Kurt and Dan looking for one more.
How does a fishing guide of 30yrs spend his birthday? Going fishing, of course.
I have been lucky enough to have spent 49 years (bloody hell – that sounds pretty old!) surrounding myself with friends that are smart, rugged, worldly, outdoor folks. Driving a coupla hours for a days fishing with ten of these guys is less like a fraternity reunion and more similar to elite college symposium on politics, world affairs, and conservation.
Crockett wielding machete – bad idea in an inflatable.
As brilliant as they are, a couple of them are more renown for their blundering accidents and this trip was no different. As our boat rounded the corner not a half mile below the put-in three of our pals were strategically spread out across a great run but, additionally, we noticed the buck-n-rail fence leading up from the river resembled those photos of Everest base camp. Instead of brightly colored flagging, closer inspection brought home the reality that these were clothes wrung out to dry in the 34 degree weather. Bummer! Cam had apparently tested both the river depth and strength and didn’t fare to well. He started the day with a cool side stroke in six feet of water back across to the ice covered bank. Ah yes, it will be a typical day with these guys.
They may have a knack for blunders but they can all fish – really fish – and typical was not the word of the day for the fishing. Big brown after big brown readily ate our offerings of ridiculously large bunny bugs followed up with brightly colored San Juans and double bead stones. So rather than bore you with more trip details we will let the pictures do the talking:
Matched pair of 21′s
Farling getting the party started with brother 22″
Leo Larson and 25″ Stud!
Team Zimmer on Root.
With Missoula’s rivers blown – I spent a couple quality days guiding on the Missouri this past weekend. We caught plenty of fish but more importantly they came to every technique we used. The bwo and midge hatches were as sustained as I’ve ever seen, plenty of small fish up on them but we found a few pods of good ones and were able to feed a few griffiths gnats on light tippet. The nymphing was exceptional with the rainbow czech nymph doing the most damage early then they switched to lightning bugs and pt’s. We finished up stripping streamers - locking horns with a few browns that had been difficult to find… olive was good but white was more fun for the visual.
Fast forward to yesterday. Expecting to drive over the hill again, an intimidating weather outlook calling for wind around 20mph with gusts to 40 got me looking at the flows closer to home. The Root looked like the best option – dropping steadily from historical record flow just 5 days back. The river clarity on the drive up promising, Team Zimmer put in at Hannon and put a fish in the boat in the first 50yds. The trend continued for the entire day. Cutties made up the bulk of the catch but a few great browns and bows ate the – wait for it…. worm!
The real story is my pathetic preparation for the day. In my haste changing boats from drifter to raft I failed to pack a table and even my grill. Not good with pork on the menu! Not to be denied- we gathered up fire wood and cut willows for grill sticks - voila – fire cooked pork tl and zucchini sandwich. A first for all of us and highly recommended.
Fishing is great and grilling even better – go get you some.
It came a day late but winter is again upon us…