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Skwala Stonefly Report – 4/4

fishing, fly fishing, stoke, skwala, skywalk fishing, dry fly, brown trout, Montana Wild

Although we weren’t able to be on the water today, a few of our good friends took to the river in full force, and got in on some of the most epic skwala fishing that Montana has to offer. While this hatch can be totally hit or miss, the boys hit it hard yesterday, netting a total of almost 60 fish, not to mention a hand full that got away. Wondering what the day looked like? Check out the day’s stats below.

fishing, fly fishing, stoke, skwala, skywalk fishing, stoke, buck nasty, brown trout, Montana wild

  • Water Temperature: 38 – 40 degrees.
  • Air Temperature: 40 – 50 degrees.
  • Weather Conditions: Overcast.
  • Float duration: 8 hours.
  • Fish count: 55+

While fishing was productive from noon until 8:00, peak time seemed to be from 2:00 to 5:00, with fish keying in on a variety of skwala stoneflies, and going ballistic on any big bug the boys seemed to float past them. It’s day’s like this that hardcore fly fisherman dream about, and only the ones who are passionate enough to closely watch and chase the hatch will be rewarded. Bugs were found on the surface and on the banks of the river throughout the day, indicating that the hatch is in full swing. Although they boys killed it today, the skwala hatch can be extremely hit or miss, with fish going nuts one day, and shutting off the next. After talking with them for awhile, they explained that they thought the fish were feeding so actively this day due to cold temperatures on 4/3 and forecasted cold temperatures for 4/5 as well. It’s warm windows like these that can commonly provide excellent fishing for the aspiring skwala angler. If you’re looking to get out and start skwala fishing, here’s a list of a few things you’ll need.

fishing, fly fishing, outdoor media, Montana Wild, stoke, skwala

  • Fly rod and reel (5 or 6WT)
  • LOTS of flies (stop into your local fly shop and pick their brain on what to use OR tie you own sick nasty bugs)
  • Waders and wading boots (skwala fishing can typically be very cold, and in nasty weather. You’ll definitely want to dress warm and be ready for unexpected weather at any time.)
  • Rain jacket.
  • Access to a boat (while you most definitely can fish skwalas from shore, you’ll be able to fish a lot more water from a boat, and be more exact with your fly presentation.) Don’t have access to a boat? stop into your local fly shop and ask about rental boats, or hiring a guide for the day.

Last but not least, make sure to get out and have fun on the water! After all, that’s what it’s all about!

Words: Calvin Connor

Photos: Tucker Lehr

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2018 Skwala Stonefly Report – 3/19.

skwala, stonefly, stoke, fly fishing, spring fishing, dry fly hatch, fishing film, Montana Wild, fishing report, outdoor media, fishing films, skwalhalla

Like many of you reading this, we’re tired of frozen guide loops, chilly fingers, and less than ideal days on the water, but that’s all about to change. With warmer weather and spring right around the corner, western Montana’s first hatch of the year is just beginning. This past weekend, we took to the water with a few good friends, in hopes of catching the beginning of the infamous Skwala Stonefly hatch. Not familiar with the hatch? Check out our latest film, SKWALHALLA to get the full scoop. Upon arrival to where we planned on fishing, we were greeted with partly cloudy skies, and mild temperatures (mid 40’s to low 50’s) given the time of year. With reports of skwala stoneflies beginning to show up, we had high hopes that the fish would be keying in on them as the afternoon went on.

fishing, fly fishing, Montana Wild, outdoor media, stoke, filmmaking, photography, fishing film, SKWALHALLA, dry fly, fishing report, wooden boat

Our good friend Brandon, with his first skwala smashing cutthroat of the year.

 

Despite a beautiful float, good bug numbers (in isolated locations), and almost perfect spring weather, the fish just didn’t seem to be keying in on the big bug quite yet. After many fly changes, solid drifts, and a lot of persistence, our good buddy Brandon was able to capitalize on the first fish of the day, and his first fish on a skwala for the year. Needless to say, we were stoked. Although this skwala smashing shmedium cutthroat may not be the biggest fish you’ve ever seen, he’s the first of his kind for us this year, and we’re jacked up about it to say the least. Despite the skwala hatch being “epic” status for the year yet, we were able to pick up a handful of other fish on streamers, and nymphs throughout the day. With increasing temperatures in the extended forecast, we’re hoping for better results as the days go by. Have you been out fishing the skwala hatch yet this year? If so, let us know how you did in the comments section below.

fishing, fly fishing, Montana Wild, skywalk, skwlhalla, stoke, spring fishing, skwala fishing, dry fly, outdoor media, drift boat,

No matter what the fishing is like, Western Montana never fails to provide the eager spring angler with top shelf views, in almost every direction.

