My first attempt at a fishing "short".

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Whitefish - The Other White Meat

Prosopium Williamsoni - That's not normally the term you hear when a fisherman brings a mountain whitefish to the net.  More familiar terms that are often heard are similar to "damn" and/or "crap".  Although I have grown to have an appreciation for this native "montana bonefish", I have been guilty of the same reactions.  Usually they come when nymphing a perfect hole that you just KNOW holds a big trout, the indicator pauses, and BANG, you're hooked up to what you are certain is a 22" rainbow, and before you pull in any line you are anticipating sending the pics to your "know-it-all" fly fishing buddies down south.  Then, you feel the "machine gun tug", that unmistakable head shake that can send feelings of disappointment up the leader, down your line, through your eyelets, and directly into your heart.  You won't be sending these pics down south.

I'm not exactly sure how the whitefish got the bad rap that it has.  Sure they're slimy, and it's not very easy to throw one in the pan, but catch a good one, especially this time of year, and hold on. As far as eating them goes, try smoking one, trust me.  

Last weekend I took a trip up the Madison just above where it dumps into a lake and in spots, couldn't see the bottom of the river for all the whitefish.  I happened to be hucking meat all day looking for a bruiser, but my compatriots and I couldn't resist tying on a lightening bug and getting our fill of pescado blanco before moving on.  This got me to thinking, "what a great way to break in a new fly fisherman (or woman)?"  What better way to put somebody on fish (they're schooled up and easy to spot) and let them practice casting, mending, setting a hook, playing, and landing decent sized fish?  They'll eat anything that floats by, they could care less if you're throwing a size 16 prince nymph with 3x tippet, and if spooked, immediately regroup and start eating again.  Fellas, if you've got a gal that you're trying to get into fly fishing, or a kid, or somebody like me with the attention span of a 3 year old, get them on the whites.  It'll pay lots of dividends down the road.

So, I can tell you the whites have begun their march to their spawning grounds and they're hungry.  As for the bruits I was looking for, it'll be a while yet before they make their way up.  Until then, perhaps the train to Brownsville has a stop or two to make.  Allll aboooard!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Water Temperatures

If you're not sure why I'm posting water temperatures here at this time of year, then perhaps you should consider following a different blog, perhaps something to do with cooking or the proper use of hot glue.  Perhaps check out Pinterest.  For everyone else:

Gallatin River at Logan:  The river is low, but the temperature readings on the USGS site are promising.  Temps dropped to 50 degrees F last night for what I think is the first time since the spring.  They are back up to 58 during the day, but with the cool day we had it should drop a little lower tonight.  Flow is between 300 and 350 cfs. 

Gallatin River near Gallatin Gateway:  Fished this yesterday for an hour or two after work.  Fishing was slow.  I'll blame the shift to cooler weather and not my fishing abilities... as usual.  No temperature information on the USGS site and flows at 410 CFS.  Water felt pretty chilly up there, which is what I heard from my fishing companion who had a hole in his waders, but that's hearsay.  Objection.

Madison River below Ennis Lake near McAllister: Consistent discharge of 1,360 CFS.  Water temps down from 65 last week to almost 61 degrees last night.  Lets hope it'll continue to drop...fingers crossed.

Madison River near Cameron:  Not looking too bad.  Flows between 1000 and 1100 CFS and a low temp of 47 degrees last night.  Yesssss.  Got up to 55 degrees today.

Madison River at Kirby Ranch:  Temps ranging from daytime of 62 degrees and a low last night of 53.  Must be some chilly water dumping in below the dam.  CFS at 1010.

Madison River below Hebgen Lake:  The dam is pumping out 953 CFS and memories of learning the true sound of heartbreak when losing a gigantic brown this last spring between the lakes...'tis the "tic" of a line breaking.  Water temps dipped to 59 degrees last night and didn't get up to 61 today.  Chill baby chill.

Madison River near West Yellowstone:  Not sure exactly where this USGS site is (No. 06037500), but I wish they'd get a temperature reading at that site.  I wish I could designate exactly where my tax dollars go.  ("Dear IRS, I'd like to pay for an upgrade at USGS site No. 06037500.  Hope all is well and tell the family I said hello.  Sincerely, Sky)  Flows at 410 CFS. 

