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From 2015 – 2017 we spent many days on the water trying to not only hit the Skwala Stonefly hatch juuuust right, but to also capture the hatch on film in all of it’s glory. Filmed and edited with cutting edge camera equipment and software, and boasting a total of over 75 dry fly eats, you won’t want to miss out on our upcoming film, SKWALHALLA. In addition to the launch of the film, we’re offering a special pre order giveaway, that gives YOU a chance to take home a brand new Simms G4 Pro Tactical Hip Pack. Keep reading to find out how you could be the lucky winner.

 

WIN THIS SIMMS G4 PRO TACTICAL HIP PACK

By now you’re probably wondering, “How in the heck can I get my hands on that sweet looking Simms pack?!”  We don’t blame you, and the answer is simple. To get your name in the hat, you must follow the three simple steps listed below.

Pre order SKWALHALLA, here: SKWALHALLA Vimeo On Demand

DRAWING FOR WINNER will be held on Wednesday, January 31st at 5:00 PM MST, live on the Montana Wild Instagram story.

 

life, beyond, walls, montana, wild, adipose, boatworks

“I love a ground-dog burrito!” We had just spotted a questionable looking Mexican restaurant and already the stereotypes were being heavily flung around. What would you expect from a truck with 4 dudes and a solid five hours plus rallying I-90?

montana, fishing, trout, mexican, food, burrito

An hour later we emerged, bellies full and hoping that no one would be feeling “spicy” in a few hours. We were in the home stretch and soon enough we’d be looking over the waters of the Bighorn River for the first time. A little over a month earlier we had gotten the call from Smith Optics to shoot a lifestyle film for their latest web series “Life Beyond Walls.” Wanting to keep it within the borders of the Big Sky state yet still get a little road trip in, the Bighorn was an obvious choice. A tailwater with above average flows this year meant it was opposite the rest of the state and hopefully full of aggressive trout. Finally we hit the river and pulled onto the bridge in St. Xavier. The water below us was swollen and running a green/brown color. We all started talking about hooking “slam pigs” and raucously expelled typical bro banter.

Adipose, driftboat, fly, fishing, montana, bighorn, river, brown trout

That evening we cruised into Fort Smith and swung into the Bighorn Angler. Bryen and Shelly were there to greet us and give the lowdown on the fishing. A few dozen flies later and we began to organize and sort fishing gear in anticipation for the morning.

gear, fishing, montana, bighorn, river, montana wild, video, film, smith optics

Morning came early and after a few slight bobbles getting everything loaded up we finally arrived at the boat launch.  We dropped the boats and got ready for a long day on the river.  At the moment we had the place to ourselves, little did we know that in an hour this would be full of twenty different rigs hoping to launch.

driftboat, adipose, bighorn, angler, river, fly fishing, montana, wild, video, smith optics

Soon we pushed off, hanging to the bank and searching the wide featureless water. A slow twenty minutes put us at the first small island and a pit stop was ordered up. Fifty yards upstream multiple fish were chowing down on the morning buffet. Two casts later and two great browns had hit the net.

bighorn, river, fly, fishing, montana, brown, trout, adipose, wild, film, smith optics

bighorn, river, fly, fishing, montana, brown, trout, adipose, wild, film, smith optics

At that point the boat train had engulfed us. Despite the crowds one thing became apparent, we were having a lot more fun than the other boats. Typical to many rivers there was a lack of yelling, laughing and general good times. Weird. Our float continued under hazy skies as we banged streamers into every nook and cranny we could find. Dozens of fish later we hit our takeout and headed back up to sneak in a second short float. Mice were skated, the golden sun sank in the West but no fish stuck. Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin” blared from Lungren’s cell phone as we pulled in under the light hum of a lonely light guarding the Three Mile boat ramp. Day Two was complete.

driftboats, adipose, helena, bighorn, river, montana, trout, fishing

With a good day of fishing under our belts we figured we’d take a risk and give the lower river hell. “Chuck and Duck” was the game plan and flashes and strikes ensued from all the likely spots. A short ways later the line stopped in it’s tracks and a hefty flash gave us a look at the largest fish of the trip. A quick fight ensured there was no chance of him getting away and a plump rainbow laying in the net left the group acting like a bunch of wild monkeys.

bighorn, river, rainbow, trout, montana, wild, fishing, film, smith optics, streamer

Good call boys, good call. Apparently this lower river was the real deal. A few hours later we had changed our tune as things were downright slow. The water had picked up decent color from some of the small feeder creeks and reading the river became much tougher. We embraced the day and enjoyed the great scenery and even better company.

