Saturday, August 20, 2016

Eddie's Western Vacation 2016


The original plan was to head out to the Bighorn's on the evening of Tuesday, August 9th, fish for three days and head back on Saturday, August 13.  The plan changed changed on July 27th when John Piacquadio saw me mention that I had a trip to Wyoming planned.  "Are you going to visit me?", he asked.

I didn't really know at the time how serious he was about the invitation but I thought that it sounded fun so a few days later I informed him of my plan.
The next week flew by and before I knew it my brother Sam and I were leaving Saint Paul at 6:00pm, Tuesday, August 9th.  We took turns driving through the night only stopping to sleep for a couple of hours at a Mcdonald's parking lot in Gillette Wyoming.


It was still morning when we made it to the Wal-Mart in Sheridan, Wyoming where we would pick up some last minute provisions before hitting up the fly shop in town.  Here I am in front of Fly Shop of the Bighorns in downtown Sheridan.
As we were driving up the mountain around 9:30am we saw dad driving the opposite direction down the mountain.  He was headed to where he could pick up a cell signal so he could check on our progress.  Soon we were all together on the stream.

Dad casting.
 It was good to be back in the mountains.

Many willows line the banks of the North Fork of the Tongue.
 No shortage of bugs on the rocks.
 A view from high from the ridge.
 The Chernobyl Ant is always a top performer.
 First selfy of many taken over the course of the trip.
 We ran into the lady in the red sports car from the National Lampoon's Vacation movies.  She has aged a bit and found a husband.  I was so happy for her.  They were parked here watching the deer in the field.
 Here is a video of her in her younger days.
Deer in the field.
 The light blue Chernobyl Ants that I tie seem to work good as well.
 Stream scene #1
 I don't know exactly what this was but I called it Mega Caddis.
 I trained him to do many tricks.
 Stream Scene #2
 Stream Scene #3
 Stream Scene #4

 I had caught the larger one and my nymphs were out in the current while I was getting my camera out.  It made for a nice double.
 Cool red roots.
 North Tongue River baby.  This was my ninth year in a row visiting this place.
 Micro trickle.
 The Eddie Bugger worked well here.
 So did Matt's Llano Critter.
 This was a pretty stretch.  I was fishing here and all the sudden there was this guy and his daughter behind me.  It was close to where I was parked and they said they liked the stickers on the back of my Honda.  I told them that I would give them one of mine.

 They put it on their car right away.  I was so happy.
 His name is Brent Pickett and while he was gearing up he was telling me about his own, "Fly fishing claim to fame".  Turns out he has caught at lease one trout every month of the year since 1997.  He even had a story written about him in the Casper Star Tribune.  One of my favorite things about fly fishing is some of the totally awesome people I have met in my travels.

That night I would transform into my alter ego, Edaliah Winston.  Edaliah loves fishing dry flies on his Three weight Winston GVX Select fly rod.  He calls himself a ,"A Winston Man"
 The Light Hendrickson always works good in these parts.
 Edaliah appreciates the scenery that the mountains have to offer.
 So beautiful.
 The pros rely on Shimazaki Dry Shake when their flies get water logged.
 I found dad while I was walking back along the ridge.  He is like an ant down there.
 This photo is titled, "Last Cast".  Prints are available in the photo area of my blog.
 The Honda Element was made for the mountains.
 Friday morning we were joined by Chris from Fading-Angler.Blogspot.com.  Chris is a great guy with a true passion for the sport.
 I caught many trout on Rivard's Caddis Nymph.  It's a pattern I developed after noticed many little green worms with black heads on the rocks of this river.  I will tie them for you.  Only fifty dollars per dozen.
 Chris was nice enough to snap my picture.  I was so happy.
 Chris with a trout.
 Chris grew up not too far from here but only used the mountains for non-fishing activities like snowmobiling then.  Here he is making up for lost time.
 I nice one on for Chris.
 Get in that net!
 Chris was so happy.
 Chris would later catch this one on the Parachute Adams.
 Here we met up with Dad.
 Moose meadow.
 Walking back to the car.
 Dad on a ridge.
 6:30 Saturday morning came.

And it was time to leave Fort Arrowhead and head for Montana.
 I had the soundtrack of the movie, "Dances with Wolves" in my CD player for the entire trip.  Here is a snippet of what it is like.


"I'm a modern day warrior", that's what I would think as I listened to the music while I drove for miles and miles over the open road.


 I drove by the Medicine Wheel.
 I thought about taking a look but there was a hike involved and Montana was calling my name.
 I saw an Antelope.
 I exchanged a few messages with John on my way to Philipsburg.  He instructed me to fish upstream of Gilles Bridge when I made it into town.

