Sunday, August 28, 2011

Don't push any more damn buttons!

Well readers we have been out of touch with mankind for several days.  Most of the time we were camped forty miles from Billings MT in the Gallatin National Forest at the confluence of the Wise river and Lacy’s creek.  We are now settled on the banks of Slough Creek in Yellowstone. There’s lots to tell, some great some not so great. Let's get the bad out of the way, we were lost in Yellowstone for four hours yesterday because Frank can’t read a damn map, but on the up side we are now very familiar with the northern half of the Yellowstone Park.  Bob does however take 10.789% of the blame for the "detour" for not being a better supervisor.  In the end, we had to depart the Park because we were too late arriving to get a place in the campground.  We ended up in Cooke City, MT and decided to stop and eat, seeing it was 9:30pm and we hadn’t had anything to eat since lunch, and driving around Yellowstone’s 1930 roads with a 65’ rig had taken a toll on our driver.  As it turns out, all of the campgrounds outside the Park were also full, so we were trying to find out where there might be a place in the forest to park for the night when Frank decided to turn on the charm and see if we could just park in the restaurant parking lot.  Thanks to Frank’s smooth talking and $50, we slept in the parking lot.

Terry the pyro
Now that that is over let us fill you in on what’s taken place.  Our last day in Ennis, we drove about 2 hours over to the Gallatin river and had a mediocure day.  The Gallatin is fairly swift and very slippery.  Joe fell flat on his back and Bob ended his 41 year stretch of not falling in the river.  To top it off, we decided to take a short cut home, this time with adequate fuel, but after traveling down a dirt road for about an hour, we found that the road had been closed by our good buddy and fly fishing angler of the year, Ted Turner.
Joe on the Wise river, but he's not any smarter

So we packed up and headed to the Wise river, where Frank invented a new sport that is a combination of snake wrestling and urination.  The Wise river was great!  It was full of mostly wild Brook trout, but we also caught a Brown trout, a Rainbow, some White fish and the fish of the week was a 19” Cutthroat caught by Frank (after he missed 20 other fish.)  Almost all were caught on dry flies, but the best fly seemed to be the Fat Albert.

Frank does Lacy
On Saturday we said goodbye to Terry, but not before he tried to kill us all by mistaking the slide out switch for a light switch in the middle on the night.  We all shot out of bed as the slide outs started compacting the trailer in the middle of the night.  Bob was the first to realize what was happening and yelled, “Don’t press anymore damn button’s.”  When Bob got the light on, Terry was standing in the hall up against the wall in his underwear with his hands up like he was under arrest.  Quite a sight.

So after our night in the parking lot, we returned to Yellowstone and got a really nice campsite, right on the edge of Slough Creek.  Frank was not feeling well today, so elected to stay behind while Bob and Joe went off to fish.   Bob and Joe fished Soda Butte and the Lamar river, but it was pretty slow.  Bob ended the day with 2 nice Cutthroats on the Lamar, Joe got skunked and Frank caught a real nice fish while sitting at the picknick table at our campsite.
Bob verifying that it is indeed 1000 feet to the bottom and that the road in only 2' wider that the trailer.  For 4 damn hours, but he's not bitter.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Running on Fumes

 We had an interesting day.  Frank and Terry floated the Madison River with a guide by the name of Wilson.  Wilson is from Charlotte, NC, and spends summers here in Montana.  Frank said he "caught about 3 fish" and Terry said "thats about right".  (Terry has a saying; Fishermen aren't born liars, but they get over it).  I won't vouch for their testimony.  Truthfully, Terry did catch a beautiful 20" Rainbow, as did Frank, but Terry landed his fish.  Terry caught his on a black zebra midge and Frank "caught" his on a Blue Tail fly.  Frank and Terry went to the fly shop in Ennis and then decided to go fish below the Ennis dam but since the 5th wheel was on the way to the dam, they decided to stop for a drink.  When Bob and I returned from our fishing adventure at about 7:30, they were having another drink and never made it to dam.

Bob and I drove over through Alder and drove up the Ruby river about 20 miles to the nation forest area.  The upper Ruby is a small stream, and holds several species of Trout and Grayling.  Just about every small hole on the river held Trout, and even though we both caught quite a few Trout, we missed or lost a lot more than we landed.  We caught Cutbows, Rainbows, Browns, and Grayling, and one Whitefish about 14 inches, the largest fish of the day.  Bob caught most of his on a Stimulator, a top water fly, and I caught most of mine on a #157, and a Blue Tail fly.

