Friday, November 27, 2015

Icing Up

Butter Brown 
Things have gotten super cold in Southwestern Montana over the last 10 days. I've ventured over to the Gallatin a few times in the valley only to be turned away by mad ice flowing down it. There's still places to go and the fishing has been solid if you can get out and don't mind fighting ice in your guides. Honestly last years Polar Vortex in PA trained me well for this stuff. I love winter fishing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Troutbitten.....The Montana Way

Best Brown Of The Trip....Look At That Jaw! 

That Picture Should Be On The Cover Of A Magazine

My good friend Pat Burke came out to visit over the weekend. We were able to spend 4 full days on the water, 2 days wade fishing and 2 days floating. The weather was spectacular for early November and the fishing was down right amazing. I think we both got to experience why Montana is considered one of the best places to fish in the country. The pictures don't do this place justice!

A typical sight along the Yellowstone 
Euro-Nymphing The Madison

Paradise Valley
Biggest Cutty Of The Trip 

Somebody Was In Our Spot
A Good Nymph Eating Bow 
All Colored Up 
Another Butter Brown
And Another
Burke Can Capture A Hell Of A Pic 
Beastly Bow

This Never Got Old

A Bit Darker

Montana Ain't Bad 
Streamer Eater 
Best Double Of The Year! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cottonwood Lake: Crazy Mountains

The Drive Into The Crazies 

Mindy and I decided to venture over to the Crazy Mountains today. Our destination was the Cottonwood Lake Trailhead. I used my All Trails App to get us to the location. The last 40 minutes of driving is on some pretty rough roads I wouldn't recommend going in a car. The parking lot is 1 mile further away then what is listed on the instead of a 10 mile round trip plan on 12 miles total.

The Crazy Mountains are my favorite so far out in Montana. There is something about the jagged peaks that sets them apart from anything else we've hiked in Montana. There is an abundance of wildlife in this range, moose, elk, mountain lions, lots of eagles, deer, black bears (no grizzlies) and the highest concentration of Wolverines in the lower 48. The fact that there is no resident Grizzlies in this range makes the hike a little less stressful.
The Double Wide Road For The First 4 Miles 

We started off the hike at 11:30am. The first mile was on a double wide rocky road. We got to the actual trailhead and the double wide continued for the next 3 miles. The trail has a slight grade of 500 feet during this time and meanders along a pine forest with views of Cottonwood Creek occasionally.

At about 4 miles the trail comes to a Y....take the trail to the left that goes directly uphill. If you get confused the right side of the Y goes to a Private Property sign and has a little cabin up the hill. The trail climbs 1500 vertical in the next 2 miles. Sometimes the trail is hard to follow, just look for the rock cairns and you will be alright. Make sure you take in the surroundings as your puffing for air, you can see the distant Bridger Range at points along the trail.
The Bridgers In The Distance 

You do have to ford the creek 1-2 times so be careful if you are hiking during spring run off. We got to a few Beaver Ponds in route to the lake....unfortunately for me they were already frozen! So much for fishing.
Frozen Beaver Ponds......They Looked Fishy

We finally arrived at the Lake in a little under 3 hours of hiking. The views are spectacular and there are some good campsites around the lake, this would make for a great backpacking trip. I did fish for 30 minutes but didn't see any fish, they must of been laying in the depths of the lake. I've heard there are Yellowstone Cutties in here.
The View From About 7500 feet 
Started Running Into Snow At The Top 

After chilling out for awhile we decided to venture back down to the truck. 12 miles round trip with about 2,000 feet of vertical awesome hike that doesn't see many people.....a must do!
The Reward For 2,000 Feet Of Vertical Gain 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Battling The Weeds

This Makes It Tough To Nymph
I ventured out to explore some new water today around the 406. I arrived at the stream and was surprised at the amount of weeds on the stream bottom. Low water and a warm fall haven't helped kill this stuff off yet. Even though it was challenging to keep your flies clean the fishing was very good. This place has close to 4,000 fish per mile so having confidence that your fly was going over fish wasn't really an issue.
One Of The Better Fish Today 
Billy's Super Bugger 

Average Size Brown For The Day

Scud Eater

The shallow flats and deep troughs proved to be very effective all day long. The streamer bite even turned on as the evening approached. I'll be returning in the near future in hopes to bang out some truly big fish. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Family Visit

Andy enjoying his first Madison River Brown 
Perfect  Setting 

Andy came out to visit me this past weekend and we got to spend some much needed time on the water together. The wind was relentless all weekend and made things challenging to say the least. But we stuck through it and enjoyed the scenery in each others company. We got solid numbers of fish, some days better then others. The streamer bite didn't seem to be on due to the blue bird skies but nymph's under the indicator proved to be pretty effective. Hopefully next time he comes out conditions will be a bit better.

