Friday, February 28, 2014

Montana Fly Fishing...The More Snow Now...

...the More Happy Trout come August...True Story!

On another track the 2014 Annual Fishing Newsletter arrived recently--as always jam packed with interesting tidbits concerns the current state of Montana fishing affairs. But for me the best thing is how my bucket list grows nearly each page--like several good water years in a row has ramped up many of eastern Montana's warm water fisheries to record levels. So many spots added to the list there is no way we will be able to find time to hit but a few...but trust me, we aim to give it our best shot. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Big Hole River Trout...Lookin' Pretty Good.

Checked the Montana Snotel Sites in the Big Hole Drainage and things are lookin pretty good. Twin Lakes, above, is currently buried under 127 inches white stuff; while near by Darkhorse Lake the snow level currently right at 100 inches. The good news is yet another major snowstorm is supposed to sweep the area over the next several days...While I for one am more than ready for spring I know all too well how quickly the Big Hole can dry up come August given a hot, dry, spring and summer...so bring it on the more the merrier our summer fishin...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Beaverhead Trout: Think Spring

Snow on the ground (like over 100 inches at a couple snowtel sites in the Beaverheads), 22 below on the front porch, more snow and below zero in the forecast...hell, what's left but to think spring, even if just around the corner does seem quite the stretch...As a wise man once said, listen to Ol' Phil, he really does know...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Winter in Upstate New York...A Fairy Tale of Sorts...

DECEMBER 8:  It started to snow.  The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven.  It looked like a Grandma Moses Print.  So romantic, we felt like newlyweds again.  I love snow!
DECEMBER 9:  We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape.  What a fantastic sight!  Can there be a more lovely place in the Whole World?  Moving here was the best idea I've ever  had.  Shoveled for the first time in years, felt like a boy again.  I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again.  What a perfect life.
DECEMBER 12:  The sun has melted all our lovely snow.  Such a disappointment.  My neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Christmas.  No snow on Christmas would be awful!  Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible.  Bob is such a nice guy, We're glad he's our neighbor.
DECEMBER 14:  Snow, lovely snow!  8" last night.  The temperature dropped to 15º.  The cold makes everything sparkle so.  The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks.  This is the life!  The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again.  I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way.  I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.
DECEMBER 15: 20 inches forecast.  Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer.  Bought snow tires for the wife's car and two extra shovels.  Stocked the freezer.  The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out.  I think that's a little silly.  We aren't in Alaska, after all.
DECEMBER 16:   Ice storm this morning.  Fell on my butt on the ice in the driveway putting down salt.  Hurt like heck.  The wife laughed for a 1/2 hour, which I think was very cruel.
DECEMBER 17:  Still way below freezing.  Roads are too icy to go anywhere.  Electricity has been off for five hours.  I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm.  Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her.  Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her.  Gosh, I hate it when she's right.  I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.
December 20:  Electricity's back on, but had another 14" of the darn stuff last night.  More shoveling.  Took all day.  Gosh-darn snowplow came by twice.  Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey.  I think they're lying.  Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower, and they're out.  Might have another shipment in March.  I think they're lying.  Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me.  I think he's lying.
DECEMBER  22:  Bob was right about a white Christmas, because 13 more inches of the white crap fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt 'til August.  Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel, and then I had to take a leak.  By the time I got undressed and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel!  Tried to hire Bob, who has a plow on his truck, for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy.  I think the jerk is lying.
December 23:  Only 2" of snow today, and it warmed up to 0º.  The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning.  What, is she nuts!!!  Why didn't ask she me to do that a month ago?  She says she did, but I think she's lying.
December 24:  6".  Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel.  Thought I was having a heart attack.  If I ever catch the son-of-a-seacook who drives that snowplow, I'll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him to death with my broken shovel.  I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a hundred miles an hour and throws snow all over everywhere I've just been!  Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the gosh-darn snowplow.
December 25:  Merry F!=3D@x@!x!x1 Christmas.  20 more inches of the !=3D@x@!x!x1 slop tonight.  Snowed in.  The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil.  God, I hate the snow!  Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation for his volunteer fire department.  I hit him over the head with my shovel.  The wife says I have a bad attitude.  I think she's a fricking idiot.  If I have to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave.
December 26:  Still snowed in.  Why the heck did I ever move here?  It was all HER idea.  She's really getting on my nerves.
December 27:  Temperature dropped to -30º, and the pipes froze.  Plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him; he only charged me $1,400 to replace all the pipes.
December 28:  Warmed up to above -20º.  Still snowed in.  The b--ch is driving me crazy!!!!!
December 29:  10 more inches.  Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in.  That's the silliest thing I ever heard of.  How dumb does he think I am?
December 30:  Roof caved in.  I beat up the snow plow driver.  Says he is now suing me for a million dollars; not for only the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his butt.  The wife went home to her mother.  9" predicted.

December 31:  I set fire to what's left of the house.  No more shoveling.
January 8I feel so good.  I just love those little white pills they give me.  Why am I tied to the bed?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Dollars at Work...

Shawn Helps Dad, Gerald, show off his big public land bull.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Turns 30...
2013 highlights:

• Enhanced or protected 112,760 acres of land toward an overall lifetime mark of more than 6.4 million acres
• Opened or secured access to 62,027 acres toward an overall lifetime mark of more than 707,000 acres
• Completed 562 projects bringing lifetime number of projects to 8,651
• Unveiled $30 million Torstenson Family Endowment to further core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage
• Restored a wild elk herd to Missouri
• Fueled continuing elk restoration project in Virginia
• Recorded fifth straight year of record membership, now at 203,703
• Provided 357 grants in 44 states for hunting heritage and conservation outreach, directly reaching more than 184,000 children and adults
• Maintained the highest rating of 4 stars from Charity Navigator, America’s top charity ratings service
• Announced 100 percent of revenue from national convention tags to be awarded to individual states to benefit wildlife conservation
• Topped 100,000 Facebook followers.

With scores of on-the-ground conservation projects planned or already in the works across the nation, hundreds of local banquets and fundraisers scheduled in the coming months, and the unveiling of an exciting, new RMEF endeavor later this year, expectations are soaring for 2014.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cabela's Founder Dead At 77...

Dick Cabela passed away today at his home in Sydney, Nebraska; he was 77.

Dick, along with his wife, Mary, and brother, Jim, founded Cabela’s somewhat inadvertently in 1961 when he purchased $45 worth of hand-tied fishing flies while in Chicago on a furniture and housewares buying trip with his father for the family’s Chappell, Neb., furniture store. With the flies not moving off the store shelf, Dick came upon the idea of selling them through the mail. His first ad, in a Casper, WY., newspaper, produced one sale. Rethinking his situation, Dick placed an ad in Sports Afield magazine: “FREE introductory offer!!! 5 popular Grade A hand-tied flies. Send 25c for postage and handling …” Orders started coming in and Mary typed the names and addresses of each customer on recipe cards and placed them in a shoe-box. Realizing the potential for mail-order sales, Dick purchased more fishing gear and he and Mary produced a three-page mimeographed catalog which was mailed with each order.
Today, Cabela’s is a $3.6 billion company with a worldwide catalog and Internet business and 50 stores in the United States and Canada.

Dick served as Chairman of the Board until June 2013, when he transitioned to Chairman Emeritus and brother, Jim, became Chairman. Dick and Jim were honored by Outdoor Life magazine as being among the top 25 “most influential people in hunting and fishing.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Montana Fly Fishing Magazine

Hot off the computer, yet another fab fly fishing digital rag. Like most it's free, just punch in your e-mail address, password, kick back and scroll through the pages. Lots of nifty photos, a few good articles--the current issue features one on Nymphing by Robert Prince is about as good as any I've seen on the subject, and trust me I have read a bunch. Regardless your level of expertise there is something for everyone in Montana Fly Fishing Magazine. The photography is some of the best, most unique, you will see anywhere--and that the rag is homegrown, just about all Montany, well hell, how good is that! Check it out I gaurandamntee you will not be disappointed.

Monday, February 17, 2014

It seems of late hardly a month goes by I don't find an invite to subscribe to yet another E-zine. Some miss the Ol' Boy's admittedly narrow interests but others such as "The New Fly Fisher" I find hit the mark dead center--entertaining, informative, great photography and most urgent covering one the few topics interest me these days.

Most, including TNFF, are free, just enter your e-mail and password, click submit and good to go. Access to archived issues is a given. Length varies somewhat rag to rag but most are well over 100 pages;FYI, the current issue TNFF is 200 pages. Granted since all the freebies are entirely advertisement driven--is there a magazine out there able to survive on subscriptions alone? I don't think so...

