Upon arriving in Queenstown around noon, Bender finds a nice Hotel, books two suites, both with a view of the Lake, a perfect setting for popping the big question to his lustful love, Jane. Everything needed to be perfect, Billy starts to make a list of everything he will need to pull this off. He cannot forget about Kelly, she will have to be an integral part of the plan, if this will be successful . Bender found out at the front desk that the Ferry that comes from Sand Fly Point, arrives, right at 4;00 pm. Four hours to get everything ready for the Magic to take place, he will need flowers, lots of flowers, clothes, Bender will need to go shopping for Himself and his new Bride to be, and he cannot forget about the tall redhead Kelly and her needs. He will also need some kind of a temporary ring, he could just say it’s an engagement ring, that way, Jane will be able to choose one that she adores, once they return to the States.
Bender heads down stairs to speak with a bell hop, they can make anything happen for the right price. He finds out where to go shopping, and is told there is a Jewelry Store on the corner, down towards the lake, After looking at six different styles of rings and getting more advise than Billy asked, he decides on a 1 caret dark blue Lapus stone, surrounded with tiny white diamonds. The ring is spectacular, Bender hopes, for an engagement ring, it will be enough to help influence Jane into saying YES!
The Bell hop is making the arrangements for all the flowers, and dinner reservations at one of the top Restaurants in Queenstown that sits seven stories high above the Lake, with an indescribable view that one never forgets. There will be cold champagne waiting in the Suite for the new guest to arrive. Things are starting to come together, Billy goes down the list and checks off all the completed items. ” Lets see what I’m forgetting “, Billy asked himself out load. “clothes, darn, almost forgot, now , I think I remember, Jane’s foot size and dress size, but I have no clue what size Kelly would be. I might just send Jane a text and get the sizes correct, or this will be all for nothing. If she can receive a text”.
The trio of hikers make it to their destination to Sand Fly Point with little time to spare , it is 1:45 pm when they finally set foot on the ferry that will take them back to the busy tourist town of Queenstown. Kelly, ” thank god we made it, I could not stay one more night out sleeping on the ground, I’m going to have a double Martini as soon as we get checked into a hotel”. Jane is more interested in food, ” I’m going to have a double chocolate Sunday with lots of crushed nuts, whipped cream with a cherry on top, I can’t wait,” sighed the dirty blonde. Mark on the other hand, was not thinking of drink, nor food, but, rather the dirty blonde he had his arms around that he was kissing the back of her neck and ears, with each flicker of his tongue, he could hear her purr. All three were wanting different vices, and were glad to be sailing back civilization. Just then,there was a sound that seemed very distinctive, but yet distant at the same time. It was coming from Jane’s Back pack, she opened the top pocket to find her phone vibrating and making this noise that is very familiar, but not in this setting. Kelly asks, ” Janie, what is it? Is there something wrong?’ Jane replies, “no, nothing wrong, it’s Billy, he is waiting for us in Queenstown, and he wants to know our shoe and dress sizes, hmm, now what do you think he is up to?”
Bender has everything ready to go in the suites, even displaying dresses, layed out on the beds and on the floor below, shoes to match, for both Jane and Kelly. There are Flower arrangements throughout both rooms, the smell is pungent and sweet, the colors nearly over whelming. Billy places the Ring box on the table along with the champagne, fruit basket, and cheese and cracker platter. After everything is ready, he heads toward the pier with two bouquets of fresh, colorful flowers, Billy is finally ready for the life changing event of marriage, with the gal he has loved nearly his entire life, he can see the ferry coming fast from the other side of the lake. Bender is nervous, then the “what if’s” start to play with his mind, it seemed like the ferry would never arrive.
Jane turns back toward Mark and looks him straight in the eyes, she says,” Sorry, this isn’t going to happen between us, I’m really sorry, but, this is a game changer. This man who is waiting for me in Queenstown, is the love of my life, I think he is going to ask me to marry him, finally!’ Kelly, laughs and says, ” well, what do you know, it looks like Billy Bender is going to make an honest women of you, this might be interesting”. Just then Kelly turns her attention toward Mark and winks at him to let him know that he is not completely out of luck, ” well Marko, I guess it’s you and me, what do you say?’ It didn’t take a second before Mark replied with, ” your on Kelly, there is no way I want to be in the middle of a possible wedding, I wish you all the luck in the world Janie, no hard feelings from me, nothing but good vibes”.The ferry horn blasted their arrival into the pier at Queenstown. From the back of the ferry, Jane could see Billy waiting with a huge bouquet of brilliantly colored flowers, it was quite a sight after sleeping on the ground for the past three nights.
Bender waited as hikers disembarked from the sizable ferry, most of the people were quite young, 18-30 years old , about 40 hikers, dirty from their journey, passed by with their backpacks, hiking boots, and most wore shorts. Then, the last to arrive was Janie, and Kelly and it looked like an American male that appeared to be mid-thirties, that was walking with Kelly. Jane ran into Billy’s arms, dropping her pack just before leaping into Benders strong, hairy arms and chest, and kissed him with a hot, wet mouth, not stopping for quite a while, until Bender noticed that behind Jane, awkwardly stood Kelly, and her American friend. It took strength to pry Jane from his lips, but , Bender still holding Jane tight , greeted Kelly, gave her one of the bunches of flowers , and was introduced to her new friend named Mark. The four of them headed up to the Hotel and the awaiting two suites. Billy turns to Mark and asks, ” do you have some clean clothes with you, by any chance?’ Mark shakes his head and say, ” no, I sure don’t have anything that isn’t smelling like a camp fire”. Bender, “You can use some of mine Mark, we are about the same size. I’m taking everyone out to a very special dinner, and since you are a friend of Kelly’s you are more than welcome to join us Mark, and the room is already paid for, so it’s all taken care of”
The couples both go to each’s adjoining suites, as the door starts to shut, Billy leans out and tells Kelly and Mark that dinner will be at 8:00 pm, and to be ready by 7:45. You could hear the sighs from far away, as both gals enter the rooms filled with the floral arrangements, and if one listened closely, you could hear wild laughter, and the popping of Champagne corks coming from each room .
