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Ally asked me to come with her, Hero and Nick, up to Bishop for a weekend of fishing Nov. 3-5…and, “Oh yeah Dad, bring some soft hackles and Seal Buggers !”… 🙂

Red Hill (cinder cone) at Little Lake, CA signaling the entry into the Owens Valley and Eastern Sierras on Hwy. 395…North

Mt. Whitney from the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine, CA

The center offers campfire permits, maps, information and some very interesting reading material. I have been coming here since the early 80’s when the building was to the right of this location and a lot smaller…

…more

and more…

So, when we arrived in Bishop, Nick and Ally went to pick out a primitive campsite for their stay. I went to the Vagabond Inn because they have nice soft beds, heat,  a shower and TV so I could watch the Miami / Va. Tech game on Saturday night…

After I checked in, we headed up to North Lake above Bishop to try out some soft hackles…it was cold and windy…Ally watches Nick fishing…

The leaves were almost gone from most of the trees in the area…

Nick caught a couple of small-ish Browns…

…on this soft hackle pattern which has been my top producer in the high elevation lakes in the Easter Sierras over the past three years…

With the wind starting to blow a lot harder, we decided to take a jaunt down the mountain and visit the Lower Owens River below 5 Bridges an area I haven’t been to in quite awhile because of the drought here in California…I knew the flows were too high for wading and fly fishing (541cfs. that day)…

This photo was taken in 2002…

This is the same spot in 2017…The spot was filled with brush and there had been a die-off of the trees on the opposite bank…

I used to drive my rig in here and park on the left next to the extended tree branch…There is now a deep gully between where I am standing, taking this photo and Ally and Hero near the bank of the Owens…

… in fact, just to the right of where Ally is standing , this large tree once stood. It is gone…

…Nick and I standing where brush did not exist a few years ago…

I used to park just under the branch that extends off the right of this tree in the past…

 

This is looking upstream from that spot…The entire area on the near side of the bank is completely overgrown…

This is another location, just upstream of where I used to park my vehicle…looking towards the White Mountains…

…and back towards the Sierras at sunset…

I have taken a lot of nice Trout out of the bend section just upriver…

This run is very deep at this spot…and shallows out to riffle water just below the trees in the distance…

I took this Brown out of there  when the flows were much lower awhile back…

I will return when the flows decrease…

Saturday morning, it was off to Schat’s Bakery before going up to Pleasant Valley Reservoir

Trudging along the Owens River where it runs just above PVR…it is a great place to fly fish when the flows are lower…

This is the spot we chose to toss our flies…

Ally, Hero and Beer-O…

Looking South…Some folks next to us took a few small Rainbows on PB, Mice Tails and Inflatable Worms…for us – nada…

…so we trudged back to the vehicle…

…and decided to go back up the mountain and try Intake II on Bishop Creek

…a small Brownie on a PP&P…and I am wearing gloves because it is cold and very windy…

…a view of a portion of Intake II…

…another Brown…we stayed for about two hours until our hands and fingers did not work anymore. Nick and Ally decided to also get a room at the Vagabond Inn because of the wind and cold…

Something unusual from the doorway of my motel room… at sunset…

This place had been closed for a number of years and had recently reopened…

…back in the day their food was probably among the best served in Bishop…they need to come up to that standard again…

Sunday morning at Jack’s Waffle Shop

Ally…

back at Intake II…

I found a sweet spot in the center of the pond ,over a weed bed and caught about 25 small Browns and one Rainbow in two hours…using the PP&P…

Finny Rainbow…

Hero keeps an eye out for Nick’s catches…

…of which there were quite a few…

Around mid-day we packed up and headed back to LA…stopping at a few sand traps around Lone Pine to toss some flies…Here at Georges Creek…

and Lone Pine Creek…

Reverse side of Red Hill and out of the Owens Valley…

 

NEXT: Back to the Firehole and Madison Rivers in Yellowstone National Park

 

 

PT/TB 

 

 

 

 

 

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After a day of pushing myself to the limit and getting sick, Michael and I decided to take the day off (Thursday, September 28th, 2017) and cruise down the Gallatin River on our way to Bozeman, Montana, to do some exploring…

Good idea since we woke up to more snow…at West Fork…

Heading South along the Madison River… just past the Slide Inn…

This map indicates the route over to the Gallatin River from the Madison River Valley…287 to 191 North…

Lots of snow along the upper section of Hwy. 191…

Upper Gallatin River looking South, back towards Yellowstone National Park..

