No I didn’t sneak back to Andros Island in a hurry. This is a pic of Morten on the west side with a nice bonefish. He previously accused me of not posting his pic cuz his fish was bigger than mine. So there you go.
The Big Hole is shaping up just like I thought it would. It has dropped considerably and this morning is down to 2400 cfs. With the cloud cover today the streamer action should be awesome.
I checked the Beaverhead yesterday and it is really really low.
Big Hole River 4200 cfs—-Maidenrock
The river has already been higher than it was all last season. It peaked last year at only around 3500. I notice this morning it is dropping considerably. With the cold weather predicted for the next couple days it should continue to drop.
A couple days ago we took a drive to the upper river and Wisdom. The ice flows that were coming down were quite impressive. There were a couple spots where it was still froze but by now the entire channel should be open. There were some ice chunks that were twice the size of my truck.
If it continues to drop it should start fishing next week.
I suppose it’s time to start to predict the max flow for this year. That is still over a month away. When making your prediction, remember the snowpack in some places is as high as 170% of average. It could surpass the flow of 1997 when it reached 14,000 cfs. Or if it stays fairly cool as predicted it could be much less. Be interesting to see what some of your predictions are.
Big Hole River 2400 cfs—Maidenrock
At this point the river is pretty much blown out. Looks like it’s heading to 3000 cfs.
This is just the valley snow and lower elevation runoff. When this is over the river will fish again before the main runoff end of May and early June.
That’s about it for now. Just remember when the river levels off and the visibility improves a bit, the big fish will be eating.
Big Hole River 710 cfs—Maidenrock
Yesterday was a mix of fisherman and flies used. One guy came in the shop and said he was skunked. When I asked what he was using, he said small nymphs—-not good.
Next group using the turd and worm did just ok.
Next group using the streamers I suggested did excellent with one brown going 22 inches.
Skwalla patterns brought a little action but very little. That should pick up this week with the forecast of warmer weather.
Shop is open full time now with lots of new patterns. Stop by to take a look or just to BS awhile.
No that is not a photo of a creek on the west side of Andros. That is the Big Hole River taken from the Maidenrock bridge just a couple hours ago.
As you can see there are snow flurries in the mountains. The river is in great shape with a flow of about 500cfs.
A friend of mine stopped by yesterday and said “lets go fishing”. I explained to him that I just came from 85 degree weather and I’m freezin my butt off. So he went anyway and did pretty good.
Fishing is going to get hot in a week or two with the skwalla action starting. For now it’s nymphs and streamers with a slow strip.
The shop will be open in about a week but we are ready to run shuttles now. Call 406-267-3346 to set it up or knock on the back door of the shop. Art and Bobby are there full time.
Now that is one fine mess of mutton snappers.
These were caught yesterday when Hank and I went to a spot I have been wanting to try for some time. Now I have to tell the truth about my fishing partner. When we got to that spot he was strictly a nonbeliever. He even went so far as to say “we won’t catch any fish here, I don’t even know why I bother baiting my hook”. I said to him “Oh thee of little faith, give it some time”. He was not convinced one bit until—–I had my rod in a rod holder and he was just laying on the deck of the boat repeating we were just wasting our time. Then my rod bent and the drag starting to sing. I boated a nice mutton and just a few moments later, boated another. It didn’t take him long to fish right in my water. I told him you have the entire ocean and you have to fish in my spot? He just ignored me and then his rod bent and the drag started singing.
In the next hour or so we boated several nice muttons. I had to remind him again and again every time he had a fish on about his being a nonbeliever. He finally admitted it was a pretty good spot.
Our two biggest fish were very close to the same size. He clipped a fin on his for later identification when we measured them. On the dock I put the two together and said mine was an inch longer. He was talking to somebody and not paying much attention to my measurement. Then this lady who was watching me said “why is this biggest one have a clipped fin”?. He heard that instantly and I was busted. It was his that was an inch longer. I told the lady from now on to mind her own business.
All in all it was a fun day and the fresh mutton fish for dinner last night was excellent.
