Monday, February 20, 2017

Winter Carp on the Fly - Montana

First carp of 2017!

Carp season has begun in Central Montana!  Well kinda.  You've got to know where carp are this time of year.  This guy came out of Canyon Ferry in open water.  Find the open water and you'll most likely find the carp.  I drove a huge loop to the main carp waters of Central and Southwest Montana over the past two days and here's what I found...

Update on the carp conditions in Central and Southwest Montana:

Clark Canyon:
Most of the lake is still frozen solid with 2+ feet of ice.  The ling are getting going with their spawn so, catch that while you can. There is a large, open-water area near the mouth of Horse Prairie. I'd bet good money that there'll be carp tailing in there on the warm sunny days from here on until ice-out. It's not right at the mouth of the creek so, it's not all quick-sandy. The mouth of Red Rocks can be scary during low water because the fine sediment is deep.  I'd bet there is some open water there too.

Three Forks Ponds:
If the weather stays warm (I don't think it is supposed to), the ice may retreat enough to allow the carp to start feeding in the open, shallow water within the next couple of weeks.  As of now, the ponds are still mostly frozen to the shore.  I would not walk on the ice!

The Lower Jefferson River:
It still looks like the arctic on the lower Jeff.

The Upper Missouri River below Toston Dam:
The river is big, cold, and off color.  No good.

Canyon Ferry:
The majority of the lake is still frozen and will be for quite some time.  However, there are many tributary streams that enter the lake.  Find the mouth of one and most likely, you will find a bit of open water. There are surface and groundwater flow coming in which makes these areas warmer than the rest of the water in the lake.  These areas area also shallow and now warm up pretty good on warmer, sunny days.  The carp will pour out from under the ice to feed in these bays.  Fun, fun, fun!
I got a location tip from an ice fishing guy last week who was witnessing this.  I checked it out and it was awesome!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

George Grant Chapter TU meeting/presentation this Thursday!

This Thursday, February, 14, the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited is hosting its monthly meeting and a series of presentations by MT FWP Fisheries Biologist, Jim Olson.

This meeting will take place at 6:30 pm at the Quarry Brewing, 124 W. Broadway in Uptown Butte (in the old Grand Hotel).  I'm assuming that the meeting will take place upstairs.

FWP Fisheries Biologist Jim Olson will present a report on the Big Hole River fishery post-fungus and also on the discovery of PKD (the disease that closed the Yellowstone last year) in the Big Hole River.  Additionally, Olsen will give up some information on where to find hogs in our mountain lakes!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fly Fishing Film Tour 2017 - A Review

Image result for danger bad movies

For the past 8 years or so, I have looked forward to and have greatly enjoyed attending the Fly Fishing Film Tour.  Every year, the films seemed better than the years before.  The films showed me new species, highlighted conservation issues, and told some great stories.  Then, this year (2017) the tour seemed to fall of a horribly steep cliff into a huge pile some disgusting, self-righteous, stereotypical, cliche-ridden, shit.

I understand that the way these film tours work is by submission.  So, I'll assume that the majority of submissions sucked this time around and I won't start to wonder why the sponsors (Yeti, Costa, and Simms) put their names on such ridiculousness.

I was so disappointed that it took me a couple of days to settle down and write this post.  As fly fishers, we have a vested interest in the way we are portrayed in an international film tour.  In the last couple of decades, many of us have worked very hard to take fly fishing from something that rich, white men do and make it approachable, accessible, and lovable for everyone. It's because, in the end, fly fishing is ONLY just a more fun way to catch fish.

Not every film was horrible (although I'm still cleaning up my puke from some of them) but none were very good.  The reason I'm so emotional about this is because the films that were horrible, were so bad that I left the theater feeling embarrassed, aggravated, and defeated!

Let's go over what I saw:

"At the End of a Rainbow"

At the end of this first film, I turned to my friend and said, "that was the weirdest movie ever!"  I didn't mean it in a good way either.  If you know me, I love weird.  There were moments worth watching when the funny guy with the accent was actually fishing. However, the rest of the film seemed to focus on some folks who were describing a false premise that rich American fly fishers are the only people who should be allowed to exploit a resource which was accidentally preserved due to militarism that could have ended the world.  To me, the take-home message of this movie was best expressed through one of the movie's last lines.  Paraphrased, it went something like, "we need to have [rich, white, American] fly fishermen patrolling the rivers of Russia to stop poor Russians from overexploiting their resource like said rich Americans have done to their own native fisheries."  The level of self-righteousness and the idea that fly fishers should deputize themselves instead of being creative and working with the people who are actually citizens of that country is dumb, naive, and destructive.  It also galvanizes the stereotype that fly fishers hold themselves to a level above all others.  This is not only bad for fisher-based conservation but also for the image we all carry as we walk around with a fly rod.

"120 days: Tarpon Season"

This film's position in the lineup was a clear attempt to add some whipped cream to a pile of bullshit. It was the kind of film that is usually the bread and butter of the film tour.  Fun to watch, with cool videography.


