By now, we hope you’ve heard of the “Public Lands Are Worthless” designation that the U.S. Congress has enacted. Building on that pile of dogshit comes H.R. 621 put forth by Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz (of Hillary Clinton E-mail investigation fame.) H.R. 621 seeks to sell off 3.3 million acres across 10 states in the West. Read more about it at Wilderness.Org, and see what the Trump Administration has emboldened in congress, despite the interests of 72 percent of voters in the west that oppose just such a scheme.
The guardian has an excellent article on new research regarding last season’s Yellowstone fish kill, and the implications it has on the toll of human activity on rivers. From the article:
“In effect, these myriad human activities contribute to the weakening of the “immune systems” of rivers like the Yellowstone, making aquatic organisms more vulnerable to stresses like fish-killing parasites. The paper said these pernicious changes are being experienced in waterways across western North America and in other mountain river systems, including some found in Europe, the Andes, the Himalayas, and the high country of New Zealand.”
Here we go! The 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour is headed back to Missoula for two showings on January 28th. This annual event is a great time to break the cabin fever and get some fish porn in. Second to none, the Missoula show’s crowd is always as entertaining as the films themselves. Loud and lubricated by one too many beers, you’re likely to hear more fish story bullshit in one night than the rest of the year combined. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Get your tickets at the local shops, or directly from the source here. I’ll bet you a beer you’ll see more buffs, nano puffs, and scruffs than ever in the Wilma on this night! Get your tickets soon, they tend to sell out quick.
George Ochenski writes a beautiful elegy to fly fishing and conservation legend Bud Lilly, Read it in the Missoulian.
You know we love these! Grizzly Hackle’s fly tying nights for January are on the board, so get your vise loaded up and head down to twist up some bugs with a great crew. Thursday January 12th and Thursday January 19th from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Grizzly Hackle. The guys behind the counter have been giving great tutorials on some of the most effective flies for Missoula’s rivers, and no matter your skill level there is something going on you’re going to want to be a part of. Grab a beer and a slice of pizza and tie some flies, or just cruise around and check out what people are up to. I bring the kids, but then if I tried to go without my 8 year-old she would never forgive me. She loves to tie wooly buggers, worms, and other creations that fill up her boxes, and there’s plenty of fun for anyone interested in getting into fly tying. For you old pros, this can be a great time to check out some of the hot new materials that the guys have been stocking this season. Seriously good stuff on the shelves these days like grizzly dyed schleppen from Whiting… Flashy body wraps… Ugh, its all good.
It doesn’t take long fishing in Montana before you start to feel like Forest Gump listening to Bubba talk about all the ways you can prepare shrimp, only you just have to exchange the word shrimp for the words “Prince Nymph”. We got more ways to tie a prince nymph than there are fish to catch on them. But damn do they work. One of my favorite winter versions comes from the inimitable Johnny Mac at Montana Troutfitters in Bozeman, Montana. The Hot Head Ghost Prince is barely a prince – I mean, where’s the peacock already!? – but it will take fish all winter long. Get to the bench!
Winters can be a dull downtime when it comes to fishing news, but this winter has been a nail-biter for those anglers who use the Stevensville Bridge fishing access on the Bitterroot River. After landowner Roy Capp contested the access easement to his property, which the current site uses to access the river, it sent the town of Stevensville into a spin. Capp could simply refuse to allow access to his property, which would leave floaters with no access between Bells Crossing and the town of Florence. That’s a long float. Really long. Capp contested the access in September, and State Senator Fred Thomas (of Stevensville) presented a proposal on behalf of Capp. The proposal asks for a land swap that would allow for an 3.5 acre access at the bridge, maintained by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, in exchange for 8.5 acres downstream. This would significantly change the face of the site, but by all accounts it would do so for the better of all parties. As the landowner, Capp has dealt with trespassing, littering, and other sanitation problems, as well as degradation to the property itself due to wear from vehicles and heavy usage. The proposed land swap would allow a clear area for the access, while protecting Capp’s property. For FWP and river users, the land swap would allow for a large parking lot with 27 trailer spots and 14 car spots, latrines and fencing, and improvement to the lot itself. The costs according to FWP would be $250,000. The opposition to the swap would begin with the sizable difference in the property exchanged, and the cost to the town. Likewise, some residents are worried that the dog walking paths and other unofficial uses that have developed along the river would be excluded. Some others worry about increased governmental intrusion. Stevensville City Council met Monday night to discuss the matter further, and we await news from that meeting today. Members of the angling community were surely in attendance, and the news will travel fast. We’ll keep you posted.