to bug us about it non-stop… So here it is.

We will have posts about the fall and winter fishing and all of our clusters of hunting outings.

Just give us time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

This is a fish someone caught.

Montana Brown Trout

That’s right LoFi. We called you out. Only because we love you.

We missed you guys.


Fish Today. Hunt Tomorrow.

It looks like streamer weather out there. Clouds, rain, not too much wind. Perfect. The browns have been mean lately and will to eat some junky looking streamers.

Tomorrow Stan and I are heading East for a weekend deer hunting trip. We are hoping to find some bucks Stan saw earlier this year. They have been in the back of his mind the whole time and have kept him from shooting anything else. I know what that means and I am excited about it.



We have a lot to talk about…

I guess that in every blogs lifetime it dies at least once. Maybe 2 or 3 times. We have been absolutely silent over the past 2 months. If anyone missed us I don’t know what to say. Sorry about that.

We have been on the go since the start of the summer fishing season and haven’t been able to make time to post anything on FCFT. Fishing, Hunting, School, and Work have taken over writing time and I really haven’t liked that….


The fishing and hunting has been great. By far our most successful year yet. As for the fishing, I couldn’t have asked for a better summer and fall. We were able to see more water than we have ever seen. Caught more fish over 20 inches than the rest of my fly fishing career combined. And last but not least, met and fished with more amazing people than we could have ever imagined. We can forget the bat shit crazy trico hatch we had this year.

The hunting has pretty much been a dream season so far. We already have a freezer full of game and lots of punched tags hanging over the tying desk. The highlight being two bulls over 300 inches currently at the taxidermists. And its nowhere near over.

So we have absolutely no excuses for not posting in over a month and we are sorry about that. Is is time to get our asses in gear and keep FCFT alive. We will do our best at that.



A Random Hodgepodge of Words and Photos

This past month has been a whirlwind. We have fished with old and new friends, in new water, and at all times of day and night. But we are back. We are back to our routine. Monday Morning Macro… Friday Fish Faces… And a few gear reviews coming.

We have had 3 pairs of Redington Sonic Pros for the last few months and have been putting them through a pretty intense early season testing. I also received a pair of Double Hauls from Costa before the Salmon flies popped up and will have a write up on them asap as well. None of this “One time on the water and we think they are the greatest thing ever”. We want to be honest about the products people send us. We aren’t here for a garage full of free gear. But rather to see how the product stands up to our “Whirling Dervish” style of fly fishing. But more on that later.

We have recently started fishing with local Fly Fishing Guide, Musician, Photographer, Philosopher, Entomologist, and Blogger Billy Pfeiffer. Billy runs Zoo City Aquarium a great blog about guiding, fishing, and winter snow sports. But we really hang out with Billy because he has a kick ass dog. Kona.

Billy is a great dude who at any moment can blow your mind with some 90 hip hop lyrics or the most complex break down of fly fishing. We are looking forward to fishing with Kona and maybe Billy some more.

It’s the time of year that all fly flickin’ types spend the rest of the year waiting for. It’s short and sweet so you have to get your fill while you can. That’s why we have been spending our time on the water rather than behind a computer screen.

I’m not sure if Billy ties great looking flies or he just convinced this fish to eat

Look at that water

We went to the Scott Fly Rod Factory today. I got some great photos and got a step by step tour of how they build their rods. It was great. More to come soon. Posts for days.

Zach and Stan


Another One of Those Days

Some days we just can’t get it done. No way. No how.

And some days… We manage to find fish that are so willing to eat they make us feel like rock stars.

Last week we had a day that made us feel like we knew what we were doing.

Close to Missoula, more fish than we could count, and only 2 other boats on the river. It was a good day.

The Browns weren’t the only ones who liked the meaty offerings

I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Getting to watch fish follow the fly all the way to boat is pretty darn cool.

Just showin a little love

The coolest fish of the day. First Pikeminnow.

Respect it. Don’t neglect it.

Burke doing crazy guide shit

It was a pretty great day. With the highlight easily being two streamer caught whitefish.



-Thanks to WordPress for throwing FCFT up on their “Freshly Pressed” page!


They are here and we like them. So do the fish.

Mayflies, Caddis, and Stones.

Signs of good things to come.




Monday Morning Macro

The rivers look like the milk at the bottom of a bowl coco puffs. So we are doing what we can fishing wise. And we seem to have gotten bears on the brain also.

Regardless, the Monday Morning Macro must be obtained.

