Don’t Fear The Merkin

Del Brown’s, er, merkin.

If you’re a non-fisher, fly names, alone, could keep you from joining the ranks. Who are these sick beings, you might ask, after glancing at a list of the most egregious monikers.

Take these, for example: some of the worst include, but are not restricted to, the Sex Dungeon, the Barely Legal, the T&A Bunker, the Butt Monkey, the Bangtail, the Butt Sump, the Flatliner, the Heifer Groomer, the Improved Pearl Necklace, the Stacked Blonde, the Drunk & Disorderly, the Sleezburger, the Organ Donor, the Voodoo Squatch, the Home Wrecker, the Sculpzilla, the Threesome, and the Booby Leech.

Alright. I’ll admit it. Continue reading

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Slough Monsters: Spring is Prime For Montana’s Northern Pike

Had some fun putting this video together for Field & Stream and its Facebook page, Hookshots. This vid serves as a reminder that pike fishing is an option while most of our area waters are running high and fast. In fact, the rivers may be ripping along at Mach III and most trout have their heads down, but the backwaters and sloughs are just right for pike, with mostly stagnant water warming each day. Look for these beasts on the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, Clearwater, and Flathead rivers, to name only a few places where they can be found. Pishkin Reservoir is another great option. Use heavy tippet in the 20-to 30-pound range or go with a wire leader. Rubber tail imitations get strikes, but even trout streamers work on these aggressive fish. Bring jaw spreaders and long forceps or pliers . . . or stand to get bit.

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Montana Caddis Hatch

One of the best early-season hatches of the year is the “Mother’s Day” caddis and it came off big time, well before Mother’s Day ever arrived. I shot this video on the Clark Fork River while fishing with Orvis’ marketing director Tom Rosenbauer. We caught a few fish in the short window of time we had to fish, but the trout weren’t really ripping up the caddis. Maybe under the surface, but definitely not on top. So what did we do? We tied on skwala stonefly dries and hammered a few nice browns.

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Mandatory Reading: A Passion for Permit

The first thing to behold when clutching this new two-volume set called A Passion for Permit is the sheer volume of work: combined, these two oversize and hard-bound books, which weigh about five thousand pounds each, total 1,665 pages.

In reality, their combined weight is nine pounds, which, if bundled effectively and pitched accurately enough, could still take that leaned-back, arm-swinging swagger Continue reading

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Selkirk Caribou On The Brink Of Extinction

This is a true bummer, a unique species trying to make a go of it and getting no love in return. I mean, come on . . . caribou in Idaho and Montana? That’s worth saving. If we can’t save these animals what does that say about us? GT

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First Mountain Bike Ride

It’s early for mountain biking, but I still should have started in on road work a month or more ago. I took the bike out for a first of the year spin and my legs were barking before I got more than a mile from home

I pushed through, made it off the pavement and paths, and started up one of my favorite (albeit brutal) climbs. And how far did I get? About 200 yards. That’s when I hit the ice. And the next corner was worse. A week or two away, I declared.
Today, maybe it’s another trail, this one hopefully
ice-free. Just letting you know that around Continue reading

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Never Be Without Drinking Water: Katadyn’s BeFree Filter

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter 0.6 Liter

On two occasions, one being a backcountry day-hike for wilderness cutthroats and the other being a unique situation on Continue reading

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Review: Cabela’s Guidewear 1/2 Finger Gloves with Coolcore

I got a couple pair of Cabela’s Guidewear 1/2 finger gloves over a year ago and spent all last summer and fall in them. Why? Because owning nasty sun-scorched hands when you hit your 50s and 60s isn’t what I’m looking for. And, because I’m starting to really feel that all that sunblock and mosquito dope we’ve been putting on our bodies for all these years isn’t really that good for us. I blame my recent firing on DEET going straight to my brain.

So these gloves. They are super lightweight, highly durable and they actually do keep your hands cool in the sun, especially if you occasionally dunk them in the water, preferably when releasing a fish. Again, these gloves are built to combat the sun, but I also wear Continue reading

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Just Say No—to Labradors . . . for now

I went to the Great Rockies Sport Show in Missoula a few weeks ago and I didn’t stand a chance—both of my daughters were in tow and the show allowed a vender to sell Labrador puppies right next to the front door. You couldn’t get into the show without seeing those dogs and that at least double the time it took me to get in and out of there. Truth told, I bet we spent 40 minutes with those dogs before we made it through the doors and onto the show floor.

It was the same story on the way out. Both of the girls begged and pleaded and promised to clean up everything from here on until the day they die, Continue reading

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Fly Rod & Reel: End of a Magazine Era

I headed Fly Rod & Reel magazine for about seven years, until 12 days ago when I got the dreaded, but somewhat expected, death sentence. That sentence arrived with a phone call from the owner of Down East Publications who said that I was being terminated immediately, not because he or the board of directors was unhappy with my work or the quality of the publication, but because they didn’t consider the fly-fishing industry’s support of the magazine to be sufficient. I Continue reading

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