Joe and Terry doing their camp chores

Off at the crack of 11

Bob does Ruby

Dale Jr. ain't got nothin on us
While Bob and I were on the river, Bob noticed a truck, which had stopped next to ours, on the road. When Bob and I got up to the truck, for the ride back to Ennis,  Bob noticed that our fuel gauge was about on empty. Apparently they pumped about 5 gallons of our diesel fuel into their tank.  We decided to take a short cut over the mountain. About half way up the mountain our low fuel light came on and coasted down the other side of the mountain to save fuel. We barely made it to the gas station by drafting behind a semi truck for the last 6 miles. Again we we're saved by Bob's quick thinking. When at last we made it back to Ennis, we put in 22.954 gal of diesel fuel in a tank that holds 23gal. We had called Frank twice  to warn him that we may need rescuing but we we arrived camp he was well past caring if we made it back or not and was preparing to grill burgers. We ended the evening sitting around the camp singing John Denver and Jimmy Buffett songs planning tomorrow's  fishing trip to the Gallatin river.

Submitted by Joe

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Well for those of you following out blog we do apologize. We are three days behind. We did not have Wi Fi at our camp gowns in Fort Smith. Although out last repost was posted Saturday it was about our Thursday fishing at the Bighorn.


Bob, Brad and I had fun day fishing on Friday. We started around 10:00AM and took the drift boat down 13 miles of the Bighorn. Brad rowed for the first part of the drift with me in the back of the boat and Bob in the front. Bob and Brad agreed to swap place after each caught a fish. It was not long until Bob hooked into a nice brown on a hopper (a fly that looks like a grass hopper).  We all fished hoppers patterns the entire day.  If my memory serves me correctly Bob continued to row for rest of the day until the very end of the drift. I am sorry to report that Brad did not have a good day of catching fish. He just had difficulty in setting the hook.  I wish I could say I felt sorry him but the same thing happened to me the day before and they gave me hell, so he received no mercy from Bob or me.  I had good day fishing with six nice browns. Bob had two but he rowed most of the day. Brad one.
This was our last day fishing the Bighorn. It is a great river with big fish. The water was running high at 6000 CFI and usually it is around 2500 CFI this time of year. Although Brad and Neil nymphed  (using a fly that imitates the immature stage of an aquatic insect) the first day they fished we caught most of our fish the three day we were thet on hoppers casting them close to the bank. It is truly thrilling to see those big brown trout come up from the bottom and swallow those flies.


Saturday was a busy day breaking up camp and getting the RV ready to travel to Ennis, MT where Bob and I will stay for a week.  We went by Billings and dropped Brad off to get the flight home.  I am sure Allison, Sara, Taylor and Evan are glad to have him home but we miss him.
Joe and Terry fly in on Saturday to join us in Ennis for a week of fishing.  Joe, from Columbia, and I have been fishing together for over 20 years and he is like a brother to me.  Terry is Joe’s cousin from Truckee, CA.  He is also a close friend who has been fishing with us a long time. He is crazy fun guy.
We all arrived Ennis around 5:30 PM and set up camp for the rest of the week.


The four of us were slow to rise on Sunday, which could have had something of the libations we consumed Saturday.  We really did not have a fishing plan for the day. Bob and I had stopped by Cabela’s on Saturday and a man who worked there gave us some great fishing advice and some suggestions on places to fish. We decided to follow his advice and drove 30 miles south to fish the Madison River at Three Dollar Bridge.  We fished there for about two hours and decided to move after Bob had scouted out a place he thought we would like better- West Fork of the Madison.  It was just a few mile north of were we where. It was a great small river, much more to our liking. Bob really came through finding a new great spot for us. Everyone caught some fish. Although they were small, they were great native browns, rainbows and brookies.  Most of them were caught on top water with small mayfly patterns flies except for Joe always insisted on nymphing.  He also usually catches the most fish.

We arrived backed early to get ready for tomorrow's fishing but instead we had a few drinks and told a few stories and best of all sang a few country song as Bob played his guitar.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Fish that Frank Missed and Bob Caught.  Frank was pissed.

