Mongolia: Without Vodka None of this Would Make Sense
There's a few places in the world every fly fisherman dreams of going. Seychelle's, Kamchatka, New Zealand, MONGOLIA. Most never get the chance to persue these destinations but every once in a while an opportunity presents itself making dreams a reality. My dad has worked in Mongolia ever since I was a kid primarily focusing on geology and mineral deposits in the Gobi desert. Growing up he was in Mongolia near 3 weeks of every month but stopped traveling to Mongolia 10 years ago. He decided to travel back this fall as a good friend from his 45 total trips to Mongolia invited him to come to his fishing camp, as well as take a look at a property in the Gobi desert near the Chinese Border. He knew I had mentioned going to Mongolia ever since I had started fly fishing and after months of preparing and booking plane tickets we were off for 16 days of travel.
Exploring New Country
I took advantage of having two days off in a row earlier this week by filling up the jeep with gas and gear and heading in a new direction. It felt good to log some long windshield miles again. Rumors of large unpressured trout kept the enthusiasm high. Even after living here for several years now, I am constantly reminded of how vast Montana is.
High water have you down? Fishing sound unproductive? Go anyways... And enjoy it.
Ever get up in the morning and get your things together to go to the river, then get to the river and it not be everything you ever hoped for? You've probably fished in the Rocky Mountains during the month of May. With weather and water conditions being extremely inconsistent and unpredictable, fishing can be more work than play. When a fisherman/fisherwoman finds himself or herself in this position he or she has two options. 1.) You could always throw up the white flag. Kneel before Mother Nature and go home. But no good stories come from such actions. 2.) You could figure out a way to enjoy what opportunity has been given to you. Seize the Day, ya know. Fish anyways. Just in case.. I choose #2 most of the time.
Bugs are out in force; and variety.
Shop staff Ethan, Marley and I made it down to the river last night after a long day in the shop. Believe it or not, sipping trout were not necessarily our main target but it turned into that kind of a night. The bugs started coming off in force early, around 5 o'clock. Caddis swarmed around the railroad bridge, then a little later the midges came off in great numbers. As the evening progressed we laid eyes on BWO's, Tan & Black Caddis, Midges, March Browns, and a couple lone Grey Drakes.
Even with the constantly changing water conditions, the bug activity right now is border line crazy. Has all of us here at the shop feeling very optimistic about the months to come.
Weekend Fishing Recap
I was on the fence about fishing Saturday. With a high temperature forecast to be right around freezing and bright sunny skies, it did not exactly stand out as a “must fish” type of day. I really didn’t have any other plans, so when the phone rang 8 a.m. Saturday morning, Patrick and I decided to brave the temps and head out.
We ended up driving to a tailwater system not too far away (by Montana standards) in hopes of dodging the slush that had formed on the rivers overnight. The drive was beautiful, and the traffic was light. Finally reaching our end destination we were greeted with warmer than expected air and zero wind.
Glass ain't dead
There is a small resurgence of interest in fiberglass rods on the water in the last few years and it may have more practical applications than you may think.
Just like how in modern day fly fishing rod materials are pretty much dominated by graphite materials there was a time when fiberglass controlled the world. My dad tells me a story about once a year when he was fly fishing in the 70's with my uncle and looked downstream at his brother and admiring his smooth loops laying out 40' or so of line effortlessly. At the end of the day he remarked at how good of a caster my uncle had become. My uncle responded that he had not been practicing his cast at all it was just his new rod made of space aged fiberglass! In those days the jump from bamboo rods to fiberglass was quite the game changer.
How things have changed
Found an old box of photos in the shop mostly fish pictures from the 90's and early 2000's. Brought back memories of fishing as a kid in giant oversized neoprene waders with click and pawl reels. You just got really hot and clammy midday and went for a swim to cool down. I never remember having anything clothing, boots, or waders that actually fit you'd just roll up the sleeves and hit the river draped in heavy cotton or some fabric that didn't breath at all. Still had a blast fishing but was very uncomfortabler at times.
Winter Fishing in Montana
Winter fishing can really be one of the best ways to enjoy Montana's waters in a calm and quiet atmosphere. The last two days have dropped a solid base of snow around Bozeman and that's enough to get us thinking about getting prepared to enjoy the next few months of cold weather angling. There are so many great options to get your trout fix around here during the cold season some people like winter fishing better than the Summertime.
We all get the streamer bug pretty hard in the Fall and with all the chases and aggraessive grabs really whats not to like about it? The trend in the last few years amongst streamer guys is using the biggest fly possible to target the biggest fish in the river. Now there is nothing wrong with that and the pay off can result in a monster trout but sometimes it pays off to focus on the smaller size streamers as well.
The Moose of the Madison
One of my favorite animals in Montana is the Moose. They're just so big and ungainly looking you can't help but like them. They're also incredibly ornery. I love to see them out on the river, but you do have to be careful. An angry moose could really ruin your day.
Everyone here at the shop has seen a lot of moose this year. There's been a couple of them hanging out in Valley Garden on the Upper Madison all summer long. We've seen them on the Lower Madison, up by Varney on the Upper, I even saw one on the Yellowstone last month.
Here's a few of them we've seen this year: