Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bite sized Brookies on the Middle Fork of the Dearborn

A couple weekends ago I went for a weekend stay at my friend Scott's cabin on the middle fork of the Dearborn River. Nestled in the woods off Highway 200 to Lincoln, MT sits a picturesque cabin in what seems to be in the middle of nowhere, only to be hidden a couple hundreds yards down off the highway. Further down along a beaten path, a horseshoe pit sits alongside a quaint little stream that meanders through towering lodge pole pines. One look at this raw beauty of nature gets the blood pumping with thoughts of fish and flies. It was getting near dark so I had to calm myself and wait till morning to head out on this little gem.

The following day, after a long night of drinking,

I rigged up and made my way downstream in search of a little run, riffle, pool.

This water is nothing of which I am used to by any means. One look at it and you begin to think "How can this hold any fish? It's so tiny and shallow". The water at its deepest point is shin high, reaching only an average of 6-8 feet across. With a 9' 5 wt. rod in hand, I knew I was going to have to stay low and take a stealthy approach if I were to have any luck. Walking along the tight bank I immediately spot a nice undercut bank followed by a quick riffle. I move around some trees, maneuvering my rod through the foliage as I come into better view. My body casts an angular shadow across the hole and I see 4 to 5 fish spook and duck for cover. "Damn! I'm a F#@%ing idiot!" I say to myself. Two dart upstream while the rest swim for cover into the undercut. I figure I still had a chance to entice one with a dry I would present right next to the front ledge of the undercut. I tie on a tiny Royal Wulff and with a cunning grin I drop the fly in the tail out of the riffle on a direct path of my target. "Right there... perfect... take it..." BAM! I quickly jolt my line up, completely missing the strike only to get snarled in the tree above me. UUGGGHH! I compose myself and try again, and again, and again, and again. Damn fish are getting the best of me! A dozen or so strikes and the same result. I begin to raise the rod a little later, counting to three for the take. Still can't land the damn thing(s). So after almost two dozen casts and more than a dozen strikes. I decide I better check my fly or change it. I reel up, take a look at the wulff and sure enough, no F@#$ing hook! A perfectly tied fly rest on the end of my line, yet no hook. I must have busted it off in the tree on that first cast. I had never felt so humiliated in my life! At least I was alone, and nobody had to witness my foolishness. I surely would have been made a mockery! I retied on another Wulff, the one with the sharpest hook in my box, and went after it again. This time I would not fail. Sure enough, the starving little beast took the fly perfectly on the very next cast and he was on! This little fellow was fighting for his life! Up, down, around until I finally just yanked him up onto the shore. It was a beautiful plump little brookie. 11-12 inches.

His color was an amazing bronze. This was the first I had seen all year. As triumphant as I felt for finally catching the little rascal, I could immediately see he was very tired. It was quite the struggle for such a little guy. I snapped some quick pics and released him back into his watery lair. This would be the biggest fish of the trip.

I later fished a few other holes and runs only to find many 4-6 inch and two 8-9 inch light-colored brooks. Amazing as it was I even caught a 5 inch brookie on a size eight Dave's Hopper.

Scott came out with me for a while to show me some spots upstream. I gave him a brown San Juan to try along side an underwater log. He drifted the worm along side the tree and after a couple hits, he had the fish on. It was fun to watch as he reeled in the 10 inch brook.

Overall I had a blast on this wonderful little creek. In all, I estimate I caught a little less than 30 fish, many of them small, but just as fun as the first. I was amazed that the size of the creek could actually hold fish in the smallest of runs and shallowest of riffles and pools. A great couple days in my books and hope to make it up again. There's just something about a small creek nestled in nature that can make you forget about everything in the world, cast your troubles away and just live in the moment... free.

Quote of the Day

You can fish all your life never knowing –
it's not fish you're after ...

