Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blown Out Rivers and Creeks?...

...Head for the many high country lakes and ponds...
Annie and me fly fishing Widgeon Pond on the Red Rock Lakes NWR a couple May's ago.
...scattered all across the Beaverhead National Forest, in southwest Montana. Contact,or better yet stop by, the Forest Service Headquarters here in Dillon and request the free Lake Inventory publication. Purchase the BNF Travel Maps and you're in business. Last time I looked there were about 300 lakes listed. Showing range, latitude and longitude, elevation and species and access--horse and foot travel, ATV, motorcycle, 4X4 or motor vehicle. Obviously this early in the season many are still iced over so pay attention to the elevation beforehand. As a rule those below 7500 feet are open now but there's still a lot of snow so getting there might pose a problem. The highest, the 8-9000 footers won't see open water until at least the end of June and some remain frozen well into July.

Many of the lakes hold westslope cutthroat trout, some pretty big. Brook and rainbow trout, Arctic grayling are found in many others. I know of only a couple brown trout lakes. No matter which lake, low, high, whatever the hot time is when the ice goes. For the next couple weeks trout swarm the shallows, looking for food in the warming water and in many cases looking to spawn. 

You don't need a lot of different flies--turkey jigs, chronomids, sheep creeks, wooly buggers and ants--always ants--are about it. Suspend the flies under a bobber, cast out and let 'er set, then let 'er set some more is one of the best methods. But if you can't stand staring down a bobber by all means strip 'em on a sink-tip or later when the trout go deeper, a full-sink line.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Catch And Eat

Article & Photo Courtesy Tom Dickson, Editor, Montana Outdoors Magazine
Sesame-Crusted Pan-Fried Trout

Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Serves 4.

Most trout anglers don’t keep fish anymore. That’s been good for trout conservation because a released fish can be caught again. But it’s a shame so many anglers—and their families—miss out on the joys of eating freshly caught trout, once a cherished Montana tradition.

Where legal, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally keeping some trout for a meal. FWP biologists account for harvest in regulations designed to keep populations healthy. In fact, regulated harvest could actually benefit some populations by giving remaining fish more food and habitat to grow larger.

A delicious way to turn a few trout into a scrumptious meal is this simple recipe. It’s a slight variation on one published in Field & Stream from a Maine chef, who created it for brook trout. The yummy sauce derives from a unique mix of ingredients, most of them found in the Asian aisle of Montana’s larger supermarkets. Readers may balk at buying sesame oil, hoisin sauce, and sherry* for a single meal. I urge you to make the investment. Believe me, you’ll make this dish more than once.
Fillets of perch, walleye, freshwater drum, and larger trout work well, too. Keep the skin on if you can, but it’s no big deal if you don’t. Store-bought cod, tilapia, or pollack also make good substitutes. 
4 whole 11- to 13-inch trout, gutted
1 T. plus 1⁄2 c. vegetable oil, divided
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1 T. sliced garlic
1⁄2 c. chicken stock
2 t. dry sherry
2 t. soy sauce
1 T.  sesame oil
3⁄4 c. all-purpose flour
5 T. toasted sesame seeds
1 t. table salt
1 T. butter
1 T. Chinese hoisin sauce
1⁄4 c. chopped scallions (green onions)
1 small tomato, chopped
Julienned scallions, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat 1 T. oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Sauté the ginger and garlic for 1 minute, or until just golden. Add the chicken stock, sherry, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes, and set aside.
Combine the flour, 3 T. sesame seeds, and salt in a bowl. In this mixture, dredge the trout, which should be wet so the mixture adheres. Heat the remaining 1⁄2 c. oil in a large sauce or frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the trout until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Cook in batches.

Place the trout on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 6 minutes, or until just cooked through.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken-stock mixture to a simmer and whisk in the butter, hoisin sauce, chopped scallions, and tomato. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Place a trout on each plate and spoon the sauce over each fish. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 T. sesame seeds. Garnish with scallions.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Catch and Release...

...Keep 'Em Wet.

It makes sense that fish that are played longer and held out of water longer will experience more stress, and the more stress experienced by a fish the more likely it is to die when released. To reduce stress, scientists have recommended some general guidelines for catch-and-release angling

1) Minimize angling duration (the time a fish is played and handled for hook removal) .

2) Minimize air exposure (15-20 sec) by removing hooks with the fish in water and photographing fish quickly.

3) Use barbless hooks and artificial lures/flies.

4) Use rubber nets void of knots that protect fish scales and mucous 5) avoid angling during extremes in water temperature

Many of these guidelines are already practiced by educated anglers that retrieve fish quickly, leave them in water during hook removal, use barbless hooks, and photograph fish quickly before releasing them, ultimately keeping fish out of the water for no more than 15-20 seconds.

Anglers should also limit fishing during warm summer periods when trout are stressed (management agencies sometimes close fisheries during these warm periods).

These behaviors by educated anglers have helped substantially to reduce fish stress from catch-and-release fishing, thus increasing the chance those fish will live to be caught again.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Great Public Lands and Wildlife Heist...

Should the DC crooks get their hands on Pittman-Robinson Funds you can kiss the opportunity to photograph (watch) desert bighorn rams on public lands good-by. State wildlife agencies stand to lose millions and the first to go stands to be  managing fringe big game populations such as these. Desert bighorn tags bring big bucks but with no protections and no funds to manage they won't last long.

As the national media frets and fixates on whether or not Trump and his gang of thieves are in cahoots with Putin, he is quietly going about robbing we sportsmen and conservationists blind. Hardly a day goes by without another egregious Executive Order designed to gut every important protection which has to do with the things we hold near and dear—clean air and water, public land and water managed not for profit but for fish and wildlife; fisheries,  wildlife and public lands management based not on how the political winds blow but on sound science; assurance that moneys generated by hunting and fishing flow to the agencies mandated to protect and manage our fish and wildlife and not line the pockets of the crooks, the bottom feeders who are currently  jumping for joy every  time Trump picks up his pen. 

Clean Waters of the US...outrageous.  National Monuments... blatant Federal overreach of the antiquated Antiquities Act.  Dingell-Johnston, Pittman-Robinson Funds...outrageous waste of “tax” dollars. Grab ‘em, gut the state fish and wildlife agencies and get on with it. Here in Montana, this little review gem is estimated to cost Fish, Wildlife and Parks 20-million in lost revenue and nix any chance of purchasing the Grant Marsh WMA on the Bighorn River...”Make America Great, eh?”
And these three are just the tip of a very large iceberg. And what do most of us do? Nada, nothing, sit on our hands and keep on electing yes men like Ryan Zinke.  Insuring  a never ending supply line of self-serving  goons  to his cabinet posts, the Senate and HR.

Meanwhile we fret and fixate on that dreaded knock on the front door where the gestapo rushes in confiscates our guns...Never, I repeat NEVER giving a thought to what the hell good are the guns to us ordinary hunters if there are no public lands to hunt.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fishin' Dog Training...

Spottin' trout for the Boss
When the fish ain't bitin' get the Boss' to toss sticks...

"OK kid, now watch me, this is how the Boss' want it  done....

That's it kick like hell, scare all the fish...

Someday Mags might make a fishin' dog but right now she is light years away. She probably ran at least 5 miles today around shore and probably half that many miles in and out the lake...The original perpetual motion machine...you  got it!!!