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
Lot’s of fishing this weekend. The Bitterroot and The Mo. Anthony is trucking over to Idaho. We are heading all directions.
Just a few close ups to get everyone excited for the weekend. Because I know I am.
Skwalas? BWO’s? Midges? Anything? I want to catch a fish on top this weekend. Challenge Accepted.
For the first time in a long time the FCFT crew piled into the same truck, to go fishing in the same place. Our newest fishing buddy Alex hoped in as a +1 and we got to it. Alex is a nymphing machine and he showed us young whippersnappers a thing or two.
We headed up the Bitterroot after some water free of the skwala crowd. The hot sunny weather had us and the trout feeling excited. No hogs, no rises, but the four of us caught fish all day. We had a blast fishing with and getting to know Alex. He fit right in with the bullshitting and shenanigans. It was just one of those days that makes the long dark Missoula winters survivable.
Enough yappin. Here’s the puddin.
The guy literally fishes with his rod in one hand and his net in the other.
Alex Doing What He Does
And… Stan doing what he does.
Pretty fish and Anthony is smiling. What else do you want?
This Wasn’t His First Rodeo
Jeepers thas a biggin’
Coming Soon, Whitefish The Movie. We’re not kidding.
Pretty colors add at least 2 inches. Right?
It really was a great day of fly flickin. Not much more you can ask for. Alex was a fishy fella and we will be back on the water with him soon. Besides, anyone who can stand an hour or more in the truck with us three must be a pretty okay dude.
-Anthony, Stan, and Zach
Go Pro edition.
As usual its late. The crew had a good long weekend in Craig fishing the Missouri. We shot a little video, caught some fish, and drank a lot of dollar beers a Joe’s. Good time for sure. Updates to follow.
Wednesday is always the longest day of the week for me. People say Monday is, but on Wednesday you can see the light at the end of the tunnel… But its still a long tunnel.
Anyways, enough self pity. Here are a few photos to help make that light a little brighter.
Eagles and Fish.
We are off to Craig for the long weekend. Winter fishing and camping. Hopefully it’s not as cold as last year in Paradise Valley when our waders froze in an upright position.
Word on the street is that we will be filming this weekend. Lets hope Stan can behave himself on camera.
I double checked and it’s definitely Wednesday. This means i’m sitting next to the weird kid in my math class and geeking out on the web. But more importantly it means the weekend, and an adventure, are just a few days away. Good news, the weather has got me all kinds of excited. Warm temps this week should open up some water that we’ve just been itching to check out. Bad news (or more good news), Stan’s out. I guess he has a job or whatever.
The game plan is to wear the rubber off our boots, find some hogs, then proceed to make them famous. Zach is on the hunt for a better video lens, so hopefully we can start stacking up some serious footage.
I decided to throw in a few photos from the last week that didn’t make the starting lineup. Enjoy.
Saturday morning before the sun was even up, we trucked it over the mountains and through the woods to the Front Range.
The Missouri river is one of my favorite rivers to fish. If you are willing to put up with some pretty brutal conditions the “off-seasons” you can have the river to yourself. The wind was awful this weekend and the ice built up on our guides every third drift or so. Regardless it was great to be fishing and even better that we managed to catch a few fish.
We stopped at Headhunters and talked fish, websites and cameras with John, Mark and Ben. As always, it was too easy to spend 2 hours in the shop. They have crafted a great shop with an even better atmosphere. The fact that they were all willing to stay way past closing time and help out these 3 lowly wannabe’s is a testament to their dedication. I can never say enough about them. So please check out the Headhunter and their new and improved Focalfish for some pretty awesome fly fishing photography and video. If you are planning on fishing the Mo hit these fellas up, you wont be disappointed.
Follow the yellow painted door.
Although Headhunters is a good enough reason to make the drive, we did go fishing.
It was cold and windy. And we even had trouble finding fish in the morning. But as the day warmed up we managed to find a few fish up by the dam and stay out of the wind for the most part.
We had to stand our ground against the john boat loads of camo clad gear fisherman but when they filled their coolers full of hatchery creations we were able to pick out a few risers and nymph them up.
