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  • Monday, February 28, 2011

    Just Plain Scary

    HB 309 Poop
    do it now or forever hold your tongue
    .. Despite the outcry from fisher folk this obnoxious bill is trundling along like an out of control steamroller. Opponents of the bill have noted that the response from the interested public is "satisfactory."
    .. "SATISFACTORY" is not what is needed! Words like 'enormous' and 'overwhelming' would be more to our liking.
    .. Send a letter now. Make a telephone call now. Send an email now. This insidious push to remove  access to the public-owned waters of Montana will continue if the response is only "satisfactory."
    .. Below are listed some recent blog posts, news articles, and other information that will help you understand the issue. Also listed are a few key addresses for your use.
    ==> Interview with Montana T.U. Conservation Director Mark Aegenes @ Chi Wulff.

    ==> Dirty Dozen threats to Montana's rivers and access still alive in the current legislative session @ Chi Wulff.

    ==> Ranchers Strike Back At Stream Access in The Flathead Beacon.

    ==> The debate in Helena: from KPAX.com.

    ==>Passage of the ditch bill from the Helena Independant Record.

    ==> Representative Welborn's rationale for sponsoring the bill and what the language "really" means. From his lips.

    ==> Post from The Shooting Head in Washington - good plan of action.
    .. Now that the senate has the bill we need to let the senators in Helena know our feelings. Provide them with the sane and rational reasons to defeat this bill. Here's a list:
    SD 01: Chas Vincent (R)
34 Paul Bunyan Lane
Libby, MT 59923