fly, fishing, montana, film, trout, wild, bighorn, river, adipose, driftboat

After lunch we split up and started working a small island. Twenty minutes later a couple goldeyes had been caught. No one in the group had ever caught one before so this was news to us. One came on a dry and another hit a streamer, apparently they were hungry little buggers.

gold, eye, fish, fishing, bighorn, river, montana, dry fly, film, wild

As the float neared its end the roar of a diversion dam pulled everyone back into full attention. Cameras were carefully pulled from the boats and walked downriver. Travis and Sam pushed off and lined up above the man-made rapids. Sam was first and found the right slot, easily pushing through. Travis was up next and despite his best efforts was pulled over into the edge of the main wave formed off the dam. A healthy splash and the skiff cut through the wave and slid downriver.

fishing, montana, bighorn, river, trout, brown, wild, film, smith optics, guides choice, dam

adipose, driftboat, skiff, helena, montana, dam, diversion, river, bighorn, film

We all were beat from another long day under the sun and pulling into the Riverview Lodge was very welcome. Steve had worked some magic and got us the bottom half of some prime real estate. With a great view of the valley and a full kitchen we got dinner on the grill and got some much needed rest for Day Four.

bighorn, river, fishing, lodge, angler, montana, wild, film, brown trout, tailwater

Day Four again saw us boating fish and seeing plenty of new water. Streamer fishing was the choice mid-day as staring down a bobber just didn’t get us too fired up. That evening found us anchored up on a long seam with a long line of noses extending downstream. Hookup after hookup with no boats in sight was the story.

bighorn, river, montana, wild, fly fishing, trout, film, smith optics, guides choice

Fast forward to the takeout. Now I’ve depleted the old Ford’s gas gauge plenty of times but this one was shaping up to be interesting. We had ran our own shuttle and the driving distance between takeouts was further than expected. The gas light had been on for about 30 miles and 20 more remained before we got back to the lodge. It was 11PM when the engine sputtered and the power steering went out. Yes I was a dips#&* and should have put more than $30 in the tank yesterday. We were stranded. Two hours later the Ford had been towed to the nearest fishing access and both boats were safely parked back at the lodge.   The following morning found us back at the truck with a 5 gallon gas can pouring precious fluid back into the fuel hungry beast. We were back in business!

fishing, trip, montana, empty, truck, fishing, bighorn, life beyond walls

This would be our final morning and we figured a quick hammer sesh through the top 3 miles would be just right. A few hundred oar strokes and Travis was into another nice brown. The cameras did their thing and in a flash the brownie was back in the river.

brown, trout, fly, fishing, bighorn, river, montana, wild, film, video, smith optics

It wasn’t long and again we had hit the end of the road. The launch was in sight and the trip was complete. The boats hit the trailers, and we grabbed our stuff and hit the road.

montana, highway, adipose, driftboat, wild, boat, film

As we drove home we relived the past four days. All the ingredients of a great fishing trip had left everyone feeling satisfied. We are excited to share the film with you here tomorrow! Be looking for it to go live  tomorrow August 12th on the Smith Optics website and if you haven’t checked out their other films from the “Life Beyond Walls” Series you should do so! We also had the pleasure of testing out the new “Guide’s Choice” sunglasses which will be available soon.

smith, optics, guides choice, guide, fishing, new, sunglasses, polarized, chormapop

These things are absolute beasts on the water and will definitely make the best days better. Look for them at your local fly shop this fall. Also a big thanks goes out to Steve Galletta and the crew at the Bighorn Angler. Their expertise is unmatched and the lodging they provide for anglers is superb. Check them out next time you hit the Bighorn.

Bighorn, angler, river, fort smith, montana, mt, fishing, brown trout, guides, fly shop

And last but not least, a special thanks to the awesome crew at Adipose Boatworks. They have a rental boat there at the Bighorn Angler if you want to give one a spin on your next trip.

adipose, boatworks, driftboats, skiff, flow, montana, helena, wild, boat, bighorn, river

-Zack

 

The time has come, Bucknasty Browns is now live and online.  After touring this spring with The F3T, we are proud to share our film with everyone.  Enjoy!