Want to see more from our weekend float? Check out the photos below to see a couple highlights from our time on the water. While you’re at it, check out our all new Fly Patch Trucker, and get geared up for spring fishing HERE.

Skwala Stonefly – AKA the method to the madness behind our latest film, SKWALHALLA.

 

Although skwala fishing was slow this weekend, streamers paid nothing but dividends for our good friend Colin. That one’s definitely a bucknasty!

 

Words & Photos: Calvin Connor

 

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SKWALHALLA – Currently ranked #1 on iTunes “New & Noteworthy” sports movies.

SKWLAHALLA, fly fishing, outdoor media, iTunes, Vimeo on demand, stoke, outdoor media, dry fly, fishing film, skwala, Western Montana, skwalla fishing, skwala stonefly, spring fly fishing, fishing movie, outdoor films, fishing films, filmmaking, cinematography, outdoor photography, float fishing

Our latest film, SKWALHALLA has made a big splash in the fly fishing film world, and currently sits in spot #1 of iTunes “New & Noteworthy” sports films, with a five star rating. In other words, you guys rock! So without further ado, we’d like to thank everyone who has supported SKWALHALLA thus far, and look forward to reading more reviews of the film on iTunes in the near future. If you’re reading this and haven’t seen the film yet, click HERE, to view 21 minutes of non stop, action packed, savage dry fly eats, all courtesy of Western Montana’s vast waterways.

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Still not quite convinced? Click below to watch the official trailer for SKWALHALLA, and get stoked on spring fly fishing!

 

As a way of saying thank you for your continued support of Montana Wild and SKWALHALLA, we’re giving away a ton of epic outdoor gear, that’s perfect for your next adventure. Click HERE to find out how YOU could be one of THREE lucky winners that will take home a handful of the new swag shown below, on March 9th.

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Score big on new gear with SKWALHALLA.

SKWALHALLA, gear giveaway, fly fishing, spring fishing, stoke, free stuff, fishing gear, outdoor gear, Good Altitude Trucker, buck nasty browns, skwala, stonefly, skwalla, dry fly hatch, stoke, fishing film, outdoor media, iTunes, Vimeo On Demand

Looking for some new gear to bring along on your next fishing trip? Look no further. As part of our launch of SKWALHALLA on iTunes, we’re giving away some of the best fishing gear that money can buy. Sounds like a pretty good deal huh? Well it gets better. For just $2.99 you can watch 21 minutes of non stop, action packed, savage dry fly eats AND be entered to win a Simms Slick Jacket ($300 value), two pairs of Smith Dockside Glasses, a Yeti Rambler, and a Good Altitude Trucker. Not a bad deal for less than the cost of a cold one if you ask us…

 


 

You’re probably thinking “Ok cool, but how do I get entered to win?”, and the answer is simple. Follow the three steps below, and tune into Montana Wild’s Instagram story on Friday March 9th to watch us pick THREE WINNERS.

Step 1: Watch SKWALHALLA on iTunes.

Step 2: Leave a review on iTunes with your thoughts on the film.

Step 3: Keep your fingers crossed, knock on wood, and patiently wait until March 9th.

Prize Packages:

Winner #1: Large Simms Slick Jacket.

Winner #2: Smith Dockside Glasses, Yeti Rambler, and a Good Altitude Trucker.

Winner #3: Smith Dockside Glasses.

Watch SKWALHALLA on iTunes

Still not fully convinced? Check out the official trailer, and get stoked on SKWALHALLA.

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Orvis Helios 2 5WT Giveaway – $800 value!

So, you want to get your hands on one of Montana Wild’s Orvis Helios Two 5WT fly rods huh? We don’t blame ya. Did we mention it’s seen a fish or two in it’s day? Used in our world renowned film Bucknasty Browns, this 9 foot 5WT badass piece of fiberglass is no stranger to big fish, but lets be honest, neither are you.

The rules to be entered to win are simple:

1: Order the film HERE.

2: Leave a comment on the Vimeo On Demand Page with your thoughts on the film.

3: Send us a message with proof of purchase – info@montana-wild.com

4: Winner will be drawn on 02/12 at 9:00 AM MST.

 

Once you’ve entered, all you have to do is wait. We’ll be drawing a random winner on Monday, February 12th at 9:00 AM. Yeah, you heard that correctly. For only $3.99, you can be entered to win a fly rod valued at $800 AND get to see 21 minutes of the sickest spring fly fishing that Western Montana has to offer. Want to enter right now? Head over to the SKWALHALLA Vimeo On Demand Page, and get entered to win. Not totally convinced yet? Check out the official trailer for SKWALHALLA below.