This dolphin seems to be saying “follow me, I’ll show you the way”. This was on the west side approaching norwest point. He was with a pod of six. The others swam off but he stayed in front of Morten’s boat for a long time. He finally veered off when he turned in toward our camp site.
On the first morning of our trip I headed out to Billy Island with Morten close behind. I didn’t shut down soon enough when nearing the island as I ran right on a tarpon. Then I noticed a big push coming off a flat on the island. At first I thought it was a big school of bonefish. Then I noticed the black tails and the bigger fish. It was a school of permit which numbered between 30 and 40. They disappeared in deeper water. A few moments later Anne spotted them again and they were coming directly toward their boat. Morten had his avalon fly out and directly in their approaching path. When they got near and he stripped, they turned and blew out wanting nothing to do with this supposedly hot fly. They were all big fish and even though no hookups it was fun seeing them.
The other day I told Erik about this nearby inland lake which held baby tarpon. I said it would be a great spot for trying out his new paddle board raft. At first he doubted me and acted like I was sending him on a wild goose chase. Finally I convinced him to try it. He returned later that afternoon with a big smile on his face. He caught four tarpon in that small lake and said he saw many more. I told him a thank you would be appreciated and he did so. We will call this spot location X.
Anne with west side bonefish
We just got back from a three day trip to the remote west side and Williams Island. The weather was perfect and the fish were very cooperative. All of our bonefish including Anne’s were caught within 100 feet of our camp. This is the very spot Linda and I found several years ago.
My friends at Red Bays initially told me about this place as they camp nearby when sponging or getting lobster. A big reason is not that it’s great fishing there but there is a fresh water source not far away and is the only fresh water there.
The trip started with a barrage of problems. My friends who had their own boat joined up on this venture. First problem was they lost a bearing on their trailer just out of Love Hill. They called my friend Allie the mechanic and he came to their rescue. Within an hour or so we were back on the road—if you can call it a road.
We launched the boats at Red Bays with the tide being very low. At this low tide you have to just putter to a hole next to a crawl and make a quick jump up on a plane. I got to the hole and was waiting for Morten. I could see he was having problems. When I asked if all was ok, he responded with a slight panicky answer of “no”. He said the tilt didn’t work, the boat was filling with water and the engine would not keep running. He sounded like a man who was soon to abort this mission. He finally got the tilt to work some and found the boat was not sinking and the engine kept running. After a couple attempts to jump out of the hole he finally got up and away we went.
More later on the huge school of large permit we found.
Logger Head CreekRed Bays dock
Charley and Kenney just returning with their load of sponges from their camp near Williams Island. This is the product of almost 2 weeks camping and diving for these sponges. This finished product is the result of lots of time and work. These sponges are sought after world wide. Of course I had to buy a couple of them and they were glad to sell them.
My trip to the west side almost started in disaster. When I got to Red Bays I walked back to the boat and couldn’t believe my eyes. The gas tank on the boat had ruptured and most of the gas was slopping around on the floor of the boat. That could have easily caught fire. Lucky I didn’t throw my cigar butt out the window. The road going north is extremely bad with some pot holes almost turning into blue holes. However all was not lost. My buddy Gerald from Red Bays loaned me his external tank and I was on my way.
The adventuresome spirit in me took over and I actually did little fishing. I was by myself and decided to do a little exploring. I found the two creeks near Logger Head Point. I don’t knowhow many miles I went up the first one but it was a long way. I have no idea how long this creek was but after awhile reality set in. I thought to my self “now I’m way up this creek in the middle of nowhere, alone, if something happens to the boat like the engine quits as does happen with any boat, I’m screwed”. Nobody has a clue where I ‘m at. So I reluctantly turned around. I found the second creek and went up it just a couple miles.
Exploring these creeks is a real hoot. Crusing slowly along watching all the fish along the mangroves and seeing loads of turtles.
The gas tank for the boat is at the Menninite Colony getting fixed and the boat is still up at Red Bays. Weather and wind forecast looks great for early next week so I’m back up there then. Hopefully this time I will have the company of another boat and we can make it all the way down to Williams Island and NorWest Point.
The sponge guys told me exactly where the permit are schooling down there—can’t wait.