Missouri River at Toston:  Water is still hot in Toston, and I'm not talking about your Uncle Phil's disgusting hot tub after the last New Year's Party.  The low temp dropped to 59 last night and only looks like it's going to get up to 61 or 62 today.  Sunday, September 9th, 2012 it was up to almost 66. Icky.  Flows are between 1600 and 1800 CFS.

Jefferson River near Three Forks:  LOW.  No information on water temps on the USGS site. Flows between 300 and 350 CFS.  Probably warmer than two rats wrestling in a wool sock.

Shields River near Livingston:  33 CFS.  Dang low.

Yellowstone River near Livingston:  Flows at 1740 CFS.  Pretty low for this time of year when the 88 year median is at 2400 CFS.  Temps are looking good and probably much better than the air quality over there right now.  Dipped to 53 degrees last night but will probably get to around 58 today...

I'm looking to take a trip to Brownsville sometime soon if I can get caught up at work, and no, I'm not talking about South Texas.  If you made that mistake, like I said, check out Pinterest.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A dream about being arrested in Vegas = Streamer Idea.

I woke up this morning during the weirdest dream.  Let me rephrase that, because I've had some pretty weird dreams in my life... during an interesting dream.  My friends Brent Callaway and Joseph Young and I were in Las Vegas and had somehow found ourselves in trouble...with the cops.  We were being arrested and hauled away in a "police shuttle", I in the back seat, and Brent and Joe locked inside a steel box attached to the back.  Apparently they were a little more out of hand than I was.  I snuck the key to the box from the guard who was busy watching TV, snuck out the back, and freed my friends, who were laughing the whole time as we got away.

The Streamer idea came from what I think I saw on the back of the shuttle.  Attached to the hitch insert was one of those chrome boat propellers that some people have to say "hey, I have a boat", although the truth is probably more like "hey, I'd like to have a boat".

So, I got up early, and tied this guy on a 2x hook, using 50 lb mono as the "tail" with beads and a plastic spinner that I picked up a while ago at Big R in Great Falls.  I thing they're used for steelhead rigs, but I'm not exactly sure.  I just thought it looked neat.  The idea is to have it spin on the mono while it's stripped through the water, giving it a little more action.  To facilitate the spinning I added several beads while trying to stay in the rainbow trout color scheme (note the pink belly and olive back).  I haven't had a chance to drag it through the water, in the bathtub or otherwise, so I'm still not exactly sure how it's going to work.  Hopefully it'll spin on the line and not twist the entire streamer.  I guess if that's the case I can certainly cut the garbage off the back and have a pretty decent bugger, if I do say so myself, and I often do.

I'll let you know how it "turns" out.  If it works, we'll find a name.  If not, well, I'll put it in the streamer box next to the other olive buggers.  Comment below for name ideas!!!

In other news, The Bobbin Droppers ( are about ready to get after it!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


A little warning to all those that I fish with:

We don't fish in Vegas.  What happens on the river does not stay on the river, unless previously and expressly agreed upon and proper consideration  has been paid (coolies).  You waive all right to privacy and I reserve the right to set up my video camera and record any and all activity while on said trip, with, or without your knowledge.  I also reserve the right to add captions, music, graphics, and other audio and visual enhancements to said video and post it to, the Bobbin Droppers Facebook page, and any and all other social media outlets now known or unknown.  However, the locations of said excursions shall remain confidential if we get on some hogs.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hoppers and Streamers and Itches and Scratches.

As the nights are cooling off and the days are getting shorter, so too does the hopper fishing.  However, there are still a few strongholds here and there where a hopper will absolutely do the trick.  But, with the chilly evenings comes a itch that needs to be scratched.  Perhaps you ran out of CDC emergers a month ago.  You might be running low on egg laying caddis, flashback PTs, and your once overflowing san juan worm section in your bag has dwindled to a meager (pronounced mee-grr, not marr) dozen or so.  Yes my friends, fly tying season approaches.  So, while there are still plenty of fish to be caught (like the one pictured here, photo and fish by Max Wasserberger), as the evenings draw ever closer to closing time, perhaps it is time to organize that station, get it set up, and get ready to scratch the itch.