 

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Bucknasty Browns II Kickstarter Follow Up

bucknasty browns II, film, fishing, brown trout

First off I’d like to say Thank You to all 127 people who backed our Kickstarter!  Your support means a lot and goes a long way in helping us create future films.  Unfortunately we didn’t meet our goal on Kickstarter and you will not be charged for your support of the Kickstarter.  If you’d like take that money and spend it to support future Montana Wild Fishing films please consider supporting our new film SKWALHALLA which will release in full on February 1st.  You can currently pre-order the film and be entered into a giveaway for a Simms hip pack.

bucknasty browns, kickstarter, fishing, brown trout, montana wildThe failure of this campaign probably was a result of quite a few things.  Starting the campaign over the holidays meant people had and were spending their hard earned money elsewhere, we also had less than a week to plan and create the Kickstarter which was just a necessity given our time and hunting season lasting till the end of November.  With little time to plan the campaign it was tough to convey what the funding would actually go towards.  The reason we wanted to raise $12,000 was to fund the actual production of a film given the guidelines of our Kickstarter campaign.  A five part web series and a film released through iTunes, Amazon, and Vimeo On Demand would have cost well in excess of $12,000.  Permits for commercial filming would have cost in excess of $350 per day in NZ and trying to capture a 5-6 week trip would have been a costly endeavor.  Add in music licensing which would have been thousands and then paying a 3rd party to upload to iTunes and Amazon and we are pushing 10K easy.  Then add in our time and extra expense to take time to film and properly document our trip each day and then spend weeks to edit and you can see that it is a costly project.  A few haters had a good time claiming this was just a way to fund an extravagant trip to NZ.  That’s false as we will still be going to NZ on our own dime and no we aren’t trust fund babies, we do in fact work like everyone else for our money.

With that said we will no longer be filming Bucknasty Browns as outlined in our Kickstarter campaign.  The chances of us doing any filming outside of some personal shots is slim to none.  That brings me to my final point, if you do in fact value our fishing films and want to continue to see us create more we NEED your support.  If half our followers rented our film SKWALHALLA we would be planning a LOT more fishing films.  Right now that’s far, far from the case despite over 20K views of the trailer in the first week.  And as you can read HERE, that film took us three years and was funded 100% out of our own pocket to try to give our fans something they’ve yet to see and get them stoked to set foot on the river with fly rod in hand.

The content landscape is quickly changing but without fan support our content delivery which includes lots of free content will be diminished.  The market will dictate our actions and right now it’s shifting in ways difficult to predict.  If you have comments, advice or input related to this or fishing films in general we’d love to hear from you.  And again, thank you to those who have supported our projects, the Kickstarter and future films and projects!

Zack Boughton

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SKWALHALLA – Why It Took 3 Years to Film

skwala hatch, skwala, skwalla, fishing, spring, bitterroot river, montana

This week we dropped our trailer for our film SKWALHALLA.  You can read more about the hatch and film HERE.  If you missed it here is the trailer:

We really started fishing the hatch in 2012.  New to fishing and eager to get out after a long winter, this hatch was a welcomed respite from worm chucking and turd swinging.  In 2013 we fished the hatch with more dedication, hoping to unlock the secrets of the hatch so that days could be spent catching fish on a dry and not just staring at foam float downriver for eight hours.  While some may claim this hatch is so easy to hit we’ve found it to be quite the opposite.  With a 2+month weather and water temp window these bugs can pop with little to no reason one day and be gone the next only to reappear three weeks later in the same spot.  An angler dedicated to seeing the hatch in all its glory often has to be borderline obsessed with time on the river the biggest factor in catching glimpses of the best days.  That year we filmed a few days but had relatively nothing to show for the effort.  2013 came around and we again set out to fish the hatch and were met with slightly better success.

skwala, skwala hatch, montana, fly fishing, video, film

Getting just the right drift was the ticket to catching this rainbow.

