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Welcome back to the new NEFF. Take a break from Twitter and Facebook. You don't go to Dicks for your fly fishing gear, you go to your local fly fishing store. Enjoy!

My 2013 Montana fly fishing trip!!! Great time!


A few weeks ago I left for Montana to fish the Missouri with my father, an uncle, and a friend. I've heard so many great stories of this river so I just had to see for myself. I was told it's a big slick river with little whirlpools and huge trout. That was no joke! You hear so many things about various rivers out west only to find that when you get there, you're stuck with some guide who likes to ruffle through your shit then insist on you finishing up your casting to rising fish so he can "Get to the fuck'n bar man".

Unlike some of my past trips out west, we opted out of the guide thing except for 1 day where we visited the "Land of the Giants". This time around, the guide was great! He was really personable and he wasn't in a rush to get to the bar. He kept us out and was very accommodating. I'd recommend Norm Graziano (805.350.0981) to anyone looking to fish the "Land of The Giants". I had one semi regret and that was spending 350.00 to look at some really beautiful scenery. There is a positive spin though... So let me tell you about this "Land of the Giants". It was a nymphing game. You put a bobber on the end of of your line and float down the river and practically snag the fish. There are so many huge fish that it's hard not to hook into them. If you leave the day without catching 15 very large trout, you ought to just send me your equipment because you don't deserve to own it. Just about every cast was a very large trout. I can see how number's type of fishermen would be very happy about fishing here. If you're a dry fly fisherman... well, don't bother.

You fish the Land of the Giants in a jet boat. Norm purchased the boat then he and his wife made some pretty nice standing platforms. This boat was setup really nice. Sorry, no pics of the boat. Norm fires up the engine and takes you far upstream to the dam


where you float downstream at the rivers pace. Once you reach a certain point, you jet back to the top and do it again. There was one part of the day where a pod or two of fish were working the top. I managed to hook into one of them using a CDC Caddis fly pattern but after a 20 seconds, he got off and that was the end of that. Not bad for $350.00! My father on the other hand decided he wasn't going to throw his money down the river :) so easily. After catching 3 fish on streamers,


that game ended and he put the bobber on.


Maybe if I wasn't so stubborn, I would have caught 20 fish too but look... Bobber fishing isn't what I'm about, it's not what I paid for, it's NOT FLY FISHING!. I chucked streamers for a bit of the day. Let's face it, that's not exactly fly fishing either but at least when you see that large brown chasing your streamer it add's quite a bit of excitement to your day! Bobber fishing???? You can do that with a worm and one of WB's Ronco rods in Long Valley Reservoir.

One thing I'll remember about this trip other than the fishing is the scenery. Absolutely breathtaking views. I was told prior to the trip that it wasn't that great but I was quite satisfied with these views. Each day we were presented with some pretty cool stuff. One morning I walked outside the house we were staying in and there were two male rams butting heads right outside the front door!


Outside our rental house was a very large rock wall on the opposite side of the river.
Here's a night time picture of it.


About the place... We stayed with a few Kunts (Bob and Debbie). They didn't smell and they were very nice people. The place was kept really nice and the property was just incredible. See that wall? Someone actually purchased it for $100.00. For what???? Maybe cuz it was cheap enough. 19 acres of rock wall... Brilliant! I'm told he pays more in taxes than what the wall is worth but to me, it was worth a fantastic photo opp!

This photo was taken just about upstream from where we were staying. Our house was behind house in the picture.


Our house taken from the river:


A few other scenic pics...



Night time fishing was also amazing. Fishing the Missouri at evening brought out so many insects (mostly Caddis) you had to keep your mouth shut. They whipped against your face sometimes so hard it felt like you were being pelted with little rocks! That however made for some really amazing fishing and again, scenery!

If you look closely in this picture, you'll see my friend Brian on the far left approx. 10 feet out from the bank.


Here's a pic of my father casting to some pretty damned big trout. When I say big... These fish are HUGE and FUN FUN FUN to catch.


Night time fishing wasn't the only game in town. Trico's in the morning were unlike any Trico hatch I'd ever seen.


That's obviously the close-up shot now let me show you what they looked like from a distance:


They look like water spouts. They lined up along sections of the river for hours upon hours. These were by far the most amazing Trico hatches I've seen to date.

The fishing seemed to never die down. It continued on through-out the day often never stopping for more than an hour or two.
Here's my buddy Brian who landed this beautiful Brown on a purple hopper thrown against the rocks on the bank.


This was the largest trout I've ever been present to see caught and I was really happy to be part of this. We were in the boat and this guy took Brian way into the backing. I lifted up the anchor and chased him downstream. We were finally able to exit the boat in some shallow water so I could net it for him!

During the few hours of slower fishing, there were plenty of photo ops. Eagles (I know.. it's a little blurry):




and to my surprise, Pelicans!?!?!?! I never would have imagined these birds in a river in Montana. I watched this documentary once:


...and the pelicans were in the bay always around an ocean. But I guess this isn't always true because there were plenty of them on the Missouri!


Another stop I made on the side of the river was an old train tunnel that ran through a mountain. I thought it was worth a look and got at least one nice picture of the inside. I climbed up this steep bank looking for rattle snakes in the way and made my way to the cave. As I entered the cave, thousands of little birds flew out. Now had I known this was going to happen, I would have had my father enter the cave first and took the picture of the birds flying out. Instead, I got it backwards and proceeded into the cave looking and listening for snakes.