Early Morning On The Gallatin 
Cooper John Taking Fish With Ease 

Andy Kicked This One Out To Me

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Good End To The Weekend

Late Morning Brown Trout 
I got up early and fished from 7:30am-11am today. Things were real slow at first. Water temperatures around these part really plummeted in the last few days. This could of caused the slow fishing early on for me. The last 45 minutes fished pretty well trailing some streamers off a stonefly. The streamers were taking the bigger fish. There is a warm up in the forecast this upcoming week....can't wait for next weekend.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Horrible Weather Equals Good Fishing

Best Fish Of The Float 

I floated with my buddy Don today. The weather was.....well Montana in the fall. High Winds, Cold Temps and damn cold rain! We almost thought about backing out prior to put-in but I'm glad we didn't. A slow morning of chucking meat really turned into a great outing.
White Wooly Bugger

The fish turned onto streamers right around lunch-time and the last half of the float was action packed. We got some really quality fish on a variety of sculpin patterns and we both forgot about the cold for a few hours. I've heard nothing but good things about fishing in Montana during the month of didn't disappoint.

It Was A Streamer Kind Of Day 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Starting To Figure Things Out

Great Brown Laying In Shallow Water 

So I've been in Montana for 6 weeks and I finally feel like I'm starting to figure things out a little bit. My catch rate has become more consistent over the past 4 outings. Part of that is because I've decided to try and stick to 3-4 streams instead of jumping to 5-6 and never really getting to KNOW the water.
What Braid Will Fish The Best?
This Bow Took Me Into My Backing 

The section of river I have been fishing the most has been LIGHTS OUT lately. I've been able to put up really good numbers and some quality fish too. All the action has been while TL. TL is a challenge out here because of the wind. Usually if you get up early enough you can manage a few hours before the wind gets too you. The rivers are becoming void of anglers too so the fish have been much less pressured. I really hope the weather holds out for another month I could get used to this kind of fishing!

Another Quality Fish 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

I spent the majority of Labor Day Weekend hiking and sight seeing around the West Yellowstone area. Night-time temperatures plummeted into the high 20's, but that has meant the fishing all over has picked up. I only manged to get out for a few hours after my trip on Friday but the fishing was fantastic. #18-20 BWO's poured off in the late afternoon. TL a PT in the good looking runs proved to be deadly. I hope the fall fishing continues to be stellar.......

Friday, September 4, 2015

Good Start To The Weekend

Nymph Eater 
Scenic Wonderland 

Temperatures have dropped significantly out here in Montana and the fishing has picked up as well. I ventured to a famous river today and the action didn't disappoint. Tight-Line Nymphing in the early morning proved to be deadly, and a few go to PA patterns knocked these Montana Trout on there butts. The wind picked up in the afternoon which limited the TL but nymphing was still effective under the TB.
Average Size Fish For The Day 

Reminded Me Of The Bows Back Home 

When the sun went behind the clouds I tried to throw some big meat but only manged a few fish and even few chasers. The crowds have diminished for the most part around here.......Fall is right around the corner.....can't wait to see how the fishing is!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Smokey Montana

Getting A Few Fish On The Gallatin 

The past few weeks Montana has scene an upswing in forest fires. As a result the awesome mountain views I was blessed with for the first few weeks have gone away. Each morning you get to wake up to the smell of forest fire and the distant views are clouded in a plume of smoke.
Don connecting with a solid stone brown 
Paradise Valley

I've been fishing for a few hours here and there, and put my first full day in on the Yellowstone this past Thursday. This river is officially kicking my butt. I did get to move a few good browns but nothing would commit to my streamer. Hopper fishing has been non-existent for me so far. The water temps were slightly high for a few weeks but recently came down after a few cold nights. The only thing I have figured out so far out here is how to slay whitefish lol. Hopefully in the coming weeks to trout turn back on and I can finally score a good Yellowstone 2 footer.....

Small Stream With Good Structure 

Sunday, August 9, 2015


A Great Yellowstone Cutthroat 

I finally started work this week and things have been going great. I've been extremely busy but that hasn't stopped me from getting out on the water a few times. Finally got some action on a hopper today, and the reward was some awesome Yellowstone Cutthroats. The wife and I have been logging some serious vertical as of late too.....our East Coast legs are getting a workout!

Awesome Views Right Outside The Back Door