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new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing

If you didn’t catch some of our posts through social media you missed out on the fact that we went to New Zealand this spring in search of big brown trout.  It was amazing and we could write a whole book about it, but it’s summer in Montana and we are insanely busy.  We also hunted Himalayan tahr which you can read about and watch HERE.  With that said New Zealand is almost as amazing as it seems.  Some days it’s better and some days worse, but overall a place we were stoked to finally make it to.  This had been a bucket list trip for myself and to finally see it realized was something special.  For now I’ll leave you with photos from this amazing trip and be looking for two more parts down the road.  If time allows we will definitely write more about the trip.  Shoot us an email if you’ve got questions or want us to talk about something specific.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing

Months of preparation both researching maps and also flies. The final organization takes place just days before we leave.

new zealand, fishing, brown trout, south island, travel, simms fishing

Travel was about 14 hours from Bozeman to NZ. Not bad considering we were leaving winter and headed to brown trout paradise.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing

Flying in and seeing river after river made what once was a dream now a reality.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing, dinosaur, trout

Day 1 on the river and this was Fish #1. Life was more than good!

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing, simms fishing

Next Level Stoke

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing, Alpen Reels, Smith Optics

Zack’s 2nd fish of Day 2. We started the trip off hot and thought this was going to be the daily occurrence. Rain had bumped the creek and a streamer sealed the deal on the hike out.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing, toyota highlander

We soon found out that we were going to see unusual amounts of rain for this time of year. Blown rivers, wet gear, and minimal dry fly fishing made some days tougher than others.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing

Fishing on the front of an impending cyclone. Beautiful water but no fish this day.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing

Dry fly eater after almost a week of down time. Rivers clear fast after big rains and a risk to hike deep into the backcountry paid off.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing

Upriver in search of more hungry browns.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing, backcountry, bushwacking

Trails in New Zealand don’t always exist even though they are supposed to. Having wet feet is pretty much a necessity even when there is a trail. Fortunately the rewards are always worth the effort.

new zealand, fly fishing, diy, south island, montana wild, brown trout, dry fly, fishing, cicada, dinosaur

Cicada smasher. We missed the best part of the hatch but still found a few eager to look up and take the big dry fly.

Written by Zack Boughton

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

army, ladies, buffalo, trucker, buff, arrows, womens, montana, wild, hunting, fishingarmy, ladies, buffalo, trucker, buff, arrows, womens, montana, wild, hunting, fishing

Photos by Zack & Travis Boughton

 

big, brown, trout, montana

May is one weird month for fishing here in Montana.  The weather is warming up and the rivers tend to be all over the place.  Some years your only real option is the Missouri.  Other years you can fish in town the entire month of May with exceptional fishing.  It’s a month where staying local with the ability to hit the river at a moments notice can really pay off big.  This spring we had a big push of water come through for a few weeks.  Rivers were up with okay fishing if you knew all the right spots to target.  The Missouri was the obvious choice for many anglers.  It was crazy busy at times, but exceptional dry fly fishing could be had when the conditions lined up.  This past week though, all the local Missoula rivers dropped hard over the course of a few days.  Cold temps up high shut down runoff momentarily and the fish took note.  When Josh called saying I needed to fish tomorrow I listened.  Over time I’ve learned that when Josh says we need to fish he’s almost always right.  We met up early the next morning and took the raft out for a rip.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring

The brown trout were on the prowl.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring

More aggressive browns.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, wild

Montana Shark

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, wild

Chunky dude. Going into summer strong.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, big

Patience with the fly allowed Josh to hook this beast and a wild rodeo ensued. Fortunately he found the net.

We made an extra long float and I’m glad we did.  The action wasn’t consistent throughout the day.  The morning was hot and then things tapered off.  Sticking to the gameplan and fishing hard through the cold water kept us in the game and at the end of the day we’d definitely caught a healthy number of big brown trout.  Life is good!

Written by Zack Boughton

Images by Josh Rokosch and Zack Boughton

fly fishing, montana, rainbow trout

A lot of people ask us when our favorite time to fish is and while summer may provide warmer weather and more options to fish, spring is king in our book.

river, fly fishing, montana, spring, bitteroot, river

We simply mark spring as the time when the rivers lose their ice and temperatures start hitting the low 40s. The fish take note and if you can handle cold feet and hands, you’ll most likely land some of your biggest fish of the year.

brown, trout, fly, fishing, montana, spring, wild

Spring fishing is a tough bet if you’re not a local considering weather patterns this time of year can vary a ton! Those weather patterns also have a big impact on flows and river temps. If you live here though you’re in luck. Watching the weather will pay off and many beautiful days can be found in February, March and April. Having a flexible work schedule helps a lot as well.

