Monday, May 28, 2012

Mother's Day offers backcountry ski trip

We got permission from our wives to do a backcountry ski trip on Mother's Day, so we went. Debby had to work that day anyway, so it wasn't an issue. The night before I performed my husbandly duty by cooking Debby a special dinner of lobster and walleye.
This turned out to be the last ski of the season for me. Snow was in scarce supply this year, and spring ski conditions were sparse. But there was enough snow to get a few tele turns in, and the run back to the trailhead through the trees was challenging.
Let's hope the snow gods treat us better next season.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Last of the big ones?

In Wyoming and the rest of the Rocky Mountain area, a 20-inch trout caught on a fly is generally considered a trophy fish. Some years, I don't catch any that size. Other years, I lose count. Often, I land 1-3 over the course of a season. Last year, for instance, I landed three over 20 inches and was more than satisfied.
This spring has produced a surprising number of big fish for me and my friends. I have landed 11 trophy-quality rainbows so far over 20, with a 26 1/2 inch bow the standout of the group. On the day I landed the 22-incher in this photo, Sam caught the biggest trout of his life - a monster 28-inch rainbow that probably was pushing 10 pounds. Willi has landed more big trout than anybody I know this spring, including a few browns and cutthroat over 20 inches.
The spring rainbow trout spawn that produced many of these trophies is about over. There are still lots of big fish to be caught, but they won't be as easy until the fall, when the browns begin to spawn.
In the meantime, just the thought that the next fish could be a trophy will keep me going.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A sucker's born every minute

A face only a mother could love.

You never can be sure what you're going to catch when it comes to fishing. Today, I was expecting to get into some big rainbows, but instead was fooled by two white suckers that took my hothead leech. They fought like brown trout, slugging it out deep, yet I was somewhat disappointed when I finally got them to the surface and identified their species.
Suckers and I go way back. As a kid, I loved to catch them during their spring spawning run in a local creek. Many of them ended up on the bank, rather than released back into the stream. At the time, I thought suckers were trash fish and should be removed to protect the trout.
I once wrote a feature story for the Bozeman Chronicle detailing some of the atrocities I had committed upon suckers. My fans thought it was hilarious, and for years people would bring up the story. It became the most memorable piece I ever wrote. Other people were appalled by the article. One irate reader even wanted to fight me over it.
Now, I realize suckers are native fish and part of the ecosystem. In fact, in the West where brown, rainbow and brook trout are all introduced through stocking, the lowly sucker has more of a right to be here than the more "desirable" fish.

A Hoovermouth brought to net.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eggs-actly the right fly

Egg patterns keep producing on large rainbows this spring. Today I landed around 10 trout, half on eggs, half on buggers.
I wear a size 10 wading boot.

Over 20 inches and fat
A darker rainbow trout

Another fat 'bow