    293-3839 / Cvvincent@hotmail.com

    SD 02: Ryan Zinke (R)
409 West 2nd Street
 Whitefish, MT 59937

    862-0823 / Ryanzinke@yahoo.com

    SD 03: Bruce Tutvedt (R)
2335 West Valley Drive 
Kalispell, MT 59901

    257-9732 / Tutvedt@montanasky.us

    SD 04: Jon Sonju (R)
PO Box 2954
 Kalispell, MT 59903

    270-7113 / Sonjumt@yahoo.com

    SD 05: Verdell Jackson (R)
555 Wagner Ln
 Kalispell, MT 59901

    756-8344 / vjack@centurytel.net

    SD 06: Carmine Mowbray (R)
PO Box 1202 
Polson, MT 59860

    883-4677 / clarity@cyberport.net

    SD 07: Greg Hinkle (R)
5 Gable Road
 Thompson Falls, MT 59873

    827-4645 / ccwhi@blackfoot.net

    SD 08: Shannon Augare (D)
PO Box 2031
 Browning, MT 59417

    450-0020 / Shannonjaugare@aol.com

    SD 09: Rick Ripley (R)
8920 Highway 200
 Wolf Creek, MT 59648


    SD 10: Bradley Hamlett (D)
PO Box 49 
Cascade, MT 59421

    264-5885 / Wranglergallery@hotmail.com

    SD 11: Anders Blewett (D)
PO Box 2807
 Great Falls, MT 59403

    231-8618 / Anders.blewett@gmail.com

    SD 12: Mitch Tropila (D)
PO Box 929 
Great Falls, MT 59403

    899-3474 / tropila@mt.net

    SD 13: Edward Buttrey (R)
27 Granite Hill Lane
 Great Falls, MT 59405

    250-5103 / ebuttrey@cteq.com

    SD 14: Llew Jones (R)
1102 4th Avenue South West
 Conrad, MT 59425

    271-3104 / Lcjones@3rivers.net

    SD 15: Jim Peterson (R)
1250 Buffalo Canyon Road
 Buffalo, MT 59418

    374-2277 / jpranch@ttc-cmc.net

    SD 16: Jonathan Windy Boy (D)
Box 269
 Box Elder, MT 59521

    395-4718 / Windyboy_j@yahoo.com

    SD 17: Rowlie Hutton (R)
2 Lila Drive
 Havre, MT 59501


    SD 18: John Brenden (R)
PO Box 970
 Scobey, MT 59263

    783-5394 / senatorbrenden@gmail.com

    SD 19: Donald Steinbeisser (R)
11918 County Road 348 
Sidney, MT 59270

    433-2187 / Donstein@midrivers.com

    SD 20: Frederick Moore (R)
487 Signal Butte Road
 Miles City, MT 59301

    234-3562 / elmoore@midrivers.com

    SD 21: Sharon Peregoy (D)
PO Box 211 
Crow Agency, MT 59022

    639-2198 / apsaalookewoman@yahoo.com

    SD 22: Taylor Brown (R)
775 Squaw Creek Road
 Huntley, MT 59037

    348-2070 / Taylor@northernbroadcasting.com

    SD 23: Alan Olson (R)
18 Halfbreed Creek Rd 
Roundup, MT 59072

    323-3341 / Ajolson@midrivers.com

    SD 24: Kim Gillan (D)
750 Judicial Avenue
 Billings, MT 59105

    248-6063 / Glonky@aol.com

    SD 25: Kendall Van Dyk (D)
PO Box 441 
Billings, MT 59103

    690-1728 / Kendallvandyk@gmail.com

    SD 26: Lynda Moss (D)
552 Highland Park Drive 
Billings, MT
252-7318 / Lyndamoss@imt.net

