Monday, May 21, 2012

Moth Video (Cercopia)

Video clip of a moth (Cercopia) that was found at the Cottonwood fly shop Thursday morning.

Last Day

Saturday was our last day of fishing for Mother Feiker and myself.

The weather was great, with 70s' for the air temp, and NO RAIN.  We agian signed up for the 3-mile to Bighorn float, and probably didn't need to.  We floated down river for only five minutes when we pulled to a bank to fish at the old school house to LOTS of rising fish.  We could have walked that.  They were fun, tricky, and hungry all at once.  Some would take comparaduns, some took midges, others only took parachutes, a couple took a trico pattern I had that I snipped the tails off of.  It was a smorgesboard.  We fished that spot for way too long, but it was hard not to when they kept biting.  finally at 2pm we moved on as we still had another 9.75 miles of river to float. 
We found several more areas of rising fish, that we successfully harrassed before and after the Bay of Pigs, and we also had some luck by the Twenty Dollar hole.  There were other places that we could have fished as well, but we pretty much determined our stops by who ever needed to pee.  You may be laughing, but that what we did.  And it worked out and we caught lots of trout that way.
It was great that we could end the week on a good note....but wait.  Did someone forget to arrange a shuttle for us?  When we got to the landing, both my vehicle and Andersons' vehicle were not at the landing.  I know we asked for a shuttle as I made the arrangements and gave Thor the keys.  Great.  Effed again!  Luckily three guys that had pulled in to the landing offered me a ride back to camp so that I could try to resolve our little surprise.  I grabbed Kurt, got the keys the keys that were still in the fly shop...something of an explainaition that was offered by the camp hosts of "they had a dabacle" and missed voicemails between the shop closing in the morning and reopening in the afternoon and three vehicles were not shuttled as a result of the communication breakdown.  Well, we had two of the three vehicles.  So in effect, effed again...twice. 
Really though I had to blame the Bob's.  Both have had thier history of shuttle debacles and they happen to share this expierence with me for good sport I guess.  They've both had issues at the Bighorn a few times, then there was the time at the bass outing two years ago when everyone forgot about them, and then there was the Brule where the Canadian forgot the key in the first truck so they couldn't get in the one at the second truck.  So they are pretty much seasoned veterens in this situation. 
Anyway, everything worked out, we got the boats back to camp, had a bloody mary with our dinner - it was taco night!  And just hung out for awhile out on the patio lauging about lots stuff including the "shuttle debacle."  

Sunday we packed up, showered, paid our tabs, and were on the road by 10:30am.  I dropped off Bob at his place just after 1:00AM Monday morning, and I was home about 2:00am.  Jen woke up and we started talking about the week for a little bit and then...a big flash and the power went out at 2:30AM.  Effed again...


Big Bull passing through.
Friday we had a cold front come in and we may have reached the low 70's for air temperature.  It was a little chilly.  The hatches were not going well at all and very few trout were rising.  This was not good for the dry fly head hunters.  Mother Feiker and I are thinking that we need a patch or flag to hang on our pontoons that says something along the lines of the Happy Head Hunters or Head Hunters Anonymous and have a logo with a fish head that has a bone going through its nose.  We may have been out in the sun too long, but we think it would be fun to get something made up for our dry fly sickness we had this week.  We did the ten mile float from 3-mile to Bighorn landing and only saw two fish caught all day and both were people on guide boats fishing nymphs. 
Pretty horse and pretend horse.
On the way down we stopped at the corral, and we were pretty much kicked out as we were waiting for a hatch to start.  We had cow, a bull, and a few horses, and a pretend horse come into our area.  One of the horses even went so far as to walk directly through the spot where the fish were, thrash around and then came back to shore.  I found it comical, except for the part when the bull got too close for my comfort trying to cross behind us on a narrow path.  And turns out that any threats made to the bull about how it would taste with A1 steak sauce are pretty much ineffective in these situations.
Horse walking through our fish.
We floated almost half way down before we even wet our lines, and then I think I only fished 20 minutes before the rain put down the only pod of rising fish that we had seen all day.  We tried fishing a little longer as the rain came down, but it was "casts of hope" rather then anything else.   
Cold hamburger
In addition to the rain, we had more cows crossing the water were fishing in the flat water just above the Bighorn Rapids.  We seemed to be magnets for the farm animals.  At least I think the cold water got the best of him as he let out a pretty good beller once he got the other side.  Talk about revenge is best served "cold."  It was fun to watch the sparrows.  They were out by the hundreds swooping just above the water and circling back catching something in the air.  They were doing that all day, and it was ok until we started casting, then it felt as if you had to be careful and time the casts so as to not catch one of them as they flew by.

Fishing dries in the rain.  "Dry or Die!"

