Well my first day back in Craig was everything you’d hope for — other than a raging river about 10K cfs, lots of wind, and few rising fish. But conditions aside, it was a blast to see old friends and the fishing season in Camp Craig is in full swing.
It was a highlight to run into my buddy Mark Raisler who is a proprietor at Headhunters Fly Shop and writes one of the funniest fishing blogs around. Check it out, he wrote a lovely post about welcoming me back to town. Thanks Mark!! And look for a team post we are working on in the next couple of days. Mark and I go way back in the day when it was still appropraite to shut down the Craig bar, singing with Jimmy the cowboy guitar picker. “Moonlight in Vermont” was our surefire crowd pleaser.
Here’s Mark at the Wolf Creek put-in just before he took a look at the whords of people putting in, so he called an audible an picked a different float:
I fished with my friend Randall and a great guide name Kurt. Despite touch conditions we managed to con a few fish into our domain. Nymphing was our only option in the morning. Randall caught this lovely brown right out of the gate:
I answered with a rainbow on a nymph rig but the damn fish hunkered down so low in the copious amount of water he had to work with and it broke off right at the split shot. My cast really unraveled in the wind and I was bungling the nymph rig to death. Despite the lack of fish I decided to go prospecting with a dry, simplify my setup and hopefully get my mojo back with my cast.
We did find some consistenter risers later afternoon and Randall worked his tail end off too catch one of them. Kurt must have thrown every fly in the box at them and finally found the magic bug. Randall caught a really nice rainbow from that pod.
We stopped in Craig for a pit stop where I ran into my good buddy Bob Lay:
Bob offered Randall some moonshine and we were well fueled for the afternoon portion of the float.
I was determined get one of these troutsies to look up and continued to prospect with many versions of grasshoppers, ant, grasshoper-beatle combo and even some good old fashioned caddis.
Randall pulled out another pretty rainbow on nymphs:
It was getting later in the evening and while we saw zero bugs (that’s not true, I actually saw two whole bugs) we did start to see some rising fish. I set up on a consistent pod (I define consistent in that I can bonk them on the head with my fly line and they still don’t spook) and eventually I pulled a pretty brown to the net. That felt really good after a hard day the water. Unfortunately I have no picture. But supposedly there is some video floating around with the take and everything. Stay tuned…
After fishing, we of course settled into the scene at Craig which hasn’t changed much. Guides recounting their day. Cocktails flowing. Dinner up at the bar. Seeing lots of good friends. And laughter til I though I would collapse from exhaustion.
And today? We do it all over again……I [heart] Craig, Montana.