More snow, Hump Day, and Squeeky's unanswered questions

More snow, Hump Day, and Squeeky’s unanswered questions

More snow, Hump Day, and Squeeky’s unanswered questions

Snow in the 10 Day Forecast

More snow on the way. Currently snowing here in Craig with 3-5″ expected today into the evening. Not quite as cold coming in at 20F. That is OK with us.

Had to plow out the shop and the cabins this week. Not too often when there has been this much snow on the ground here in downtown Craig. 2″ is our norm. Approaching a couple feet with additional depth in drifts has made getting in the parking spots in front of the store difficult. So the snow blowers and plows were put into action. Now we can come and go as we please!

Looks like snow forecast for the next ten days. Bring it. More snow, more water, more fish, more O2, more habitat, more food, more fun.

Are we predicting, and the forecasters, big water this season? No, not yet. But Mother Nature has a funny way about her. You certainly cannot trust her. Or us for that matter. We only have nearly 30 years in our sample. So we along with the rest of the guessers, are just guessing. With some background. Which may or not make us closer to the truth. But we believe a normal water year is ahead of us.

Great dry fly fishing water. Yes, that is what we dream about all day long. Nights too!

Graham Deacon’s place, back in the day.


Hump Day in Craig Montana

Another Wednesday at the shop. Booking trips, answering questions about water, selling rods, reels, fly lines, and flies to online customers, shoveling snow.

Book your summer trip today. Also get your dates for the Headhunters Annual Spring Special. Guide Trips $400 March 15th thru April 30th. A great way to get on the board in 2019. Knock the rust off that casting arm and get the net wet. Put together a group trip with your favorite pals. Fun times in Craig. Call us, chat, and book it.

New 2019 gear arriving daily. Lots of flies that 7wt. has procured for you in the new year. All of the flies that don’t sell, go away. Many fly shops let them fester…not us. They are gone. No need for non-producing fly patterns in our world! Some work, but don’t sell. Some sell, but don’t work. Both are bad for you, and us!

With our small square footage we are not a fly shop that lets dust settle. Nope. Get it out, get in the good stuff. Lots from SIMMS, Headhunters Logo Wear, Trout Spey, sunglasses, and flies arriving daily. Yes, lots of cool flies. It truly is what the focus of the shop is. Having lots of the right flies. 7wt has got you covered!

Yes, we are busy stuffing the shop full of 2019 fly fishing products. And answering the phone! Call today.

Ice Dam.

Squeeky’s Unanswered Questions

I am confused about many things during my time in the drift boat. Lots. These are a few of my unanswered questions…

Why do folks spend a ton of money on cool fly reels, with kick-ass drag systems and then…palm the damn fly reel, getting their hands in the path of the reel handle, and lose the fish? Repeatedly. And again, again. Repeatedly. My Q: Why do you do things over and over and over with poor results, and then do it again? And Again. Repeatedly? Analogy: Hot stove. Hand. Burn. repeat? And, why do you want to lose the fish? I thought you wanted to land it? I see this a lot. When you stop the reel, the line from going out, you break the fish off. Repeat?

Water. Water is life. If you don’t drink water you don’t perform as well. Ever. It never helps your game if you are dehydrated. Drink more water. Lots. Not a good excuse: I don’t want to drink water because I will have to go to the bathroom.

Angler: Can we stop all this learning and get back to fishing? Guide: Sure, why would you want to improve your game sir? I’m sorry for interrupting. Those comments make me laugh out loud. Then I pull the anchor and head out fishing again. Learning for most fellers is off the table during a guide trip. Just sayin.’

Angler: Oh, but can they (in reference to girls, guides or shop staff) fish? Me: Yes, they can fish circles around you sir. This is not her hobby. They fish daily. This is what they do as a profession. They are (she is a) professionals. They make their living fishing sir.  They don’t have desk jobs. They live here. They (insert Craig local female here) own a drifter boat. She fishes a couple months for steelhead,  a month or two chasing around the salt flats, and then here for the other 8 months. So yeah, she can fish. They fish more in one year, than you may in your entire life sir. So, yes, they can fish. Fishing is for both sexes. And remember sir: She can fish circles around you. Honest. A battle often encountered here in Craig. I guess some men are not privy to women performing in outdoor activities.