- Steel Head Films

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The River Constant

Overwhelming notions that all time is lost unto itself, as the hours linger, only to be perceived as moments. There's something about a stream or river, particularly near dusk that can make any angler’s heart perspire. The glittering sun-glazed surface of the water, the bustling insect activity, birds chirping - rustling in their topiary lairs, the shimmer and a glimpse of a rising trout in the near proximity, the intoxicating - nostalgic smell of nature itself, the infinite melody and caress of the waters constant pure drift mixed with the lust to land the fish of a lifetime beholds the perfect prescription for the human soul. It's a drug to me; immeasurable, ever ceasing to deplete its active ingredients. I yearn for it daily, finding myself with drawling almost every hour; it has a hold on me, incessantly commanding my return for the high that fills every fiber of my being. It's visceral and effectively spiritual for me. I question whether I am completely fatuous or if I share this obsession, only to hope there are others who relate to this allure that I call “The River Constant”.

Belt Creek Holds Its Own

The Belt Creek a few miles from Belt is still producing fish on a regular basis. I've caught 12-15 average sized trout over the past week and a half. What I like about this creek is that it's a 20 minute drive and I am able to get a decent three hours of fishing in after I get off work during the week. The fishing has mainly all been presented with dries with a little nymphing still working well. It's amazing to watch the action heat up around 8:00 with the fish rising like crazy.

It'll be like that up until 9:45 with the last bit of the days sunlight peaking over the horizon. Most of my fish are caught during this threshold of time, making the sight of my dry on the surface all that harder to see. Any rise, any splash and I'm setting the hook. Changing flies on a moments notice at dusk can be a daunting task all in its own!

The hatches have been sporatic lately. Little caddis, lots of tiny yellow PMD's, a few Hexagenia mayflies, and what looks to be golden stones in their shucks in the creek bed. Enough to keep em looking up!

The River Why

I just finished reading the novel by David James Duncan, The River Why. It was written nearly 30 years ago, yet still resonates in the literary world today. Just look at the hundreds of pages of reviews you will find on any popular online bookstore, and you see what I mean. I'll be honest, I don't read a lot of books, especially fiction, but when I came across a review online about how the critics are comparing it to Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It, I just had to get my hands on a copy. I have yet to read Maclean's Novella, but I have seen the movie multiple times, and thoroughly enjoyed it. And when I read that a movie was in production for The River Why as of July 2008, I figured it was good timing for me to read the book to then see the motion picture. First of all, I just want to say that in my opinion, The River Why is probably the best novel I have ever read. Like I said before, I don't read very often, but this one has to top my list. It's a story about a young man named Gus, the Motzart of fly fishing, who leaves his parents once graduating high school to fulfill his dream of fishing his "Ideal Schedule". Along the way he becomes empty and numb by his quest of fishing and begins to search for things to fill his life, rather than just fish. It's a truly remarkable and hysterical story of a boy who becomes a man by the age of 20 living alone in a cabin in the fictional Tamanawis Valley along the Tamanawis River, who finds self-discovery, love, a passion and meaning for life and above all, God which he first refers to "Nameless" and finally "The Line of Light." If you have yet to read this book, I strongly encourage you to look for a copy and read it now. You will not regret it. There is a lot of fishing, and more fishing, but the book is not only for the fishermen/women at heart, but for anybody who wants to open their minds and hearts to the possibilities we as humans are capable of. For those of you who have read it, read it again. I can see myself picking it up again very soon.

Secondly, As for the movie which has yet to have a release date determined, some controversy revolves around it. As with any book turned screenplay, many hard-core River Why fans want it left to the readers imaginations and not how some Hollywood writer/producer/director will portray this literary masterpiece. Also, rumors say Duncan, the author filed a lawsuit against the producer Kristi Denton Cohen for copyright infringement by taking the story from the publisher, Sierra Club Books without Duncan's authorization. Throughout a series of court hearings, it is said Duncan settled out of court and was paid an undisclosed amount of money. With this being said, the film under this production company apparently still has the rights and is currently in post-production. The film was directed without any help or direction by Duncan himself. Though Duncan stated in an interview, he has already made arrangements with a well-known producer and director and plans on working side by side to be sure his story is told the way it should be. Either way, I am exited for the film(s) to hit the big screen. With the casting of the beautiful Amber Heard as "Eddy", Gus's love interest, I'm sure one look at her and the critics will forget about all this nonsense and watch with their tongues dangling on the floor.