Thanks to support from:  Simms Fishing | Smith Optics | YETI Coolers | Scientific Anglers | Orvis | Grizzly Hackle

 

BUCKNASTY BROWNS hats and tees here>http://montana-wild.com/store/

 

-Zack

The winter here in Western Montana has been mild to say the least so far.  Temperatures through January and now February have been well above normal and conditions resemble spring.  This has been frustrating for hunting coyotes but a blessing to all the fisherman who have had enough of winter already.  After the F3T recently toured through Missoula I’m sure most anglers have been out on the water ripping lip.  It was so warm the river had bumped 1100 cfs in a day and we were riding out the flat before it dropped again.  The forecast was looking gloomy with a strong likelyhood of rain throughout the afternoon.  We weren’t super sure if today would be the best day to float. We quickly decided that given it was Monday, what other way would be a great way to kick off the week, so we hit the road and met up with our good friend Josh Rokosch.  The boat hit the water and a few bends in the river later and Travis had a solid rainbow.

fly, fishing, montana, river, spring, rainbow, trout, day, float

The next couple hours were full of hookups mainly by Travis.  I bet he had me beat 10 to 0 at one point!

fly, fishing, montana, wild, spring, day, float, skwalla

And yes vibes were solid all around.

montana, wild, fly, fishing, trout, spring, bitteroot, river

The fishing was surpassing our expectations for what one would think fishing in February would be.  There was a short period of time where I almost tied on a skwalla just to see what would happen.  I didn’t but the rest of the day was full of plenty of laughs and a few more trout.

montana, spring, fishing, river, trout, missoula

fishing, fly, montana, rivers, spring, skwalla, wild, photo

Stoked to get back out and see what this spring has to offer!

 

Bully Decals are now in stock! You can purchase them here> http://montana-wild.com/store/shop

-Zack

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

Early Sunday morning we loaded up the truck, and headed to Bozeman.  The wind gusts pushed us east along I-90, and we sailed through bursts of snow and rain throughout the drive.  It looked like we might be in for a cold couple of days of filming & fishing.  Just before noon we stopped to fish a small stretch of the Clark Fork.  The wind gusts and freezing temperatures made for slow fishing.  We felt a couple tugs and even managed to fool a few small browns on a Parachute Adams before loading back up to finish the roadtrip to Bozeman.

shoot, out, rain, simms, ford, f 150

We finally arrived at the Simms headquarters, and met with the rest of the filmmakers.  All of the filmmakers were super friendly and cold PBRs were spread throughout the room.  After a half an hour of chatting and waiting for the guides to finish piling in, it was time to get to business.  The guides drew names out of a hat to decide who they would be filming with and we were paired up with Dan “Rooster” Leavens.  Zack and I didn’t have the slightest clue who Rooster was, but we would spend the next 3 days filming his every move and learning the ways of the Rooster.

simms, fly fishing, waders, boots, headquarters, bozeman, montana, shoot out, ice out

The next morning our 4:50AM alarm rang out, ducks quacking for me to awake.  Zack and I gathered our gear scattered on the hotel floor and headed out into the cold, windy, snowy weather.  Our destination was Twin Bridges, and we hoped we could get some early morning shots before meeting with the Rooster.

fog, clouds, snow

 

After a bitter cold morning of filming, we threw our frozen boots into the truck to de-thaw and finally made it to our destination, the Stonefly Inn & Outfitters.  Rooster had coffee ready for us, and we sat down and talked for a good hour about hunting and fly fishing.  We soon found out that Rooster had been sick throwing up all night.  He blamed the pizza he ate the evening before and to compound the issue, his wife was also sick.  A bug was going around, and we crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t be hit with the unfriendly sickness.  Rooster was feeling better fortunately, and decided that not the weather nor the sickness would stop him from fishing. We grabbed Willy the chocolate lab, loaded the truck with camera gear, and finally made it to the river.

lab, brown, man's, best, friend, montana, fishing, dog

The morning consisted of a bunch of small browns and frozen fingers, leading us to move locations.  That afternoon, the sun finally started to peak through the clouds.  We got back onto the river and it wasn’t long before Rooster hooked his first nice brown trout of the trip.  About an hour later and a few fly selection switches and a boss trout was hooked up.  At first we didn’t know what it was, but as the fish came to the net, it was a nice 2-foot rainbow!

2 foot, rainbow, monster, montana, wild, bent, shoot out, iceout

The rest of the day Rooster reeled in multiple nice fish and the vibe quickly began to swing into our favor.  With a couple browns weighing in around the 20″ mark and a rainbow pushing 24 we called it a wrap for the day as Rooster had to go home and take care of his wife and children who had been fighting the sickness.  Family comes first, and we had no objections to Rooster heading home before sundown.  Zack and I spent the rest of the evening filming around town and captured some late afternoon timelapses.

