Greatness, Misery, and The Mighty Missouri

The plan for this weekend originally called for three days of solo fishing on the Mo. At the last minute my buddy Alec, Author of the Fly Fishing Life blog, decided he would tag along. With Alec along for the ride, I knew it would be a hell of a trip.

After a wild morning drive through a snow storm (at least a California boy) we rolled into Headhunters Fly Shop in busy downtown Craig, Montana. After chewin’ the fat with the owners, Mark and John, we headed down to the river for the float.

An incognito Undie ready for the wily Mo River trout.

Alec, who we’ll refer to as Undie from now, has a distinctly different style of fishing than myself. Undie likes to break down a run and fish it very thoroughly, while I like to cover lots of water in a short period of time. He quickly posted up in a run, while I slowly twitched a streamer along the bank out of the boat. After fishing a short time I found a few fish rising to midges in a back water.

These were on the menu

Just a little guy

After getting my ass kicked by some very large rising fish I continued the float. As I rounded a corner I noticed some shady looking dudes giving me the stare down from a high bluff.

The Stare down

It turns out they were FWP game wardens. I gave them a wave and they asked to see my life vest. Uh oh…aint got one. Sir, please pull over. They decided to write me a ticket. Undie rounded the corner, and passed on a quality side channel to join what looked like a conversation with some local wardens. They decided to write him a ticket as well. The worst part was we could not continue the float without PFD’s. They refused to shuttle our boats, and told us we had to walk. Unsure if my truck had been shuttled, a 4-7 mile walk in either direction sounded less than stellar. I finally convinced the wardens to shuttle me into Craig. Mark at Headhunters set us up with some life vests and was even kind enough to have a shuttle driver take me back to the boats. Needless to say, They saved the day.

Give 'em a wave and they give you this. Bummer dude.

Just happy to still be on the water, we continued.

By now the wind was down, the sun was shining, and the fish were rising. After little success with the pod of fish I called it quits. Humbled. I kept moving, covering lots of water while Undie found success in a deep slot upstream. It was slim pickins until it happened, the largest brown i’ve ever hooked (thats not really saying much) slammed my fly. After a long battle in the boat and a brawl on the gravel bar, I netted the fish i’ve been waiting for since coming to Montana. I’ll let the picture do the talking…

Grip 'n grin

Photo credit goes to Phil and Zach, the Father and Son duo from Alberta that shared the float with me. They watched me fight the fish and were on the bank with the camera ready before I said a single word.  Friendly group of dudes, Thanks guys!

My day was made. It was getting late and I still had several miles left in the float. I started cranking out some watts on the oars in an attempt to make it out before dark.

Once the day was over, we wandered over to Headhunters to recharge both figuratively and literally. We chatted with Mark, John, and Ben for the next few hours. It was awesome of these guys to entertain a couple of wannabe trout bums for a few hours. These guys are running one of the coolest shops in Montana. Pay them a visit. They also run two killer websites. Chances are you’ve seem them unless you have been living under a rock…check it out rockdwellers.

Focalfish and The Headhunter Blog

From Headhunters, we went back to the campground where we met some cool cats from Missoula. The False Casts and Flat Tires crew. Zach, Stan, and Anthony post up some amazing photography. I hope my blog will see a fraction of the success the FCFT has generated. Check them out, you’ll be glad you did.

Day two started off cold and slow after a long night. I floated. Undie waded. Success was shared by all. Undie caught a monster. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…


Missouri River carnivore

Whitefish gotta eat too

Undie's monster- Carp edition.

It was a great trip, I’m sure i’ll be back soon!

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2 Responses to Greatness, Misery, and The Mighty Missouri

  1. Zach Southgate says:

    Wondered what you guys were doin up on the bank at the bend, kinda figured that the truck was the game wardens! Great blog ill be sure to pass it on!

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