    SD 27: Gary Branae (D)
415 Yellowstone Avenue 
Billings, MT 59101

    245-2127 / Garybranae@gmail.com

    SD 28: Jeff Essmann (R)
2101 Grand Ave #5 
Billings, MT 59108

    259-8404 / Jeff@jeffessmann.com

    SD 29: Edward Walker (R)
4221 Rimrock Road 
Billings, MT 59106

    697-6967 / ewalker@edwalker2010.com

    SD 30: Jason Priest (R)
PO Box 743
 Red Lodge, MT 59068

    425-0674 / jason@priest2010.com

    SD 31: Ron Arthun (R)
285 Shields River Road
 Wilsall, MT 59086

    578-2340 / ronarthun@gmail.com

    SD 32: Larry Jent (D)
506 East Babcock 
Bozeman, MT 59715

    587-1210 / larry@imt.net

    SD 33: Bob Hawks (D)
703 West Koch Street
 Bozeman, MT 59715

    587-1403 / R_hawks@imt.net

    SD 34: Joe Balyeat (R)
6909 Rising Eagle Road 
Bozeman, MT 59715

    539-5547 / Joebalyeat@yahoo.com

    SD 35: Art Wittich (R)
3116 Sourdough Road
 Bozeman, MT 59715

    585-7418 / art@wittich4senate.com

    SD 36: Debby Barrett (R)
18580 Highway 324 
Dillon, MT 59725

    681-3177 / Grt3177@smtel.com

    SD 37: Steven Gallus (D)
2319 Harvard Avenue 
Butte, MT 59701

    494-3914 / Steve.gallus@gmail.com

    SD 38: Jim Keane (D)
2131 Wall Street
 Butte, MT 59701


    SD 39: Terry Murphy (R)
893 Boulder Cut Off Road
 Cardwell, MT 59721

    285-6937 / murphter5@yahoo.com

    SD 40: Mary Caferro (D)
PO Box 1036 
Helena, MT 59624

    443-4066 / Marycaferro@gmail.com

    SD 41: Christine Kaufmann (D)
PO Box 1566
 Helena, MT 59624

    439-0256 / Kaufmann@mt.net

    SD 42: Dave Lewis (R)
5871 Collins Rd
 Helena, MT 59602

    458-5511 / Davelewisd@aol.com

    SD 43: Gene Vuckovich (D)
1205 West Third Street
 Anaconda, MT 59711

    563-2313 / genev@q.com

    SD 44: Bob Lake (R)
PO Box 2096 
Hamilton, MT 59840

    363-4091 / Lakemill@montana.com

    SD 45: Jim Shockley (R)
PO Box 608
Victor, MT 59875


    SD 46: Carol Williams (D)
3533 Lincoln Hills Point
 Missoula, MT 59802

    728-8735 / Cwilliams@montanadsl.net

    SD 47: Ron Erickson (D)
3250 Pattee Canyon Road
 Missoula, MT 59803

    549-4671 / Nancron@aol.com

    SD 48: Tom Facey (D)
418 Plymouth
 Missoula, MT 59801

    728-6814 / facey_tom@hotmail.com

    SD 49: Dave Wanzenried (D)
903 Sky Dr
 Missoula, MT 59804

    543-2775 / daveew@gmail.com

    SD 50: Cliff Larsen (D)
8925 LaValle Creek Road
 Missoula, MT 59808

    728-1601 / Cliff@larsenusa.com
    .. If you need inspiration for a letter or email check out the one written by Wayne Mumford over at WILL FISH FOR WORK.
    .. Fishing and catching ends on the wade section of the Madison River today, (February 28, 2011.) It's time to let the fish cavort and indulge in sexual shenanigans. Only the section between the lakes is now open. With the return of a few sunny & warm, (20's,) days the midges should return with a vengeance. We'll let you know.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Ex Post Facto

    The Reps On The Floor
    and in committee
    (P.S. snow for a few days)

    .. If you'd like to watch the public floor show that the Montana House of Representatives put on about HB 309 you can CLICK HERE. If you want to listen to it CLICK HERE.
    .. Should you be interested enough to watch the Montana House of Representatives Agriculture Committee address this bill CLICK HERE. If you want to listen to it CLICK HERE. The committee session includes interested-party testimony.
    .. These are long media clips provided by the State of Montana and should allow you to see the House of Representatives in action. The floor session is about 37 minutes long. The committee session is about 1 hour and 16 minutes long. [Requires RealPlayer.]
    .. The first half of the committee session is given over to proponents of HB 309.
    .. The time markers for opponents of the bill & of interest to fly fishers are:
    ==> Montana Wildlife Federation =  @ 25 minutes and 57 seconds,
    ==> Montana DFWP legal counsel = @ 29 minutes,
    ==> Montana Trout Unlimited = @ 37 minutes and 30 seconds,
    ==> Clark Fork Coalition = @ 45 minutes and 20 seconds.
    .. When the Senate media becomes available we'll let you know. 
    .. If you're up for a real YUK check out the Montana Cowgirl Post on Nutjob Bills in this current legislative session.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    The Good Fight

    Please Take Heed
    .. Over the last three weeks we've spent the better part of two months rent on gasoline and motel bills, (and not fished for more than about 6 hours.) We've visited with some friends, neighbors, relatives and politicos.
    .. We've traipsed from door to door and from staffer to staffer. We've visited with elected and appointed officials. We are disheartened and enlightened.
    .. Under normal circumstances Helena, Montana would not be our choice of midwinter destinations; however this is decidedly not normal. The Montana State Legislature is in session, (once every two years,) and our seat of government is burbling with conversation ranging from medical marijuana to fishing in ditches.
    .. Unless you've been asleep at the switch, you know about the ludicrous attempt by the Montana House of Representatives to redefine public water into private water. HB 309 is a top player in any search engine right now. Even blogs and images make the hit list. And they should.
    .. We talked to our Representatives and Senators, (a perquisite of old age,) and visited with many staff persons.
    .. We also visited with some DFWP servants and can now provide you with some enlightening news. The old adage "All politics is local," is the watchword in Helena.
    .. While every person we talked with is acutely aware of the mini maelstrom surrounding this bill, they are also aware of the seeming nonchalance from citizens of the State of Montana and the deep concern of citizens from other states.
    .. It may seem callous to note that there is, apparently, more concern from outside our borders than inside. We are awakened and a bit startled!
    .. Our elected representatives need to hear from the citizens of Montana. Newspapers, Television, Blogs, and other "media" can only spotlight the issue. Citizens, however, must make their voice heard.
    .. If you've never done it before, do it now! Write a letter, make a phone call, (or if you must send an email.) Our legislators need to hear from you. The more personal the form of communication, the more effective it is.
    .. An email works. A letter from a constituent carries more weight. A personal visit is truly a heavy vote. And remember, there are people with a lot more money than us that have daily access to the law makers.
    .. Although not a certainty, it looks like our Senate will drown this obnoxious piece of legislation. Write to your Senators and give them the reasons for doing so. Let them know that the citizens of Montana are as concerned as the citizens from other states.
    .. For an excellent summation of the issue check out "Will Fish For Work." See also the interesting post in Chi Wolf!
    .. Be direct, polite, and informed. Senators listen to cogent arguments: they can use them themselves.
    .. Our Senator in SD 35 is Art Wittich: Phone = 406-444-4800, Email = senatorwittich@montana.com. It's going to be interesting to see the votes of the Senators. We've already seen the votes of the Representatives!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Went Fishing - Caught Fish