Again we filmed a bit but with no mission and no goal it was only worth added time spent behind the camera gaining valuable experience filming fishing.  2014 came and once again we walked banks searching for rising trout and skwalas crawling through the rocks.  A few epic days without the camera had us feeling more confident.

skwala, skwala hatch, skwalla, montana, spring, fishing, bitterroot

Travis with one of a handful of fish caught in a small stretch of river

Around this time I had become better friends with Josh Rokosch, a local of the valley and one knowledgeable skwala fisherman.  Growing up fishing the hatch meant he was a wealth of knowledge and in 2013 he had expressed his desire to make a skwala film called Skwalhalla.  The title essentially means Skwala Valhalla and we were right at the center of the best skwala fishing to be found.  Things didn’t work out to begin filming then or in 2014, but more groundwork was laid and a project was starting to line up.

skwala, skwala hatch, bitterroot, river, fishing, spring

Beautiful colors on a skwala eating cutty

As 2015 rolled around we agreed to begin filming Skwalhalla.  The film was meant to document the glory of the hatch and the epic dry fly eats associated with it.  No long, boring storyline, just good friends, good times and big eats.  We filmed 4 days that spring and got a few shots but far from what we needed to make a film.  With no funding of any kind this was going to be a personal project and that meant no real deadline.  With the ball slowly rolling we ramped up production in 2016 and filmed a total of 11 days searching for more eats and bigger fish.  That may seem like a lot of days but often film days never seem to be amazing fishing days.  Sure there are a few every once in a while but often if you get 5-10 really good shots in a day you’re crushing it.  Running a camera for 8 hours on a river can be tough and shots get missed, fish get missed, the exposure or focus was off, the audio was cracking, or something didn’t line up that made the shot just ok.  Again this is entirely self funded so if the fishing sucks and we’re sick of filming then the camera goes bye bye and usually someone catches a fish within 5 minutes haha!! Typical.

montana, skwala, skwala hatch, hatch, fishing, spring, film, video

Late afternoon riser

With lots of footage logged we were still missing a few shots that would round out the film.  One area which was lacking was high quality bug footage.  When you’re focused on catching fish and filming eats you’re not always looking to film the naturals crawling around on banks.  With plenty of eats in the bag we set out to find skwalas doing their thing, crawling out of the river, hatching, squirming on the water and flying off rocks and logs.

skwala, fishing, montana

A slow day but proof that things were about to heat up

Day one of 2017 and boom we hit it right on the money.  Skwalas were crawling all over the first log we pulled up to and we logged some awesome shots.  One thing to note is that we saw lots and lots of bugs that day but the fish weren’t keyed into them yet.  We fished hard but just didn’t get the eats.  The streamer actually got pulled out and turned up a few nice fish though.  The next day we switched systems and got into some amazing fishing.  With plenty of footage on the hard drives we made the gamble to go to a stretch of water that hadn’t seen much traffic and hoped we would be rewarded.  That choice paid off in a big way with a half dozen of our best eats of the film taking place on that float.  With so much success we decided to go back to the same spot the next day.  The weather was essentially the same and flows remained stable but the fishing was night and day.  The fishing had turned off and only a few eats were had.  It wasn’t how you’d hope to end a film trip but that’s the nature of the hatch.

fly fishing, log jam, trout, spring, montana, filming the skwala hatch

Side channel log jams. Fortunately we were able to pull the braces off and slide through

At the end of it all we had spent over 20 days filming for this movie and we’re damn proud of what we’ve created.  The final film is 21 minutes long and filled with over 70 dry fly eats.  The storyline is simple and it’s filled with good music and even better fishing.  Projects like this are big undertakings, but we hope they push the progression of fishing films in the right direction.  This is undoubtedly the best video documentation of the hatch to date and your support of this project goes a long, LONG ways in helping fund more content in the future (both free and paid).  At the end of the day we can’t do this without the support of our fans.  Please consider purchasing SKWALHALLA, it will get you stoked for spring fishing!!!

Words by Zack Boughton

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SKWALHALLA – All about the hatch and our upcoming film

skwalhalla, skwala, skwala hatch, montana, wild, film, video, bitterroot river
montana, spring, bitterroot river, bitterroot, skwala, skwala hatch, fishing

A large squall that narrowly missed us on a spring float.

Winter is long in most of the West.  Many fisherman have gone months without handling a fly rod and have either went into full hibernation or have been busy tying flies for the upcoming spring.  Late January and early February the temps start to rise and nymphing can be good, especially with the ever deadly San Jaun worm.  It works but it also gets old quick.  Fortunately the skwala hatch is just around the corner.  In limited spots across the West a medium sized stonefly called the Skwala (skwala americana) begins its emergence onto river banks, logs and other structure around the river.  Emerging from their shucks they begin to crawl around and eventually search for a mate.  After mating the females return to the water to lay their eggs and the lifecycle continues its cycle.