I forgot how sharp their fins are…

Happy Monday. One more week till finals here at U of M and then a summer full of fish can begin. Early run off has me hoping for some real live Salmon Fly fishing. I haven’t seen that in all it’s glory yet.

See you at the ponds until then.



Monday Morning Snap-ro.


We have been on a rod breaking spree lately.

But I guess that’s just part of the game.

The lesson here: Always pack an extra rod. Always.

Happy Monday.



The Last Hurrah

The entire FCFT crew hadn’t fished together in too long. So when Anthony got back from his spring break trip home we all managed to make time for a last day of spring break fishing trip.

Over the past 2 years Easter has turned out to hold some pretty fantastic fishing for FCFT and this year was no exception. I caught my largest trout in MT to date and we all caught fish that made us act like little kids in a candy store.

We hiked 7 or 8 miles up and down river, starved, and even managed to break a rod in the process. But we had a great day in a beautiful river with lots of nice fish. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to wrap up an amazing spring break of fishing.

A great fish to wrap up my best week of fishing yet.

“You don’t see him? 20 feet down between the rocks under the whitewater in that sunny spot. I can’t believe you don’t see him”

Like I said… Kids in a candy store

Marsh mellow peeps or trout?


They are all worth 1000 words. So I won’t say anything.

Maybe our best day yet. It will certainly be hard to beat it.



P.s.- Stan’s best catch of the day…

…Easter Dinner

Not Quite Flyday

Seasoning for the pike’s taste buds.

Guest appearance from Alex on not quite Flyday.  Turns out the guy can tie too. All around fish hound.

Alex’s Bead Head Pheasant Tail variation. Looks buggy.

It’s almost the weekend. There is still time left to tie a few more flies and prep. Or if you are like me and can barely tie your shoes, and cant even come close to a San Juan, you can always hit up the Grizzly Hackle for the 12 for 12 deal on Fridays. Pretty good if you ask me. Makes buying flies seem not so bad.

Happy Spring.


Monday Macro

Macro-ish. Maybe… We can call it abstract. We make the rules.

Hope you had a great weekend. FCFT did. Lots and lots of fish for the ones who went to the Mo. (Anthony caught the fish of the year) And a maiden voyage on the new-to-me raft for the ones in Missoula. Good weekend for sure.



Not Quite FlyDay

With a warm weekend on the horizon we are hoping the skwalers will be coming off… So we hit the vice.

The Skwalanator

Body: Olive fury foam glued to 2mm olive craft foam

Wing: Deerhair

Legs: Olive barred silly legs

Post: Yellow craft foam with purple ice dub for the finisher.

Fish it with a twitch!

Anthony has also been spending his nights tying instead of studying.

One of his most recent:

Just a bunny hair leech but super effective.

Swing it. Strip it. Dead drift it. Just get it in the water.

It’s going to be a beautiful weekend. If you get out on the water maybe we will see you there.




The Yeti Is At It Again

As most of you already know by now, FCFT and YGF have a little bond going these days. We take a picture or two, Ivan is the master of the GoPro. Here is a look at his latest and greatest. Enjoy

The Leprechaun and the Yeti from Yukon Goes Fishing on Vimeo.

Personally I am still getting used to the whole Leprechaun idea… big man trapped in a little persons body I guess.

Jordon flies in from the frozen tundra of North Dakota today so hopefully we can get a little diversity in the photo lineup. She says wants to catch a big one so I have my work cut out for me, uff-da!



Is It Spring Yet?

Snowing off and on again today. It sucks. Happy Leap Day.

Winter fishing in Montana is great and we really have no reason to whine about it. But, spring would be nice. Not even summer, but spring. When it stays above 40 all day, there are bugs in the air, and you can go all day without breaking ice off your guides. That would be great.

But until then, I guess we just have to play the hand we have been dealt.

Don’t be fooled. The sun didn’t last very long.

Damn that looks nice. Just hurry up and wait.

Until then we will be bundled up on the side of the river trying to thaw out our frozen fingers.

Don’t forget to renew your Montana fishing license. Today is the last day it is valid. Might as well get a few more hours out of it.

Big game tags are due also.

It’s almost March. Where are those Skwalas?



Living In A Trout Town

It’s hard not to fish at least a few days a week here in Missoula. All it takes is a little motivation and you can be on a river in between classes, on your lunch break, or after work. I think that may even be a reason why a lot of us are here. But even with all the water within a double haul of town, we can still manage to find ourselves twiddling our thumbs. This normally results in some sort of shenanigans.

