I thought about writing a goofy newsletter with space ships, Elvis sightings, J. Edgar Hoover singing Tighten Up with Archie Bell and Drells; but, my medication kicked in. I did have an image of the actor John Malkovich fly fishing in something called the Vegomatic. The Vegomatic was a set of headphones, wrap around sun glasses along with a beer dispenser that fits on your head while you fly fish. I liked the idea of Malkovich listening to Beethoven’s 9th, Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Curtis Mayfield’s Super Fly while fishing. Like I said, then the meds kicked in.
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We are having a long cool wet spring that bodes well for fishing in Montana this summer and fall. There will be water and forest fires appear to be in the rearview mirror. Here are quick snapshots of the rivers we fish and our expectations.
Beaverhead River – This should be an excellent year for the Beaverhead with a full reservoir and an increase in fish size. The signature of the Beaverhead has been big fish and according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist, Matt Jaeger, we are headed in the right direction. There was more water in the Beaverhead this winter, which is a harbinger for healthy hard bodied fish in the summer.
Big Hole River – With the runoff starting and plenty of snow in the mountains things look normal which has been something of an aberration the last few years. There isn’t a problem in the state of Montana that can be cured by water. Long cool springs translate into beautiful dry fly days in July, August and September. The halcyon days of summer and fall are coming.
Jefferson River – We have six weeks to give us an indication of what might be happening on the Jefferson River. If the water holds up, this might be the best year for the Jefferson in quite a while. The Jefferson hasn’t been under a lot of fishing pressure the last couple of years due to low water and high-water temperatures. This is could be the year it all comes together.
Madison River – Today, rainbows are hovering over reds while being nurtured by a river that has perfect water and temperatures. Rainbow trout are being recruited to enlist in one of America’s great river systems. The Madison should be on every fly fishing person’s immediate bucket list.
Ruby River – We have leases and private access to about 20 miles of the Ruby River. The river is small, intimate and embraces everything that is good about Montana which is a lot of fish and no people. Fishing the Ruby is like winding the clock back about 40 years.
Smith River – We are booked for 2018 and have already started to book for 2019. If you are interested in a beautiful canyon, good fishing, plenty of laughs, good food and going one on one with everything fly fishing has to offer, it is time to get on the Smith River. June is the prime month for fishing the Smith River and we guide half the commercial trips on the river. Welcome the adventure and give us a call.
Healing Waters Lodge – Our entire staff from 2017 is back to work, which includes chefs, housekeepers, wait staff, guides and everyone that makes the place run like a fine Swiss watch. Last year, we repainted the exterior and interior of the lodge. This year we continued to shop at Restoration Hardware (a place where you lose your mind and open up your wallet) purchasing some new beds and furniture. We renovated four rooms, removing the carpet and opting for natural hardwood floors. We tiled more bathrooms, added granite and marble countertops to the vanities and added a few desks. A fishing lodge is like a shark it has to keep moving forward or it dies. We are moving forward.
On the philanthropic front – We continue to support both our local chapter of Trout Unlimited chapter and Montana TU. We are excited about a ballot initiative I-186, which
amends Montana’s mining laws to require a mine to demonstrate that it can be reclaimed without the need for perpetual water treatment. It provides the Department of Environmental Quality the necessary tools to protect Montana taxpayers, future generations, and our clean water, while allowing for responsible mineral development.
If you believe in clean water and making a difference against long odds we welcome you to contribute to:
Send Contributions for the Montana Ballot Initiative to:
Yes for Responsible Mining
Great Falls, Montana 59401
New Braunfel Smoke House(www.nbsmokehouse.com) in New Braunfels, Texas, home to smoked turkeys, great ham, hickory pork chops, great BBQ and great service. We get something every month and haven’t been disappointed yet.
“Godless” on Netflix a very good western featuring Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) from Downton Abbey. She packs heat, dispenses justice, displays grit and looks at home in a hardscrabble ranch outside of Creede, Colorado.
“Hostiles” a beautiful western where human decency trumps our baser instincts. Hot damn, I love watching the Good Guys win.
The Sparkle Minnow tied by Healing Waters Guide Bart Doig. This is a jig headed fly that bobs, dips and is so life like that fishing almost isn’t fair. It has little bling and is easy to see in the water. When you fish a Sparkle Minnow you bear witness to predatory nature of brown trout. Embrace streamer fishing.
August – do not fear August. This year there will be water, hatches, less people and more trout. This is also the time of the year we really lean on the private water at our disposal. Embrace the warm days and cool nights and insatiable summery appetites of trout.
Winter is behind us and life is best when looking forward. I hope we all get to enjoy rising fish, fair days and an expanding healthy stock portfolio.