Wednesday, May 30, 2012
are recent headline grabbers sure to rattle more than a few cages before the furor dies...For more click the links below...
Bison as our national mammal?...Whoo-ee baby wait till you hear the uproar this one will most certainly stir up out here in the land of big hats and pointy-toed boots...
For you cat owners who somehow are in denial how destructive cute, cuddly kitties are when allowed to run loose click below:
And lions killing wolves in the Bitterroot? "Unpresedented" according to one MTFWP biologist. But does sort a makes one wonder where the folks at Defenders of Wlildlife, who rake in millions constantly railing the plight of wolves, will stand on this one. Anti-lion?
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
What do the sandhills have to do with all this...why absolutely nothing, just another good Gale shot I thought you all might enjoy... (yesterday not far from Clark Canyon in case you wondered)
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Lost to trout for over a century Silver Bow Creek below Butte is once again a viable fishery. Thanks to hundreds of millions spent to cleanup the Nation's Largest Superfund Site. Restoration efforts targeted not only the creek but surrounding landscape laid waste by the once booming copper mines of Butte and Anaconda. For more click the link below...
For more good news regards the upper Clark Fork and Silver Bow Creek click the link below...
Big Hole spiked up about 200 cfs overnight but is still in great shape considering the relatively high flow (3600). According to Al visibilty is in the neighborhood of 3 feet and streamers and nymphs are still the best ways to go. Big brown trout continue to show up with fair regularity all up and down the river. We both stand by our earlier predictions "the worst of the runoff is over." Barring heavy downpours cool, cloudy weather over the next several days should bring it down even more...
The Beaverhead is running just under 700 cfs out dam and near 900 at Barretts. Whether or not the high flows continue is of course up to the irrigation bosses but if I were to guess don't look for it to come down anytime soon...The usual nymphs--scuds, flashbacks, micro mays, lightning bugs, crane fly larvae--and streamers remain the hot ticket items...no surprise there, eh?
Sunday, May 20, 2012
So yesterday we worked awhile in the morning, enjoyed the free lunch (really good by the way) at Rocky Mountain Supply and then headed for a certain little crick about as far off the proverbial path as one can drive to anyway. However, much to our surprise we found a bigger, way more popular crick all but empty...No doubt the Utah/Idaho gang usually overruns it opening day decided to forego the long drive thinking the several 80+ days would surely have blown it out by now. As you can see the creek was anything but blown, actually scary low for this time of year.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
All these fishys have several things in common...All fall under the broad umbrella expressed ad nauseum as "nice fish"(video strutters take a bow); worse I did not catch them; worser I did not even photograph them; worsest I am jealous as all get out; bestest, catchees have sworn to cut internet access should I even hint where in the hell...sorry. But hey, ya gotta admit all really are damn nice fish...Right.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Such is the case with "no-name" creek. Full of brookies such as the one pictured above and open year around to fishing for brook trout it's become something of a tradition to kick start our crick fishing adventures as early as melting snow allows access. Last year, for example, snow and flooded roads kept us at bay until well into June. This year we probably could have started in mid April. We finally got there over the weekend.
Low snow melt already history and with the high country melt down yet to happen we found no-name early summer low and clear, although still damn cold. Way too bright (no doubt borderline cold) we did not expect much and as turned out our expectations were pretty much rewarded. But the outing was far from bust: elk, deer, antelope, an entertaining otter, eagles, hawks, ducks, songbirds, squirrels and no doubt a couple critters I've forgotten provided all the excitement needed...like who needs a bunch a slimy trouts on a fine day such as this...Right.
There were a few caddis and small stones popping as well as a couple small dark mayflies but so far we could determine the trout were not the least bit turned on...just in case you wondered.
On another track the Beav is running around 600 out the dam; the Big Hole topped 3000 last night and with 80s predicted next couple should continue to rise. Still barring heavy rain in the mountains I stand by my earlier prediction "seen the worst of it." Warm and sunny though should bring on the BH MD caddis blitz big time.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Born in the Beaverhead Mountains of southwest Montana the river runs for about 170 miles to eventually join the Beaverhead just downstream of Twin Bridges to form the Jefferson. Throughout its run the landscape constantly changes as does the character of the river itself. Bound at various times by conifer forest, willows, sagebrush, ranch and farm land, steep rocky canyon walls, tall cottonwoods and so forth the Big Hole is float fisherman's delight. Drawing anglers year after year to sample its wares the 'Hole has champions from litterally around the globe. Alas a mere handful of which actually belong and support the Foundation.
The good news: Those of us who do, and we are not all anglers, by the way, are as a whole generous giving both time and money to support the Foundation's energetic mission statement. If you would like to learn more just what this great organization is up to click here .
On another track last evening the Foundation hosted a "meet and greet" BBQ for outfitters and guides. While many more missed than took advantage all I can say is too bad on you. Good eats, good drinks, good talk and lots of interesting and valuable input from local FWP Fisheries biologist, Jim Olsen, to say nothing of the awesome tour of the big house at the entrance to Merriwether Ranch, I must say a good time was had by all.
And last but not least a hot tip: The river is fishing really good right now, top to bottom, streamers, nymphs underneath, March Browns and caddis (yes, caddis) on top. Most of the guides in attendance feel the river has seen its last big spike (has risen about 600 cfs over past four days but real gentle like) and many feel we just might see Salmon flies afore the month is over...Tight Lines...over and out...Chuck P.S. As for River Ambassador, I are one and you could be too...give 'em a holler.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Talking snow and ice mid-May in Montana is certainly nothing new. But after yesterdays brief though nontheless hot spell (81 on the front porch) does seem a bit odd, eh? Anyway talking to Al this morning we both agreed with the snow still hanging on up high in the Pintlars and Beaverheads string a few 80 degree days in a row and the Big Hole could very well be once again rippin'...how high is of course merely a wild guess. But if I were to take a wild stab let's say somewhere in the 5000-7000 cfs range should about cover it...You know why get yourself too far out on that proverbial limb...right. By the way the icicles above were shot in a shady nook in the Morrison Lake outlet on a sunny afternoon in the low 70s just last weekend so...Yes, really does take a while following your basic chilly night at 8000 feet for old man sun to git 'er done.