So let me tell you about the food. I didn't pay too much attention to the names of places I ate but Izaac's stuck with me because the food was awesome and the owner was a pretty funny guy. I really enjoyed this place but with good food, you have to expect to pay top dollar and at close to $50.00 for dinner (food/drinks), it gets expensive. I opted out after the second night as I just couldn't justify paying $50.00 for dinner each night. Other places we visited... In Wolf Creek there was a little hole in the wall type of place. They had some good beer and the food was reasonable. Unlike Izaac's, the burgers were not massaged beef (WTF). They were cheap burger patty's and tasted just like a cheap burger should BUT, the salads were top notch. Now a little something about this bar... It's not a place for adults only. Well it is but it seems that while the adults of Wolf Creek come in the enjoy their alcohol, the kids sit outside and BS and smoke cigarettes... but that doesn't concern me.

When you see this parked outside of the place you're going to eat:


You can damn well expect to see this sign on the inside:


I have no idea what the hell that head is hanging from the mirror but I'm thinking I know where the hamburger patty's came from!
Every morning was more of the same, packed up the car


and made our way into, Craig, to pick up food for the day.

Sometimes on the Upper D, you find nights that the water is bubbling with trout. You wonder where the hell they all go during the day. You look in the water and you certainly don't see them. You might see a few here and there but you're not seeing hundreds of trout. I'm thinking they all swim across country!
No small trout were caught therefore, you guessed it... no pics of small trout... I think the trout eggs in this place are probably the size of Ostrich eggs and by day 2 of hatching they are full blown 18"+ adults. There are no small trout in this river but if there are, you would never know.

I fished so many sections of this river but if I had 1 more day, the "Stickney - Mountain Palace" would be the one I'd do again. The river is long and deep. I know this because on the big D, anytime I had to P, I hit the bottom in a matter of seconds.. Not here... It took a good minute to get the temperature at the bottom of the river in some places while in others, I never got to the bottom... It just kept going and going and going. I would imagine some sections at 20ft deep and I'm told this was the lowest the river has ever been for this time of the year. I can say only be witness to one thing though - The water was cool and very very very deep. What I liked about this float was the type of water. It seems to be the most versatile with
riffles, deep pools, and long flats. Oh, did I mention the scenery?


I know... By now you're all wondering where the pics of me are... Well, I'm the only one who brings a real camera with him and to teach others how to use it... well. Ok, I put it into manual mode for these two shots:


And finally, me in my banana hammock!


That's as close to a banana hammock you'll ever see me in!

After a quick lesson, I had my Uncle casting tight loops!


He probably forgot how to do it already! :)

First pic of my father with a nice fish, I asked him to hold it out to make it look bigger and this is what he does:


As if to say, "Here, I got this for you". :)

This was probably my favorite trip out west. I'm thinking that by NOT having a guide dictate our time for us made the trip really enjoyable. Even the guide we did hire for 1 day went beyond what any guide (with the exception Backdoor Outfitters) has ever done from other places.

So that was the trip. I'll post more pics to this thread as I go through them. I took a good 1200 pictures so it's been taking me a while to go through them all.
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Some amazing pictures. I had seen a few on your Facebook page, but that nigh time shot of the rock ledge and stars is unreal. Glad someone is getting out trout fishing this summer.
Nice, I'm jealous you got to fish it at 2800 cfs....must have been nice wading at that flow. Also, what a great shot in the railroad tunnel.
Great photos Dennis. That river is a bug and trout factory........and carp.

Thanks for reminding me, I'm sure I missed a few things in this post. I saw a lot of GIGANTIC carp in this river. I wish I could explain how big they were. I would put them in the 20 + pound range.
Nice report DC. How was the new fly rod? There is a pic you took that my brother saw and said it would look great in his new addition. I'll pm you to see how much it would be to blow it up
Nice report DC. How was the new fly rod? There is a pic you took that my brother saw and said it would look great in his new addition. I'll pm you to see how much it would be to blow it up
If you're talking about the Sage One... The rod broke about a month ago while chucking streamers on the D. I sent the rod back to Sage and they sent me a new piece. $75.00 later, I had the rod back for my trip to Montana. 3 days into the trip, the rod broke again. I think I might have dropped an oar on it. Up until that point, the rod was great! :) I just sent the rod back again. This is becoming the most expensive rod I've ever owned!
I think DC should just make copies of the ones we like and send them to us framed and signed at no cost...just because we are consistent posters on his dis-functional web-site.......:thumb:

What say you DC?
You boobs still have pictures of Pam Anderson hanging in your rooms (well not you dluver cause...well..you know) Now pipe down so I can conduct some business.
Beautiful pictures and report. The scenery is absolutely amazing. I would say God's country, wouldn't you agree Dennis?

(just too tempting, apologies in advance)
Beautiful pictures and report. The scenery is absolutely amazing.

Thank You!

I would say God's country, wouldn't you agree Dennis?
(just too tempting, apologies in advance)

I'd say this:


is probably something god should be focusing his efforts on rather than making sure I get a really enjoyable fly fishing trip and be able to show everyone a few good pictures. I know 1 thing, I don't believe in a god and I sure ate a helluva lot better than the kid in the picture.

Are there threads floating around where you detail your set up. Those pics are just incredible.

Thank You.

There are not but...

Nikon D700
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8

A few of these photo's are bracketed and brought into photomatix to combine the photo's. This allows for the entire content of the photo's to be exposed properly or at the least, my best effort at doing it. :)

If you would like some help with photography, I'd be more than happy to the techniques I use. Just ask away.

Thank You!

I'd say this:


is probably something god should be focusing his efforts on rather than making sure I get a really enjoyable fly fishing trip and be able to show everyone a few good pictures. I know 1 thing, I don't believe in a god and I sure ate a helluva lot better than the kid in the picture.

Why would you put a starving kid in your stripping basket and take a picture of him? You could have just given him a sandwich....
I want the picture of the boat on the gravel bar. I will take that instead of my fly line.