Upper Gallatin River looking North towards Bozeman, MT…This is a great overview of the Gallatin River

A big open meadow where the Gallatin is more like a spring creek than a big river which it becomes down in the canyon…this is looking down river…

…and a view up river…

Michael and I stopped here to digest some informative signage and take photos…

Read… 🙂

…and this as well…

Yes it was cold. Michael and I saw only 3 or four anglers on the entire stretch of the river. Most of them were closer to Bozeman…

…moving right along…

We made a stop here and wished there wasn’t so much white stuff swirling around in the cold wind…The path appeared trodden but no one was working the water…

The opposite direction, down stream…

…a closer look… .1

and .2

Just a short distance off the highway…

Gallatin River Guides Fly Shop in Big Sky, Montana…We always check out fly shops I have been here a number of times on my last few trips up to Montana…

This place…

Michael liked the drift boat…

Some of the locals that fish in Montana…(This photo was on the wall in the shop. It was taken near Lolo, MT in the 1890’s)…* note the guys with the 45-70’s for bears…

I have no idea what this stuff is used for…

So I picked up another one of these – FOLSTAF to use. I will give my other one to Michael (R) since his Simms wading staff has been recalled …again…

Something in almost Mini Moo size for my Grandson perhaps ?

I always try and buy local rather than order something I have not been able to put my hands on…

Back on the road along the Gallatin River…

Closer to Bozeman…

Last view before the river wander off into flatlands near Bozeman…

The Family Fly Shop in Bozeman, MT

I had contacted Joe Mathias of Firehole Outdoors about picking up some of his hooks while I was in Bozeman. He told me to visit this shop and that he would be dropping off some new hooks for me to take a look at… I picked up a few…

Matt Rosenthal owns the shop and he has a lot of other interesting things that one can find there…

More…

Michael and I made our way down Main Street in Bozeman to explore some places and we found this place…VARGO’S JAZZ CITY and BOOKS. 

This place has just about everything. It reminds me of a bookstore I used to into in Beverly Hills, CA when I was a kid. If you are looking for out of print fly fishing books, this is the place…Michel had his mind blown by the architectural book he found therein (above)…

…and I found this book with the plastic, spiral binding intact …

…and the first few yellow pages inside which were lost from my copy…We could have stayed there all day…

But onward to my all-time favorite vintage ( not big box) outdoor storeSchnee’s / Powderhorn

This is another store I could get lost in, for a very long time…Michael started looking at the backcountry cooking books…

…and a hat for his wife, Aimee…then he tried on a bunch of Filson jackets. I had to pull him out of the store…

..The down the street to The Last Wind-Up to look at some vintage watches…

On to HEAD WEST to look at more hats and maybe a hatband for ALLY…

Nope no hatbands for Ally…

Now he wants a Taco and I tell him to wait for dinner…TACO DEL SOL

Michael calls his skateboarding buddy he hasn’t seen in a few years… so we head over to Redbrain Medis,, next to the Bozeman Brewery so he can visit…I have a Coke…

The buds…

Michael wants to spend some time at the Food Co-Op in Bozeman to see what they offer compared to where he lives…

Interesting…

Grain goodies…

This is not like my market…

Have to get some of this…

If I was still drinking (there still would not be enough)…

Healthy stuff…

Yummys…

We got a few items and checked out. The place was filled with young Montana State students…

So I get Michael on the web, by IPhone, to find a good place to EAT…THE OPEN RANGEScore !!!

