Friday, November 23, 2012

Cirque of the Towers

Cirque of the Towers
Every man has a dream. Some dream to play professional sports, some dream to be successful businessmen, some may just dream for a quiet life, and then some people don't stop dreaming. I dream and dream big. The Cirque of the Towers promised to be one of the most majestic settings that eyes could be laid upon and late August seemed like perfect timing. As snowpack was greatly reduced from previous years we were kindly greeted to mosquitoless air, which was a delight indescribable in backcountry terms. We hiked in about 6 miles and set up base camp at Big Sandy Lake. The weather was ideal, with warm afternoons and cool nights. From our base camp we would take day hikes around the area. Big Sandy Lake provided a central location that allowed for this type of exploring, ideal to maximize time and speed. We tracked up to Black Joe Lake on our first day and it turned out to be our best fishing, just as we had expected. There are some complications that would sway ordinary fisherman away from Black Joe. There is no trail around the right side of the lake, so if you want to fish it you have to boulder hop the entire way. It may sound like a good idea, but after 2 hours of hoping and your only half way across the lake you can assure you feet and legs are going to be sore for quite some time! Another issue is Black Joe Lake is basically a wind tunnel. This makes it nearly impossible to cast. Waves were actually breaking on the lake from the winds. But we still caught a number of good cutthroats but nothing that reached 20 inches or over. After rapping up a day there we hiked back down to camp and found fishing the inlet stream to Big Sandy Lake was some fast action brook trout fishing. So each night we would settle down and have some fun in the small stream. The next day we made it up to Clear Lake. We didn't fish here but the scenery was beautiful. The third day brought on the hike to the Cirque. It would be quite a climb but we were ready for the challenge. We got on the trail early and made our way up. After climbing about 2,347,082,341 switchbacks we noticed some rain starting to set in the area. We picked up our pace and made it to the pass. The Cirque was unreal, indescribable with words or pictures. Of course it started raining about 5 minutes after we got up there so we started hightailing it back to avoid being caught on the pass in a thunderstorm. Turned out the rain passed by and it was a non issue but it did have us nervous for a while. We stopped at a couple lakes on the back and had some very good luck for some small brook trout. The next day we hiked out with a couple stops along the way for fishing. It was another great trip, one that I will never forget. Here are some pics below. Til next time...
- Dreamcatchers 
Hiking in
Camp next to a small inlet stream to Big Sandy Lake

Cutt from Black Joe

Nice one
The far side of Black Joe Lake, there was another smaller lake behind it
On the far side of Black Joe Lake
Looking back down from the far side. You can tell why it is so windy
Another Cutt!