    Fish Is Strange

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Best Bar By A Dam Site

    Good With Flame Broiled Beef
    good food and good fun

    .. Now there's a change of pace. The Happy Hour Bar on the shores of Hebgen Lake is a haven in the winter time for folks that travel between the high country and the salubrious climes of the Madison River Valley down below.
    .. This longtime favorite of local residents harbors good food, good drinks, and good fun.
    .. It's a cozy place with "atmosphere" just dripping from the walls, (and ceiling.) This year-round watering hole is gathering place for the "LAKE PEOPLE." It's out here in the country where elbow room is more important than the minimal conveniences in the town of  West Yellowstone.
    .. Sledheads find it in the winter as they cruise the vast expanses of a frozen Hebgen Lake.
    .. Ice fishers call the place home, (and they can show you buckets of fish as proof that they really were fishing.). The adventurous cross country skiers willing to forgo the sweet and simple trails of Yellowstone National Park frequent the bar for a toddy or two.
    .. In the summertime this is a popular destination for lake fishers, (both gear and fly,) who prefer the adventure of large trout taken from a boat. It's also a port of call for visitors meeting " . . . at the bar . . ."
    .. Seasonal and local festivities center at the Happy Hour Bar. The Super Bowl Party was a scene of extreme gaiety. Through the year you may bump into Senators, Movie Stars, Famous Fly Fishers, and other not quite normal folks. Of course there are quite a few "not quite normal folks" that aren't famous and live right here too. You'll probably meet some of them as well.
    .. This place just warms the soul and the toes if necessary. Grab a stool and order a burger done the way you like it and be sure to try the sweet 'tater fries.Let them know we sent you; but only when you're ready to leave!

    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Let It Snow

    Cold Temps Slowing Rivers
    cautious optimism
    (Click on image for larger size.)
    .. We're becoming cautiously optimistic that there will be good stream-flows and correspondingly good catching this coming season.
    .. The snowpack is up more than just a bit, (LINK #1, LINK #2,) and the recent intermittent chilly temperatures, (-40° F or so,) have us thinking of those bygone days when stream closures for flow or temperature were not even a thought in fishy planning.
    .. Two or three coming weather events have tempered our optimism just a bit. The "Valentines Day Blip," the "St. Patrick's Day Breakup," and the "Tax Return Rains," are still to come.
    .. Some time in the next two weeks there will be a spike in the mid-winter temperatures. This blip can cause havoc with the stream flows, snowpack, and fishing plans. If the warm spike lasts for a week or more we can be in deep do-do, (literally and figuratively.)
    .. Generally we know that Spring, (such as it is up here,) has arrived in mid March. If it warms toward moderate temperatures the melt accelerates and the rivers turn a lovely color that is reminiscent of chocolate milk.
    .. In this part of the world "Spring Break" has more than one meaning. The kids have their own idea and the fishers have theirs. Both groups are already talking about it with eager anticipation.
    .. By mid April we've entered our wet season, (it usually lasts through June.) If the rains come with any sort of persistence the snowpack can be washed away in the blink of an eye.
    .. Cool is cool for the next few months. We're keeping our eye on the data and the forecasts and will let you know how things are shaping up.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Tough Neighbors