"Scene with Eddy from The River Why"

For more info on the movie, Click Here!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Poem of the Day

for every real lock

there is only one real key
and it’s in some other dream
now invisible

it’s the key to the one real door
it opens the river and the sky both at once
it’s already in the downward river
with my hand on it
my real hand

and I am saying to the hand

open the river

-W.S. Merwin

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Two Cents on the Great Debate and the Honey Pot

During the past weekend over the 4th of July break, I had Friday off from work and while most of my friends were on their way to Bigfork for a weekend of partying, I decided to stay home for the annual family barbeque and to go fly fishing. My cousin Jacob, whom shares the same passion for fly fishing as I do, had decided to come and spend the weekend from Bozeman with his family. This was one of the main reasons I had decided to stay in town for the weekend. It’s actually just nice to associate myself with someone who enjoys fly fishing as much as I do. Not one of my friends whom were all raised in Montana, fly fish, let alone make any attempt to just fish period. Pretty sad right!? Sure, I have a great fishing buddy Nate, but he likes the old fashioned, easy, laid back, unchallenging spin fishing. I just think it’s taking the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up on this type of fishing on the Lakes of Minnesota, on the Yellowstone River right in my backyard for 3 years of my life and then growing up on the Missouri. Why not mix it up a bit, make things a bit interesting and challenge yourself to something new? When I first picked up the fly rod when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I hated it, but over time I learned to love it. It’s just hard to relate to somebody out on the river though we are doing the same thing, but in completely different fashions. A good metaphor to compare bait vs. fly fisherman for example would be like comparing a deaf and blind fisherman. Let’s say the deaf person being the fly fisherman and the bait/lure fisherman being the one who is blind. I would assume without a doubt the deaf fisherman would fly fish because the technical approach to using a fly rod is all about sight. On the other hand, the blind bait fisherman would be better off using a spin rod, because all you need to do is just cast it out, wait or reel in for a bite. In my mind, spin casting is like pulling a slot machine and is hit or miss whereas fly fishing uses the visual aspect and technical side of the sport to its advantage. These analogies might spark some controversy, but it’s just an opinion and I respect both sides of the case. I will never be completely for or against either of the two. I don’t want to get too deep into the debate; I just needed to put in my two cents on the subject which has been going on as early as the 1600’s as it was in the story of “Piscator” and “Viator” from Izaak Walton’s "The Compleat Angler."

The whole interlude before this section of this blog post actually relates to the fishing experience I had on Belt Creek last Friday afternoon. I believe I would have never caught as many fish as I did in one hole if I would have been spin/bait fishing. The lures would have without a doubt spooked out the trout quicker than quick. A worm may have enticed a few, but I perceive they probably would have gotten bored and moved on downstream. This is where the beauty of fly fishing comes into play. As previously posted, I spoke of a hole I have fishing many times without coming up empty handed. I again worked it for a good hour and a half with two fish landed and three lost, all average size. The fishing slowed dramatically for the next half hour without a single bite. At this point in July, the creek’s flows are down and perfect for summer fishing compared to April and May. So after another few dozen casts into the hole, I realized I had become numb to my surroundings being so focused on this spot, I took a look around and noticed a nice back eddy/current seam that seemed to have just recently formed 30 yards upstream. I noticed this section was deeper earlier in the season when the flows were up, but showed no such holding spot. The flows which have still been slowly lowering week after week must have revealed this little gem only within the past week or two. I was always so hell bent on getting to the same hole every time; I had overlooked it without giving it a second thought. So after the slow lull I thought, what the heck, I’ll give that hole a shot. The fly which has been producing well for me in this area has been as size 16 purple bead head prince nymph. I tied it on and began dead drifting it through the seam. After a few drifts a fish hit hard and moved straight down into the hole. It felt like a good fish. I quickly worked it out towards the shallow riffle at the end of the pool and got it in the quicker water to tire it. After about a 1 minute of tiring it in the current, she gave up and had landed the healthy 16 inch rainbow onto the bank. I jumped with joy and couldn’t believe I had caught this beautiful fish. I reached for my bag to get the camera, only to realize I had left my pack down on the bank near the second hole. Damn I thought. I needed to snap a pick of this fish for it was the biggest I had pulled from this creek this year. With the hook still in, I wedged my rod, tightened the drag and left a foot or two line for the fish to hang in the pool. I dashed down and grabbed the pack, raced back hoping to see the fish resting in the pool. I was in luck. I pulled the brute back on shore and got out the camera. She violently flopped around on the bank covering her self in dirt and debris. The perfectionist that I am, I wanted a clean shot of her elegance so I locked onto her tail and gently washed her off without realizing with all the thrashing about had released the hook from her lip. As I had her in the shallow water, she slipped my grip and with a flick of her tail was gone. UUGGHHH!!! I sat in disappointment for a moment, which didn’t last long. The adrenaline had taken over and I told myself I’d just have to get another one. Determined, I cleaned my line and began to drift the purple nymph once again. About 4 or 5 casts later, BAM, another fish on! This one tugged a bit at first, feeling like a little guy so I rolled my rod tip to my right and toward the bank and immediately felt a huge surge of energy with a few massive head shakes it let out. Whoa! This guy is big. I watched my line make two and half circles in the pool. Fearing a snag, I rolled the rod to my left hoping to move it out into the flat downstream. He did and I then caught a glimpse of his size! .

