Friday, May 27, 2016

Puppy Rescued After Falling Into a Mine Shaft...

 While training our 5-month old German wire-haired pointer pup, Maggie, on BLM land outside of Dillon, MT she ran headlong into a 26-foot deep abandoned mine shaft. Right away she started yelping and crying and, having no idea the hole was there, at first we thought she had somehow injured a leg or something? When we realized what you can imagine our terror...Then just as we reached the hole she stopped yelping and crying...When our pleas, "Mags, hang in there baby, we'll get you out..." brought no response naturally we feared the worst.

Dr. Mike Clark, a friend and member of Beaverhead Search and Rescue,
about to rappel down to Maggie's rescue.
Vertical and too steep to get down to where I could see her, assess whether the hole was dry or, more to the point, how badly she was hurt. And no cell service, no way for me to get to her anyway, we took off to get help.

After meeting first responders, Sheriff Frank Kluesner and Under-sheriff David Chase we returned to the mine shaft. Our hopes soared when we found Mags had moved such we could now see her. While we could not really see whether on her feet or lying down, each time I talked she raised her head and looked up. Amazing to us she seemed alert, calm and gave no indication of being in pain.

Beaverhead Search and Rescue arrived and soon had Dr. Mike Clark rigged and on his way down. You can only imagine our elation when I asked Mike, "how's she doin'?" and he responded, "Chuck, except for bein' scared and scuffed up some, she seems okay, can't see that anything's broken."

When Mike shoved Mags (in the bag) over the last lip, seeing as how she was kicking and struggling...like get me outta this damn thing, NOW!!! ended any worries she might be hurt badly.

When Gale unzipped the bag she came out wagging her butt (stub of a tail) such we thought she       might self-destruct. It took two hands to hold her until we could get a lead on and safely get 
her away from hole...
Tired and way thirsty, hard to believe, but except for a minor cut on her forehead and a bloody nose she showed no signs of other injuries. After a quick stop at the Vet, who agreed she looked way better than she should, we took her home.

Now two days removed you would never know...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

All About Caddisflies...Part 2

Clockwise from top left: Lafontaine emergent sparkle pupae, rock worm, BH soft hackle Hare's Ear, BH rock worm, BH caddis larvae patterns and natrual, Goddard Caddis
Back in the day when caddis started to pop first thing I dug out was a caddis dry. Actually the only caddis dry I owned at the time was one we called Rozy's Caddis...the "invention" of Rozy Stidd a longtime pal and constant fishing companion when I lived and worked on Spruce Creek in Pennsylvania.

Rozy, Bill Howe and I tied it by the countless dozens, in several sizes,12, 14, 16, 18 but hardly ever used anything but a 14 or 16. Comprised of a dubbed olive body, deer hair wing and special dyed olive/yellow grizzly hackle wound behind the hook eye. The fly seldom let us down, was as good a searching pattern as any in our boxes and...Well we caught the crap outta trout all up and down and across Pennsylvania and throughout the West, especially Montana.

I now live and guide in Montana, still use it often and still catches lots of trout but...

Somewhere along the line I discovered during an actual caddis hatch, pupae imitations and even simple soft hackles worked even better. Lafontaine emergent patterns (as pictured above) fished deep and in the film are now my go-tos. During egg laying flights I fish a variety--Elk-hair, X-, Iris- and Egg-laying caddis (latter three tying instructions can be found at www.blueribbonflies.com).

My larvae imitations are standard nymphs such as rock worm, various Hare's-ear and Princes--adding a hot spot seems to help. Some of the Czech style nymphs are even better but I like to keep it simple...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

All About Caddisflies...Part 1

Clockwise from top left: larva pattern, architecurally perfect cases, adult, elk hair caddis, X-caddis, intricate case caddis pattern. 
Recently I did two Power Point presentations for anglers attending the annual Fish Like A Guide School at Healing Waters Lodge near Twin Bridges, MT. Following the presentation we loaded up and went to a nearby spring creek to seine naturals in order to show not only how to seine insects for sampling but how to identify, say, a caddis larva from a mayfly nymph. As I get time I will post the text and more photos here...Enjoy and by all means shoot me a comment if you have any questions.

