Stickney to Palace

Stickney to Palace. A shuttle driver’s story

Stickney to Palace: A shuttle driver’s story

Max brings us this story from inside his brain. He and John fished yesterday, Monday, and endured the cold weather. Max penned this Sunday morning…


With winter weather moving in I think it’s safe to say that yesterday, Saturday,  was the last super busy shuttle day of the fall. We did a November-high 19 shuttles on Saturday. Dudes got after it Saturday, and for good reason. A full blown shit-storm is blowing in this evening, gusting over 30 mph and bringing with it one to two inches of snow.

If the over/under for combined shuttles on Monday and Tuesday is five, my money is on the under. The temperature in the early part of this week could get as low as -10, almost a 70 degree drop from our upper-50’s afternoon Saturday.. That said, I’m sure there are some diehards who would love to prove me wrong and float The Mo in sub-zero temperature this week. Maybe I should take the over.

All things considered, it’s been an interesting fall to say the least. High temps in October generally stayed above 55 degrees and it was not unusual for it to be 70 degrees and sunny. Not your ideal conditions to catch the fall baetis emergence. I think I heard Helena had its warmest October on record in 2014 (time to start trading in those gas-guzzling, drift boat-hauling pickups for so,e sort of Hybrid?). Jokes aside, it has been an odd month of fishing here.

The streamer bite, although picking up daily, has been very inconsistent. I’ve heard fantastic reports of 40 streamer eats on a sunny day, and terrible reports the next day under an overcast sky. We had what I would call really good streamer fishing this week on the upper river. Some awesome eats on the Dali Lama, my favorite Missouri River streamer. So the chase is definitely on… for now. Dry flies? They’ll eat it ’em for sure, but it’s slower than we’d like.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve enjoyed answering the question, “Are the baetis going yet?” The answer is still unfortunately, “No, not really. They’re out there; you’ll see a few. But they’re not really going yet.” Hopefully this cold front gives them the kick in the ass they deserve for making us wait so long. You know what they say though, good things come to those who wait, and wait, and wait some more.

If so, will you be the one who floats The Mo’ this Tuesday and breaks the bank for all the suckers like me who took the under bet on shuttles? I’ll be here in the shop, staying warm, drinking coffee, and talking trout, football, and rutting mule deer.

*On a side note, have you seen the bucks this week? Mule Deerdefinitely swollen at the neck and coming into the rut big time. My prediction for peak rut activity is one week from today. Whitetails still two weeks out.

As I’m typing on this warm Sunday morning, I’m thinking that if you’re not out fishing today then you’re missing your last chance for mid-50’s weather of the year. Fall is coming to a quick end and winter is approaching. The snow will probably fly sideways tonight and tomorrow morning I will probably feel like staying in bed a little longer than usual. Time to put the Muck boots and Simms Bulkley jacket to good use.

Stay warm this week and don’t be that guy on your street who gets into a fender-bender because he forgets how to drive in the snow.


Max Mattioli


Ed Note: Max, you did beat the odds for Monday Tuesday. You bet the under and won.

Dearborn to Mid-Canon, Max Speaks!
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