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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

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.

iTunes, SKWALHALLA, fishing film, fly fishing, Montana Wild, apparel, montanawild apparel company, outdoor film, outdoor media, sports film, iTunes New & Noteworthy

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.

SKWALHALLA, iTunes, Giveaway, Simms Fishing, Simms Slick Jacket, Fishing, Fly fishing, dry fly, spring fishing, stoke, outdoor gear, giveaway, fishing film, outdoor media, Montana Wild, Montana Wild Apparel, Bozeman, Missoula, Billings, Helena, Butte, Denver,

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.

Our latest fly fishing film, SKWALHALLA is now available for rental on iTunes. Say whaaaaat?! Filmed over the course of three years with cutting edge camera equipment, SKWALHALLA showcases Western Montana’s first dry fly hatch of the year, big fish, and good times on the water with the boys. If you’re looking for 21 minutes of non stop stoke and dry fly action, then SKWALHALLA is for you. Still not quite convinced that SKWALHALLA is worth your time and money? Watch the official trailer below, and see for yourself.

Although the temperatures can be cold and the weather can be shifty, when timed just right, the skwala stonefly hatch can be off the charts. Below, Travis shows off one of the many big bug smashing fish featured in SKWALHALLA. Oh, did we forget to mention that the full film has a total of 78 dry fly eats? I sure wouldn’t want to miss out on something like that. Would you?

montana, spring, bitterroot river, bitterroot, skwala, skwala hatch, fishing, montana, stoke, fly fishing, Montana Wild, float fish, drift boat, river, spring

Travis showing off a skwala stonefly munching Montana rainbow trout.

Alright, after that you’re probably wondering “Where can I watch the full film?” And the answer is: HERESKWALHALLA is now available on iTunes for rental ($2.99). Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the finest spring fishing that the lower 48 has to offer. In addition to the release of SKWALHALLA on iTunes, our most popular elk hunting production The Outlier Film, will be available for purchase or rental on iTunes in the near future. 

 

fly, fishing, oregon, owyhee, river, brown, trout, june

Travis rifled through the YETI as we sat on the dusty tailgate, consuming the day’s lunch and reliving the morning’s success. Fish after fish had been tackled from the long, complex run and we thought the wise browns had been put down for the day. I walked along the road with a Moose Drool in hand observing and taking in the day. As I glanced down into the current the golden back of a modest brown slowly breached and then disappeared back into the depths. I sat and watched and soon multiple fish emerged, hidden in plain sight feeding on some new hatch that I had no knowledge of.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/109398135 w=580&h=440]

Sam was up on the sticks and soon casts were made, flies were changed and eventually fish were caught. The size #18 whatever was stuck firmly in the browns lip, right next to a past fisherman’s fly, serving as proof of the tiny flies that dominate this waterway. Calling it a size #18 whatever would be disrespectful though given the time and knowledge put into it’s creation by Nate Brumley.

fly fishing, montana, wild, oregon, brown trout, owyhee, grizzly hackle

Nate is one of the nicest human’s you’ll meet and especially amongst fisherman. Ask many folks about one of their favorite waters and your reception will often be ill. Nate on the other hand bursts with knowledge that pulls from the deepest parts of his vast memory. From flies to hatches to stretches of river it all spills out into a novel of highly diverse yet well woven information. It’s the type of thing where you hear it all but only can store about 10% of the data. He does run a very knowledgeable fly tying business (Dry Fly Innovations) that I’d highly recommend, but his generosity runs deep regardless of any ties to business or personal advancement as we quickly found out. Mr. Brummley’s residence was our first stop on our long trip down to Oregon to search for large brown trout during Montana’s annual runoff. We loaded up on flies, mostly size 18 and 20 and set off for parts unknown brimming with confidence after our time spent with Nate.

dry, fly, innovations, idaho, nate, brumley, dry, flies, brown, trout

The first life form on the river was seen from the edge of the road as we rolled up into the canyon. A small back eddy was filled with carp swirling along the desert colored mud. We contemplated fishing them but given the prospects that lay up the road we ventured on. The river was an oversized slough with small sections of riffles and pocket water followed by long deep runs stretching for hundreds and sometimes thousands of yards. Where the biggest of browns would lurk was anyone’s guess.

