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Spring Fishing 2017

spring fishing, brown trout

Another spring has almost flown by once again.  In a few short weeks runoff will be here and our spring fishing window will be shut down and we will be back in the mountains chasing bears and turkeys.  This spring we have gotten the privilege to wet a fly in eight different rivers here in Montana.  Although the fishing wasn’t as good as previous springs we still were able to find a healthy number of nice trout and beautiful Montana views.  Below are a few images from our spring travels around the state.

spring, fishing, montana, wild, flyfishing

Kicking off the early spring with a chucky bow.

spring, fishing, montana, wild, streamer, driftboat, green water

Pulling for pigs on a mud line.

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Mean muggin for the camera

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Maddie with a nice streamer fish to start off a very windy day

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Streamers saving a very slow day of dry fly fishing

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Josh with a nice fish caught while filming for an upcoming project

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Exploring some gin clear water before the snow started melting from the mountains

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This fish was a serious moral boost on a slow day.

spring, fishing, montana, wild, brown trout, simms fishing

Travis fooled this great brown out of hiding in small pocket water.

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Trout selfie

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Warmer weather means more browns on the prowl

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Travis product testing a new t-shirt. Appears to be working just fine

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Josh stoked for days

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The sometimes elusive spring dry fly eat

We now have a handful of new shirts and hats in our online store.  To see more and shop click HERE.

-Zack

Bighorn River – Feels Like Spring

bighorn river, fishing trip, brown trout, montana

This winter has been exceptionally cold and snowy and the result has been poor conditions for winter fishing.  For the last month I’ve been thinking about taking a few days and going to the Bighorn River to escape the frozen waters surrounding Bozeman.  With a solid weather forecast I decided to pull the trigger on driving the three hours east and seeing if we could find ourselves a few hungry trout.

Bighorn, river, montana, fishing, trout

Big Horn County, Montana

A 5:30 departure put us at the Bighorn Angler right around 9AM.  We dropped in to say hi to Steve and Pete, grab some bugs and get the keys to our room for the night.  The Bighorn is basically in the middle of nowhere.  The solitude is nice but plan on staying near the river until you’ve had your fill of fishing.  Fortunately the Bighorn Angler offers some quality lodging right there by the shop which is about a minute from the boat ramp at Afterbay dam.  Soon enough we had the boat in the water and our day had begun.

montana wild, photography, fishing, underwater, trout, bighorn, river, montana

Travis enroute to the fishy waters.

The weather was prime.  The sun was out in full force making for unseasonably warm temps and the wind was bearable.  After watching the bobbers from the boat for a while without any luck we decided to anchor up and try some wade fishing.  One of the keys for us on this river is to stop and fish the prime water on foot until you’ve figured out what the fish are keying in on.  Soon we had a few patterns that were producing.

bighorn, river, montana, fishing, spring, rainbow, trout

C’mere ya trouty

bighorn, river, montana, fishing, spring, rainbow, trout

Maddie starting the day strong in our new Ladies Bison Trucker in Stealth

From there we stayed on the fish and the weather had us thinking it was the beginning of April.  As always there were some boats on the water but plenty of space and fish for everyone.

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, underwater photography, spring

Headed back to the homies

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, boat box, fly box, montana wild, sticker

Beers and a boat box, a nice combo

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, montana wild, nymphs, spring, apparel

Charlie Browntrout got fooled in the fast pocket water

Unfortunately we didn’t see any consistent rising action but the nymph fishing was consistent with orange scuds leading the pack and when the clouds rolled in the streamer fishing picked up a lot.  As we pulled the boat out on Day 1 we were blessed with a double rainbow.  God sure knows how to make some amazing places.

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, double rainbow, rainbow, river

DOUBLE RAINBOW!!!

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, sunset, boat launch, raft

No bad days out here

After a full day on the river we headed back to Fort Smith and got settled into our room.  We got our gear situated, ate dinner and proceeded to watch Planet Earth.  Those guys do some crazy stuff with the camera!

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, yeti coolers, drift boat

Time to grab some zzz’s

orvis, fly reels, fishing reel, rods, truck, montana

The work horses

The next morning we awoke to clear skies and a light breeze.  With a warm meal and some coffee in our stomachs we hit the water once again.  We floated through the top mile once again without a trout which is frustrating but then proceeded to find the fish in short order the rest of the day.

