It’s 1 am. Pitch black. And you can’t see a damn thing.
It’s hard not to turn on your headlight, but if you do its game over. It really is amazing how well you can cast when you cant see. You lay down what feels like the perfect cast and start to twitch the hell out of the tip of you rod.
All you have for reference is the sound of the fly skating across the water. Just when you think the drift is over an explosion at the end of your line. And nothing. He missed… Or maybe you botched it. You strip in the slack and as the fly reaches your feet he’s back. And hes hungry. It’s a mix between a toilet flushing and a cinder block being thrown in the water and it’s scary.
The fight is on. Before it’s even over you want more.
Go ahead and forget sleeping. Just knowing you could be out throwing junk like that makes it even harder to fall asleep at night.
Flies the size of your hand and 20 lbs test Maxima. Its like a grind-house version of fly fishing. It’s too easy to get addicted too. Dark circles under your eyes, bugs bites everywhere, bruises from falling, and now leeches. You have to pay to play.
Bringing one fish to hand is a good night. But when the one fish looks like that… It’s okay.
The next time we look like we are dragging in the morning you can guess why.
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
Last Sunday we took a couples trip to Philipsburg in search of Sapphires and Trout. We discovered a few gems, both in and out of the water. They have a pretty neat thing going on at the Sapphire Gallery in Philipsburg. For a few dollars you can sift through a bag of gravel in search of real Montana Sapphires. It was a great experience and even us tough guys got into the spirit. Everyone found a gemstone or two, including old man Scott and squinty eyes VonRuden.
After a quick stop at the Sweet Palace, we made the short jaunt over to Rock Creek. The ladies, Mandy and Jordon, had caught three trout in their collective fly fishing careers. We had high hopes of patting their stats, with a little cooperation from the fishies of course. We followed the river downstream for a little while until we found a nice looking place to pull off and line up. When the girls were geared up and ready to go we filed down the bank got to the job at hand. For most of the day Zach and I left the rods in the truck, opting instead for nets and cameras. It was a smart choice on our part because the girls kept us busy using both. The gems and the fishing were the highlights of the day, the adventure came later.
Off To The River We Go
Jordon’s First Trout! There He Goes To Fight Another Day
It Didn’t Take Mandy Long To Get Into The Swing Of Things
Thanks To A Little Coaching From Zach
Jordon Looking Like A Pro
She Holds The Fish Better Than I Do
They Took A Little Break And Let The Boys Have Some Fun
This Little Guy Must Have Wanted His Picture Taken
The Stars Of The Show
Eventually the net boys grew tired and the ladies got cold. Around four o’clock we decided to call it a day and head back to Missoula. Over the course of the day our pursuit of “better water” had taken us a good ways down the creek. With that in consideration we decided it would be faster just to follow it all the way back down the Interstate. In hindsight that might have not been the best idea, five hours and thirty miles later we made it back to the highway. Along the way we encountered numerous rocks, two sketchy descents, and a good sized tree that had fallen across the road. Luckily I had tire chains and an axe in the back of the truck. There is nothing like chopping down a tree in chest waders.
Laying Them Out
Locking Them In
The Only Other Vehicle We Saw All Day
It was certainly a day none of us will soon forget. We had a blast and the fishing was excellent to say the least. Rock Creek is famous for a reason and we aren’t going to try and discourage any of you from getting out there and exploring it for yourself. We just want to encourage you to exercise caution and common sense, and always come prepared for any situation.
Watch out. Here comes the newest segment to the site.
Fishy Friends. Hang around Missoula (Or Montana for that matter) long enough and its easy to meet other fishy people. Whats that saying? Fish of a feather…
We get to meet some pretty solid folks around town so we are going to start giving them the face time they deserve. From big fish to quality products or even some fancy artwork, the fishy crowd of Missoula will start gracing the pages of FCFT.
With out further B.S. here we go.
Our lead off fishy friend originally comes from the Volunteer state.
Jesse Filingo has been cruising around town off and on for a few years now. Jesse won the chance to represent the University of Montana in the collegiate fly fishing competition over in Ireland a year or two ago. The dude can plain fish. He can cast like a boss (See his magazine cover debut) and always seems to be catching big fish. We like Jesse. He brings a lot of energy to the sport and never slows down.
Jesse sent us a photo of a brown he caught this past weekend. We are all excited about this fish.
Just another Filingo Fish
Thanks for the photos Jesse. Keep up the good work and leave a few for the rest of us.
Keep your eyes peeled for more Fishy Friends.
Speaking of the VOLUNTEER state…
Here is a great volunteer opportunity to help out some local water that we all love. I encourage everyone to give this a shot.
Willow You Help
March 24th at 10:00 am meet at Rock Creek lodge or take a shuttle from Missoula.
Volunteer to collect sandbar willow cuttings for future planting in roadside bank reinforcement to:
· Learn about Rock Creek’s riparian environment
· Meet people who share a connection to the resource
Your work will help Trout Unlimited:
· Protect Rock Creek Road from erosion
· Enhance trout, bug, and animal habitat
· Create shade for water temperature and filter sediment
RSVP for more details:
Call Dan at 320-493-1663 OR Email email@example.com
The Clark Fork looks like a California mud slide. That’s okay just fish the Bitterroot, negative Ghost rider. It went up 2ooo cfs over two days. Well okay then, Rock Creek it is. It will be fine… Right?
Well where do you get your trout fix when the regulars are out of order? You go where we humans can control nature, the way its supposed to be, or maybe its the other way around? Regardless you go to Craig, Montana and fish the Missouri.
We made the 200 some mile drive over to the front range in an April blizzard and hoped for the best.
First Stop: Headhunter fly shop. After reading their Blog for a few months now it was on top of the to do list. These guys are the real deal. They know who, what, when, where and how on the Mo. We were blown away by the shop itself as well as the atmosphere inside. John and Mark know whats up. For some reason when I go into other fly shops I feel like I have to use my inside voice, keep my hands in my pockets and wear my Sunday best. Headhunters creates a vibe that makes you want to hangout and listen to these guys tell stories for too long considering the world class fish in the river literally out the front door. A relaxed attitude, music, free coffee and great company make Headhunters the place to be if you are fishing the Missouri. They also gave the best advise I have ever gotten from a shop as well. For now lets just say, they told us where the fish where and gave us what we needed to hook up on some of the Mo’s finest.
Next: The Mo. It was snowing/sleeting/raining/spitting/hailing/ect… How naive of us to think it was spring already. We got on the river around 10:30 and had the best fishing we have ever had in Montana till we had to get lunch or pass out from a sugar low. I had heard that the Missouri had a lot of fish and a lot of big fish, but that is something, as a fly fisherman you have to find out for yourself. The rainbows are still up in the creeks spawning so all the fish we caught were browns. It is always a good omen when you land a fish off your first cast. White streamers seemed to be the meal ticket and as legend has it, when the “White Bite” is on, its going to be killer. It was. Its not everyday that you get to tell your fishing buddy “This is the biggest fish I have caught in Montana” two fish in a row. Within twenty minutes and fifty square yards we had caught and landed three fish that pushed 60 inches between them.
Its not often the first time you fish a river you absolutely kill it. Needless to say, we will be going back to visit they guys at Headhunters and the big trout in the Missouri. When the real run-off is in full swing over here, the Holter dam keeps the Mo in check and you can bet “The worlds biggest spring creek” will be getting a few visits from the FCFT crew.
Enjoy the photo’s of the adventure and let us know what you think.
More photos on the Photography page. Give em a look.