    Cold & Clear At Home
    new snow helps
    .. We traveled over the hill to the lowland Madison River. The morning fog persisted for some time and then turned to light snow.
    .. There were very few midges visible but fish noses dimpled the surface near $3 Bridge and took our flies frequently enough to keep us in the water for about three hours.
    .. The trout were happy to eat a size 12 soft hackle. When the noses disappeared from the surface we switched to a large, (size 8,) bead head Prince Nymph and continued to have some fun with the local fish.
    .. There were mostly Rainbow Trout with a couple of precocious 10" Brown Trout in the mix. Two giant Whitefish, (maybe 16") took the nymph out near the large boulder in a typically "trouty place."
    .. The Reynolds Pass fishing access is plowed closed and the early vehicle tracks are not visible under the newly fallen snow. The 6" of snow we just received is a blessing and is keeping the snow water content high for the coming spring.
    .. Back up in the Hebgen Basin the neighbors are still visiting the trout on the Madison River.
    .. Between The Lakes, the Hebgen Tailwater has been lightly fished after the first rush that came with the first snows a couple of months ago.
    .. Just a few neighbors are paying their respects to the trout and the fish are being most accommodating to the few locals that take the time to visit.
    .. The kind folks at Campfire Lodge have kept the road to the river nicely plowed and are willing to listen to requests for parking. There is also a nice wide pull-out at the Cabin Creek Scarp Area.
    .. The local offerings are the usual mixed bag of nymphs, midge clusters, emergers, and attractor dry flies. There has been a recent abandonment of San Juan Worms in favor of a mashed and drowned Adams dry fly.
    .. Drowned dries are in the giant size range, (8 & 10,) and are purposely mangled and rumpled prior to casting. It seems like a waste of good hackle to turn these beauties into a submerged stiff hackle - but then, if it works . . .
    ..We occasionally get to visit with the local fly fishing guides.
    .. They are constantly touting the latest and greatest places, techniques, and flies.
    .. They catch scads of fish as testified to by the fish porn on their cell phones and videos from their fancy cameras. Good on 'em.
    .. Most of the neighbors that fish in the winter seldom darken the doors of the feather merchants. They drink their suds in quiet corners of local pubs and don't seem to associate much with the elite pros. They catch scads of fish too.
    .. They don't usually carry cell phones or cameras. They talk about the weather, the local politics, and mundane topics that fill the life of the working stiff. There is definitely a non-meeting of the minds between these two cultures.
    .. Each of the groups could probably learn much from the other. Sadly, we doubt it will happen. On the one hand there's just too many flies to invent and, on the other there's just too much work to be done.

    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    EEEEEEK !!