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, hooked up, bent fly rod, women, fishing

Maddie putting the rod and Travis’ net skills to work once again

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, brown trout

Brown trout’s stoke level: LOW

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, underwater photography, brown trout

Bighorn green with a touch of gold

Maddie had also decided she was going to put to bed the theory that bananas on a boat are bad luck.  We had three whole bananas in the boat on this day and Maddie proceeded to crush it and was the star of the day catching nice fish on nymphs and then going on a streak with the streamer.

banana, boat, drift boat, fishing, river, montana

Bananas on a boat is totally in right now

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, women, fish, hooked up, spring

Swinging streamers in the riffle water = bent rods

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, women who fish, fishing, streamer, simms

Crushing it in the new hat once again

underwater photography, brown trout, montana, bighorn river, trout

Thanks for the ride dude!

take out trout, montana fishing, sunset, streamer, release

Travis putting one back in sight of the take out.

Overall it was a killer couple days on the water.  If you haven’t made it to the Bighorn River you should do yourself a favor and scratch out a few days on the schedule and go.  If you do be sure to talk with the guys at the Bighorn Angler.  They’ll have a great selection of flies and gear, offer drift boat rentals and have some great lodging right there in Fort Smith.  With winter back in the forecast we’ll be back inside behind the computer but these trips go a long ways in helping keep your sanity during the long Montana winters.  Also be sure to take a look at our new Ladies Bison Trucker and either treat yourself to a new fishing hat or get that lady angler in your life a little something!  Shop here > Montana Wild Hats

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Photos by Zack & Travis Boughton

 

My Montana Wild Internship

internship, outdoor, photography, film, video

Are you a young, motivated individual who is passionate about the outdoors, and filmmaking & photography? Are you looking for an internship to develop those skills? If so, look no further. Montana Wild is looking for interns for 2017, and you could be one of them. Follow along as I take you through my summer as an intern for the guys at Montana Wild!

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Taking a break from running the camera and throwing a salmonfly sure isn’t a bad gig.

As I approached my final summer as a college student at the University of Montana, I knew that I wanted to stay in Montana for the summer and work somewhere that’s directly related to media arts, which is what I’m studying in school. Shortly after making this decision, I saw a post on Montana Wild’s Facebook page that they were hiring, and also had internship positions available. From there I got ahold of Zack and Travis Boughton, and sent them my cover letter, resume, and portfolio. Shortly thereafter, I met up with the guys to talk about being an intern, and the next thing I knew, I had landed myself the sickest summer job around. I was stoked!

montana wild, internship, fishing, photo, video, smith river

Snapping photos, rowing, fishing, and camping on Montana’s Smith River.

What I didn’t know going into this internship was how many awesome places I was going to go while working. The major highlight of my internship for me was floating the Smith River and seeing first hand how important of a resource it is for Montana. Not only was it an awesome place to experience, but over the course of the trip I was able to shoot a wide variety of photos, and get to use some new gear for the first time. It gave me time to try new things, and ask questions that greatly improved my photography as a whole, but specifically fishing related photography and astrophotography. During that trip I also was able to see firsthand how the guys at Montana Wild work on a production. Being able work side-by-side with Zack and Travis helped shorten my learning curve greatly.

montana wild, internship, spring, summer, fishing, hunting, photo, video

Camping while on the job.

I also went on trips shed hunting, bear hunting, and a few days of salmonfly fishing/filming in SW Montana, where I was able to gain experience shooting on a cinema camera for the first time. Running a professional grade film camera allowed me to get a closer look at all the settings available to the filmmaker but also what it takes to make these cameras really shine. When you make that step up inherently you are going to make mistakes and being able to have a focused yet fun setting to make those mistakes was a great way to learn. After the shoot I had the opportunity to edit all my footage and work with high quality slow motion video for the first time as well. Aside from shooting and editing content in the field, as an intern for Montana wild you will learn the ins and outs of social media, advertising, brand and social promotions, and what it takes to run a successful brand and social media platform.