At the end of this film, my friend turned to me and said, "that film epitomized everything I hate about fly fishing."  This film showed a crew of assholes driving around in a huge yacht (like cruiseliner huge) complete with helicopters and a fleet of dinghies.  Again, the common and false theme that wild places are free of mankind ran strong, all while these pukes were burning 1,000 gallons of fuel a minute and blazing up and down "pristine" rivers in motorboats.  Imagine if somehow you had the opportunity to get yourself to a location like this, and when you arrived, you saw a cruiseliner crowned with helicopters and a bunch of assholes flying around in motorboats.  I'd be pissed.  Then, to close the deal on making the shittiest fly fishing movie ever, the last few moments of the film show these guys on the top deck of the cruiseliner where they throw a huge suitcase off of the moving ship and into the ocean.  I was blown away!  WTF!?

So, the tour was not off to a good start.  I was sure that it was going to turn around soon...

"Old Freinds, New Fish"

This film may do more to hurt the image of woman fly fishers than anything in the last 30 years.  I spent all weekend making fun of this film with friends.  IT WAS AWEFUL!! Here's the gist, 3 yuppie moms (from Missoula/Portland of course) take their husband's raft and make an awful minivan commercial.  The cliches were so bad it hurt to watch.  The women never stopped talking about their kids and spent more time on their phones, looking at pictures and videos of their kids, than actually fishing.  Even when they got pulled over for driving like assholes, they immediately mentioned their kids.  Why?  None of them knew what they're doing and one even asks, "what is tippet anyway?" The whole, we're ditsy, cute, and have kids, and can still act like dumb highschool girls was just disgusting.  There was a scene where they actually jumped across beds!  Oh, and of course to wash down all the cliche, they had to get a flat tire.  Really!?  Don't worry, it get's worse.  After getting bailed out by some man with the right sized tire iron (never appeared on screen), the film ends with the tire successfully fixed.  A closer look at the final shot showed that the lug nuts were on backward. My girlfriend became more pissed the more the movie played.  At the end, I felt awful for her and even felt the need to apologize.  A message to the filmmakers:  you don't have to try and sell the fact that women can, and like to, fly fish.  It is not 1960!  Shoving crap like that down people's throats does the exact opposite for the cause.  Show women just as you'd show men; fishing! It is called the Fly Fishing Film Tour!!


Standard F3T fare from RA Beattie.  Cool fishing scenes and a nice story about a Mexican guide with a heart problem.


I'll start out by saying that Hillary Hutchenson is truly awesome and I hope she'll forgive me for my review.  Also, the little tribute to the "Reese" character from the "Hank Patterson" skits was nice. However, the rest of the movie was truly worthless.  Climate change is a very serious issue and as fishers, we do and will, experience some of the ecosystem changes that results from it.  However, putting all that time and effort into preaching this to the choir is a waste and also makes for a boring film.  Even if there was a climate denier in the audience, Hank Patterson is NOT going to change their mind!  So filmmakers, instead of showing Hillary throwing popcorn to her kids (which she can still do in a new climactic regime)  how about showing the 1000s of people, projects, and organizations which are actually trying to mitigate the effects of climate change on fisheries! Similarly to the cliche-ridden "Old Friends, New Fish," perpetuating the whiny liberal who does nothing but bitch about an issue is BAD for the cause of said issue!  As a guide and filmmaker, Hutchenson is exploiting the fisheries resource where she guides and makes films.  Let's see a movie of her actually giving back to the resource.  Next time, instead of Hillary and Hank preaching, let's see them knee deep in the mud planting willows, pounding stakes into soil lifts, organizing a volunteer event, or working with landowners to keep water in the streams they exploit. Nuff said.

"Odd Man Out"

I will have to say that this film did get a group of girls in the front row to cheer, probably in protest to how they were portrayed earlier in the night.  The movie showed a woman who was a serious guide and fisher and at this point in the night, it was somewhat encouraging.  The film still struggled with how to show a woman in a man's world without making a novelty about it.  Even her dad perpetuates the "just one of the guys" mentality.  People!, she is not just one of the guys, she's a woman and she fishes.  I'm going to go on a limb and assume she also shits, swears, and drinks; like a woman.

"Running the Coast"

This was the kind of movie that you usually see at the film tour but quickly forget about.  There were some cool shots but it was mediocre at best.  At least it didn't make me want to freak out on someone!

If I missed a film, it was because it was lame.  If you don't agree with my review, leave a comment and I'll clarify or edit mistakes.  I hope that others are venting some disgust for the film tour this year and that maybe it can turn things around before it's too late.  Honestly, I'll think twice before spending $15 next year and I'll totally reconsider putting my name/blog on the line by suggesting people attend.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Fly Fishing Film Tour Comes to Butte, America this week!

Image result for fly fishing film tour 2017

The 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to the beautiful Motherload Theater in Butte, Montana this Thursday, February 9th.  The show is sponsored by The Stonefly Fly Shop and it starts at 7pm.  I'll see you there!!

DUN Magazine - Late Winter 2017

Another great issue of DUN is hot off the press.  In a world with a million digital fly fishing magazines, this one is still one of the best!

Read it here.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Public meeting regarding Beaverhead River/ Clark Canyon Reservoir on Feb. 7th

Island Campsite on Clark Canyon Reservior

The following text was taken from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality website:

"The Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the Bureau of Reclamation began monitoring several parameters in Spring 2016 that may have contributed to severe turbidity and algae blooms in Clark Canyon Reservoir and the Beaverhead River over the past two summers. The river again turned turbid in late July and over the first weeks of August, 2016."

"A public meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in the USDA Service Center Conference Room, 420 Barrett St. in Dillon. Entry is via the east door. Monitoring results, which are expected to be available at that time, will be discussed."