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PostPosted: July 31st, 2017, 4:19 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Vassalboro, Maine
As trip reports go, this is apt to be “The Brothers Karamazov” more than it will be “**** My Father said”.

So be warned.

We flew from Bangor on United- and did not get physically removed from the plane----though I heard about 10 jokes about it. All on time, and all luggage made it. This is the 5th year running all has gone well. We got up and going at 3am EST...and were in Bozeman at 11:30am MST. All in all, a good system.

Then….the rental car...rental car agents are frustrated used car salespeople, and more than a little less honest. We had reservations for a full sized SUV- Tahoe, Expedition etc,...they gave us some tin box POS- and even with significant discussion---we ended up having to take it or walk.

We rode.

When our 3rd person- a newbie to fishing Montana arrived around 1pm, we lit out for Craig with a serious stop at the Wal-Mart in Helena. After checking in at the Trout Shop, Gussa held down the fort and Coach and I hit the water. What HE thought was a great hatch was to me, minor. But with a little riding around and from memory of places in the past, we came to a rise spot and the fish were up seriously. 2 hours of solid concentration, and near constant attention to a fish on the rise...excellent.

First full day- a float from the dam to Craig… we were on a pod of fish in the same spot as the last 3 years, and we landed some nice fish- but the BESt rise we saw on this day was right at the Wolf Creek landing- I mean just wade out from the landing and 200 fish were in sight taking dry flies...it could have been epic, but the rubber riders were much less interested in fishing than they were in Bud Lites.

The drift down to Craig was -as always for us- less effective. We each landed some fish, but slower. By 4pm we were at the landing and went to camp for a dinner Gussa had been planning for a year...then out for what turned out to be an epic rise. Caddis were on fire, and I was able to match wits with a Brown trout that was MORE than my net could hold...and another dozen fish along side him. What I learned and liked was the movement of large fish into less than a foot deep water at dusk- just noses. Gussa and Coach were also much on fish..

A good day one.

Day two- another float- but we went from the dam to Wolf Creek and then back to the dam/down to Wolf creek again. The second float was better than the first- for two reasons- almost NO other boats...and we knew where we had missed fish in the morning and were given a second chance in the afternoon.

The night rise was in the same spot, but we had a wind that hurt our attempts...but we did have a decent night.

Day 3--

Well. day 3 really started at 12:29 am…. We had been up late fishing, then a small social gathering of 3 and some grilled Brats...so, we hit the rack about mid-night. Gussa may have over-served himself...as he slept THROUGH the EARTHQUAKE!!!!!!!! I woke as my bed started a short sprint across my room, and the walls of our cabin decided to groan and wiffle---shit was rattling and flopping---and Gussa snored right through it….and the 5.9 on the richter scale event ---nor the 2 aftershocks in the 4.0 range---nope- snored right along as if he were in the Man cave at home. When the 4th rumble started-which was actually the second largest---THAT woke him up! By this time, Coach and I were wide awake and wondering if the roof was coming down...Even now, I am not sure if the word “Cool” fits, or the word terrifying.

We waded all day- and we went for a long walk and found a shelf with fish we could spot-all in about 2 feet of less water. These fish would NOT come up….but they were ALL on watch for a nymph- and Gussa put on a clinic-over 15 fish, I had 6 to hand, and Coach was a very supportive ...not so much (though he DID hook 5-6). We had this spot for the next day also, and did well there on that day also- when Coach outfished me.

The evening was also simply epic.

Last full day at Craig-

We waded other areas, and picked fish here and there--- we were all set for a close evening at the hot spot, but the wind had us out witted---it blew 61MPH (we saw it on the news next day)- and blew a steady 45 mph from about 5PM until well after dark. We could not really fish- but we tried.

Travel day--

We drove Coach to Bozeman and put him on a plane, and Gussa and I reloaded at Albertson’s and roaded it for our new place to stay on the Madison---Driftwaters Campground and cabins.

We actually didn’t have a cabin as much as we had the owner’s HOME- HUGE inside and beds for 6. The living room is bigger than my entire downstairs...all on the side of good! On the other hand, it was less than totally clean, and very 1970s...which is fine if one is willing to wear the gold chains.Cost? Less than HALF what the very small cabin at Campfire Lodge was- and should we ever have the 6 guys it would hold, it would be LESS than $30 per night.

Driftwater’s also has a decent little bar/grill that has exceptionally unexpectedly good food- and a small selection of beers (all good). We ate there twice- and would go back anytime--- get the Buffalo Chicken pizza---killer (2 Tums needed!).