The result from last night…. The “Urban” Flats Skiff.

The collapsible push pull platform (child’s seat) shown in the upright and locked position.

We had to fight a bum for the cart. But who wouldn’t? Those picky midge sipping fish don’t have a snowballs chance now.

But to be fair Anthony did push it all the way back to Albert’s. Karma points in the bank.

Oh yeah here are a few more.

See how limited you are without the Urban Flats Skiff? You know you want one.

It like Twizzlers for trout.

See? All that fun with only an hour of light left. That’s a pretty damn good reason to live in a trout town. Plus where there are trout, there are stellar micro brews. Direct correlation. Science.

Enjoy Tuesday. So far I’m tired and already wishing it was Friday.



P.s.- Here is a rare look behind the scenes at FCFT. Most people who see this don’t make it out alive. Well that’s not true. They just think we are all nuts and leave because they are bored.

Fly Fishing Baseball

This weekend a legacy was born, Fly Fishing Baseball. I had learned the game from Brendan at the Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop, but had never played it with anyone else. Fishing on Sunday was pretty slow so I brought up the idea to Ivan (YGF) and suggested that we play for inter web bragging rights. He agreed and the game was on. I am proud to announce that with a final score of 6-1, FCFT was the Champion. We have plans of making this into a league type game, the rules are posted below. Stay tuned for updates.

 Gold For The Winner

Silver For The Loser

It Helps To Have A High Net Average

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

A Good Gameface Is A Must

Hope you all had a great weekend!



Fly Fishing Baseball Rules and Regulations

Number of Players- Unlimited
Equipment- A player may put on whatever setup he wants to start the game but may only change his rig if he breaks it off.
Drift- A drift is defined as the time between the line entering the water and leaving the water, you can mend it as many times as you want and can drift it as far as you like as long as you don’t move your feet.
Ball- If you decide you don’t like where your rig landed you can immediately pick it back up and recast. This MUST be done within the first two seconds of the line hitting the water. You get four balls per inning.
Strike- Failure to land a fish on a drift results in a strike. If you hook but do not land a fish on your third strike it is considered a foul ball and you get to repeat your last strike.
Using a catcher- You can use a buddy to help you land your fish but he/she is then entitled to half of your points from that fish, rounded down to the nearest whole number.
Landing a fish- Landing a fish does not count against your strike total. You are then awarded points based on size and species. See points chart below.
Strikes, Outs, and Innings-  A strike is equal to an out. Three outs per inning, nine innings per game. Theoretically each player would get a minimum of twenty seven drifts plus whatever extra drifts they get for landing a fish.
Playing the game-
A player must declare that he is stepping to the plate, this begins his three strike inning. He must take all three strikes from the same general location, i.e run, riffle, pool.
Players must maintain the same player order that was established prior to the game starting. Any fish caught out of order are not counted towards the players score.
Games cannot be carried over from day to day. If the game has to be cut short the person with the most points is the winner. If the players are tied go to a tiebreaker, biggest fish wins.
Scoring- (Subject to change)

Whitefish                        = 1 point
Squawfish/Pikeminnow    = 2 points
Pike                               = 2 points
Bass                              = 2 points
Trout                              = 3 points
Trout over 16″                 = 4 points
Trout over 18″                 = 5 points
Pike over 30″                  = 5 points
Bass over 18″                 = 5 points
Trout over 20”                 = 10 points
Bull Trout                       = 15 points
Trout over 24″                 = 50 points
Bull Trout over 30″          = 100 points

Ice Fishing

Mother nature is the boss, she showed us that this week. We had front after front come through and it made for less than ideal fishing conditions.

The rivers around town were all running high so Stan and I checked out some backwaters in search of pike. We found lots of ice. On a positive note, a few fish were rising in spite of the high and cloudy river conditions. Hopefully this will get some of the big boys on the move for the weeks ahead.


More ice

There is light at the end of the tunnel! Hope you all have a great weekend.



Why Do We Do It?

Last weekend the FCFT crew headed over to the Mighty Mo’ with visions of catching the biggest, baddest fish in the river. There were lows, cold temperatures and unrelenting winds were constant. There were highs, Zach filming Caleb’s first fish on a dry fly might be right at the top. In the end, the truth is that no one landed a true giant. What that trip lacked in trophy fish it made up for in new friends met and memories made. I learned that the biggest fish don’t always carry the most meaning.