montana, spring, bitterroot river, bitterroot, skwala, skwala hatch, fishing

A male skwala stonefly

That’s a highly simplified version but the key here is that the trout start looking up in a big way.  Being able to toss a size 10 foam body dry fly in the middle of a snowstorm to a 20″ brown will absolutely change your perspective on spring fishing.  But that doesn’t mean the hatch is easy to hit perfectly.  Fishing a day here or there means you might not even get a glimpse of the potential and could very well think the hatch sucks and why would a guy waste his time throwing a dry when nothing eats it?  Given spring in Montana weather and water temps can drastically change as well as river flows.  The hatch can pop one day and be dead the next even without a significant weather/temp change.  It can be good in one five mile stretch one day and in an entirely different area the next.  Often a few bugs show up around mid-February and can last well into April.  Finding the right window on the right stretch is the tough part.  But when you hit it right it’s absolutely amazing.  Big fish and even bigger eats.

montana, spring, bitterroot river, bitterroot, skwala, skwala hatch, fishing, montana

A hefty cutbow that ate a skwala dry.

After a few years of talking about making a film to show the highlights of the hatch we finally decided to go for it.  That was 2015 and with no funding and no real plan we filmed 4 days that spring.  That year gave us just a taste of what was to come as only one of those days really worked as far as getting any good shots on camera.  We then filmed 11 days in 2016 knowing that we needed more good footage to really capture the eats we had hoped to show.  Filming fishing is always a tough gig.  You can almost count on the fishing to be worse the second the camera comes out, it’s just how it is.  Throw in missing shots, having the exposure or focus wrong or just not being in the right place at the right time and you’re lucky if you log 5-10 really great shots in a day.  We now had filmed enough eats but the bug footage was lacking.  Actually capturing the bugs hatching had been tough and we decided we needed one more year to round out the footage and add a few more good fish to the mix.  After three years and over 20 days spent filming we called it complete and got to editing.  A few long weeks in the edit bay left us with a rough cut and another week of polishing saw the film finished and complete.  Three years and lots of work, money invested, long days and even longer nights and we are proud to present the trailer for SKWALHALLA.  The full film will be available for purchase on Vimeo On Demand on February 1st and is now available for Pre-Order at this link > https://vimeo.com/ondemand/skwalhalla  Enjoy the teaser!

Please be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest deals and news surrounding both this film and also our brand.  Trust me when I say it will be worth it.

-Written by Zack Boughton

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Top 10 Bucknasty Brown Eats

bucknasty browns, brown trout, eats, dry fly, mouse fishing, owyhee river, fly fishing

Watch the Top 10 Bucknasty Brown eats from the original film.

Want to see more Bucknasty Brown trout eats? Support our Bucknasty Browns 2 film by clicking here: BUCKNASTY BROWNS II

We are 25% of the way to our goal and really would love your help! If you enjoy our films, now is the chance to lend a hand and bring this film to life. You can help with as little as $5 and you can pre-order the film for $10. Thank you to all who have supported the film so far and have a Happy New Year!

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$12K?! Cost Breakdown of Bucknasty Browns II

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$12K for a fishing film?! Some may see our goal on the Kickstarter and think that number is high, but in reality that number is low! Shooting a six week, high-quality production Internationally takes lots of money. Below is our cost breakdown for Bucknasty Browns 2:

-Flights: $1,500 X three anglers = $4,500

-Checked Camera Gear: $100 X four pelican cases = $400

-Van Rental: $6,880.36 (If you can find it cheaper, shoot us a message)

-Van Insurance: $1,170

-Music Licensing: $700-$900/per song X 4 songs = $2,800 (low end and does not even include music for web series)

-iTunes, Amazon hosting: $1,800

                TOTAL: $17,550.36

 

That number is the bare bones! This does not include the following costs:

-Camera Gear (dry bags, extra batteries, power source, housing, drone): over $2,500

-Gas: ????

-Food: ????

-Film insurance: ????

-Kickstarter and Processing Fees: 10% of $12K goals = $1,200

-Cost to edit:???

-Cost to film: ???

-Cost to deliver rewards: ???

 

As you can see our $12K goal is a very low goal for us to even consider making this film. Take out the Kickstarter fees, processing fees, and cost to produce shirts, hats, streamers, canvas images, and others and we are somewhere well below $12K. Hence why we need your support to make Bucknasty Browns 2! Please, if you enjoy our fishing films and want to see more of them in the future it is imperative that you support the film by clicking here: Bucknasty Browns II

bucknasty, browns, 2, fly, fishing, brown, trout

For the small cost of $5 you can help bring this film to life. That is the cost of a beer or a couple sodas. This is a great chance for our long time supporters to give back by giving a very small amount.  And if you have any input on what you’d like to see in the film or web series leave a comment, shoot us a message through our social pages or send an email! Thank you to all who supported us and Merry Christmas!

bucknasty, browns, 2, II, kickstarter, fly, fishing, film, video, new, zealand