owyhee, river, oregon, fly, fishing, trout, brown

We soon couldn’t resist the urge to fish and pulled in under a tree and rigged up. The first afternoon would be simply spent fishing and scouting. We wanted to know we could land a few before the cameras rolled out. We soon diverged from the truck and began fishing our own ways. It was hot and I didn’t see much action unfolding on top of the emerald green waters. I’ll admit I’m a streamer junky and the thought of big browns quickly had me avoiding the microscopic bugs and tying on our buddy Gandalf. He was the tan and white variation and the first cast was immediately chased into the calm water by an angry brown. I threw it back in, letting it slide off the shelf before stripping it in towards the slack water. My line went tight and a fat brown quickly went airborne. The fight was solid with this buck but soon he was within the confines of the net resting from his midday battle.

brown, trout, orvis, fly, fishing, owyhee, river, oregon

As soon as my hook was free I was back to casting, this time a bit further across the seam. A black tank emerged slamming my fly but the line went slack a second later. He couldn’t be enticed a second time and quickly we were distracted by a stock truck dumping hundreds of fingerling rainbows off the bridge behind us. The small fish fought the current before being sucked back downriver into the next pool. We knew some opportunistic browns would be up for this type of treat. Soon we found Sam, working a dry through tasty water but the report was fish 1, Sam 0. We told him of the fish stocking and quickly streamers were tied on. As Travis fished just above me a small rainbow swam between my legs followed by a menacing brown. I’m sure he had his way with the newly transplanted fish.

stocking, fish, oregon, rainbow, trout

The following day we fished hard. We switched bugs and moved locations but hadn’t put up much for numbers. After a long spring with little dry fly action we all had to brush off a little rust and try to remember how to fish a size 18 bug. As we fished a hole just a stones throw from the truck Nate pulled up. We quickly made our way back up to the truck to see how his morning had went. After showing us photo after photo of nice browns I had to ask, “What were you fishing.” “Oh I was using a beetle” he said. Ok then. Of course Nate was quick to supply us with an assortment of free flies and his wife had sent him off with some delicious soup to give us. Did I mention Nate is a pretty likeable guy?

nate, brumley, fly, fishing, dry fly innovations, brown trout, montana wild

We had our eyes on a small side channel containing multiple rising fish and set off with renewed confidence as a Brumley beetle was attached to our line. The fishing was silly and we finally were laying down some great footage. The ball was rolling and we had two days left to keep it that way.

brown, trout, film, video, oregon, owyhee, beetle

Now despite any reports or advice on hatches or patterns I know I can always go to a streamer and turn fish, most often good ones. Considering the bucknasty browns that should be lurking here and after the very first afternoon the streamer was a constant part of the menu we were serving up to these fish. It was consistently the big fish producer. It was mid-day and we stopped to fish a run that had been fished that morning. As my streamer bounced into the river off the bank it was freight trained by a “bucknasty.” This wasn’t the first time this trip and I instantly started thinking one thing, mice. As the day progressed the weather started to roll in. Overcast skies and a light drizzle was all it took for Travis to make the switch. The neon yellow mouse skittered and skated and we all watched with anticipation. Finally a swipe was made, a miss but we knew it would be a go to method for the rest of the day. A short bit later Travis hooked and landed the first of the trip as a brown came arching out of the water attacking the mouse.

fly, fishing, mice, mousing, oregon, montana, wild

We were on cloud 9 at the moment and that afternoon found nothing other than a mouse attached to our lines. Over the next three hours we got over a dozen eats and after a lot of misses I was able to end the day with back-to-back browns from the same run. Sometimes it pays to get risky and fish something not on the fishing report. On this day it sure did.

brown, trout, mousing, mice, fishing, fly, oregon, montana, wild, video, film

The rest of the trip was a success and we were able to stack up some awesome footage, I’ll even go out on a limb and say some of it is our best to date. For the rest of the story you’ll have to catch our film, “Bucknasty Browns” in the 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour. A special thanks to our project supporters: Simms, Orvis, Scientific Anglers, Grizzly Hackle, YETI, DECKED, and Bozeman Reel Co.

brown, trout, friends, fishing, montana, oregon, last light

///Be sure to tune in to our Facebook and Instagram pages this week as we release content culminating in the release of our teaser for Bucknasty Browns coming on Friday!