Menu…which changes each week…

We entered though the back door past this…

Into the lower dining/bar area…

To the elevated dining area…

Michael ponders…

Orders something I have never heard of that will put one under the table…

The “Wall of Dogs” stare down on us…

I order a Caesar Salad for us to split…

Then a 10oz, Culotte for the main course, while Michael has the Cast Iron Chicken…Mmmmmmm

No room for any of these…

One last look at where these wonderful dishes are made…

Back on the road to West Fork, from Bozeman, as the sun sinks in the West…

Almost in Ennis, Montana as it gets dark…

 

NEXT: An intermission with Ally, Nick and HERO…up to Bishop,CA for a November weekend...then more MONTANA

 

 

PT/TB

 

So I am watching a little college football this Saturday afternoon and I get a text with photos from my son Michael who is out fishing on the Upper Delaware River today…

He catches these two Rainbow Trout…

 

On the pheasant tail version of Rowan Nyman’s SHOP VAC fly pattern that we used so successfully on the Madison River, in Montana, in September…

This fly…

That I tie in a thread version (L) and a PT Version (R)…

Looks like I need to tie some more up. Ally wants me to go up tp Bishop, to fish the Lower Owens River, this coming weekend... 🙂

 

NEXT: More MONTANA travels…

 

 

PT/TB

 

The weather appeared to be clear, but cold, when we left West Fork Cabins on the morning of Wednesday, September 20th.

The sun beginning to show in the East…

We headed down Hwy 287 North to Ennis, Montana, a distance of about 35 miles…

The sun coming up over Sphinx Mountain in the Madison River Valley…

This is one of the prettiest early morning drives I can think of…

Almost to Ennis and noticing some dark clouds off to the left…

One has two choices for a hearty breakfast in Ennis, Montana…The Ennis Cafe

…or Yesterdays at the Ennis Pharmacy

Michael likes Yesterdays…and Tobasco Sauce…

So do I…and one can wear their waders to breakfast…

The Indian Fry Bread is to die for…

The Old Fashion Root Beer is good with lunch…

We are planning on fishing the channels section of the Madison River today, which is just South of Ennis at Valley Garden Campground…

I have been coming to this location on the Madison River since 1975. I is best fished in the Spring and Fall. Here are Michael and Ally getting prepared for an afternoon in the channels section back in 2001…

The clouds are looking a bit more ominous was we make a turn towards Jeffers…

It started snowing, blowing and freezing the moment we started rigging up at the campground. By the time we got to the river’s edge, the wind was blowing sideways at 45mph…

This is not what I had expected…

The bottom in this section is loaded with rock about the size of bowling balls. They are slick and slippery and I had left my Folstaf wading staff back at the cabin…trouble ahead…

I am really having difficulty wading and Michael has to give me assistance…

Michael is also having problems casting in these gale force winds, using a streamer…I have to sit down on one of these small islands and take a long break. I am really cold and having problems with my hands…

This is looking downstream towards Ennis Lake…

I have to wade back over to that bank to egress the river…

Michael casting his streamer…

It’s just not working for either of us today. We are the only ones out on the water and the wind, weather and wading conditions are making it impossible to effectively fish…

We decide to pack it in and head back up to $3.00 Bridge…

After about an hour of unproductive fishing, I am. starting to really get sick. My entire body is shaking uncontrollably…I tell Michael that I need to get back to the cabin and warm up as quickly as possible…

So we head back to West Fork. Later in the afternoon, Michael had to drive up to West Yellowstone to pick up some medicine for me along with some tea and other liquids. I was in bed trying to get warm and still having bouts with shaking. This was one of the worst days I have ever had fly fishing…

 

NEXT: Taking a break…visiting the Gallatin River and goofing off in Bozeman, Montana…

 

PT/TB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been asked to proudly spread the word that I am one of 245 fly fishers from throughout North America who have provided pro bono energies and original writings and images for America’s Favorite Flies: a 656-page, 1,700-image, 7 ½-pound amazing book that will be released on November 15, 2017. The 245 of us include notables such as President Jimmy Carter, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, and writer Tom McGuane; fly fishing icons such as Dave Whitlock, Lefty Kreh, and Joan Wulff; and diverse others such as former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, writer/artist James Prosek, and GWAR lead singer Michael Bishop…

None of us – including the authors and editors and designers – is getting paid, and that allows for 100% of the book’s profits to go to two organizations that help make waters and fisheries healthier: the James River Association and the Native Fish Society.