Why, when moving from spot to spot, rowing as fast as I can, do men have to cast until they tangle before arriving at the spot? Then we stop, fix the rig. Then while I am stopped in 6″ of water, the other angler is casting wildly and asking me why the fly keeps getting stuck on the bottom? I then say, well, we are in 6″ of water sir. If there were fish there, you would see them. Do you see any? Then Johnny Castalotta gets tangled. So we fix the other feller. Then the other feller, who I just retied, gets tangled. This can go on for 5 to umteen cycles. Strange to me. I thought I was very clear about what we were doing. Reel ‘um up gentleman, we are moving about a mile. So sit down, relax, drink some waters and enjoy the scenery. Angler Q: So, which side should I cast? Left or right? P.S. Women don’t exhibit this behavior. Nor do men under 50.

Why do anglers try to lie to the fishing guide about their fishing experience in the truck on the way to the ramp? Don’t they realize that the guide can assess their fishing skills in 37 seconds when they begin to fish? You can’t lie to a fishing guide about your skill set. He may just be a fishing guide, but that does not make him totally stupid. Fishing with a guide is set up around the trust level. If you begin the day by lying to your guide…not the precedent to set early in the trip. Difficult to have success on a guided fishing trip when you cannot be honest about your goals, skills, and proposed daily outcomes.

Why do anglers fish old fly lines? Or dirty fly lines? The most important component of your gear. The fly line. Clean fly lines catch more fish. The vehicle that delivers the fly to the target. Nothing more frustrating than hamstringing yourself with a poorly performing fly line. Rods and reels do not  matter much. Clean fly lines catch more fish.

Bad drifts do not catch fish. Dragging flies rarely get eaten. So why do anglers believe it is the fly pattern so often? It is drift here on the Mo. Great fly patterns do not make up for bad drifts. Ever. Great flies coupled with great drifts catch fish. More bad drifts do not make up for bad drifts. More is not better here on the Mo. Less, is more. 

Patience. Most anglers have the skill set to make good drifts. Most. I honestly believe that. The primary reason that more dry fly fish are not caught on the Missouri River is patience level. Watch the trout. Enjoy the process. Understand the lie. Understand the rise form. Understand the cadence of the rise. Enjoy the process. Even when I can slow down angler to do the right thing, and they have success, meaning we put the fish in the net…it is so very short lived. When we anchor or approach the next rising fish, the angler usually stands up, rushes the fly out there, and dismisses the path that brought the last fish to the net. Even with the taste of success still lingering in his mouth. Most often they spit out the patience flavor off the side of the drifter, and put the fish down with poorly planned drift progressions. And then repeat. More bad drifts do not catch more fish! Always amazes me how soon we forget and assume that we, me, I, am the greatest angler on earth and can skip all of the steps necessary to get that rising fish to eat the fly. Patience is the number 1 reason that most anglers do not catch more rising trout. The NUMBER 1 REASON. But, alas, most anglers cannot wait even the 5 minutes it takes to catch them all. Meaning all of the rising trout. Patience. Bring a boat load to the Mo, and you will land a boat load of trout. 

Those are the Q’s that come to mind this morning. There are tons more. All are unanswerable. I get that. 8hrs in a drift boat gives me lots of time to ponder Q’s like this. About 24K hours watching anglers now, so I believe I have a large sample size. And a February trapped inside without fishing…

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  • My all time favorite when guiding on the Yellowstone, hundred yards across:

    Cast tight to this bank.

    Which bank?

    Your choice if you can cast most of your backing.

  • I’ve got another unanswered question. Will Izaak’s open in the spring?

  • Re/Bad drifts do not catch fish. A friend of mine with whom I often fished for many years would change his fly after every fish he caught. He is as good an angler as I’ve seen and his catch rate was rarely less than anyones, if you get my drift. Nice picture of Graham’s. I remember having dinner with him at The Captains house on his last night in town. That was a while back. Stay warm boyz and girlz.—LT

  • Steve Ruszczyk
    February 21, 2019 7:15 am

    This post made me laugh out loud, especially the parts about “can they fish” and “moving from spot to spot.” Love it.

  • Pitchers and catchers have reported and that should put you in a better mood.
    Although, the Giants dumped Hunter Strickland on your Mariners which might put you back in a reflective mood.

    See you in June.

  • My questions for today: Why do I get wind knots when the wind isn’t blowing? Why doesn’t casting harder and faster lead to more fish? Which way is the river flowing? Are mending and knitting the same thing? If one large bobber is good, doesn’t that mean that three large bobbers are better? How can a fly be a dry fly when it’s obviously going to get wet? Do these waterproof pants make me look fat?

  • Classic article Mark, had me in stitches remembering my experiences in the rowing seat. I mean why do fish face up stream , how deep is the river and why do we cast just off the oars when nymphing when I’m comfortable at 60 ft. How about another installment

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