Friday, March 9, 2012

Fly Fishing: Fly Friday...Mountain Whitefish

Mountain whitefish aka rocky mountain bonefish; whitey; aw shucks "just" a goddamn whitey; and many other largely unprintable labels. A Montana native; a member of the salmonid family (e.g. trout/salmon), eats our flies, fights good enough the average fisher man really does not "know" what is on the end the line until he sees it; is delicious and so...

Whitefish probably average around 12 inches in the rivers I fish most--Big Hole, Madison, Beaverhead and so on--but many are much larger--18-20 inches even--the state record is over 5 pounds and was caught in the Kootenai River, in case you wondered.

The surest way to catch a whitefish is with small nymphs--16-20--Prince, PT, Hare's ear, midge--but I've caught many on dries--usually during a hatch but not always. I've netted whitefish for guests hooked on just about every sort of fly, a few caught on spinners and, of course, many (mostly geezers but not all) target winter whitefish for smoking and/or grilling with all manner of bait--meal worms and maggots rank high. And you do know the "trick" to keeping said bait from freezing, right? Like a pinch between cheek and gum works like a charm; but then you knew that...Right.

This one does not challenge the state record but a whitefish this size puts a distinct bend in the ol' rod and seems to me that being the precise reason most of us claim brung us to the dance in the first beginning... pray tell then just what the hell is there not like?  

Must be those lovely lips perhaps fit for only suckers or carps...sure don't cut it for us real trout fishers that's for sure...

 As someone once pointed out beauty she is indeed in the eye of the beholdin...or something like that.

Okay, so I failed to sway your vote one way or another; but should you find a dreaded whitey has gobbled your offering please give him the respect he deserves and whatever your feelings whitefish do deserve at least the respect of "trying" to put him back unharmed (or bonked and invited home for dinner) as you wish.

Really whitefish are too good to be bonked and tossed for coon/skunk bait as some I know and have seen of late are obliged. Nasty, nasty and totally over the edge...at least to this ol' boy's way of thinkin...So there you have it...over and out...

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