A very nice fish! I thought I better get him in quick or I’ll lose him. I tired him in the current quickly, keeping constant pressure on the rod and slowly backed up while reeling in the line. I had enough room to back up and drag him up far enough on the shore to be sure he wouldn’t escape. I was impressed with his size and threw out a fist pump as if I were Tiger Woods on the 18th green at the Masters! I got out the camera, laid him down by my rod, snapped a few pics and later measured the length from the photo and determined he was a good 18-19 inches.

I couldn’t believe I pulled this beast out of such a small creek. A good look at his awe and I released him back into the pool off the bank. Some might not think a fish this size would get you as excited as I was, but for me, this was a milestone in my fly-fishing course. My biggest to date as far as I can remember, though some may have compared from my younger days on the Yellowstone, it’s hard to really say. But this one will be remembered for some time to come.

I fished the hole till dark, having an epic day. I pulled another 4 fish from including another brown brute at 17-18 inches on a size 18 flashback pheasant tail, a good healthy 16 inch cutthroat,
and a couple nice sized rainbows.

I caught a few on dries rising mostly only to the flies I threw at them. A yellow size 12 stimulator, size 14-16 olive elk hair caddis and parachute Adams. I felt like Pooh and this was my very own Honey Pot. I have found that I need to work a little on my dry fly techniques as I had at least a dozen or so strikes come up empty handed. A split second too soon on most of my sets was the culprit. Overall, one shy of a dozen on a solitary day of fishing was exactly what I needed to get my spirits up. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had really only caught enough fish to count on one hand, and now it’s hard to keep track of my catches. I am just grateful my fishing experiences this year have allowed me to keep a fire burning inside and for my ever-growing passion for the sport to stay alive.

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” - Vince Lombardi

Monday, July 6, 2009

Belt Creek Honey Hole

Belt Creek begins high up in the Little Belt Mountains, runs down through Logging Creek and into the Sluice Box canyon, and then on down through the town of Belt, MT where it flows its final 20 mile stretch before it meets it's demise and joins the Missouri River. It's a little hidden gem we people of Great Falls and the surrounding areas are lucky to have in our close proximity. This year I have fished higher up below Logging Creek just before the run off with no luck, but was privileged to see its beauty and prestige it holds. Over the past month and later May, I have been fishing the lower stretches pretty heavily. There is a section my friend Nate and I have hit a couple times with no luck, actually I have never had much luck on that stretch and don’t even know why we fish it. There are a few holes and classic runs along this stretch that I have fished quite a bit with no action. It seems as if there should be some bigger fish in these spots, but haven’t seen many fish get past more the 6 inches. But there is a spot I found this year on the lower stretch closer to Belt with a hole that produces fish every time I fish it. The first time I fished it was in mid May during the run off. It was running pretty high, but still clear. A co-worker, Dave and I worked a few stretches. Dave had caught an average size brown in the middle of a run on a size14-16 prince nymph. We worked our way down a little more and found a nice deep hole. I fished it for about 10 minutes as the current was a little high and quick and the back cast was very tight. I recall getting a bite or two, but no fish to reel in. After a slow day, we headed back in to Great Falls.