That night we got back to camp and Thor had made an awesome Pheasant dinner with wild rice.  Jim, and the normal crew as well as Kevin (one of the local guides) all feasted on this 5 star meal.  And then it turned out to be a good night for drinks, cigars, and story telling.  Not a bad way to end the day despite the fishless day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Encore Thursday

Today was similar to yesterday.  It was hot, we were getting more dry fly action, and we had a rain storm that forced us to hang out on the banks for an hour or so due to very high winds.  But after the storm was done, unlike yesterday, the hatch continued on and we got to fish for several more hours.
Ed and I fished for trout, while the Bob's were trying for some carp that were rising.  Both hooked up twice each, but the broke the leaders on the hook sets due to the aggressive takes.
Pretty much everyone we talked to today had a great day and lots of opportunities to catch fish and ours seemed to be a bit bigger today, averaging around 20 inches.
We also fooled around with the video camera today and we might be able to figure how to get some of that posted in an abbreviated short video.  Hopefully the section were we drifted by half dozen turkey vultures on the side of a cliff turns out.  They looked kinda out of place on the bank that was almost straight up and down. 
Today's pictures:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

We did okay yesterday, but it was a hot one.  Several of us had got a bit dehydrated and sun burned floating from 3-mile to Bighorn landing.  Today got a bit more exciting on the same float.  It was supposed to be in the 90's today, so we dragged our feet and didn't get on the water till about 10:00 am. 
The dry fly action was going pretty good in few spots, mostly on BWO parachutes and cripples size 18.  We saw another bull snake swimming across the river, a couple of muskrats, and then a prairie dog.  The Prairie dog was swimming at me from the opposite bank and when I moved to grab my camera it was about 2 rod lengths away and realized he shouldn't land on me and continued on passed me to the bank. 
Sometime around 3 or 4 pm, a front moved in very fast, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees and a thunderstorm blew in.  The rain was hard and almost felt like hail.  Feiker and I scrambled toward shore and when they started to blow off we scrambled to save them.  Anderson was laughing and then he bolted off toward his drift boat as it started to sail away from the shore.  If I had to guess I think the wind was probably around 30mph or better.  Luckily, four of the five of us know Montana well enough that we had rain jackets packed.  We learned that our cigars were storm proof as they kept going all through the down poor.  So they are now a MUST for future trips. 
All the other boats on the river were paddling by, but we were not trusting that 1) our kick boats would stay upright in the storm, 2) that our rods wouldn't attract lightning, 3) our aluminum oars wouldn't attract lightning, 4) that we would have any control of steering our boats.  So what else were we to do but waited out with cigars and Leinenkugals.  Everything passed and an hour later it was done. 
After the storm cleared up, the hatch was done, so we pretty much just floated the remaining five miles of river to the landing hoping for rising fish.   We didn't see enough to make us stop at any one spot.
Then at the end as we were coming up to the Bighorn landing.  Bob threatened the other Bob that he was going to crush him, then after passing him he actually ran his boat into mine while laughing manically.  I suggested that we need to pull his captains license, but since he doesn't have one it turned out to be an empty threat.  :)
We got back to camp, had grilled steaks, hung our wet gear up and called it a day. 
up river

The Drive In

Who let the dogs out

Incoming thunder storm

During storm

Bent rods in storm

After the storm

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 3

Today we did a ten mile float from 3-mile landing to Bighorn landing.  Skies were clear and we hit the high 80's.  We had more luck fishing all dry flies all day.  Most of the success was on BWO parachutes and compara duns.  We caught enough to keep us happy, but they were not too easy to catch today.  Pretty much all browns were caught today, maybe because the rainbows we saw appeared to be setting up in the gravel bars to spawn. 
The two major highlights were that we watched about a 3' bull snake swim across the river to us and I was able to get some pretty good pictures.  The other was that Mother Feiker and I came across a about a dozen very large carp in a side channel.  We tried our best to hook one, but we were not victorious with any of the flies that we threw at them.  Probably for the best, as I don't think we would have had much of a chance controlling them on 4-weights.  The trout that we caught in the area were fun.  The water was skinny, so they would just explode and take aggressive runs after taking the fly.  It was great.
Last but not least, learned today that my new Cabela's boat bag was not waterproof as I was led to believe it.  So I ended up with a bit of a mess with the stuff I had stored in it.  But tomorrow most of the issues should be pretty much dried out and I'll have to line it with a garbage bag for the rest of the trip.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 2.

Last night we got to wet our lines, but the fishing wasn't easy.  It seems the Dry fly fishing has calmed down a little from the week before.  The other three others that I went out managed to get a fish or two eahc, but was a different story.  I had a dozen takes, but couldn't execute any lands.  It was not a pretty sight as I may have voiced my opinion about that to the fish while I was trying to get them.  My buddies were laughing at me.
Today was better, we staked a spot about midday and we were able to catch a decent amount of trout on dry flies.  They were fussy, but it was very rewarding.  Not sure what the deal was for me, asI threw pretty much every variation of BWO's I had (since that is what was hatching) and got nothing.  The Smoke Jumper turned out to be my answer and I landed almost a dozen brown trout in the 15" to 18" range. 
Water was clear and 48 degrees, and the air temperature reached the mid eighties.  Some harrasment on the stream from Kevin (one of our favorite guides on the river) and from Thor and Jim Schollmeyer.  It was all in good fun of course.
Here is a couple of pictures of the day. 

Anderson and Ed
Barber John
Smoke Jumper

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bighorn 2012

I've got all my gear together for the annual spring trip to the Bighorn River.  I've grabbed a few last minute items this morning as I wait for Mother Feiker to finish up his half day of work.  Then we are on the road to the wild wild west.
So far the forecast for the next ten days is ridiculously beautiful.  It may be the nicest spring vacation I've ever had out there.  Having said that though, maybe I just jinxed it. 
I'm so excited I can barely wait to get started and get out of town!!
More to come as I'll be bringing the laptop with.  Some of the guys are bringing video camera's this year and we may be just dangerous enough to figure out how to make our video clips to share.