Monday, August 31, 2009

Awesome August

Emily with a nice one from the Clark Fork.

Gary with a slob of an August Bitterroot brown taken on a hopper.

August is not usually one of my favorite months, regardless of the fact that it's my birthday month. You've got to be born some month of the year, and that has no bearing on whether that month sucks or not. True, some people probably love August. Sunshine, heat, summer vacation, yadda yadda. But for a western-Montana-landlocked fly fishing guide, August is traditionally a bummer. It's hot. It's windy. It's smoky. The rivers are low and the fish are wary. Hunting seasons aren't open yet, fall hatches haven't begun yet, and most of my days are spent babysitting tourists who should've picked a better time of year to come fishing in Montana. August can be pretty lame.

But, as with most things in life, there are no hard and fast rules to August's suckiness (not a word, I'm aware), and this August was exceptional. Unseasonably cool, wet weather made for excellent fishing conditions, kept the wildfire season at bay (my firefighting friends are gritting their teeth on that one), and for all practical purposes set us up for a productive and enjoyable late-summer/fall season. Continued good hatches of PMDs and caddis have kept the fish looking up, and we've had some explosive hopper fishing in the past few weeks. My clients by-and-large have been tremendous folks to spend time on the water with, and I'm feeling very blessed by August this year. Now let's get on with September!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hanta Virus Anyone?

Turns out, an unused 1966 Airstream parked on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana comes with it's fair share of a mouse population. Upon opening the camper, it quickly became apparent that a little clean-up was needed. OK, so more like an absolute sterilization using Gamma rays. Jamie and I hit up the nearest Ace hardware, dropped some coin on cleaning supplies (they were out of Gamma ray guns), and dove head-first in to an all-out cleaning frenzy. They say you can only contract Hanta virus by disturbing mouse droppings, causing the virus to go airborne. Wow.

Jamie Googled (that's a verb now...incredible) Hanta virus and it certainly sounds like something to be avoided. I sure hope we don't's not even fall yet.

Never one to let a deadly virus slow him down, Jamie tracked down a vintage Airstream specialist here in Missoula who is going to fix this thing up for him. New wiring, furnace, appliances, cabinets, hardwood floors, seat cushions/mattress, etc. The whole shebang. Homeboy's even going to give it a professional polish job so I can use it for a mirror when I'm plucking my eyebrows on steelhead trips. I hope Jamie realizes how much time I'm planning on spending in that thing this fall.

If you look closely, you can actually see
the Hanta virus entering Jamie's body

Mattresses, curtains, upholstery,'s all gotta go.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Shit hits the fan? Take a road-trip.

It hasn't been the best week for me. Two days before moving out of my old house, the transmission went out on my truck on the way home from a trip. With clients in the car. Awesome.

So now I'm faced with not only trying to work without a functioning vehicle (I joked with one friend about going Amish and pulling my boat with horses....can't get any greener than that), but also trying to move out of my place without a functioning vehicle. Moving sucks as it is; try doing it without a car. Thank God I've got the most incredible friends in the world, and I've been able to borrow vehicles for both working and moving purposes. Baker, Kyle, Jess, Jamie, Jay, Emily....thank you, thank you, thank you.

While the rig's in the shop and I wait for the phone call from the mechanic to find out which of my internal organs I'm going to need to eBay to afford the repair, Jamie presented an idea to stave off depression: road trip.

As luck would have it, Jamie just inherited a 22-foot, 1966 Airstream trailer. Talk about a worthy addition to the recreational quiver. This thing's parked on a ranch somewhere in southeastern Montana, just a stone's throw from some very fishy water that's off the beaten path from our usual trout haunts. So I can sit here with my thumb up my butt waiting to write a very painful check to the mechanic, or I can hit the road with a good buddy, fish some new water, and pick up one sweet camper. Game on.
Land Yacht Acquired.

Jamie fondling his new toy.

Pan of the middle Stillwater River

Friday, August 14, 2009

What's a Blog?

Never one to embrace the latest fad in technology, I have resisted the blog craze for some time now. Hell, I didn't even own a cell phone until a few years ago. In response to the constant pursuasion, harrassment, and encouragement of friends, colleagues, and professors, however, here it is: my blog. What does "blog" even mean? There I go...exposing my tech/net idiocy again. Regardless, I'm going to run with it, and use this blog as a forum to relay my thoughts, writings, adventures and ideas revolving around my largely self-absorbed, outdoor recreation-obsessed existence. Enjoy. Or don't. You should be outside playing anyway.