Archive for March 2012

A couple skiing videos   1 comment

Here’s a video of Wes carving up a groomer called Tippy’s Tumble at Big Sky today. Below that, me doing the same…

Tomorrow we catch a flight at 6am back home. So long Montana! It’s been great visiting.






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Posted March 28, 2012 by troutseeker in Montana

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Skiing at Moonlight Basin, Big Sky, Montana   Leave a comment

The trip continues here in Montana. Last night we had nine inches of fresh snow, so the skiing today was especially good. My dad and I made our way around the backside of Lone Mountain to ski an area called Moonlight Basin.

 

Lone Mountain as seen from the chalet at Moonlight Basin, Big Sky, Montana

Lone Mountain as seen from the chalet at Moonlight Basin, Big Sky, Montana

 

In the photo above, I took the opportunity to ski down the second gully from the left, where top of the tallest pine tree is. It was a blast. Wes (my dad) and I also took some runs through the trees, and I’ve included a shoddy video of that below.

Tomorrow is the last day of skiing, and Thursday we get up and go to Bozeman at 3am to catch the flight back to Milwaukee. I plan to take much more video that will be much better tomorrow, and if any of it is any good, I’ll put some up here on the site.

 

 

Posted March 27, 2012 by troutseeker in Photography

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The Gallatin River, Big Sky, Montana   4 comments

You may have heard of the Gallatin River. No? When you watch Brad Pitt in “A River Runs Through It”, the Gallatin is that river.

My dad, Wes Anderson, has taken me to his (and my) favorite skiing destination, Big Sky, Montana (thanks Dad!), where I’ve had the opportunity to fulfill two of my lifelong dreams.

Dad and me on the "Ram Charger" Lift at Big Sky, Montana

Dad and me on the "Ram Charger" Lift at Big Sky, Montana

The first is a run from the top of Lone Peak down an area called “The Gullies”. See the thrilling video below for a recap of that adventure. It was a blast!

Lone Peak at Big Sky.

Lone Peak at Big Sky.

The second life-long dream fulfilled, as you may have guessed, is fly fishing for Rainbow Trout on the Gallatin River. Since my first trip to Big Sky in 1985, when my mom pointed out the window of the bus at the Gallatin and said “people fish for trout there”, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of fishing a wild western river. Today, with the weather being not so great for skiing, and Dad’s legs (and my knee) complaining about a third straight day of abuse on the ski hill, I took the opportunity to hit the river.

The Gallatin River near Big Sky, Montana

The Gallatin River near Big Sky, Montana

I spoke with the fellows at East Slope Outdoors about where to fish, what to use, and how to fish the river. I got some great advice and a few “local specialty” flies and headed out to chase rainbows. The river is a classic Western freestone river full of fish. Nymphing was the name of the game, since it was too early in the season for hatches. I’d love to come back when the hatches are on because it would be so cool to watch those fish rise up and sip flies. But, as timing would have it, I was going to be nymphing.

There were signs of wildlife everywhere along the river, mostly in the form of carcasses and droppings. Hunks of deer hide and hair, bird feathers, bones, and large hoof and paw tracks were everywhere. It goes to show how important wild rivers are to mountain wildlife. The Gallatin flows out of Yellowstone and north toward the fabled Missouri River. It is most certainly a thoroughfare for wildlife in the northern Rockies.

Gallatin River, Montana

Gallatin River, Montana

Gallatin River Rainbow, Montana

Gallatin River Rainbow, Montana

In all I brought four fish to hand, all of them wild and beautiful. Of course, there’s a story of the one that got away. I was standing on a spit of land separating the river from a tributary, doing some short-line nymphing into a cut-bank run. After several empty-handed drifts I brought the rod up to flip the fly back upstream for another drift, when I felt resistance on the end of the line. The rod tip shook and dove, and I looked down into the current and saw what, to my eye, was a fish twice as big as any I’d landed. It must have been a twenty-incher. A few violent head shakes and back down it went, but my fly did not go with. He had spit the fly and left me haunted thinking about what might have been.