Anyway each issue, TNFF and others, chock full of features and as I mentioned tons a great photos. Because it is digital the number of photos editors are able to use is basically unlimited--no print cost. TNFF of late seems a bit heavily weighted by Algoma Ontario region coverage obviously due to the large number of Algoma lodges, outfitters and such currently buying advertisements. But don't let that put you off there are also plenty of features on other destinations, issues and species specific techniques and tackle throughout North America and even across the big ponds, England, Australia, you name it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's All About Habitat...

Habitat, Habitat, Habitat...Whether you are talking pheasants, quail, grouse, turkeys, ducks, elk, deer, antelope, whatever...Take away habitat and...Poof!!! Nada, Nothing....Long Gone!

Pheasants Forever and its quail division, Quail Forever, the national nonprofit devoted to wildlife habitat conservation, has set an all-time membership record with 141,314 active members located throughout the United States and Canada.

With upland habitat loss reaching historic modern levels in recent years, the record membership total indicates a growing concern for wildlife habitat conservation. In 2013 alone, about 1.6 million acres were removed from the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and converted to cropland. Additionally, the conversion of native prairie to crop-producing lands has accelerated in the Upper Midwest, particularly the Dakotas and Nebraska, because of limited protections. Congress has not helped the cause by dragging its feet passing while meanwhile weakening significantly, the federal Farm Bill and its Conservation Title, which dictates habitat-protecting programs nationwide.

The cumulative result is wildlife habitat loss the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression.

FYI, Pheasants/Quail Forever is a leader in percentage of revenue spent on conservation rather than administrative costs, spending nearly 92 cents out of  every dollar directly on its wildlife habitat mission work.

For more information on how you can help please visit www.pheasantsforever.org/

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More Desert Shots...

We go there to hunt...

But of course we have to eat so why not let the fire burn down to coals, break out the handy dandy Camp Chef Mountain Man Jr. , open a can a beans, grill a couple cheeseburgers...can't hardly beat it.
If there is a better campfire wood than mesquite I sure can't imagine it...
One night Gale and I cooked a Kentucky burgoo in our Dutch Oven, invited the gang--Dave, Pam, Gig, Barb, Shawn, Gerald, Terry and Ray, drank a little whiskey and pigged out on snacks, buffalo wild quail and burgoo...none of which lasted long...imagine.

The closer to the border the more illegals are on the mind...this stash is of course left by innocents simply looking to build a better life...but as I reported yesterday Terry found the real deal left by hombres you do not want to run into...

Another hombre, seldom seen, but you know it out there, especially on those sunny 70 degree afternoons...watch the dogs, trust me you do not want a snakebit dog...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day's end and so do road trips. We got home yesterday having been on the road a record-setting (for us) 53 days. Most of it encamped in the Arizona desert. Naturally desert quail lured us down there but I'd be lying if I didn't include the many spectacular sunrises and sunsets, the chance to hunt and visit with friends--sharing campsites, camp fires, whiskey and meals with half-dozen Montana and two Washington pals. 

The hunting was good, perhaps not great. But we counted only a couple birdless hunts while most we flushed multiple coveys. Some of the Gambel's coveys were quite large, like 30, 40 or more birds, especially as the season waned and hunting pressure dropped. Annie was sort of erratic, good one day not so hot the next...though just like last year she saved her best for later. Who knows, must be dog thing? If there was a disappointment it would have to be the period between Xmas and the end of the weekend following the New Year when the desert was literally swarming pig and bird hunters, bicyclists and assorted motor-head yahoos. The last couple weeks though except for weekend hardly a soul around. 

We braved hunting Mearn's in the country south of Patagonia and around Nogales; braved as in dodging the illegals and border patrol guys trying to catch them. Terry actually found a big mary jane cache, border patrol agents estimated at around 50 grand.  

One the highlights we saw several really good mule and Coue's whitetail bucks; way more deer than any other trip I can remember. On another track I saw only 3 javelina, by far the lowest count ever; curious since everywhere we hunted pig sign, tracks and droppings littered the desert floor. Most of the others in the gang saw a bunch so guess was more a matter of luck a the draw than anything.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to get back to more regular postings on this blog and on facebook so stay tuned, maybe this time I'll stick to it a bit better than have of late.