Black Joe from the hike out. The right side is all boulder hoping


Danny and Mike with Big Sandy Lake in the background

Danny casting a line early in the morning

On the way up to the Cirque, Looking back down at Big Sandy

Weather is creeping in

Lonesome Lake below the Cirque
Colorful Brook Trout

Looking down at our campsite in the top left of the valley

Mike's hand after some filaing

Brook trout from the stream

Danny hooked up

Casting a line


Big Sandy Creek on the way out
Til Next Time



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Southwest Montana

Montana '12

The anticipation had built in my mind for quite some time. My chance had finally come to explore some of the better trout fishing waters this country has too offer. We wasted no time when our plane touched the ground. Every second would be precious on this trip and we wanted to conserve every bit of it for fishing. We took off down the Madison Valley. With mountain peaks lining each side of the valley the beautiful Madison river effortlessly carved through the middle. As we made it down to the middle fork of the madison river we set up camp and headed out to the river. The wading was quite different than what I was used to back home, as the water was often quick and sometimes deep. We still managed some success in the couple hours before dark. I hooked up with a couple rainbows, and Mike pulled in our first Madison River brown trout. The next morning we awoke early to try our luck at a different area of the river. We had somehow perfectly timed our trip to match up with the famous salmonfly hatch, which brings hoards of people to the Madison river each year. Big fish on big dry flies! Hard to beat! We each threw on our flies and tried our luck. It took some time to figure out how to fish the water. The quick current threw a different dynamic at us than we were anticipating. We soon concentrated our efforts on the banks. This method proved highly effective as we began to catch and miss numerous fish. I missed one good fish in a deeper run on the bank, catching a glimspe of his side, just to see him dart up stream. Mike got us started catching a couple browns. Shortly after, I hooked up with what would have been my signature fish of the trip. But it broke me off after a short fight only to leave me wondering what could have been. Then came the night. I have never seen anything like the hatches that go on in the evenings on the Madison river. Around 7:00 masses of caddisflies would hatch. Almost so much many they would cloud your view at times. This is when the fishing really turned on for us! Mike caught a very nice brown and I got a hold of a healthy rainbow slab. Danny lost a GOOD rainbow after he chased him downriver for about 50 yards. During midday we had dropped up onto the middle fork of the madison where Danny got a hold of a nice brown. Almost every run had a fish, and they were hungry too. Sizes were smaller but it made for some fast action in the midday when the larger river cooled off a bit. The next couple days we tried our luck in the park on the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison rivers, and also a short stint at Slough creek which was still running high. Timing seemed to be the issue in some places. We noticed early morning and evening were of course our most productive times. So to give a fair shot to the Gibbon and Firehole we fished them midday with only one brown to show for. However we tore it up on the Madison river. Each of us pulled in a number of brown trout over 15 inches. It was our most productive stretch of water of the trip. And tough to leave, but we wanted to sneak in a short amount of time at Slough Creek. Mike worked a quicker run at Slough for a while and managed to hook up with a fat slab Cutt! Ended up being the biggest fish of our trip I believe. We ended the trip with some time on the big boy. Without a driftboat we feared the Yellowstone River would be a lost cause, but we couldnt go all that way and not throw a line in. What we found out was quite the opposite. Wading was fairly simply in spots and we had very good luck. We pulled in a number of Cutts and Cuttbows, headlined by Danny's catch out of a smaller channel breakoff from the main stretch of water. We wrapped up the morning and gased it back to airport, with five minutes to spare to check our bags. Plenty of time in the Bozeman, MT airport. The trip was well worth the time, and provided an experience that we will never forget. Below are a few pics from the trip, but many are still on there way, along with the video I will produce in the near future. Til Next time...


Mike fishing the Firehole
Camground just outside of Yellowstone in Montana
Throwing a line to the banks
Nice Madison River Brown Trout
Surverying the options
Brown is the color
Slough Creek
Finally casting in a line on the Yellowstone River
Nice pull from a some channel of the Stone
Healthy Yellowstone Cutt pull by Danny

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Carolina Sunshine

We debated where we should go for about an hour the night before. We had thrown out the usual suspects: Hiwassee, Clinch, Little River, etc. The was an odd urge that drove us to pick Deep Creek though. Deep Creek is known to have one of the larger percentages of brown to rainbow ratios of any stream in the park. I had fished there three times before, and done well. David had no such luck though in previous trips. We settled on Deep Creek and made it there in the morning to begin our hike. The hike was long to get upstream enough to where the creek departs from the trail. The water was up from the severe thunderstorms a couple days earlier, so we suited up the waders and got in. We were greeted with early success, as I caught a quick rainbow on the dry. We moved up another run and again a beautiful brown jumped up and nailed my fly. I thought we would be in to catch a monster this day. Then David caught on fire landing rainbow after rainbow for quite a while. One of the rainbows being one of the better ones I have seen in the park. Unfortunately that is not pictured below. We hiked up the stream a ways until we determined we had had enough success and then headed back down. The monster brown I had dreamed off earlier evaded us another day but it was another successful trip, and day well spent in the life of the Dreamcatchers....til next time


Nice run way up off the trail
A little guy
Another small rainbow
David hitting some riffles
Nicely colored Smoky Mountain Rainbow

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Fever

It has been quite awhile since the last report, and one might think that I quit an old addiction some call fly fishing. Couldn't be farther from the truth. I have been hitting the tailwaters and mountain streams almost every weekend, with bountiful rewards dating all the way back into February. Spring came early this year, and the trout have seemed to notice. They have been out and active. I made it up to the Hiwassee yesterday to mess around in some familiar territory. The fishing was out of this world. Hits on nearly every cast continued throughout the entire day, and landing rainbow after rainbow becomes under appreciated when the fishing is hot. To my delight my catch wasn't limited to bows, as I was able to pull in a couple browns too. Most of the fish were hitting nymphs but there was good dry fly action throughout the day as well. I posted some quick pics from the trip yesterday. A video should be coming soon covering alot more of the trips in between. Til next time.....


Driving up

First Rainbow grab

Fiesty brown with some muscle on him apparently

Netting a catch

Walking the railroad down to the trophy section

Lunch please...

Water was a bit higher than my liking but it worked well

Fat rainbow demolished my nymph

Another brown