First post in awhile for this blog and wouldn’t ya know it right before the season really takes off on us and free-time for blogging becomes a fond memory. This past month has found Chris and I in Wise River, MT guiding the Big Hole more than in previous years. This time of year it is all about riding the rain pushes and hunting big browns into the braids and side channels. Seven weights in hand and looking for just that right speed of gushy inside corner water. Email and phone calls take a week off as there ain’t no service when you’re on Divide time. Big Hole valley Montana is where I want to be, without question one of the most scenic rivers in the state and coincidently home to some very large fish as well.
The month started off guiding groups of wounded warriors from The Complete Flyfisher. Always awesome taking these guys out on the river, getting them into a few fish while enjoying the camaraderie and awesome setting of lodge life. I got to fish with Jeff and Tim for the week, Marines and Montana resident fishing friends who get out together as often as possible. A nice dry fly fish got our week off on the right foot, coming to eat off a sunk island point and going immediately air born. When all other options are exhausted why not try flying, right? Rain in the Pioneer Mountains bumped up the river flows but nymphing stayed consistent fort us, lots of action underneath and a few real quality fish. Good times the wilds of Wise River, looking forward to hearing from these guys over a summer worth of trips throughout Montana.
Capping a very rainy May was our annual college reunion trip, rounding out a solid month of Big Hole Magic. Last week saw the annual gathering of UofM Aber Hall alums circa 2008. Some of these brothers we get to fish with on a regular basis around Missoula and Bitterroot valleys, others this is the one trip that we all make happen year in and year out. Coming all the way from Oregon Trent and Brandon got their share of Browns and Wise River Club hospitality to boot: When in the middle of nowhere, make mine a double. Brandon caught one of the fish of the trip just before a looming storm pushed us for the ramp. East side means wind and boy did we get some of it. Trent brought some sweet browns to the net and tagged himself solidly in the nose with a fly in said wind, putting our stream-side medical skills to the test. Nothing a little whiskey can’t cure, if the settlers made it out here I'm sure we can handle this! Speaking of whiskey, there are no photos of the bottle pile we built over three nights of partying and camping but you can all imagine: Fishing guides are known for elephant-like memories of every fish they've ever caught and iron guts to to handle the firewater to boot. We got through five bottles in three days, a respectable clip for any group of dedicated trout hounds.
New man for this trip Andy “Rumplemintz” Remple came correct and had a hell of a weekend. Sleeping under just a tarp in May is the kind of give-no-f’s fishing attitude the trout over here seem to respect. A bunch of great fish came to net for Andy and he opened his Big Hole account in fashion on day one, dredging up a beauty right out of the gates from a boiling boulder garden. Same shirt different day, the western red flannel never gets old and made its way into quite a few pics. Seeing the Big Hole in good form makes you a die-hard believer that even on the slower days a great Brownie is lurking just around the next bush. Andy will be back for more next season with fish and dedication like that.
We will be at it hard in the Bitterroot for the next few weeks, dryflies popping hard and the bulk of our summer guide calendars hitting right about now. Love for the Big Hole will come in streaks as we take the random client boat over the pass for a shot at a monster Brown. Never a bad time on the east side of Chief Joseph , a great valley filled with the people and trout that I love seeing. For our own fun fishing that great river will have to wait until next May.
Big Hole magic waiting in the wings.
Big Hole magic waiting in the wings.