It wasn’t until about two weeks ago I decided to give it another go. Once again I worked the stretches on the way to the familiar hole with no luck. Once I got to the hole, i
t was just around 8 pm. I nymphed the same hole for about 15 minutes before I began to see risers near the current seam and back eddy. I looked around for a hatch and saw small brown caddis and even smaller midges. I also saw some pale winged, pale yellow-bodied flies hovering around the banks. They looked to be like a strain of yellow sally or pale morning dun. I decided to tie on a fly I had just bought at the fly shop, a PMD emerger.

This had a brighter yellow body than the natural, but I decided to give it a try. I had to angle myself so I wouldn’t hit the high trees behind me which I had done so often while casting a nymph. My first cast hit perfectly where I had watched only seconds earlier a riser had sipped a top water morsel. One… Two… Three… Bam! It was a perfect take. The little rainbow immediately skipped across the water, made a few moves up then downstream. I kept the rod tip bent upstream and stripped him in. A small 12 inch rainbow, but my first dry fly catch of the season.

I giggled with laughter like a kid in a candy store. A beautiful sight indeed. My next dozen or so casts yielded another 3 fish, two of which had loosened their lips from my fly before landing them, but still average enough to keep me entertained. Countless other strikes without properly setting the hook were lost. I lost the PMD emerger on a branch near the casting spot. A brown elk hair caddis then nurtured a few strikes, but not of which I could hook. I fished the hole for a good hour with lots of action and about a half dozen catches.

As the rising stopped dead at 9:30 pm, I made my way back to the car proud of my work and couldn’t wait to return.

About 4 days later on a Saturday a morning, I decided I would bring Nate down to see if we couldn’t catch some more. As we worked our way downstream we stopped at a nice little spot known to hold fish. I threw out an olive sculpin pattern hoping entice a nice fish from off the bank. Nate had only put out a few casts before catching a small brook tr
out. He got it close, but was unable to land it. It was an average size fish about 10-11 inches. We moved our way up to the hole which had given up a half a dozen fish only days before. I let Nate work it for a bit, only to see him get a little frustrated with the tight casting area. Mind you, he is a spin caster and still had slight trouble. He decided to sit and relax for a bit, sipping on a beer before moving downstream a bit. I stayed for I had a feeling it had to give up at least one if it had produced so well earlier the other night. A few casts in and a good size rainbow took my purple bead-headed prince nymph. A strange pattern, but I thought I’d give it a try. The fish put up a fight with a few good head shakes and then moved its way into the quicker current. I let out some slack as I was ready to put him on the reel. I could see him shake twice, and with a showy flash of its side, it was gone. I was upset, as this fish was nice. Bigger than any of the others I had caught so far, about 15 inches. I regained my composure and threw out another cast. A few more dead drifts and I had another fish on. This time I would make sure not to lose this one. I kept my line tight as I put him on the reel right away. He put up a fight, but I could tell he was a bit smaller than the one I previously fought. I got him close to the bank and grabbed a hold of him! Victory! Nate was about 75 yards down-stream, I made sure to make a few whoops to let him know I had landed one. I pulled him out of the water to see long red slits under its gills.

A very pretty cutthroat at 14 inches, I was pleased. I snapped a few pics and released him back into the creek.

I decided to work my way down to where Nate had been fishing for a while now. A smaller hole, about 4 feet deep downstream about 50 yards looks to hold fish, but after a dozen casts, I moved to the next hole down another 40 yards. This is a beautiful hole which runs pat a large bank-side boulder and into a 12-15 foot deep pool which bac
k eddies back under a low hanging tree which covers a 15-20 feet in diameter. A good holding place for trout to hide and rise without worry. We both fished this for 20 minutes or so with no luck. It was about 3:00 with a hot sun blazing down. I figured the fish were lying low, and not very energetic. We worked out way back to the first hole, which I now have labeled my “honey hole”. I have had luck every time I fish it. I’ve yet to catch anything big, but I have a feeling it will give up something big at some point. I fished it a bit while Nate struggled with a lure caught in the trees. Not much action occurred for the next hour so we decided to head back to the car. Overall, I caught two fish and had three slip away out of the hole that day. I was so excited that I have now found a hole guaranteed to give up fish every time I fish it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Drifting the Mighty Mo'

