Monday, September 26, 2011

Lamar River Trout Fun

 900: Leave house, gas up, get snacks, hit the road south to the park.

930: Realize I forgot bear spray at home for the second weekend in a row. U turn and lots of cursing, and an extra hour of driving. I already own two bear sprays or I would have just bought one in's still unnerving to head into country where there are things that actually will eat you. A couple people have already been snacks this year alone.

1100 At Tower Junction. Head to Lamar.

1200 on the Lamar River. I brought too much stuff with me. Backpack, big camera, fishing pack, rod, 2 bearsprays....I looked like Fishing Tourist Number One. Crap.

No one on the river where I am at though. No sign of fish either. I started throwing a nymph rig out, and got no love at all. I was wet wading in my sandals and the water was cold as hell. I decided to hike downriver a bit...mostly to wait for the water to warm up a little.

The air temperature was ridiculously warm. I bet high 80's. I was sweating just walking around. Further downstream the river was really cool. It was the kind of river I really like to fish. Big enough, slowish, but with big boulders strewn around. Not too many though that it was hard to navigate, but enough to make good runs and pockets in between big pools.  I fished the lower Gardner River the previous weekend and it was really jumbled up and difficult to work through. This part of the Lamar has enough space to be really easy to deal with.

I caught a number of rainbows and cutthroats on a hopper/dropper rig. I went with the hopper setup after walking downstream in the meadow and kicking up hordes of little 1" brown grasshopppers. It is  amazing that fish go for some of these hopper patterns that look absolutly nothing like a real grasshopper. Two of the fish I caught were actually snags on the dropper which was pretty weird. They came up, decided the hopper really didn't look like a real hopper, and turned right into the dropper nymph and got snagged. That was the first time that's happened to me. 

Chubby little Rainbow snag. Oops. 

Crap picture of a cutthroat. This one actually tried to eat the fly. Good job buddy! All the fish I got were in the 10-12" range and were quite spirited once they got hooked!

It was a great day of fishing. At one point I caught two fish on two consecutive casts, which is always a surprise. The last fish I got had a strange thing happen. It was fighting the line near the surface, and I saw a big trout cruise underneath it near the bottom. He went by twice and I think he was hoping for a free meal! The fish on my hook was 10", and the cruiser must have been 20" or so. That was a new one to me. I know the big ones eat the little ones, but eating a meal 50% your own size? Wow. 

Noticed the Shop Vac dropper I had on only lasted about 4 fish before it was toast. I think it worked better when it was half unravelled and shaggy, but then worked less well as a bare hook after all the dressing fell off...!  Need to start tying my own flies soon. Signed up for a class in November so hopefully that will be a start. 

Also, there was no one around in the section I chose to fish! Pretty incredible. I cruised further up the road when I was done and there were a bunch of folks fishing where the river got really close to the road. World renowned trout fishing people near me. Fantastic. 

 Last weekend on the Gardner was fun, but I liked today better. A little easier to get around on the river, and easier currents to deal with. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wyoming Fishin' Mission

4 days of Wyoming fun were had by the crew from Livingston at the end of August. Left Thurs AM at 630 and didn't come back till Sunday night.

Day One: Drive through Yellowstone to the East Entrance, and fish the North Fork of the Shoshone River. Catch a ridiculous amount of rainbow trout of the 18" variety. Stay at Matt's family cabin in the woods. Drink whiskey and play poker till 4 am. Summary: EPIC DAY! 

Day Two: Fish the North Fork again with Grif and Joe who came in Thur. nite. Another epic fishing session. We were stacked up five deep down the river and were all catching fish. Those buggers were hungry! Wow! 

 Then drive a few hours to Devils Canyon over by Bighorn Lake. Load up the ATVs and head in to the canyon.

Day Three: Fish Devils Canyon, Wyoming Style....The Razor was the pimp ride of the weekend. Robby Gordon edition gets it done, with custom diamond plate roof, and custom thermarest fly rod holder system....! Tiny creek full of fish that pretty much ate whatever you threw out there. None were bigger than about 12" but they sure were fun! Good camping too by the creek: dutch oven cooking, swimming session including cannonballs, shooting guns, saw a black bear, drank more whiskey....

