Idaho, Montana, Sunrise

Just got back from a 14 day road trip through Utah, Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming.  It mainly was an overdue family trip Linda and I took every year.  This was to be my first time back since her death in ’06.  I was to meet Kevin at the end to attend the flyfishing retailers show in Denver.  Managed to get a few days in fishing along the way.

Started off at Henry’s Lake.  Got two days in before the wind started howling and put me on the road to Montana.  I fished a different area that I never been on before just to check out new water.  Fished patterns I had used previously (simi’s) but only managed to pick up one fish the first couple hours.  I started changing flies and finally ended up putting on a 4x long #6 simi and “game on”.  I landed 20 fish the next several hours.  It was tough taking pics of fish but I got a shot of a six and a piggy 4 in the net.  These fish are just tough fish.  I was treated rudely by a couple that just cleaned me in a matter of seconds on 2 x tippet.  The lake was exceptionally clear and in great shape with temps around 57-58.  Usually at this time of year there is an algae bloom and fishing is slow.  Can’t wait ’til the Oct trip…. should be awesome.

Headed up to the Madison next and saw a buddy.  The dam had a problem with a headgate and the river was blown out so it became a good day to check out his shop on the river.  If you are ever up there hit his shop, Beartooth Flyfishing.  It’s out there all by itself between Henry’s and Ennis.

Next I went to Cascade, MT to see another friend with a shop on the Missouri.  Stayed at his place and fished a day over a spot I had found several years back that held quite a few large browns that cruised a large boulder covered flat.  It was all sight fishing and I really looked forward to it because I had missed a brown a few years back that went at least 8-9 lbs.  This year the river was quite a bit higher and most of the flat was too deep for sight fishing.  I got a couple shots at some fish in the 20″ range but blew the shots.  I sure could tell I had been throwing a lot of heavy sinking lines lately.  My delicate approach was more like someone throwing a hand grenade.  It was good to see the river with lots of water anyway.

Hit central Montana and stayed with Linda’s sister and husband.  Luckily for me Ron was waiting with fly rod in hand and we fished for the next four days, hitting farm ponds and streams.   My approaches improved and I got used to throwing a 3 wt dry fly setup again and landed some nice fish, biggest being a 17″ brown that inhaled a hopper pattern.  The farm ponds were excellent fishing.  The first was about three acres and held rainbows that were all 3-4 lbs.  There were callibaetis and water boatman coming off so we had a blast.  The second pond was a lake really, probably 20 acres.  It had rainbows in all age classes.  Biggest I landed there went 8 lbs.  I got a pic of a six but didn’t get any others.  These pond fish all came on simi’s or Daryl’s stillwater nymph.  This is his version of a Denny Rickart fly and it works great.  I make sure I have plenty of several sizes in my box when I’m on any lake.

Hit Denver, went to the show… saw the new goodies for ’09….blah, blah.   Decided to hit Sunrise on the way back home.  Hadn’t heard much about the lake all year and I have not hit the White’s as much as usual this year.  Lake had ample water but with quite a bit of weed growth.  The weed cutter was there but didn’t look like it had started cutting yet.  Lake fished well for small 9-11″ fish.  These must have been a recent plant as that was all I could get to hit.  I saw plenty of good sized fish on my finder but could not get them to go.  Often at this time of year the fish are not very grabby.  Larry Allen used to say “they’re just nauseated”.  I believe the ph gets bad and they go off the feed.  Didn’t seem to affect the new plants.  This is a lake I will hit for sure come Oct, Nov.  When the temps hit the 40’s (they were 57-58) the lake will turn on…..there are plenty of big fish left.

Nice to get back home….and get ready for Henry’s in a couple weeks…, work, work!