Today we had a late start to the fishing day because Brad had to take to Neil back to the airport in Billings.  We had fun fishing with Neil yesterday and glad to hear he made it safely back to Atlanta.  Brad returned from Billings in record time and we were on the water before noon, just in time for the Hoppers to get going.  Brad and Bob traded off the rowing duties today as the Water Skeeter stayed in the campground today.  The wind picked up today and made the boat a bit more of a challenge.  This morning our next door neighbors were getting ready to pull out and we had a nice visit with them and they had a couple of great stories and so we’ve decided to try to have a quote of the day.  Today’s winner is, when asked if he was going to bungee jump, he replied, “I came into this world on a busted rubber, I’m not going out on one.”

Fish Count

Bob 6

Brad 5
Frank 3, but I missed a bunch.

Brad with a Hopper Fish

Bob's burnt feet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Day on the Bighorn

By Bob.  Today was full of "firsts" for me.  It was my first time fishing in Montana, first time on the Bighorn River and first time fishing out of our Water Skeeter pontoon boat.  Overall, I rank this day as the most exciting day of trout fishing I've ever had, not because of the fishing, but because of the boat.  Don't get me wrong, the fishing was pretty good and I caught all of my fish except the first one on Hoppers.  The personal pontoon boat on a big fast moving river is quite an experience in that you just need about 2 more hands in order to fish, row the boat, work the anchor and take pictures.  There was absolutely no time to relax today, it was 10 hours adrenalin rush.  I ended up with around 10 fish landed for the day, but of the 10, 4 were over 20" and none less than 16".  All and all it was a great first day of the trip.
The Fish Count for the Day
Neil  12
Bob 10
Brad 5
Frank 2

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Fishing Report

Got a text from Brad tonight reporting that they started fishing around 8 and fished until 5 when they were rained out.  He and Neil got to float the river with a friend and each caught about a dozen fish on nymphs and steamers. Tomorrown night Frank and I will get out first shot at the Bighorn River.  Can't wait!

Guys Joining In On Trip

Jerry, Bob A, (not coming), Joe,Bob,Frank, Terry not in pictured
The Group in Alaska in 2009

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Brad and Neil Arrive in Fort Smith

Thanks to satellites, Brad and Neil were able to send out an "OK" with their gps coordinates using the Spot Tracker, which put them at the Cottonwood Campground around 3pm, just in time to get ready for the Black Caddis hatch. There is no cell service in Fort Smith, so we might not get a fishing report until we arrive on Tuesday. But it sounds like the flows are dropping and the hoppers are hitting the river so it should be great!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Brad and Neil On their Way

Brad left for Fort Smith MT yesterday August 12th pulling the fifth wheel, our home for a month. He picked up Neil in Atlanta around 10PM yesterday. They reached Omaha around 4:45 PM today August 13. They are hoping to be in Fort Smith MT by Sunday night and fishing the Bighorn river Monday morning. Bob and Frank Fly out Tuesday, arriving Billings around 2:30pm.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fishing With Bob and Frank Itinerary

This is where we are going as of Aug.1 but changes daily.

August 12 Brad Leaves for Atlanta to get Neal

August 12 Brad picks up Neil in Atlanta for Montana

August 15 Brad and Neil Arrive Fort Smith MT
Cottonwood Campground

August 16 Bob & Frank fly from Charlotte to Billings MT
Brad picks term up at Billings 2:48

August 16-19 FISH Big HORN RIVER

August 20 Bob and Frank take Brad Billings to Airport to fly
Home Joe and Terry fly in to Bozeman

August 20 -27 Bob, Frank, Joe and Terry arrive Ennis MT
Ennis RV Village

August 21-26 Wilson Gabriel Professional Guide Joins group

Five Rivers with in 50 miles
Big hole

August 27 Take Terry to Bozeman to fly home.

August 27-June 3 Bob, Frank and Joe Fish our way to Jackson Hole

Sept 3 Sue arrives and she and Joe leave

Sept 5 Jerry arrives Jackson

Sept 5 Bob, Jerry,and Frank head out for parts unknown

Sept 10 Bob and Frank arrive Brown Cabin.

Sept 12 Brad Flies in the Durango

Sept 13 Group arrive San Juan River

Sept 17 Tentative Bob and Frank fly to Charlotte