fly, fishing, montana, spring, casting, back lit

Nymphing is going to be your big producer from February through mid March. If you’re not a purist throw on a worm and another nymph matching a local food source and you’ll be in business. It’s not flashy but it plain works. If you’re feeling a bit bolder, a streamer will pay off big time if you can push through the slow days that exist this early in the year.

brown, trout, fly, fishing, montana, streamer, spring, sitka gear

Anytime of day, any water type and any retrieve can and will pick up fish but a slow twitch or swing through slow 3-6’ of water tend to pick up the most fish this time of year. As the river temperature starts to tick upward the streamer bite can be off the charts and other than fall this is our favorite time to streamer fish.

streamer, brown trout, montana, spring, wild

Once we get into the last couple weeks of March we start to see the skwala stonefly emerge. This hatch brings the big boys out of hiding and fishing big dries this early in the year is very hard to beat. Expect crowds once the word is out, but if you know where to look you can still have some banner days under the Big Sky tossing a dry and getting some vicious eats.

spring, fishing, montana, sunny, trout, missoula

As we move into April we see some absolutely great fishing across the board and the weather is typically much nicer between spring storms.

rainbow, trout, fly fishing, montana, spring, simms, skwala

Typically runoff starts showing up in late April and early May and from then on we wait until things shape up in June. This spring has already shaped up to be one that we won’t quickly forget and we’re only half way through it. Expect to see more from this spring in the future!

river, yellowstone, spring, montana

brown trout, fly fishing, montana, spring

-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

brown trout, montana, wild, streamers, winter, 2013, rain

December in Montana.  The weather is unpredictable and many have put up the fly rods and rifles for the year.  It’s a risk-reward time of the year when it comes down to fishing.  Just catching fish is a success and often it’s just painfully slow on the water.  With the rain steadily falling we threw the waders in the truck and met up with Anthony from the False Casts and Flat Tires crew and hit the road.  Not surprisingly we were the first truck at the access.  We figured most would settle for a beer and some football on a cold rainy day with the mercury hovering just above 40 degrees.  Our plan was to settle for a beer and some streamers on a piece of water we hadn’t visited in a good 6 months.  It only took about 5 minutes before Anthony decided to get the ball rolling.

brown trout, montana, wild, streamer, rain, winter, outdoors, videos, 2013

We quickly moved upstream with eats in almost every hole.  I quickly was on the board when a beautiful brown hammered my fly just feet from me as I was finishing my retrieve.

brown trout, montana, wild, streamer, rain, winter, outdoors, videos, 2013

brown trout, montana, wild, streamer, rain, winter, outdoors, videos, 2013

It was almost silly the streamer bite was so good.  Any decent water seemed to hold a fiery brown willing to mount a vicious attack on any invader of its territory.  Soon Anthony had another killer fish on.  He had been holding in a very small sliver of water, and a precise cast fooled him.

brown trout, montana, wild, streamer, rain, winter, outdoors, videos, 2013

We kept skipping past each other as we fished upstream.  Soon Travis was hollering just upriver.  I looked and saw the Echo doubled over.  I quickly made it to him to help net his fish.  After a few minutes it was apparent this wasn’t just any fish.  This was a PIG!  After a couple close calls I finally slipped the net under a rainbow that could be mistaken for one straight out of Alaska.

rainbow trout, monster, montana, wild, AK, streamer, rain, winter

rainbow trout, monster, montana, wild, AK, streamer, rain, winter

We snapped a few hero photos of this stud rainbow and then let him slink back to his lair.

rainbow trout, monster, montana, wild, AK, streamer, rain, winter

After everyone’s success it was time to crack open a cold PBR and take it all in.  Laughs were had all the way around.  Despite the inclement weather it had easily turned into one of the best days on the water.  We had been fortunate enough to catch one of those moments where the fish are just eating and it doesn’t matter what you put in front of their face.  Unfortunately this brown wasn’t so fortunate.  He had seen his last Montana summer and most likely had died of old age.

brown trout, dead, winter, montana, pbr, river, 2012

Again we kept the streamer train moving.  After our early success we soon began to loose a little steam.  Multiple eats resulted in near misses and the hook just didn’t set.  The rain had subsided and the bite seemed to cool off.  I was able to trick one last brown though.

brown trout, montana, winter, wild, outdoors, streamers

He was a solid fighter as he took to the air 3 or 4 times before finally making it to the net.  It’s always fun to see the differences between every brown trout.  Some are bright and others more subdued in color.  The size, shape and type of jaw always seem to vary and are one of my favorite species of trout to catch.  It had been a stellar couple of hours, but all good things must come to an end.  As we worked back down stream we were left with nary a bite.  As quickly as it had started it had shut down.  We hit the golden hour that day and all left with smiles on our faces.  I want to thank Anthony for bringing his camera and snapping some killer photos.  I’m sure we’ll be back on the water soon.  If you haven’t fished in the winter before then get out and get after it!  You don’t catch fish on the couch.

brown trout, montana, winter, wild, outdoors, streamers, slab

-Zack