Why Didn’t We Bring A Net? That Water Looks Cold.
Winston your way through that wind.
Mo’ River Command Center.
Thanks to Mark and John for a point in the right direction on the river and online.
If you haven’t seen our write up on the latest Mitchell Slough drama give that a look. A few folks are getting fired up about it and we would love to hear everyone’s opinion. We would also love to get some explanation from the folks who approved the go ahead on this river destruction. We will keep looking into this until we get some answers.
Anthony hauled over from N.D. and the troops rallied to get out and get at it. These are the gems that were captured.
Looks like the snow will be in FCFT photos till April. Lots of B&W in the near future.
This is why we do it.
Fight For Your Right
What a Mess.
Looking forward to a good winter of fish, late season archery, waterfowl and predators. Busy. Don’t forget school, work and skiing as well. When are we supposed to edit video and photos as well as learn this new realm of spey casting? Plus keeping FCFT up and running? Who knew the Trout bum lifestyle was so demanding… We need a secretary to keep us pointed in the right direction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a photo or two from the weekend.
An actual write up will be done this evening after work. Until then enjoy these…
It’s May and its snowing here in Missoula. They say thats a good thing…
The FCFT crew ran downtown for a little after work/class fishing on the Clark.
Here are a handful of photos from the evenings adventures.
I didn’t mean to feature Anthony I promise. It just happened that way…
It’s a good life out here under the big sky.
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.
Sean’s younger, but significantly more artistic brother Kevin, showed FCFT some love with a drawing that made its way out west. Looks like “Senoiritis” was productive for once.
Keep them coming Kevin. Sean promised to get the next one tattooed on his lower back.
A little birdie sent a text today saying the BWO’s are coming off on the old ‘Root. Get out and go fishing.
Here is a little photo entry of the weekends turkey scouting turned trout fishing. It’s hard to stayed focus on animals without gills when there is world famous water running near by.
We just revamped the photo page. Give it a look see and please let us know what you think.
On a different note… Got to watch a burly trout get frisky on some real live mayflies this afternoon. It was too mesmerizing to actually snap out of and cast to the big guy, maybe I just didn’t want to spook him. Either way he didn’t end up testing the drag.
Things are looking up here in the Big Sky.
The rebels defeat the Empire.
As of yesterday Montana is “safe” from HB 309. The Senate committee tabled the bill with an 8-3 vote.
Check the link for the fine print.
Give yourselves a high five Montana and go fishing…That is until the next session.
Looks more like duck season then the first day of “Spring”. Gloomy weekend, but at least the fishing should be decent.
Got out for a little evening fishing yesterday. Tried to do our part on controlling the pike invasion but got distracted by pods of little rainbows rising to midges.
Ran into a crazy old fly fisherman on the walk back to the truck who’s vocabulary was made up of mumbling and variations of non-existent curses. However, this gentlemen told us about a “Secret” back slough. He swore on his own grave that it held “At least 6 pound largemouth”… One of the best parts about fishing in Missoula is the “
Crazies“, other fishermen, you meet on the river. Regardless, 6 pound Largemouths cant be ignored and his theory must be put to test.
Hopefully some of those potential state records are hungry and looking for a fight.
With World War III on deck, Japan struggling with a nuclear disaster, oil at $101 a barrel, and HB 309 threating the great river access that Montana in known for, the only logical thing to do is to go fishing.
Enjoy those rivers while you can still get on them.
As of late last night False Casts and Flat Tires in now a “.com”. All that means is that rather than just being a major tool for avoiding being productive, it is now also a drain on the bank account.
So…Take some time to check out what we have so far. Bigger and better things to come in the near future. Word on the street is that Sean took time from making burgers at work to come up with some bright ideas. Hopefully by the weekend you will be able to waste some time on the site just like we do.
Anyway, it’s Friday, take the afternoon off work and get outside.
Life is too short to not go fly fishing.
The fish are starting to shake the dust of winter.
Still working on getting the whole site up and running.
hard impossible to sit in front of a computer when the sun is shining after
3 months of dark winter.
It’s Friday. Enjoy this.
More to come.
Sometime in the near to distant future.