We spent the first evening in a campground on the outskirts of Craig Montana. Don’t feel ashamed if you’ve never heard of it, neither had I two years ago. The campground community consisted of seven guys that had all ended up in the same place for the same reasons. We were from New York, North Dakota, Georgia, Oregon, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and California. How is that for diversity?

Firewood was piled on as the guys traded fish stories and passed around the Whiskey. The night grew colder and I inched closer to the warmth of the fire. I was entranced by the flames and the passion in their voices as I listened to the stories being told all around me. It was then that I tried to come up with a definitive reason for why we do what we do . Is it the adventure? Or do we do it for the big fish, the challenge, and the camaraderie? I haven’t stopped thinking about it since then and I still don’t have the perfect answer.

As one grows older and evolves an outdoorsman their ambitions and ideals change. As for me I have always been a very motivated, goal orientated person. I have to go further and push harder than the day before or I’m not satisfied. People give me a hard time and ask if I ever enjoy my time spent on the water. The answer is yes, but there are times that I’ve pushed over the next hill only to miss the beauty right at my feet.

This was not one of those days. Once in a while the stars align and everything just clicks. By noon I had landed enough fish that heading back to the truck and relaxing for a little while sounded like a good idea. Those who fish with me know this happens about once a year. As I sat there eating a sandwich and warming up my frozen toes I noticed a father and son fishing by the boat launch. It was cold and they were bundled up like the Michelin man. The dad would spend five minutes tying on a setup only to have the boy lose it on the third cast. After the feeling in my feet came back I grabbed my rod and headed back to the water. I entered the river upstream of them and picked my way through the uneven bottom to a submerged boulder. From my little island I could watch the two fish and still reach the seam in front of me. The longer I watched them the more I was reminded of my own childhood and the times I had shared with my father. It was obvious that they weren’t made of money, I could relate. I had an extremely modest upbringing and my father couldn’t afford to take me anywhere exotic. But he still managed to take us fishing almost every weekend in the summer. Once there my brother and I would test his patience by fighting, being too hot, too cold, thirsty, and/or hungry. I can still remember throwing my pole over the side of the boat into thirty feet of water.

It was a perfect lucky drift. I made a cast upstream, threw in a huge mend then started stripping out line as my in indicator worked its way down. About sixty feet downstream it shot under. I set back and to my surprise the line stayed tight, I fought the fish from my little perch and after a short battle I managed to bring the beautiful rainbow to the net. He was just shy of matching the 22″ handle. As the fish slid out of my hand and back into the current I looked up and met eyes with the father. He told me that I had landed quite the fish and did a hell of a job bringing him in. I thanked him and went back to fishing. I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I was to have a father that showed the kind of patience with me that this man was showing with his son. I wondered to myself if I would be able to teach my children to love the outdoors the way my father had with me. At that point my emotions got the best of me, I broke down in tears on that boulder. I headed back to the truck to call my dad, when he answered I told him about the little boy. I told him of that fathers patience and how because of it the boy might just grow up to be a big bad fly fisherman. I told him that one day when that little boy grows up he might call his dad just to tell him how grateful he is. I told him I loved him and hung up the phone. Again, failing to fight back the tears.

This story is dedicated to all the mothers and fathers who have impacted their childrens lives in more ways than they know.



Friday Night Fix

We’re heading out of town for the long weekend. By this time tomorrow yours truly, and the rest of the FCFT crew will be man spooning for warmth on the banks of the Missouri. Needless to say you won’t be hearing from us for a while. If we never return, here is something to remember us by.

(YGF) and I headed out for a day on the water. He wanted a rematch and I wanted to test out the new camera. Good news, I love the camera. We even managed to put a few good fish in the net, which my 55-200mm lens did a splendid job of shrinking. However, it worked quite well on the mating pair of grosbeaks pictured below. Bad news, the pike won again…

They Liked “Meaty” Offerings

Great Color

Eye To Eye

Everyone Was Eyeing Me Up

For All The Birdwatchers Out There

It Never Gets Old

Hope you all have a great weekend.



Moving Up in the World.

Last night I was on the phone trying to explain to my father the logic behind not buying groceries so I could splurge on hotbeads and pink ostrich hurl when it hit me. I am a trout bum. So how does a trout bum go about moving up in the world? It’s quite simple really, craigslist. I am now the owner of a new old Nikon D70, not the D7000 that I was hoping for but what is a baller on a budget supposed to do? Now I can get some super creative photos of all the whitefish I’ve been catching lately. Zach says I’m an idiot for bragging about a camera thats older than the one we already have. Someone is just a little high on himself after getting his face on the Chum, thanks again (YGF). On a final note. Stan, as of late, has been more like a regular bum than a trout bum. He needs to get off the Xbox and tie some flies, my fingers are starting to hurt.