-Zack

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Headed East

5:30 came a little to early but the chance to fish got me out of bed after only a couple snoozes.  With the local rivers looking nice and brown, we decided to hit up the Missouri River with our good friend Jeff and get a couple days of fishing in.  [If you missed our first trip to the Missouri River read about it here.]  After a couple hours we rolled into Craig and got our shuttle situated at the Headhunters Fly Shop.  These guys know how to run a fly shop and if your in need of almost anything, chances are they can get it for you or point you in the right direction.  Soon we were on the river and the weather was impeccable.  No wind and decently warm temperatures kept our hopes high.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Smooth sailing

The day started off with a handful of small fish.  Although fun, we were hoping for something a touch bigger to get the rods bent on.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Even the little ones get Jeff’s mug smiling

We soon drifted off the main channel of the Mo and got into one of the small side channels.  There were a lot of midges on the water and a few risers.  We stripped streamers through the slower holes but with minimal success.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Strippin stream

We kept moving and found a pod of risers.  After about an hour of fishing we only came away with two misses on top.  We were running 5X tippet and a small BWO and were able to trick a few but no fish in hand.  We learned that some days 6 or 7X and a very, very tiny fly are the only option on these trouts meal plan.

We kept the train chugging downriver only to be interrupted by another bathroom break.  Only this time is was a very opportune time to pull over.  As we sat on the side of the river cracking fresh PBR’s, we saw a single riser about 100 yards downstream.  A short drift and we were anchored up on the entrance to a small side channel with one slurping fish in sight.  A few empty handed drifts with the nymphs and I had had enough.  We were going to get one on top or go out trying.  I was able to get a slurp from the back of the boat and we decided to get out and put our dry fly fishing to the test.  After about an hour all three of us were able to catch rainbows on dries ranging from 17-20 inches.  These fish had moved up into a small hole only about 40′ square and about 2-3 feet deep.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Not bad for my first fish on a dry for 2012

After putting the hurt on the few risers in that hole we pulled anchor and kept things rolling.  Again we found pods of rising fish but couldn’t connect with the setup we were running.  When they say these fish will humble you, they aren’t lying.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

One of the better banks to fish and a slew of midges on top

After floating past countless risers with no luck we slowly drifted back into Craig America.  It’s definitely a very cool experience to see a big fish nosing up and sipping ever so slightly.  To catch one like that is even more exciting.  We rolled in around 730 and drifting past the last seam we were able to see a train of rising fish.  There were at least 20-30 trout nosing out of the water with anywhere from 5-10 up at a time.  And there were some big ones in the bunch.  That’s something you just don’t see around Missoula and I can see the appeal that the Missouri has to offer.  Unfortunately, our batting average on these fish was probably close to like 5% or less.  When it’s midges on the meal plan the fishing can be agonizingly tough and a little maddening.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

Jeff on the grill

Day 2 we were up an hoping for a bit better day on the river.  After some eggs in camp scrambled up with a tasty stick, we were back over to the Headhunters to pick up a few flies and get a shuttle all squared up.  Contrary to the weather forecast, we had strong winds and clear skies.  The bugs weren’t out in the numbers they were from the day before and the fishing was just plain slow.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

Finally getting to a wind free spot

We again floated the dam to Craig.  The fish were few and far between and small.  Not exactly fulfilling our vision for the day.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

Side channel sight fishing

Around 3PM the wind started to die down and the fish started rising again.  We were again in a side channel, trying to snipe those pesky sipping trout.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

Trying to find the right setup to trick those damned slurpers

We counted close to a hundred noses over the last two hours of the float but just couldn’t find the mojo.  The casts were right but the setup wasn’t fooling them.  5X wasn’t cutting it and a #18 midge apparently wasn’t either.  Hey we’ve been fishing nymphs all winter and spring so we were happy just to get a few over the course of the two days on top.  We weren’t the only ones having trouble either.  Lots of fellow floaters were complaining of slow conditions from the dam to Craig.  Apparently we should have floated from Craig to Mid-Canyon as we found a note from our buddy Tyler Trudeau saying they got into about 40 fish on their float.  The Missouri River is one that your going to spend some serious time on before you can say you understand it.  We had a great time and hopefully next time the river will be a touch more generous.  We did get a small amount of video so we’ll probably make a short mash up here in the next couple of weeks.  Be checking back as we near spring hunting season, get closer to getting Contrast done, and hopefully get a small video from this trip up on the site.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

-Zack