Read about the book and order your copies at www.americasfavoriteflies.com. The book is a great gift for anyone, fly fisher or not…

The Book…

About the book…

The Flies…

The Dust Cover…

Repeat… 🙂

Next: More Montana…

 

 

PT/TB

Woke up Tuesday Morning, September 19 to more overcast skies and tiny snowflakes. so we headed towards West Yellowstone…

Yep…it’s going to get nasty…

..for certain…

A stop at Blue Ribbon Flies to pick up licenses and regulations for fishing in Yellowstone National Park…

The Regulations…those three things listed on the bottom left hand corner are ” need to know” information…

Then on to the Park Entrance just East of town to pay the fee ( in this case, for six days)…

The map was very useful…because of the snowy conditions, travel around the park was limited. We were headed to Biscuit Basin on the Firehole River

Slow going…The Madison River and Baker Hole are on the left…

Did I mention slow going…???

This is the Madison River, in the park, at about 14 miles in…it was now on the right hand side of the road…

Michael and I decided to stop and take some pictures…

…of each other and the scenery…

Then Michael helped this other gentleman use his phone for photographs…

This is the Firehole, about 8 miles from Madison Junction. where the Gibbon and Firehole join to create the Madison River…this is looking downstream…

…and this is looking upstream …

This is around mid-Geyser Basin where the traffic came to a dead stop so everybody could take bison photos…

On the left…

…and…Wait for it !!!

…on the right…this REALLY took forever…

Nearing Biscuit Basin…

…are we there yet ???

Finally, a view from the bridge, looking upstream above Biscuit Basin…

Looking downstream from the bridge and the reason – on the left – as to why the Firehole River remains at a warm temperature year-round. The water temps were around 62 degrees on this day…

Michael tries on Lil’ Moo’s glasses to see how fashionable he can be for the tourists, many of whom thought we were both crazy for fly fishing in the snow…

The soft hackle fly box I prepared for this occasion…

…and the GOLD PROSPECTOR I tied on as my first soft hackle to use…

OK…I can go for that…

Tis is a very beautiful place to fish…

Michael picks up a nice Brown on a Midge Larva…

He was using this MADISON DRIFTER as his lead fly because it has a tungsten bead for weight…he also used these:

Tungsten shot – because lead in the park is forbidden…From Madison Fly Company…P.S. They need to do some work ( refinement ) on this product…

I continued to swing soft hackles…

Using a UV DATUM #3 COACHMAN…

…and collected this little guy…

The bottom of the river in this location had a gravely sections filled with weeds and some large underwater rocks. One must watch their step, unsuspected drop-offs lurk …

Michael caught another nice Brown…these are the most common size…in the past, I have hooked into some very large Brown on the Firehole…

No matter though…I just enjoy being here…

Michael was using my Thomas & Thomas 9′, 5wt. (Bottom) and I was using a Winston WT 9′, 5wt. (Top) – both with Tibor  Tailwater Reels…the Silver being the CL Model…

Michael caught a bunch more small Brown Trout…

…and I had my share…

Then, it was time for Michael to take some photos of other attractions in the area and for us to go to lunch at the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room…I broke down the rods and warmed up my frozen hands…

Sulphur and smelly…

…self-explanatory…

….another cauldron of cooking chemicals…

…YIKES !!!…

I am going in the Lodge to grab a table…

The lobby of The Old Faithful Inn…it has changed a lot since I was last here in October, 1977 with my Dad…

The dining room…’cause we a both famished…

...the customary VIRGIN BLOODY MARY…very spicy…

I love menus # 1.

I LOVE menus #2.

Michael cannot resist…

A Caesar Salad…Michael had the other half and a burger with fries…

…perhaps Lil’ Moo would like one of these stuffed bears ???

