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Okay, I went for a walk.  I went fishing and caught mostly nothing.  Things are not too exciting.  But the beauty of the season is stunning.

I have no fish photos; none of them being big enough to record.  Or maybe they were pretty darn nice fish, but it was just I wanted to let them go quickly.

The high yesterday was 35.  Maybe. 

The time stamp on this photo is 2:17 pm.

Although it was cold, the sun was shining.  That makes so much difference here in Montana.   I was surprisingly comfortable and just enjoying being on the planet.   So I’ll leave you with a few photos of the spectacular fall weather.

I did catch a couple of trout. On dries even.  But the scenery takes it this time around. 

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Spring is finally here in the high country.  Not summer mind you, but spring.  We headed into the Anaconda Pintlar Wilderness of SW Montana for a short day hike.

Three miles in and three miles out.  Sounds pretty easy.  However the trail gains about 1500 ft, so it should be steep.  It was.  In fact all the elevation gain is achieved in the first 2 miles on an old road.  Occasional views of the nearby peaks and the sound of a small creek provide welcome distractions from the steady climb.

Once at the real trail head, two miles in, you are done climbing.  A lovely and blessedly level trail leads on to Ivanhoe Lake.

This path often achieves what I call the Trifecta of hiking:  a 1.Level 2.Shady patch with a 3.Breeze.  If you’ve ever hiked up hill on a sunny windless day, you know what I’m talking about.  The Trifecta is wonderful.

Anyway, then comes the lake.  A beautiful glacial cirque.  Looks like no one has made it up here this season, except maybe a moose and calf, judging from the tracks.  This has us a little concerned.  Sitting quietly lakeside we see a brown thing, a big brown thing, emerge from the trees about 50 yds away across a small finger of the lake.  First we thought it was the moose we feared.  But we soon realized it was a spike horned elk.  We were down wind and it didn’t know we were there.  To our delight it went for a frolicking swim!

Looks like my first run off experience is a dozy.  We may break records.  In any case it’s higher than it’s been in a LONG time.

The road below our place is closed. 

Not exactly fishable.  Although I have to admit, I did think of throwing a streamer in the slack water in the above photo.  But that was before I took a look in the crawl space under my house.  Hmmm, not good.

This required a hour long trip to town to get one of the last sump pumps in captivity in SW Montana.  I left at 6 am knowing there would be high demand today.  I got to the hardware store when it opened and while I was there 3 other sump pumps left the building.

The day before all this rain started, I rode my bike up Skalkaho Pass along the West Fork of Rock Creek.  Sunny & Warm.  Creek was cranking even then. 

Upon returning to the car, we were startled by a roadside rock fall.  Looking up about 30 ft we saw a couple of Big Horn Sheep discussing who was really in charge of that cliff.  I’m not sure what they decided, but it was fun to watch.

Rear View

Front View

Occasionally, when spring has broken through the rain, I have run outside to take full advantage.  Love those wide open spaces.

It’s started.  The run-off.  It’s actually a good and natural thing.  But a challenge for fishing.  I’ve never witnessed a Rock Creek run-off before, but they tell me it will come up several more feet!  WOW  That will be big water.

I changed tactics today; from dries to streamers.  Using a classic swinging technique, I was pleasantly surprised by some vicious strikes.  And caught some nice fish.

Most people around here don’t fish the run-off.  So I’m planning on hitting all the now abandoned traditional hotspots, usually too crowded for my liking.  This may turn out to be more fun than I thought.

It’s been buggy around here the last couple of days and the fishing has been good.

This guy took a fly that several other fish liked as well.  Unfortunately I lost this fly late yesterday.  I plan to recreate it from this photo.  It’s a store bought one, but I’ve gotten pretty good at copying the easy ones.

Since it was Sunday, Easter and warm there were a few other fishermen on the stream.  So I opted to spend the afternoon checking out a local hiking trail instead of chasing trout.

As usual in Montana the scale was LARGE.  Most folks ride horses here is my guess.  But, starting at creek level, we walked and enjoyed seeing the bigger view of our back yard.

We paused about 2.5 mile up the trail; Rock Creek is in the canyon below.  This will be a meadow of wildflowers in about a month.  But at this point there was only one species in bloom.

Although the flowers were mostly absent there was plenty of beauty to go around.  This tree bark caught the light just right.

One last thing.  Lately, I’ve been experimenting with underwater photos.  So far with very limited success.  But, I’ll leave you with a passable shot of an Easter Brown eating a rubber legged offering.

I’ve been getting my first taste of spring fishing in Montana.  Spring here means the temps might get above freezing during the day if you’re lucky.  But the fishing is pretty darn good.

I’ve caught Cuts, Brooks and Browns.  Not the dreamy dry fly fishing of summer;  nymphing is the method, and the water has been a little off color the past few days.  But every time I go out, I’m rewarded with nice fish.

The scenery is outstanding and I hear there’s a Skwala hatch just around the corner. 

Look for my report in the next couple of weeks.  I might even catch a bull trout if I’m lucky.