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Running the Sony FS7 while Zack navigates some whitewater.

montana wild, internship, film, photography, outdoors, hunting

Chase packs out during a spring bear hunt.

Over the course of my internship I had the opportunity to work on a wide range of daily tasks that took me to some pretty incredible places. Daily tasks included the following:

  • Creating and scheduling daily social media posts
  • Creating focused, branded content packages for social media
  • Brainstormed photo/video content ideas
  • Shooting photo/video content
  • Editing photo/video content with Adobe programs
  • Coming up with blog post ideas. Writing blog posts
Montana Wild Internship

Developing skillsets, one click at a time.

If you are looking to become an intern for Montana Wild in the future, you should have some experience or be proficient with Adobe software. Specifically Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere. Having a strong grasp of the basics is a necessity of the internship but will really allow you absorb much more during your internship. The more you already know the better, but that brings me to my next point.

By now you’re probably wondering, “So what am I going to get out of this internship?” other than a summer full of stoke, brown trout, camera gear and laughs. The answer is A LOT. Over the course of my internship I was able to improve my skills across the board from shooting photos and video, to editing said shots in Premiere, Lightroom, and Photoshop. When it came to shooting content, my technical skills improved drastically when it was time to set up gear, or quickly getting camera settings to desired levels to capture a shot. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and knowing how to use your gear to its fullest extent will greatly improve the content that you end up with. Subsequently, the content that I was shooting greatly improved as the summer went on. This was partially due to being out and shooting more frequently, but also because I had a resource to bring my work back to and be critiqued. Seems like a solid gig so far doesn’t it? Well it gets better yet. If you’re a college student, you more than likely will be able to receive credits towards graduation for your work over the course of the summer. In my case, I was able to get 6 credits, which meant less class and more time in the mountains come September!

montana wild, internship, hunting, film, photo

Spending time in the mountains with the guys meant more knowledge gained about cameras but also about hunting and backpacking.

Interested in working in the hunting and fishing media industry as a career? Not to worry, as an intern for Montana Wild not only will you build skills that will help you succeed in the future, but you will also have the chance to make connections by learning the ropes and insider tips from Zack and Travis. This will also allow you to meet other like minded people in the industry, and in today’s world, being talented at what you do, having job experience, and knowing the right people will get you far. Like what you see? If so send the guys at Montana Wild an email to info@montana-wild.com with the SUBJECT line: Montana Wild Internship.  Be sure to send a resume, cover letter and a portfolio of any photo/video work you’ve done.  Good luck!

Written by Calvin Connor

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Now Hiring

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We are adding another key piece to the puzzle here at Montana Wild.  Below is a job description for the position we are looking to fill.  This is an outline and simply that.  If you feel you have a skill-set that will add to our brand PLEASE apply. This job is not for the faint of heart. This is WORK and most do not understand what we do here at Montana Wild. Long days and late nights are frequently a part of this job.  Strong work ethic is absolutely neccessary! We are computer nerds and camera pack mules 90% of the time. If fame and fortune in the hunting/fly fishing industry is your goal, DO NOT apply. If you want the job to get a short term of experience, DO NOT apply. If you can’t see yourself living in Montana happily for a long term, DO NOT apply. We want level headed, positive & creative people who have a passion for the outdoors that want this job to potentially be their career.  We don’t want an ’employee’, we want another person dedicated to the Montana Wild brand, lifestyle, and family.

Digital Content Manager

First and foremost we are looking for a creative talent that is outgoing and passionate who can manage the digital content, social media streams, and build web content here at Montana Wild.  We are also looking for people with experience in video/photo editing, graphic design, website design, and journalism. This person may also be active in participating in planning and producing future projects and giving constructive creative feedback.  If you’re the jack of all trades, even better! Editing of photo/video and being able to proficiently utilize a camera for both video and photo will be necessary.  We provide some training but you absolutely need to have experience.

