Thursday, October 12, 2017

My other boat

Dragonfly Boatworks Dragonfly 12 paddle skiff

In the south, I'm known as Blue Boat Mark.  Not really.  But when I'm there, I do rock this badass paddle skiff from Dragonfly Boatworks

My Dragonfly 12 is an earlier model of the "Techie" and was specifically designed for fly fishing.  It has a clean hull with little to nothing to get your line caught on.  There is an insane amount of storage in a huge water-resistant compartment which is insulated and can be used as a cooler. There is also an insulated circular rear compartment that can be used for storage or a live well. The deck has grippy foam for your feet and 3 tracks for attaching the cooler and an endless amount of accessories

Dragonfly Boatworks is a flats skiff company and you can see the style reflected in the hull of their paddle boards/skiffs.  The seafoam color screams Florida to me but you can order them in a variety of colors. 

Fly fishing from a paddleboard is amazing.  It takes some practice but once you get it, there is no sneakier way to cruise the flats, canals, and lakes of Southwest Florida or wherever you are.  You see some crazy stuff that you'd never see in a larger craft. Some of what you see in FL will scare the shit out of you. I would love to have one for carping in Montana!!

I also want to give a shout out to West Wall Outfitters in Port Charlotte, FL for hooking me up with the boat and giving me way too much fishing information.  These guys are one of the only real fly shops for miles (so weird to me) but I'd drive past others to go to West Wall.  They have a great selection of kayaks for any type of fishing or recreation, fly tying materials, flies, leaders etc., groups and classes, and friendly staff that wants to see you happy and catching fish.

I can't wait to go buy some redfish flies from West Wall and fish on the blue boat in the Florida sun!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My pet carp

My Three Sons of Bitches

My girlfriend and I rescued these guys from a dismal end this summer.  Fishstick, the largest is about 5 inches long.  After a couple weeks of recovery, these fish are in great shape and are a ton of fun to watch.  Goldfish (Carassius auratus) is one of the smallest members of the carp/minnow family (Cyprinidae) and they have very similar looks and behaviors. They are always tailing around the tank and they cloop like crazy when we feed them.  The cat likes them too!

Peep the cat stalks Sanchez the mini carp 

I'm having a nasty case of fishing withdrawal as I've been too busy birding in the Berkeley Pit. Yep, I said that and yep, it's true.  Unless there is a major emergency, I will be out on the boat in some new water this weekend.  Stay tuned for some autumn beauty in Montana and more fishy nonsense... 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A little brown sugar

Ye olde brown trout face

I had some work training at the Warm Springs Ponds today.  Checked in on the Upper Clark Fork afterward. The brown trout are not quite in the insane zone yet, but they are definitely starting to get excited to eat meat.  My carp leech to be exact.  Also, above the ponds, the cutts are eating streamers.  Yup.  I have been told a million times that cutthroat are not piscivorous by a bunch of fisheries biologists.  I guess I'm a science denier on this one but I do have tangible proof.  On the other side of the continental divide, the carp bite is still on.  However, the calm clear days are few and far between.  It's trout time in Montana.   

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Another legend gone...

America has lost another music legend. This week is not starting out so hot. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

The end of September 2nd, 2017 can't come soon enough!

Image result for black

Today sucked.  It sucked more for so many people.  On so many levels, in so many places, and in so many ways.  Today sucked.  I look forward to tomorrow.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Helena area stream restoration volunteer event - this Saturday!!

Mine waste in the Telegraph Creek floodplain (image source unknown) 
The Pat Barns Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Trout Unlimited-National, and the Little Blackfoot River (near Helena) need you!!
"The Pat Barnes Chapter of Trout Unlimited and TU’s Clark Fork River Project invite you to join us in our efforts to revegetate the restored section of Telegraph Creek at the Lilly Orphan Boy Mine site. In 2016, TU and Montana DEQ removed 9,000 cubic yards of mine waste from Telegraph Creek and restored 350 feet of stream channel in the headwaters of the Little Blackfoot River.

The day will begin with a tour of the restored stretch of Telegraph Creek. Rob Roberts, TU Project Manager, will explain the techniques TU and partners used to reclaim the mine site and reconstruct Telegraph Creek. Following the tour, we will plant native trees and shrubs in the restored area.
Revegetation of this area will protect the stream bank and hillslope, promote native plant growth, and add shade to Telegraph Creek.  Please meet at 8:00 AM at the Van’s Thriftway parking lot on Saturday, September 30th. From there we will drive an hour to the site. Please bring appropriate clothing, footwear, and work gloves. Lunch will be provided.  We will finish the volunteer event around 2pm.
To RSVP please contact Max Lewis ASAP via phone or email at or 207-701-1683. "

Gary Lafontaine wrote of the Little Blackfoot River, "There is no stream more special to me than the Little Blackfoot River. Let me completely protect one drainage in the state, from ranching, mining, logging, and even over fishing, and this would be the one."

If you have not yet explored the Little Blackfoot River or its tributaries, do it.  This fall.  I worked in the valley a few years back doing a fish passage/entrainment project from the mouth all the way up every trib.  I went places and met people in that valley that I will probably never see again.  And, I can tell you one thing, this fishery is about as resilient as one can get.

The Little Blackfoot River is heavily degraded and is heavily relied upon for irrigation. Many of its banks have been hoof sheered right out of existence, and there are fish-eating canals and irrigation dams galore!  Meanwhile, just about every one of the tributaries (Telegraph Creek, Dog, Ontario) have major impacts from historic mining. Yet, the fishery lives on.  The lower river has medium-sized (6-16'') brown trout galore.  In the fall, you might find some bigger ones that come in from the Clark Fork.  This area of the river is hard to get on as the entire valley floor is private cattle ranches but there are many locations to exercise legal MT stream access and there is one FWP access site.  The middle reaches have a mix of browns and westslope cutts and the upper (above Elliston) turns into more of a cutthroat fishery.

The Little Blackfoot is a major and vital tributary to the Upper Clark Fork River, a river that has gone through ecological disasters on an unimaginable scale.  The Upper Clark Fork is currently undergoing a major, and I mean MAJOR, restoration project to remove millions of yards of heavily contaminated mine wastes from the good ol' days in Butte and Anaconda.   Likewise, the tributaries of the Little Blackfoot are receiving some love from TU National and stream restoration badass, Rob Roberts.  Be a part of it and get off your ass to do something good.

Are you a TU member like me that can't just write checks or make donations because you are a broke ass who is following your dreams instead of following the money train?  Well here's your chance to give your "in-kind" donation.  I have always been disappointed in the fly fishing community when it comes to volunteer events.  Fly fishers like to talk but they rarely walk the walk.  Prove me wrong!!