Moving up in the world

Okay, maybe I’m a little jealous.

Does anybody have five bucks for gas?

Just another day in the life…



Weekend Blabbering.

The F3T was in Missoula last Friday night and it was a blast. As par for the course they videos were great. Those guys can really throw together one hell of a good time.

The Grizzly Hackle pre-party. FCFT meets YGF

The sign says it all

Stan and Anthony with Jay Johnson of Motiv

A sold out Wilma

They sold out The Wilma with over 1100 people in attendance. The rowdy crowd was pumped up to see the guys in Craig in “Sipping Dry”. Headhunters was well represented.

It was a great night with lots of great videos. As always it makes the list of water to fish longer and longer.

However we did manage to get out and fish this weekend. It was slow fishing with spotty weather. The fish did seem spunky enough to eat a few streamers which can make up for a slow day with the visual eats of angry fish. Hopefully we caught enough fish so Ivan can crank out another stellar YGF video.

Film. Cast. Walk. Repeat.

The required scenery shot.

Wristbands and Flash. The deadly combo.

When you dan’t catch a lot, you gotta make the ones you do catch count.

Maybe the most dedicated net job I have ever seen. Anthony was waist deep fighting a root ball to get this guy in the net. Definitively a better effort than the guy holding the rod.

Great weekend with the F3T and a big fish.

That’s why we live in Montana.



Monday Morning Macro

It’s back… The Monday Morning Macro

And it’s as average as ever.

Fish photos to follow.

It’s only Monday?




Weekend Photos

Here are a few photos from the weekends adventures.

We fished with Ivan from Yukon Goes Fishing in hopes of getting enough fish for him to throw together another video. The fishing was slow and it was pretty cold so there was more fish watching than catching going on.

Soon the fishing will be bananas.

You’re hiding on the wrong side of the grass Doc Brown.



In for the kill… With the GoPro.

Who’s wearing the camo neoprene?

This birdy one is for SOL over at Headhunters.

Its already the second-ish week of Feb. Soon the Skwalas will be crawling and the sun will be shining a bit more often. We can’t wait.

Fishy thing here in Missoula this week. Kelly Galloup will be in town tomorrow blowin our minds. And the F3T (aka Missoula’s best beard comp) will be here Friday night. That’s always a good time. Good for shakin out the shack nasties of winter.



The Saga Continues

It seems that we stepped into a bigger pile than expected when we reported the newest Mitchell Slough drama. Its now at a point that we feel obliged to continue updating everyone even if we are pissing a few of you off.

As of the end of last week nothing had changed in the actual stream bed, however things are still being uncovered in the paperwork side of the debate.

FWP, DNRC and host of other “In Charge” organizations are perpetually too busy or out of the office to answer our phone calls or see us when we pay them a visit. Because of this we haven’t been able to get our questions answered. Whenever we get a hold of anyone we will be sure to let you all know.

Here are a few more photos to help everyone visualize what is really happening.

These are the concrete barriers they plan to place as a reinforcement for the gravel bar. They will run along the divot in the gravel berm.

DEWATERED? Headgate Closed?

Doesn’t Look Like It… Can’t go above the water line. I hope you can squeeze between those fences.

That Head gate looks more annually open than closed. Isn’t there a season for pulling water out of the river for irrigation?

One more good look at it.

We know this isn’t the only issue going on in the Bitterroot. Or Montana for that matter.

We know this isn’t only the work of a single individual but also the organizations that allow this to happen.

We got a lot of people fired up about this. That’s exactly what we wanted to do. The more people that are aware of whats going on in their backyard the better.

We did get something we didn’t expect though. Someone defended the landowners who benefit from this project. I wanted to post the comment up here for everyone to read but thought better of it. We have our response written out but would love to hear what you all think first.

If anyone has any information for us we would love to know as much about this as we can. If something doesn’t change whats to stop the entire river from becoming a rip rapped irrigation ditch project? I know that a far out claim, but the river cant defend itself.

Release the hounds.



P.s. I want to say a huge thanks to Headhunters, Chi wulff, Will fish for work and many other blogs that gave us a shoutout for our last post. It really helps get people informed.

Read it here if you haven’t already.