About three weeks ago or so, I was privileged enough to be in the presence of some fly fishing pros in my books. A good friend of mine, Jon Tierney and his roommate, Big R Fly boy Sam Wike, who have both been fly fishing for most of their lives, went for a drift along the banks of the Mighty Mo’. It was my first float ever on the beautiful Missouri River. I know, right! It’s been in my backyard my whole life and I have never taken advantage of it. When I was younger, I bait fished around lower stretches of Cascade on a motor boat a few times, but for me that doesn’t really count. It was on a Sunday about noon we made our way out to Craig to get the latest news about river, and so Sam could talk with his buddy who works in The Trout Shop. After some chit chat, I bought a bad ass Buff and we were on our way. We decided to put in at Mid-Canon and float down to Pelican Point, about a 6-7 hour float. We rigged up and were off. The day was pleasant with partially dark rain clouds in the distance over Holter Lake/Dam and a slight breeze in an overcast sky. The temp decreased from about 75 down to upper 60’s throughout the float. Although the wind picked up heavily for a small stretch, I couldn’t ask for a better float. It wasn’t long before Jon had a fish on. A very nice hook lipped male brown, about 19-20 inches.

We pulled into the shore while Jon wrangled in this brute from the bank. A beautiful fish and the biggest I have seen this year. This was just the beginning of our float, and the adrenaline began to flow. I spent the next part of our float patiently waiting to catch a big fish. By this point Sam and Jon were taking turns rowing and fishing. Each had a few landed with a few getting away. I struggled a bit with a few tangles, but kept my cool and calmly untangled my messes. I was determined as ever to catch at least one fish, as Sam was optimistic about it and guaranteed I would before the end of the day. It was maybe 15 minutes later I felt a tug on my line as I watched my indicator go under the surface. At first I thought just might be another snag, as a few previously occurred. As soon as I saw my line make a few erratic direction changes, I knew I had a FISH ON! I was ecstatic! Finally all my outings and 1000’s of casts this year had paid off. The fish stayed down for most of its fight, but a quick bolt to the surface gave me a chance to see what I was battling. A flash of white instinctively made me think Rainbow, but then I realized it was darker as less shiny and I knew I had on a Mountain Whitefish. I am used to seeing these as I have caught many in the Yellowstone growing up. Undeterred, I kept up the fight and had him landed. That was fun I thought as Sam snapped a few picks.

It was a good size, at least 16 inches. I wanted more, I wanted to land a big brown or rainbow, and a fish I knew would put up a bigger fight. My next fish came about an hour later as I sipped on a white ale, setting my hook with beer in hand! I could see the fish as it was about 5 yards off the side of the boat in clear shallow water. Another whitefish, but this one was a bit larger than the first, and I was pleased. I made a comment about how I still needed to catch a large brown or rainbow, which I had yearned for all year. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited for catching some decent fish, but I like the variety of catching other fish, especially a big brown or rainbow. The float slowed for awhile with Jon missing a few on dries for a short section. I had a purple copper john on for the last section of our float and as we came off a small seam/back eddy. My line hit hard. My rod tip bent hard down near the water’s surface. Sam immediately said it must be a large brown and I got very excited. He told me to let him run if I needed to. As soon as he said this, my line was so tight from the boat drifting further from the seam where I hooked him, and without time to think and give him some slack… Snap! Shit! I had lost him. It had all happened so fast. A beast in my possession for a moment in time, gone, lost to the river. Could have been the biggest fish of my life, yet I will never know. I was hard on myself for losing that one, but it was a lesson learned and experience gained to help me with the next one. Towards the end of our drift, Jon slammed a late spawner near the bank on JJ Special streamer pattern. Her tail and fins had been ripped to shreds as we assume other fish trying to eat her eggs had done so.

Quite interesting to see a late spawner and the condition she was in to say the least. Overall, I had a blast on the river that day. Between the three of us, we calculated 17 fish on with 10 landed. Not a bad day at all in my books. I was just happy to finally have the smell of fish on my hands and to have looked in the eyes of a few very nice fish. I want to dedicate this post to Sam and Jon and thank them for taking me out that day as up to that point this year, it was the best day of fishing I have had. Yes, two fish of larger size is considered my best day on the water so far. Sam was kind enough to post a blog about whitefish with a pic of me from the trip on the Big R Fly shop website. Check it out on the bug blogs!