Montana Whitetail Hunting With Daughters

Finally, this boy found some time to get into the field. And the only way I did that was by playing hardball with my girls. Did they want to spend the weekend hunting? No way. They wanted playdates and sleepovers and all the things Continue reading

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You Write The Caption—9

This probably isn’t something I would send the kids out to do. Yes, you won’t hear me shouting, “Go play in the fire!” But when someone of reasonable age decides that they have enough moonshine in them to pull off the feat, hey, who am I to thwart good fun? So here’s a shot from the banks of Idaho’s Salmon River, on a very cold night circa 2011. You write the caption.

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Twenty Four Hours for Idaho Steelhead

Giving yourself 24 hours to catch a western steelhead isn’t exactly stacking the odds in your favor. Especially when you spend seven of those driving and eight sleeping. But that’s what I did this weekend, leaving for Idaho after coaching a girls basketball game on Saturday. Had a good nights sleep in a camper and hit the water at 8 AM and spent the entire morning trying to drag chrome out of a great run. No go. And it didn’t help that I kept getting low-holed by jerkers.

Switched locations around noon and fished some water that looked semi-appealing, but definitely not the kind of water I’m used to finding fish in. It was a little shallower and faster than Continue reading

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Patagonia Say’s “Eat This!” Wild salmon and soup that is.

After conquering the outdoor apparel market and providing fly fishers with some of the best wet-weather clothing on the planet, Patagonia and its founder, tenkara junkie Yvon Chouinard, are now on a mission to change the way we eat.

Their food program is called Patagonia Provisions and the sustainable, high- Continue reading

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Toyo’s MT (Maximum Traction) Tires and High Country Cutthroats

Sometimes the waters close to home are hardest to reach, often because we just push them aside and say, I can fish it another day, other times because, well, you just can’t get to them.

That’s the case with this little mountain lake I’ve wanted to fish for years. Rumors you know. Big cutthroats. Nobody fishing it. Beautiful setting. I tried twice. Both times my truck didn’t have enough clearance to negotiate what amounted to, basically, a jeep trail. I was sure to get high-centered so I backed down, turned around, and headed to the lowlands to fish streams.

But in September I put a leveling kit on the Ford and got my hands on some mega-beast Toyo Maximum Traction tires and planned a new assault. These tires are aggressive, the kind of treads you want if you are really getting after it, trying to reach terrain Continue reading

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Last Chance for Fall Caddis

It’s getting pretty late in the game now for October caddis, but you may still find some flying around in western Montana and northern Idaho. If you do, don’t worry about matching them too specifically. In fact, general representations should work well, i.e. oversized elk-hair caddis and stimulators. If you find some picky fish, dig a little deeper and try to turn up a Continue reading

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Fly Rod & Reel Fall Issue

If you haven’t seen it yet, hit your favorite newsstand and pick up a copy of the new fall issue of Fly Rod & Reel. We busted our tails putting this one together and we have a long list of great contributors who appear in its pages, a who’s who of fly fishing writers, photographers and artists—John Gierach, Ted Leeson, Kirk Deeter, AD Maddox, Fred Thomas, Dave Hughes, Zach Matthews, Don Thomas, Pat Ford, Seth Norman, Ted Williams, Tosh Brown, David Skok, Bob White and Dana Sturn.

And no matter your interests, I think you’ll find some compelling reads in this one. For instance, I penned a piece on the “misery” of snook fishing off Florida’s sand beaches; Continue reading

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GoPro Session Hero 4

You know what’s not fair in life? I’ll tell you. I don’t own a GoPro camera. And that’s become even more of an issue since GoPro introduced the Session, a super compact amazing piece of machinery that makes documenting a fishing trip a lot easier than it used to be. Really, these cameras are amazing and I know that even though I’ve only been able use one for a short time. That was when I fished the Yukon Territory, for pike and lake trout, and my friend stuck the camera in the water without having secured the protective housing around it. Can you say ruined the first time he’d used it? Not a good thing, either, when you’re a two hour float-plane ride from civilization. Fortunately we had my Continue reading

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Fall: Too Many Options

Every dedicated outdoorsman knows that fall is too short. There are too many good options at this time of year and not enough time to do them all. Fishing for cutthroats. Fishing for steelhead. Hunting birds. Hunting big game. All are appealing options and all are viable with relatively short drives from my house in Montana. So each day I wake up and deliberate: work or the outdoors?

I’ve never demonstrated much will power so I hit the highway on Sunday and then worked through a labyrinth of dirt roads to access some remote cutthroat waters. I knew the October caddis would be active at this time of the year, and that activity should continue late into the month. I also knew I’d see some grouse along the way and Continue reading

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Look Who’s Been “Hanging” Out

It’s been an interesting summer and fall at the Thomas household. Recently, we’ve had a few unique visits, several from a big, brown-colored black bear, plus a raccoon and numerous whitetail deer. Just this morning I saw this Continue reading

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