CADDISFLIES have long taken a backseat to mayflies as must have imitations.  These days, due in large part to the work of Gary LaFontaine, caddis imitations receive their fare share of time on the end of the tippet, but many anglers still assume all caddisflies are pretty much the same.
In many species, the pupae become very active just before emergence and drift along the bottom of the river, sometimes for hours. The "deep sparkle pupa" patterns introduced by Gary LaFontaine in Caddisflies are the most popular of many imitations inspired by this behavior. It is a deep nymph fisherman's dream. Sometimes they drift similarly just below the surface for a long time before trying to break through.

Pupae of different species use three different methods to emerge:

Most species rise to the surface and struggle through. They usually take flight quickly once they're out of the water, but slow species first struggle and drift long distances half-submerged as they wriggle free from their pupal shucks.

The pupae of some species crawl out of the water on rocks, sticks, and such, so that the adults emerge high and dry.

Some pupae rise to the surface and swim quickly across it to shore where they crawl out to emerge.

Most caddis pupae are good swimmers, and they use their legs as paddles rather than wiggling their bodies to move.

After emerging, caddis fly adults live for a long time compared to mayflies, in part because they are able to drink to avoid dehydration (mayfly adults cannot eat or drink). This flight period lasts anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the species, so mating adults may be seen on or over the water long after emergence is complete.

Many caddis fly females dive underwater to lay their eggs on the stream bottom. Some crawl down objects to do this but most swim right down through the water column. The latter are responsible for my fastest trout fishing action ever -- days when trout raced each other to attack my flies the moment they hit the water, cast after cast.

Others lay their eggs on the surface in various ways. They may fly low over the water, periodically dipping their abdomens to lay eggs. Others land on the surface repeatedly, fussing and fluttering in enticing commotion. Less active species may fall spent to the surface with all four wings spread out. Others ride the water serenely while laying their eggs, and they are the easiest to match with the dead-drift techniques of mayfly fishermen.

Some egg-laying methods keep the adult females safe from trout altogether. They may drop their eggs into the water from overhanging plants, or lay their eggs on the vegetation itself. That way the eggs don't enter the river until the next rain--an excellent drought survival strategy.

Stay Tuned...For the rest of the story, more photos and a few tips on fishing caddisflies...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Montana Candidate for Governor Sues MTFWP to block Fishing Access...

Fishing Access Site on Ruby River is just one of several hundred scattered across the state which gives anglers free public access to fish up and down through public or private lands so long as we stay below the high water mark fishing through private...

...If you have followed my many past rants directed at greedy, always rich beyond belief, bastards who would take away this right...actually  law...you know I don't pull any punches telling the pricks what I think and where and what they can do with their scum-bag ways. Am I naive enough to think any of this does much good, that it'll somehow go away...in two words...HELL NO! 

Comes now this latest gem...Seems an SOB, name of Greg Gianforte, who is somewhat amazingly, running for governor, pulled this little stunt awhile back, one that should kill any chance of becoming elected. 

Seems in 2009, Greg and Susan Gianforte sued the Montana department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, seeking to get rid of a Fishing Access site anglers had used for almost 40 years to fish the East Gallatin River. Imagine...

Little more than a dirt road, maybe 75 yards long, that led from a county road to the bank of the river. This access route had been used regularly enough since the 1970s so that in 1993 the public acquired a legal right to use the road. The spur led not only to the river but to an entire riparian area of 75 public acres, owned and managed by FWP for the enjoyment and general use of all citizens but... 

The easement crossed the far end of the Gianfortes’s property. And so after purchasing the lot with the easement and building a trophy house (don't they all?) on the banks of the river the bastards took the issue to court. 

 Filed (sneakily) by a company called “East Gallatin LLC,” whose registered agent is listed as Susan Gianforte and whose address is listed as the family’s home. And if this meal is not tasty enough for you, there’s desert: Art Wittich was the attorney that the Gianfortes hired to bring the lawsuit. Wittich now has an attorney of his own, defending him from being evicted from office. Why someone with $400 million would hire Art Wittich to represent him when he could get anyone in the world is an interesting question.

Like many other things in the Gianforte’s past, to say nothing he is just another in a long-line of arrogant, greedy, self-serving jerks from elsewhere, who move to Montana to build a trophy home and fence off public land. And it’s made even worse by the fact that he tried to hide behind a corporate veil when he filed the suit, to shield his identity and had his wife file as agent. 

So much for his constant TV diatribe, "have a plan to fix all of Montana's woes"...Yeah, right!