Duties May Include:

-Developing and creating content for social media and social media campaigns.
-Develop branding strategies
-Managing photo and video content
-Label and organize video in accordance to specific film projects
-Edit short 15-45 second videos
-Shoot photographs and short video for social media, marketing, and editorial purposes
-Design and develop marketing strategies for branded apparel
-Ship orders and manage day-to-day operations of apparel side of brand
-Studying and developing marketing strategies to be implemented through social media specifically Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
-Creating detailed post schedules
-Create blog posts around hunting and fishing
-Provide a critical eye with regards to creative projects
-Build interactive websites
-Handling clients and customer relations

Qualifications/Skills that we are looking for in a candidate:

-Experience in the outdoor field, preferably hunting and/or fishing
-Video/Photo experience and knowledge of Adobe programs such as Premiere Pro & Lightroom.  Looking for at least 2 years of experience.
-Past experience managing social media, developing marketing campaigns and managing digital media content.

-Ability to build and manage websites
-Graphic Design experience
Demonstrate passion and a strong work ethic
-Familiarity with the Vimeo and Youtube platforms
-A strong background in storytelling
-Familiarity with website creating platforms

 

**YOU MUST MOVE TO MISSOULA, MONTANA FOR THIS JOB**

Please send resume, cover letter, availability, and any creative material or portfolios to Zack Boughton at  work.montanawild@gmail.com

 

We are also taking applications for internships for Spring/Summer 2016.  These can involve photo/video production and editing, social media and general day-to-day duties.  Let us know what you are looking for in an internship.  Please make a note in the subject line of the email if that is what you are applying for.

The Big Bugs

Well life has been a bit on the crazy side around here.  Summer seems to suck up your time like none other.  A few weeks back I was able to go meet up with good friends Dan “Rooster” Leavens and Gray Edmiston for a little salmonfly fishing.  With no trips booked it was time for a couple personal days on the water.  The word was that the bugs were popping off and I quickly grabbed my fishing gear and camera and began trucking east to meet the guys.

mountains, fly fishing, montana, salmonflies, fish, trout, nikon, ford

That night I got to hear of the carnage that ensued under that day’s cloud cover.  It seemed that the fishing would be red hot, but with a week full of sun headed our way we’d see if the trout would keep up the feeding frenzy.  The next morning we were up at 5 and on the river by 7:30.  It was cool and we were the only guys on the river.  We began floating, hammering the banks and waiting for a take.  Well it wasn’t long until we had smacked up a few good browns.

salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster

The big bugs were out but as the day progressed it appeared the fishing was slowing down.  The main river was only giving up some of the smaller fish and we quickly pulled over for a short lunch.  Strategically, Rooster had put us right at the bottom of a usually lucrative side channel.  After hitting the main current with no luck, a slightly longer cast bounced off the far bank, and ten feet into the drift was attacked by a hungry brown.  The camera was rolling and Rooster had a great fish in hand.

salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster, brown trout, scott

The rest of the day was beautiful, but less productive than the previous days onslaught.  It appeared the bulk of the hatch had moved upstream.  Bugs were out but it appeared the fish were full and shy of the bright sun.

Day 2 we rose again by 5am.  Our plan was to move upstream another 10 miles and test some new waters.  Again the day started off big early with Gray hammering a nice one off the sunny side bank only 20 minutes into the float.

salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster, brown trout

The bugs were out thick on the bank, but seemed to be loving everything but the water.   We slowed down and hit a few side channels to let things warm up a touch.

salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster, brown trout, scott

Gray put the new Scott Radian 6wt to work and quickly fooled a brown sitting under the foam.  We got some shots and then kept the train moving.  Another rest stop showed the bugs were out in mass.  Gray decided to load up and give a Lebron chalk celebration with salmonflies in hopes that it would bring in a big one further down river.

lebron, salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster

Around noon the big bugs started hitting the water and the fishing quickly picked up.  Soon risers began to emerge in the deep water.  The fish were picky and didn’t want much to do with bugs that weren’t skittering on the water.  As we progressed downriver, a 20+ inch fish refused the bug and we quickly pulled over downstream.  After a dozen casts, the salmonfly finally found his feeding lane and Gray had a big boy hooked.

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After a long run downstream he found the net and we had a hog in hand.  Everyone was stoked and life was good.

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The two days were pretty killer despite the bright sun and fishing salmonflies is always a blast.  Chucking the big bug to big trout is hard to beat.  If you want to check out the salmon fly hatch next year be sure to get in touch with Rooster at the Stonefly Inn and prepare for a lot of fun and a bunch of nice fish.  Check them out at http://www.thestoneflyinn.com/.  Both days they had zero trips booked and it turned out to be a good thing for us.  Laughs for days and plenty of nice trout.  Life is good folks.  God bless!