The fishing was yes/no. The top water fishing was actually a little slower than hoped...but we could fill a boat with nymphs---I mean a 50 fish day was very much in play, and while the fish are NOT as big as the Mo fish are...they ARE good fish- and fight hard. The PMDs did come on 2 mornings, and the Salmon flies were just over, so EVERYONE was throwing salmon flies...and caddis worked best on top.

We saw the Washington State guys again (4th year)...the Marine guy, and met 2 Canadians who were a HOOT! Often, we would sit and have a social drink, and Gussa did some horse trading-my flies for (his) their smoked salmon and elk jerky---everyone wins! (Kind of….)

I had a 3 day war with a sneaky brown who lives in the same impossible spot each year...he will come ONCE, and as the light is perfect for one to see into the water, I could SEE him refuse---over and over. He took a #22 PMD on day 3, and I netted the SOB, and called it quits for the morning.

Then THE EVENT happened… If you know Raynolds Bridge area, there is a nice holding spot in the middle UNDER the bridge best accessed from the other side from the parking lot. It calls for crossing a seriously swift small channel...I had my fold staff and was forced to cross in an area deeper than I wanted (as a guy was standing IN the cross spot and never moved for an hour){Nor did he catch or rise a fish}...anyway-what ensued was not his fault- more mine and a poorly placed staff tip….anyway when I came back to the surface after my tip slipped off a rock---I could see my NYMPH box (estimated number of flies inside? -600...floating away….alongside the nymphs was my midge box---gone (nothing inside larger than #18).

I did land 2 fish out there...but my heart wasn’t in it.

But...some years ago I started putting my name/number/address on each box, and before the evening was up, I had a call that my box was at Slide Inn--- so, (sadly, only one box-and the midge box at that) some people are real good people and return lost stuff given a chance….so--- all of YOU- put your information on your boxes!!!!!

The last 4 days were in the Park--

We hiked First Meadow, and after the tragic loss of my 3 spools of FLORO! ($45), I learned that one could still land spookie Cutts on dries at 3X if one came downstream to them presenting the fly first-- and in the end,I think this was my BEST day landing fish there ever. We had the place to ourselves.

As Soda Butte was brown (and stayed that way), and Lemar CLEAR, we hiked into upper Lemar….not my cup of tea. Should have gone to Cache Creek. We did land decent numbers of Cutts on Soda Butte with BUGGARS….but never saw the water clear. Best for us was at the VIP pool on the lower meadow on Slough--- brutal horseflies-- worst I have ever seen, which made a BUFF a key wear item.

Back Home at midnight 15 days later...all flights went well--luggage was there on time.

Gear?

I broke my Silver Ghost, ripped out my “new” Chotas (8th day on the water-blew out), lost a nymph box, ended up casting my Sage VPS all weeks, and never had an issue with my Hardy cheapo 4000...oh, my net let go about half way around-but zip ties fixed it.

We were able to kill 3 half gallons of Svedka (I had ONE drink-seriously...one), and 180 beers in 30 packs.

The rental was a total piece of shit- all week. Hated it.

Already planning next year.

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PostPosted: July 31st, 2017, 8:37 pm 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5114
Location: Near the tying bench
Nice trip report!!!

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"You never miss the water until the well runs dry" - traditional blues


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PostPosted: August 1st, 2017, 3:42 am 
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Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
Posts: 1203
Location: New Hampshire
Sounds like a good one again! Nice that the travel worked, and gear held up.

Huge bummer about losing a box, I"m trying to streamline a bit, and i'm falling more for a "stock box" model, and smaller boxes out on the river. Last week in Sweden, i left a zipper unzipped and watched my streamer box bob down teh river... a lunge with the net, and i saved it, just before it was gone.

Will you be holding auditions and try outs to see who will be part of "The 6 Pack"? :)

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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PostPosted: August 1st, 2017, 7:06 pm 
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Joined: September 28th, 2003, 12:00 am
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As always a great read. Was beginning to wonder if you had been held back at the end of school. Missed your words.

Ron

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The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.

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PostPosted: August 1st, 2017, 8:28 pm 
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Joined: March 16th, 2013, 11:04 pm
Posts: 513
Great entertainment as always.Look forward to your reports on any subject with more frequency here.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2017, 3:13 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 3269
Location: Vassalboro, Maine
Thanks...made a mistake- my crappy boots were KORKERS, not Chotas.

Hutch

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PostPosted: August 6th, 2017, 7:30 am 
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Joined: February 27th, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 1517
Location: Mercer, Maine
Fun TR, and I'd vote "Cool" to your earthquake.

We'd been wondering how the temperatures were treating you guys.

Kat


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