Dire runoff predictions aside the Big Hole right now is fishing pretty well. Streamers in the morning and whenever the clouds roll in; dries such as Purple Haze cripple when March Browns are about. And of course turdnworm works most anytime...
Caddis have been on Beav for awhile now but no reports so far of the trout taking much notice--on top that is--nymphs rule and streamers are right up there. Above Pipe, by the way, is still off limits.
Ruby and Clark Canyon continue to run necknneck in the not so hot race...at least that is seems to be the word on the streets...
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Here are a few shots of kids, guides and volunteers in action Saturday at Meriwether Ranch on the Big Hole River outside Melrose. As you can see all involved seemed to have a rollicking good time and from the intense look on some of the kids, apparently they take their fly fishing lessons quite seriously.
|Russ Kipp and friends...|
|Brent Taylor lending a casting hand...|
|Love dem bugs...|
|What would we do without a Cookie?|
|Cheesburgers and chips, can't beat it...|
|As I say, serious business...|
Friday, May 4, 2012
As I mentioned in a previous post the southeastern corner of Oregon is the least populated in the Lower 48 states. Highway 78, in the opinion of many including your intrepid reporter, is way lonelier than Nevada's famed Highway 50...the one Charles Kuralt (I think?) labeled the "The Loneliest Highway in America."
Regardless, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge sits amid high desert, a semi-arid landscape dominated by sagebrush and juniper clad and rocky barren hills. The refuge itself is surprisingly wet: big shallow lakes, marsh, the Donner and Blitzen River and several lesser creeks. The lakes, marsh and wetlands are almost entirely snowmelt runoff from the Steens Mountains. There are no outlets to the lakes and the underlying geology is impermeable so any water loss is left to evaporation.
As you might expect wildlife, especially birds--waterfowl, water birds, songbirds, game birds, raptors, you name it--flock to this oasis like bees to wildflowers. Something like 320 species have been observed many of which nest within the refuge. Spring and fall migration attracts waterfowl and shorebirds in mind-boggling numbers--tens, even hundreds thousands at a clip.
The surrounding high desert is considered semi-arid with a scant annual precipitation of about 9-inches per year. Many, many square miles signs of human habitation are all but non-existent. Pronghorn abound; in fact south of Malheur lies the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge (Lakeview, OR.)
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
That afternoon we made a second dent traveling 4 hours or so to Three Island Crossing State Park (Glenn's Ferry). One of our Idaho favorites and a spot we've visited and hunted out of several times previously. Annie found the park quail covey particularly interesting. Had time permitted no doubt some of the Snake River carp would no doubt be nursing sore lips but...
Duty called and so on to Chickahominy Reservoir about 30 miles west of Burns/Hines where we stayed 3 nights. We spent the next day at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge photographing a slough of waterfowl and water birds (will post soon) and enjoyed some the emptiest (as in no folks) country anywhere. The southeast corner of Oregon is actually the least populated in the lower 48. The bad news Chickahominy fishing sucked...not only did I manage to eat skunk not a single rainbow did I see on the hook. The few other anglers I talked to boasted similar regrets...unlike most of us fisher folk excuses were about as scarce as hook-ups...
Arriving Bend the day before the gavel dropped I fished the Deschutes River and though it did fish better nothing even close to red hot our entire 6 day stay...who knows?
Yes, this is the closest you will ever see me to participating in the activity we call golf. This is indeed "golf with a fly rod" though Orvis Bend prefers to call it simply "Our 18-station fly rod casting course" or something like that? Anyway upon finding not much else of interest in Bend, OR...you know the fastest growing mob scene in the WEST where "those who visit here tend to stay here"...LOL...One day during a rare free moment in the hectic NOWA conference schedule we decided to bite the bullet, risk the life-changing drive across town...an insane madness I'm somewhat at loss for words to describe...Scary as hell fits but still does not do justice...and check it out.
With wind gusts to 30 mph plus admittedly not the best day for slam dunking the course. Which is arranged on land and water about a 1.2 mile course around what is known as the "Old Mill District." I did somehow manage to at least get close every now and then and at this station actually landed a couple on target at the "Advanced (Expert) Distance" (50 feet or so, I think and yes I'm using the Orvis language not mine). With the wind the short "Beginners" targets were all but impossible.
The course is said to be the only 18-station in the country though there are several smaller renditions scattered about Orvis Land--I've no idea where? I actually did enjoy the challenge. And while I did not find time to complete the entire course I did scout a couple stations which would surely stretch the casting skills of all but the so-called "world class gang."
The rod in my hand is a loaner from the shop. A top-of-line Helios (I think that's right?) which I found to be the best Orvis casting machine I've ever handled...Despite the stiff head wind which at the above station was more a slight cross-wind than full head-on I had no problem turning over the leader, getting the windage right did take some doing. But one can hardly fault the outfit for that...right.
The course is free; open 24-7-365; just rig up and go. Keep score or don't, compete with your buddies or just practice casting. From where I sit, no way could you not come away a better caster...with due diligence hell you might even get your "expert" card...A course good luck surviving the road wars in downtown Bend.