    Need A Trim ?
    east coast suavity

    .. Straight from our favorite music blog, (New Heathens,) comes information of the strangest sort. MONTANA FOR METROSEXUALS ????
    .. It seems that Stamford, Connecticut is a genuine hot spot for the "Montana Mystique." Here, (there,) now is a place for men to get a trim, (and many other things if you look at the menu for services in this interesting barber shop.)
    .. As we read the post at The New Heathens blog we fell from our saddle and rolled on the floor choking on spittle and parts of the contents of our stomach that got stuck in our nose.
    .. It's with real satisfaction that we note that folks from Montana who have migrated to the East Coast still recognize what a barber shop is all about.
    .. This barber shop, MONTANA FOR MEN, was opened in 1988 to provide a place for men. If you're feeling manly and studly then stop in and get your hairs cut, or trimmed, or coiffed, or whatever else you like from the menu.
    Montana for Men was established in 1998. Master Barber, Michael Warde, had a belief that gentlemen needed and deserved a Grooming Center to call their own, where they can relax, kick back and receive all the services offered to women, but in a masculine setting. No fear of running into your best friend’s wife while getting your color. We offer the classic barber shop elements with the most up to date modern techniques.
    .. We note, thanks to the extensive New Heathens report that there are some interesting takes on the flavor of Montana. For instance the "The Billings" is a full-boat treatment. You can see some of the other "Packages" below.
    .. The things that seems like they would be at home in our fair state are the beer and televisions. Probably placed there to take your mind off of what you're paying for your package.
    .. We can not do justice to the post on the New Heathens Blog. Check it out for what real Montana haicuts would be. They probably wouldn't fly too far in Stamford, Connecticut.
    For instance:
    The Paradise Valley = Where would you like your hair subdivided, I mean cut?
    The Missoula = Your hair is knotted into dreadlocks and softened with patchouli oil.
    The Bellgrade = Free townhouse by the interstate with every cut.
    .. There's a page full of real Montana haircuts if you choose to laugh so hard it will hurt all the way to Stamford, Connecticut. CLICK HERE!

    Couch Time

    Thursday, February 03, 2011

    Thanks Ralph & Lisa

    11 Years, 8 Cameras, 3 Countries
    just plain buggy

    .. The midges are thick on these recent sunny and nearly windless days. It's nice. It makes the snow enjoyable. It makes catching pretty simple.
    .. As winter thunders back upon us, it may be time for some indoor research. We suggest "BUGS OF THE UNDERWORLD." A spectacular DVD that shows our favorite bugs as never before seen.
    .. Ralph and Lisa Cutter have brought us a DVD to change the way we see and understand the critters that fish eat. They do it with style, simplicity, beauty, and insight.
    .. There's no overwhelming music. There's no pedantic sermons. There is, however information and images that should keep fishers, fly tiers, and interested parties riveted to their screens.
    .. The DVD is available HERE. There are bits and pieces of it on YouTube. There are images stuck in our head that will inform our fishing and hopefully catching for years to come. GET IT!
    .. This is not a new DVD. It's been around for a few years and only gets better with time. It continues to garner awards and accolades. We've worn out one monitor just because it's always on.
    .. There's some hints about midge fishing and possible midge fly patterns in the clip below. There's some interesting insights in the mayfly clip too.Try it you'll like it. It should be good for more than several winter's evenings.


    Wednesday, February 02, 2011

    We'll Miss Ya

    Kind, Gentle, Competent
    caught fish & built rods too
    .. We can't say much more than has already been said. Ralph Moon has passed on after 85 years on this earth. He enriched us all with his charm, wit, insight, and joy for life and fly fishing.
    .. About 18 years ago we became enamored with Ralph's personal rod. A unique taper that allowed us to fish big water with a short rod. It just fit us. At that time it was a 7 1/2', one tip, six weight that seemed to cast itself.
    .. During an afternoon session in the basement rod shop I opined that the rod was nearly perfect. Ralph asked what it needed to be better.
    .. "The same thing in a 5 weight would knock the socks of all the little fish in the lonely stretches of small waters that we liked to fish," burst from our lips.
    .. About a year later the rod was ours, a surprise gift from Ralph. It was now fitted with two tips and cradled in a soft corduroy sleeve that was lovingly hand made by Pat Moon.
    .. The rod now casts both tips with the same precision, delicacy, and ease. That's the kind of guy that Ralph was. Thanks again, more than a bunch, Ralph.
    .. You can read his newspaper remembrance in the Island Park News. It does barely scratch the surface of this once fine fellow. He lives in our memory and that of may others. We're enriched for having known him.