sunset, montana, twin bridges, stonefly, inn, outfitter

Zack and myself stayed up until 2:30AM organizing our clips from Day 1, making sure we were on top of our game and ready to start editing the film the following evening.  We got a few short hours of sleep and immediately were back up and firing up the cameras.  We finalized our storyline with Rooster and moved over to the fly shop.  After a broken fly rod, an obnoxious customer call, a spilled box of flies, and a flat tire, it was finally go time.  Rooster started the morning drive to the river by saying, “can’t show the lions on the first day boys”.  Little did we know he was not lying about “showing the lions”.  Rooster proceeded to catch fish after fish consisting of large browns and chromed out rainbows.  The footage was stacking and the shots were being logged.  Rooster was starting to put on a show that any fisherman would appreciate.  Helping us for the day were Rooster’s guides Gray, Bubba and Dave who added more punch to the fish fight.

simms, waders, bubba, stonefly, outfitters, montana, casting, fly fishing

rainbow, fat, montana

With plenty of solid shots stored in the camera, we decided to hit some new water to finish the day.  Rooster made his way below a small bridge and proceeded to catch fish after fish, throwing low, precise casts into the money spot.  It was a truly remarkable sight, with the Stonefly guide peanut gallery watching the show go down from the bridge above.

Dan, leavens, rooster, montana, simms, iceout, shoot, out, montana, wild

We wrapped up the day with dry fly eats on chernobyls, brown trout to the face, and an amazing steak dinner.  From here on out it was coffee, Monsters, and no sleep.  This was a chance that we had to take full advantage of.  You are not given opportunities like the Simms Shoot Out very often and we were here to win.  This was our chance to show that we can run with the best in the biz and we began the long process of crushing two days worth of fish into a 6 minute film.

all, nighter, mac, apple, editing, montana, wild, film

 

Before we knew it the film was in its final stages of production.  The sun was rising and Rooster was waiting to check out the latest cut of video.  Rooster gave us some final input and before we knew it the video was exported and we were driving to the Simm’s headquarters to turn in our film.

 

We relaxed the rest of the day and fished a local river the following morning with our friend Tom Urell.  The streamer fishing was hot, with fish attacking the streamers most of the day.  No monsters were brought to the net, but we had a blast fishing the local Bozeman holes.  Later that evening we watched all four submissions of the Simms Shoot Out at the Ellen theater.

simms, fly fishing, shoot, out, film, ellen, theatre, montana wild, rooster

After the films kicked off it was a nervous half an hour before I saw the Montana Wild logo flash up on the backdrop and the rest is history.  We had won the Shoot Out!!!!

winner, winners, simms, 2013, shoot, out, iceout, montana, bozeman, ellen, theater, dan, leavens, rooster, boughton

We spent the rest of the night celebrating with new friends and somehow managed to not spend all $2,000 at the bars.  We woke the next morning, packed our bags and headed back to Missoula.  That evening we found ourselves hiking 6 miles back into the backcountry…. Be looking for our next blog post about Stan’s amazing bear hunt.

 

I wanted to give a big shoutout to Dan “Rooster” Leavens for being such an amazing guide and host, and Dana Leavens for letting us steal Rooster for a couple days and allowing us to sleep at the Stonefly Inn.  Dan  loves to fish and he has a great family and group of guides.  Thanks Bubba, Dave, and Grey for your antics and not so helpful music suggestions.  We hope we can work with Dan in the future and hopefully the friendship we made will last for a very long time.

 

Below is our winning submission to the 2013 Simms Shoot Out!!!

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/65079211 w=580&h=440]

 

-Travis

 

My first time hearing about the Simms SHOOT OUT was in 2011, where I got my first glimpse at a fly fishing film competition.  I wanted to compete in the SHOOT OUT one day, and the thought stuck in the back of my mind.  In 2012 we were disappointed when we had heard that the 2012 SHOOT OUT filmakers had already been chosen, and once again sat back and watched the videos that were released.  Last year really motivated us to kick some ass and get into the 2013 SHOOT OUT.   Here we are mid-April and the moment we have been waiting for has finally come.  We are stoked to have the opportunity to be one of four film makers competing in the Simms SHOOT OUT!

simms, shoot, out, montana, wild

Zack and I are dedicated to putting together an amazing video.  The competition requires us to film with one Simms guide for 2 days, and then 24 hours to put the video together.  The interesting part is we will not know who we are filming with until the night before our first filming day.  We are excited and cannot wait for the event to start!

We head out for Bozeman this morning.  Make sure to follow our daily behind the scenes SHOOT OUT photos on Instagram @montanawild!  We will be giving our viewers a behind the scenes look at what is going on so everyone can stay in the loop.  Also you will get your chance on Thursday/Friday April 25th & 26th to vote for your favorite SHOOT OUT film via text message.  Stay tuned!!!

 

-Travis