…or some other tchotchke from the gift shop ??? Naw…back to Blue Ribbon Flies for fishin’ stuff…

Michael spies the clock…a real tourist…

So he goes out in a blizzard to wait for it to erupt…

While I wisely wait under cover …Never did go off while he was out there…

We are outta’ here…

..and back to West Yellowstone to pick up some supplies at the market…it is sleeting and snowing and the wind is blowing like crazy…

Everything is better with butter…but this is ridiculous…

…back down by $3.00 Bridge, the weather is beginning to clear…

…a few sprinkles up on the mountain…

…back at West Fork and… “Put the groceries away before you fish !”

…above the bridge again with a 10′, 5wt. Loomis Streamdance to the left…

So…Michael swings his Seal Bugger just in front of the rock…

…and a Rainbow end of the day…again… 🙂

 

NEXT: Down to ENNIS & The Channels Section / $3.00 Bridge afterwards…

 

 

PT/TB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We awoke on Monday, September 18 to overcast skies and a chill in the air. Once again, the weather was starting to turn cold-er and a promise of more snow was in the air…

Dark skies again…

We decided to make a short run up to $3.00 Bridge, check what might be hatching and fish for awhile. Michael checks on of my Wheatley boxes for something small…

Michael worked the slot above my favorite big rock…large Rainbows and Browns drift in and out of the faster water to chow down on Midges and Baetis/BWO’s in here…

A flock of Trout were taking emerging Baetis in the pool above…they were what used to be called Pseudocloeon and were about size #24, which neither of us had in our boxes…

Michael spent some time just photographing and shooting video of the activity and gave me a heads up that he wanted to toss streamers up river, between the lakes…

While he  above me, I managed to get one small Rainbow on a Midge larva…

This is Kelly Galloup’s Slide Inn Fly Shop, located couple of miles South of the $3.00 Bridge turnoff…

Some of the bins containing Kelly’s signature streamer patterns…and a suggestion about not falling on one’s posterior… 🙂

More of those streamer patterns which Michael judiciously fingered…

I bought him several of Kelly’s flies, ineluding one that cost around $10.00, to be used on one of his streamer adventures, on the Upper Delaware River…

Now I know what the benches are for…

This is a map view of the area know as “between the lakes” on the Madison river. It is that relatively short section of river between  Lake and Quake Lake. This earthquake, in 1959 created Quake Lake…Large Trout in Quake lake run up the Madison to spawn in the Spring and Fall…

This is a view of Quake Lake looking North towards the Slide Inn…

…and an opposite view looking South towards West Yellowstone…

This is about half-way down the road leading to the parking lot above Quake Lake. On this particular day, there were a lot of people there and trucks, 4X4’s and cars were jammed into every nook and cranny alongside the dirt road…lots of deep potholes field with water and mud..

This is about half way to the parking lot above Quake Lake…

The meadow beyond the lower parking lot…

…and another view, slightly North…

We started fishing just below here, I was using big soft hackles and Michael was using my Conehead Hot Spot Seal Buggers…

CONEHEAD HS SEAL BUGGERS…in particular…the one in the left slot…

This deadfall looked interesting…The water in this area was really moving. It is also filled with Whitefish. I took a couple of small Rainbow Trout and Michael, using the Seal Buggers, was broken off by two really nice Trout. In this heavy, I suggested he might want to switch out to 3X Seaguar instead of 4X Trouthunter…

For the most part, I preferred to work the edges rather than mess with that forceful current…

Michael liked working the water around and above both sides of this sizable boulder…

…and in this side channel above it…

Upstream view from the large boulder…

Cautious “Old Guy” works the edges…

So after getting beat up down there with minimal reward, for most of the afternoon, we headed up to the Campfire Lodge to check out their collection of feathers

Then a drive back down to the Westfork Cabins …

…and one more shot for Michael, with that Seal Bugger, just above the bridge… 🙂

Sausage & Salad for dinner…

Happy Seal Bugger guy !!!

 

 

NEXT: The Fire Hole River, Yellowstone National Park

 

 

PT/TB