-Zack

Enter the Dark

A small mouse slowly paddles across a wide flat of dark water after mistakenly falling in.  He’s half way across when all of a sudden the water erupts as a large brown thrashes through the surface and attacks the helpless prey.  Dinner has just been had and this brown slowly lurks back to his spot behind an old mossy log.  This predatory instinct was what we were hoping for when we recently decided to head to the river at 10PM on a Monday evening.  Travis and I had never fished at night and after picking up a few tasty mice morsels from the Grizzly Hackle we were ready.  We had high hopes despite our lack of experience and the vibe was good.

fly, fishing, montana, night, mousing, orvisAfter the drive to our location we were ready to get going.  The 5 and 7 weights came out and we quickly rigged up.  We had a decent assortment of patterns to choose from and a few moments later we both had flies tied on and ready to roll.

fly, fishing, box, mouse, line, orvis, night, beast

fly, fishing, box, line, night, mouse, pattern, brown, trout, orvis, helios

The sky was clear and a 3/4 moon sat high in the sky to the east.  Generally I’ve heard that mousing is not as good during a full moon, but we figured it was a myth.  The temperature was hovering in the low 50s, and we bundled up and slung our packs over our shoulders.  We slowly waded upstream in the dark.  It was a very cool experience being out in the water at night.  We could hear fish rising occasionally and walking through the riffles always seemed to elicit a boil in the water as a fish swam off.  We soon started covering the gloomy water with our mice.  It was difficult trying to determine how far you were actually casting and what kind of action you were imparting on the fly.  It was blind fishing at it’s finest.

fly, fishing, box, line, night, mouse, pattern, brown, trout, orvis, helios

We continued to fish upstream, sliding mice across pool after pool with no luck.  We knew our fly was getting over the fishes heads; it was just a matter of finding the right fish with an angry personality.  A few more holes and Travis and I were slowly fishing a nice left bank.  Out of nowhere a huge thrash on the surface erupted and then immediately went quiet.  Travis had just missed the first eat of the night.  The fish had failed to inhale and after a few more casts we decided to move on.  We were renewed with confidence and kept the mice train rolling upstream.  Finally we got to nice flat.  The water was shallow but browns almost always call this stretch home.  The technique was simple.  Cast across and slightly downstream to the far bank and let it drift about ten feet.  Then begin a very slow on/off retrieve with a little wiggle in the rod tip.  The mouse would swing across and down and each drift left us tensely waiting.  I had been hitting a nice corner for about ten minutes.  I was finishing my drift when all of a sudden a thrash erupted and my line went tight.  My first eat and I was hooked up to a large trout who was gator rolling just twenty feet away.  Travis cruised in with the net and we had our first fish on a mouse.  It was a nice brown and we quickly pulled out the light to snap a few photos.

fly, fishing, box, line, night, mouse, pattern, brown, trout, orvis, helios, montana wild

It was 12:50 AM and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  After a few clicks of the camera we put the brown back into the black water and watched him slink back into the darkness.

fly, fishing, mice, montana, wild, night, orvis

We weren’t done yet though.  Travis quickly went back upstream and resumed casting a tasty hole.  After a couple casts there was a heavy splash but no tight line.  Next cast and the same thing.  This fish was hungry and ready to feast.  A couple more casts later and he once again attacked the fly.  Travis set his rod high and a thunderous eruption began on the surface.  A few short seconds later and the mouse went flying out of the fishes mouth.  Ahhhhhhhhhh shit!  We let him rest and continued to push upriver.  Another hour of fishing had left us with no eats and we turned to head back to the truck.  Travis had to have another shot at that fish and he once again began swinging his fly across the hole.  On the third cast deja vu occurred.  The fish ate and again thrashed on the end of Travis’ line before somehow spitting the hook.  Excited and bummed at the same time we moved back downstream in the dark.  When we got back to the truck it was 4AM.  It had been a successful night.  It wasn’t red hot by any means but we had caught fish and had some very memorable eats.

-Zack