A pretty feeder creek on the Gallatin River, Montana

A pretty feeder creek on the Gallatin River, Montana

I had a wonderful afternoon on a river I’ve dreamed of fishing for many years. To finally step into it with a fishing rod, to get to know it just a little bit, was a day I won’t soon forget.

A River Runs Through It, The Gallatin River, Montana

A River Runs Through It, The Gallatin River, Montana

The Scene Today   Leave a comment

Montana is a beautiful place…

image

Posted March 24, 2012 by troutseeker in Wisconsin

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Brule Fall Steelhead Numbers Very Low   2 comments

I read in the paper last night that the numbers are in on the Fall Run of Brule River Steelhead. The numbers are way down, about 1/3 of what they’ve been in the recent past. It only makes sense that this is the case. There was absolutely no rain last fall in the Brule River Valley. I watched the weather up there from July through November, and a few times there were some storms that came close, but either went north, east, west, or south.

I won’t be heading up to the Brule this spring, but it will be interesting to hear about the run numbers. Will Steelhead come up the river to spawn this spring (most spawning fish overwinter in the river, so those that are now in the lake will most likely stay put). Let’s hope for some more predictable weather this fall so we can have another 10,000 fish run. That would be something!

 

Tom A-B's 25" hen, caught on the Brule in November, 2011.

Tom A-B's 25" hen, caught on the Brule in November, 2011.

 

http://host.madison.com/sports/recreation/outdoors/outdoors-low-fall-steelhead-run-on-fabled-brule-has-anglers/article_4a8c2f50-73d5-11e1-ae2b-001871e3ce6c.html

 

Indicators – You’ve got Options   5 comments

A quick search on Amazon for “Indicators” yielded plenty of options, as you can see below. I’ll have to diversify my collection and try some of these out.

 

Amazon Indicators

Amazon Indicators

To Bobber, or not?   15 comments

I’ve been contemplating my use of a float while nymphing. For those of you who don’t like the cute, snobby vocabulary of fly fishing, a float (or indicator) is nothing more than a friggin’ bobber. When it goes down, you should tug on the line and if you’re lucky, you’ll hook a fish.

 

1/4" fly fishing float

1/4" fly fishing float

 

So, I’ve been using a float for a good long while, and while fishing the Brule last November, I watched a large float drift over Steelhead runs many, many times over the course of three days. Steelhead are not spooky, not like spring creek trout. Steelhead come from a big lake (or ocean) and have not learned to be particularly wary of snapping twigs, footsteps, or bobbers. At least that’s what I was told.

On the other hand, spring creek trout (trout that live in the spring-fed creeks of the Driftless Region), are very spooky. An angler needs to use extreme stealth to avoid scaring these fish. A float could be, arguably, enough to spook a Driftless trout. I’ve even heard experienced anglers say fly line landing on the surface of the water could scare away a trout.

 

Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

 

But without a float you are left to guess whether or not a fish has taken an interest in your nymph, ticking along the rocks on the streambed. Sometimes conditions are such that you can use your floating fly line as an indicator of a bite. Some say the float makes casting more difficult, acting as a hinge on the line. I’ll agree that a float does make tucking that fly right up against the cut bank a bit more difficult. And it sometimes makes a splash. But, it also gives my eye something to concentrate on as I strip line in, watching that pink ball drift back toward me.

Today my little pink float helped me land this nice male Brown trout…

 

A 17" Male Brown trout, Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

A 17" Male Brown trout, Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

 

I was on the tailout of a nice bend in the river, where the water was slightly riffled and about three feet deep. I had cast my bead-headed “Night Light Fly” up into this run about a dozen times, then saw the float dip just slightly. Hook set, fish on! He and I danced for probably five minutes, and he even leapt out of the water a few times. My 6X tippet required finesse, and my first attempt to scoop him into my hand ended with him charging back upstream to the hole he came out of. After a bit more coercing I cradled him and admired the nicest Brown I’ve ever caught.

 

A 17" Brown Trout, Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

A 17" Brown Trout, Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

 

I guess for now, I’m going to continue using a float. There are likely situations where the water is too glassy, the target too small, the fly line visibility adequate, where a float is unneccesary, but the advantage a float gives me in detecting a fish sure is appealing.

 

My 4-wt in Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

My 4-wt in Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin