Oh my LORD!
We are in the midst of day 4 here in Montana and let me tell you, nothing has prepared us for the wonders that the river has brought forth. I will start at the beginning…
We arrived to a huge surprise, our own personal lodge looking over the town of Ennis, Montana. The folks over at Rainbow Valley Lodge really set us up with a great home base. We have a full kitchen (which is good to feed 6 big guys) , beds for all and a nice big porch to enjoy a brew and tell fish stories from. From our private oasis we can easily tell how the wind is blowing over the lake… but the real magic lies in the nearby Madison River.
The first day of shooting we hooked up with our friend Jason at Bozeman Angler, and he took us on our first drift down the Madison. It really helps to have a guide out there from the get go. Fly fishing is tricky business, you need to know what bugs are hatching, and what the trout are eating, and every river is different. Jason showed us how to handle the Madison, and his drift boat was a top notch platform to shoot the Kayakers from. The fishing was a bit slow (or we were a bit slow.. one or the other…) Didn’t matter to C.G… he still managed to haul a fish out of the river.
I would say, as always, the fishing is only half the story out here. As usual the real fun is the people we meet along the way. I am happy to include C.G. as a member of that group of amazing people I get to shoot with.
Not only is he an amazing angler, managing to find the fish even when there seems to be none, but he is also a great teacher. Both Randy and Jim have quickly become great casters under his instruction. Proving that with the right teacher, anyone can chuck a fly.
He knows the area, knows the hatch, and can tie a knot faster than you can say… “Hey CG.. can you tie a knot for me?”
We did get to share a bit of knowledge with him however, and I am happy to say he can add a bit of fast moving water to his skills. He was a little nervous when we first hit a few long wave trains… but now he hits em all with a huge grin. What a great guy to spend your week with.
On the second day of our adventure, the training was over and it was time to hit some serious fish. First stop was a quick visit to our friends at Bozeman Angler to grab a few flies and meet up with our guide to the Yellowstone River, Cole. The Bozeman Angler is a very cool shop down in the heart of Bozeman. The people are super nice, and the guides are top notch. If you are heading out here to fish, give them a call. The best part is that they figured out how to guide the kayakers down the river, which should have been a bit of a challenge.. but Cole and Jason took it all in stride.
The Yellowstone River provided a ton of fish for us. Both Jim and Randy got some one on one time with our man Cole and he showed them how to spot the flash, toss the fly and land em. It was only a matter of time before they both snagged their first trout… and not long after that Jim landed his first from the kayak.
Not all was peachy however. Although C.G., Jim and Randy all caught fish.. many fish… on the Yellowstone. One man stood alone from the pack… watching and waiting for the right moment to catch a fish.
Mister ‘Birdsnest’ Herman watched over the group in cold, calculating silence… waiting in the wings for the right time to show his skills. By the third day, with a return to the Madison river, he still hadn’t managed to break a streak of slight misses and big chances. By day four he was getting visibly frustrated… but that all was an act it seemed.
Every trip we do, something special comes at one point or another. Double hook ups, record breaking tuna, and Montana was no slouch… Bird pulled out of that river the fish of a lifetime. A trophy brown trout. I can’t show ya the pictures yet, we want to keep em under wraps for now. Let’s just say that it is gonna blow your mind.
Three more days of fishing ahead. Can’t wait to tell you the rest of the story.