I made it to Philipsburg shortly after 1:00pm.  I was surprised to find out that the fly shop didn't carry fishing licenses and for that I would have to go to the hardware store in town.  After leaving the fly shop I was walking up the main drag in town and bought a few more flies from a guy selling his own hand tied flies in a little stand on the sidewalk.  We had a great conversation about the nuances of fly tying and I told him how I was a noted member of the Saint Paul Fly Tiers and Fisherman's Club.  He was vividly impressed with me.  Here is a photo of his card.
I drove around for a while looking for Gilles Bridge.  While searching I happened upon a car wreck.  I pulled the dude from the burning wreck right before it exploded.  The media wanted to interview me about my heroics but I told them it was high time for me to go fishing.  Somehow they understood.  Here is a photo I took of the poor fella and his wrecked Jeep.  He was lucky to be alive.  Drive slow and be safe.  
This wasn't Gilles Bridge but there was a parking lot here and nobody seemed to know where Gilles Bridge was.  So I mounted up and started fishing.
 A little Cutthroat Trout on the Spruce Moth.  A popular pattern in Montana this time of year,
 I continued to fish throughout the afternoon.  At one point the Chernobyl Ant I was using started to sink so while it was subsurface I started to strip it in as I would a streamer.  I saw a fish come out and try to eat it.  On subsequent casts I attempted to purposely make to Chernobyl Ant sink but only succeeded in stripping it across the surface of the water.  To my surprise I caught three trout skittering the Chernobyl Ant.  At that moment I realized that I indeed was a true fly fishing legend.

That evening I traveled back to Philipsburg where I took in a performance of Shakespeare in the Park while I waited for John to get home from work.  I would later find out that most of the actors in this play were from Minnesota.  No wonder why they were awesome.
When John arrived home from work it was actually the first time him and I had met in person.  Prior to that we just had many mutual friends and were friends on Facebook for about a year.  I seemed to hit it off right away with John and his lovely wife Karen.  It was very gracious of them to welcome me into their world for a few days.   That night John took me to one of his secret Brown Trout Creeks.
 Here he is fighting a fish.
 He was so happy.
 The next morning I found what is known as Gilles Bridge.  It would have been a whole hell of a lot easier to find had it been marked as such. RIP Kyle G. Bohrnsen.
 Rock Creek is a famous creek.
 I decided to start the day fishing streamers.  This trout fell victim to Matt's Llano Critter.
 Rock Creek baby.
 Brown Town U.S.A.
 #Hunk
 Later I would switch to the Yellow Sex Dungeon.  I'm pretty sure this guy went for it and missed.
 I caught a few out if this section.
 Casting my streamer on the edge of this fallen tree and stripping downstream I lured and landed a nice 14 inch brown from out of the branches.
 For the life of me I couldn't figure out why they named it Rock Creek.
 It had many flowers too.
 Flower power baby.
 So John and Karen both got jobs at The Ranch at Rock Creek for the summer.  Karen teaches Yoga and John is a fishing guide.  They invited me to join them for lunch and gave me a quick tour of the property.  This place is high class even by my standards.  It is the only Forbes Five Star Ranch.

Here is Karen in front of the Rod and Gun club.
 Horses.
 This is where they keep some of the horse supplies.
 Saddle up partner!
 Here I am posing with a photo of the Chief.
 John gave me directions to a place deep in the LOLO National Forest.
He said to park by a campsite of a certain number.  I do not know if it is a secret or not so I have skillfully edited this photo to protect John's honey hole.
 I say, "Yellow" and trout say, "Hello".
 Later on I would throw some around some Zoo Cougars on weighted line.  It seemed to work well for me.
 Pulled one out from this log.
 Switched to white, pure delight.
 Mountain squirrel.
 That evening John, Karen and I went out to dinner with their friend Martin.  Over dinner Martin described an adventure to a remote mountain lake that he was going on the next day.  This seemed like the authentic Montana adventure that I have been dreaming about my entire life and I asked Martin if I could join him.

Here is John, Karen and Martin standing by Martin's vehicle the next morning.
 We drove as far as we could up into the mountains.  Here is Martin gearing up.
 And here is his amazing dog Bubba.
 This is what remains of an old log cabin.
 We would climb over many trees in our four hour march up to the lake,
 Martin was nice enough to let me use one of his Tenkara rods on the way up the mountain.

Tenkara
It's an ancient Japanese art
And Eddie knew his part
From a casting to a drift
And gyrations from the hip


Mountain stream.
 Flowing down the mountain.
 So many logs to climb over and under.
 Martin goes on adventures like this all the time.  He did say that this was his third or fourth toughest hike ever within the Rock Creek Drainage.
 Once your blog becomes fairly well known.  Companies start putting your name on their backpacks.  That's just how it works.
 Sunlight through the pines.
 Checking the map.
 I think we are here.

 Good old Bubba.  The best dog gone dog in the west.
 So pretty.
 Clear and cold.
 For a while we found the remnants of an old trail.
 Yes this is poop.  I don't know what kind of animal made it though.
 Finally after over four hours Martin noticed some blue through the trees.
 It was the lake!!!
 Who says one cannot have fine dining on the shores of a remote mountain lake.
 It was spectacular.

Just like the lake from my dreams.  I originally tied on a Spruce Moth pattern.  Every time I would cast the Spruce Moth out it would immediately be swarmed by schools of two inch long fish.  That's when I reached in my fly wallet and selected a Louie Special.  As soon as I had the Louie Special tied on I looked down and saw a large Cutthroat swimming by.  I slapped the Louie Special down on the water above him and to my surprise he swam up and grabbed it.


A fight ensued.


Here the Cuttie is with the Louie Special hanging out of his mouth.

 It was just like in my dreams!  I was so happy!

I would go on to catch four or five more cutthroat trout before it was time for us to head down the mountain.

 
 Once we got back to the car it felt good to soak my feet in the ice cold mountain creek.

That night Martin and I had dinner with John and Karen before I headed home for Minnesota.  It was a great vacation.  Thanks to all who made it possible.


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