Thursday, October 11, 2018

I Lost Something in the Hill Country (II)


Eventually the midday period of cold rain ended at The Shed. Dad and I were comfortably dry and ready to catch some more fish. We walked down the road to fish a different braid of the river. On the way, we saw both white tails and muleys. 

We worked our way upstream from our starting point, fishing streamers. We weren't doing great. We moved a fair amount of fish, and I missed a couple bruisers, but with the exception of one smaller brown that I got immediately neither of us would have gotten a fish on the way up. On the way down, my dad nymphed a wild rainbow. By the time we got back down to the bridge we had started at, there was a pretty solid beatis hatch on and quite a few heads up.

I tied on a little Catskill style BWO. I was getting hookups but not keeping them pinned. No surprise, it was a tiny little fly and I'd been fishing big flies and heavy tippet all morning. My dad started using a softhackle, slowly retrieving it through a big back eddy. That worked very well and he brought a number of nice trout to hand. After I finally landed a beautiful rainbow, the number of risers in the eddy I was fishing decreased, so I changed to a small beadhead nymph. I caught one little brown on that and lost a big fish that ran slowly and authoritatively down stream, then back up, before throwing the size 18 hook. I walked a few runs downstream, hoping to encounter more fish feeding on the prolific hatch. Sure enough, I found a deep beautiful pool with a big back eddy and lots of rising trout. I decided my best option was to follow my dad's lead and fish a wet fly. Now, I have to admit, for some reason I am terrible at hooking trout with a slow retrieved nymph or wet. Why, I have no idea.  I don't set hard, I don't do nothing, but for whatever reason my odds with hooking trout in this type scenario is about 1/5... no bueno. That needs work. Fortunately I got more than 4 takes in this whole and was given the opportunity to photograph a few stunningly colorful brown trout.

I wish these had hatched in better numbers... I like big bugs and I cannot lie!
That night we had a wonderful dinner at David's. This trip pretty much hit what I'd normally consider the line of excellency at that point. Excellent company, excellent food, excellent scenery, excellent fishing. I really wasn't sure it could get much better, but it turns out it could.

That night, with a temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit, an impressive thunderstorm rolled through. I was beyond impressed. I'd seen thunder-snow before, but a full on cellular thunderstorm with ground level air temperatures below 50? Nope. Never. Mountains create some crazy weather.

 The next morning I awoke just before sunrise to go out and try to tempt some of the trout I had moved the day before. It was cold, well below freezing. For the first time since last winter I found myself chipping ice out of the guides. But the trout were going full gorilla crazy attack mode. They were being too nuts actually, because as often as I'd have a brown go for the streamer another would show up out of nowhere and they'd both scare each other away. At times there were three or even four browns scaring each other away. It was crazy. When I got solid hits I hooked up. I dropped 3 good fish, but the one I landed was plenty big enough to make the two hours I fished there that morning worth it.

This was actually the first little bit of our last day of fishing in Montana, but it was just a prelude to the incredible fishing we were about to experience. 

To be continued....


  1. Wonderful! We sure are enjoying your trip and all the good fishing. Keep taking us along, it's great.
    Tie, fish, write, conserve and photo on...

  2. What an adventure you had! AWESOME!

  3. I feel like I was there with you, wish I had been....

  4. RM, thank you for taking me along on your Western trip via your write up. Imagine having a fishing shed on a trout stream like that? For me, that would be a dream come true.

    1. Pleasure is all mine.
      I'd prefer two sheds, one on a trout stream and one on the beach. I'd probably spend most of my time in the one on the beach.