Day Four: Ride out and head home....satisfied. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Big Empty

Living in Montana has one overarching benefit I think I most enjoy. Space. Big Space, with NO PEOPLE. Couple this with the fact that such space can be reached from my doorstep within about 5 miles.

Yesterday's Ride:
Mtn Bike
1.75 hours
20 miles

This is what I am talking about:

Having this type of stuff available to ride after work from my door, no driving involved, makes me really happy. This stretch of road is about a 30 minute pedal from my door. We may not be able to ride the mountain trails till late May or June this year, but I will get by with rides like this no problem. I saw one car on this road, and two dirtbikers. In two hours. Just wonderful rolling hills with views of the mountains. Did I mention it was also above 60 degrees out for the first time this year! It felt like summer all of a sudden.

This is the view coming back down looking towards town.

A lot of people wonder about living in Livingston vs. Bozeman, and this is the big reason I like it over here better. If it were like Bozeman over here, there would be subdivisions all the way out this road and it would be paved and busy. As it is, it remains ranchland and that's all. Someday it may be different but I hope it stays like this for as long as possible.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


1 hour today on the mtn bike. 11.1 miles.
Checked out some roads up the Wineglass area south of the highway. Left the house and headed south. Hit dirt in two miles, and then had about a 4 mile climb up a pretty good dirt road. The road dead ended in private property so I had to turn back. It was windy as hell, pretty much the norm around here. Steady 25mph from the west. It was spitting rain too but never really got going. I love checking out new roads! I have a few new areas I am targeting to explore in the next couple weekends. Trying to find as much dirt roads as I can in the vicinity to ride on for the next few months. It will be late May I bet before the high country trails are melted out enough. We have had a big snow year.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Preparation Begins

So two days ago I registered for the 2011 Butte 50 endurance mountain bike race. I have a training plan, with hourly goals by week, leading up to the race at the end of July. I have a big spreadsheet I have built in Google Docs to track my training and planning. Unfortunately it is still quite wintery out there in this neck of the woods, with a few inches of snow falling two nights ago and still remaining on the roads.

Fed Ex brought me a bike scale and some racey tires on Friday. I have all sorts of things to change for this years race after my experience last year. I have decided tires are the number one upgrade for the least amount of money. I was basically on heavy DH oriented tires last year which had the most rolling resistance possible. So I begin with some low profile race tires for starters. I got the scale to see how much my bikes and parts weigh. I am no weight weenie, but my good friend Josh's advice was to race a bike that is "25lbs max." I think my Heckler last year was around 35! I would ultimately like to have a whole new bike built up for endurance racing by the time the race rolls around, but can't quite afford to do that yet. I will be selling some old bikes, and hopefully my dirt bike to fund this project.

Here is my winter training bike setup:

It is heavy and slow, and that's just fine for ramming around on the snowcovered roads. I don't have studded tires, just big 2.4 knobbies. Studs don't seem to be neccessary here on account that it usually stays cold enough that the snow stays snowy and doesn't get super icy.

Training Hours so far this year:
Jan: 22.8
Feb: 20.1

This time has been a mix of running, backcountry splitboarding, and biking. It has been less than I planned, but more than I have done before in this part of the year. March is usually the turning point when you can really get out on the road around here so hopefully I can ramp it up this month. It may still snow, but the daytime temps and sun are usually enough to melt it off within a day or so. My work is located along one of my favorite after-work routes in Bozeman, so that will help this year with mid-week training efforts. Not far also from Hyalite road, which is a good 12 mile climb which I will be doing intervals on plenty often!

The motivation and focus I am feeling for towards this race goal is something different and new for me. I know I am not going to do great at it, but I just want to do good for myself and my abilities. It's making me get out there and be in the outdoors more which at base is really the best thing I can think of for personal well being. Overall I think this is going to make for a fun year!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting Things Done by Edwin Bliss

Just picked up a book at the consignment shop for 1 dollar from 1976 called Getting Things Done by Edwin Bliss. This surprised me as I though David Allen's book was original. After a quick glimpse I find a very similar information processing procedure to Mr. Allen's, about 30 years earlier. Hmm.