Bender couldn’t sleep in anticipation of his big day. He was up and ready, it was only 5:00 AM, so he packed his bags, loaded the Taurus station wagon (fish rig) , then waited for Jack in the Kitchen, making coffee and toast. Jack appeared in fine form, in green loden from head to toe, he was ready for the morning’s fishing, he always eat after fishing, not before. On the drive up stream, Billy told Jack about the large Yellow Mayflies that he saw the night before, and how the trout were keying in on them, slurping them from the surface. Jack, ” Oh yes, we use to go out in the late evenings when Ann was younger, and it was always a treat to hook a few with those small “canary flies”, but it’s been sometime that I’ve fished that late, not as young as I use to be Billy, must be a bit safer these days. Jack pulls into a new part of the river that Billy did not see the day before and parks just feet from the river. Both men exit the Land Cruzer, Jack ask Billy which direction he would prefer, Billy says he’ll go down stream and fish back up to the car, and Jack would start right there and work his way up above.
It was just starting to get light, there were Caddis hatching and flying about, it was easy to see what would work as far as flies were concerned. Jack hooked a nice trout on about his 5th cast, he was pleased, he hoped that Billy might notice. Bender had walked downstream and found a rather large pool, with trees and bushes over hanging the deepest part, he was certain there must be huge brown trout hiding under the branches. He waited for sometime before he saw a very small rise, just where he thought he might see one, right against the bank, under a large tree branch, just where the current started to straighten. Bender moved very slowly and quietly from below where he spotted the rise, getting close enough in order to make a perfect presentation. Then, again, the fish came to the surface to feed, Billy had him dialed in, and made the cast, the size 14 CDC Caddis floated right at the spot where Billy saw him feed. Very slowly a nose appeared and sucked in the high floating fly. Bender was surprised on the size of this enormous brown trout, it leaped out of the water, so high in fact that it rapped itself over the branch that it was hiding under, and quickly broke off. It all happened so fast, it was hard for Billy to take in, but, Bender thought the fish would have gone at least 6-7 lbs. Jack on the other hand was having much better luck, landing five trout, the largest around 3lbs, and the smallest around 1 lb, but, all nice, healthy brown trout.
Bender couldn’t concentrate, he kept thinking he’d better get going, pop the big question to Jane. His mind was racing, a ring, well, better to buy one back home, get one she really wants and not something I pick out, or I’ll never hear the end of it, he thought. He started to head back to the Land Cruzer and to check up on Jack, who was on the same page and walking down stream toward the truck. They put the rods up, then proceeded back toward the house. Jack, “so, how did it go? Any good ones Billy?” Bender, ” tell tell you the truth, I hooked a very nice brown who jumped so high it rapped me on a branch, that was my morning, how about you? On the drive back to the house Jack explained to Billy just how sorry Heddy and he were with Ann being so pre-occupied, and how they both wish things could have worked out.
After a hearty breakfast, Billy was ready to move south, take Highway 8 all the way to Queenstown, and find out the best way to hook back up with Jane and Kelly. Cell service was very spotty, only working in some places, Billy would need to investigate just how he was going to pull this little move off, because now, he knew he wanted to marry Jane , and be with her for the rest of his life. What he did not consider, did Jane want to be with him, forever..?
After hiking straight for six hours, the girls were getting a bit winded. Mark on the other hand was in great shape and knew if they did not slow him down , that he could get off the trail that day, or at least that night. They had hiked past the hut # 2 and were heading toward Hut # 3, they had around five more hours to make it to the 3rd hut. Both Jane and Kelly decided it was too much, that the Hut # 3 would be were they would sleep that night, and get out and off the trail the following day. Once the trio got to the third hut, they found out that at Sand fly Point, where the ferry comes to take you back to Queenstown , leaves at 2:00 PM , and only 2:00 PM , and the name Sand Fly Point, was named that for a good reason, it was no place to camp! The trio felt very lucky, this way they could get up early and be at the ferry right at 2:00, and head back the next day. The 3rd Hut was crowded, and only a few beds were open, and the no see ums , and Sand flies, made sleeping outside impossible. Kelly turns to Jane and says, ” we can sleep together, wouldn’t be the first time Jane”. “OK, it’s so crowded in here that sleeping with MR Hard Cock might be a bad idea, I can wait a couple of nights, when we can be alone”. Kelly, “does that mean you two didn’t do it last night’? Jane, ” no, there were people walking around, it was not the place, of course he wanted to , but I said no, you’ve got to wait, and it is worth waiting for, he said no problem, and we kissed some then went to sleep. Funny, I really wanted to while we were hiking, then, last night, I started thinking about Billy, I wonder what he is up too anyway”?.
It turns out that Jack Hunter was a very serious Fly Fishermen. That early evening, Billy and Jack set up their fly rods, tied on new tippets, and choose flies to start the session. Jack had driven them both up stream, in the older model land cruzer, some two miles to a lovely glide of a pool that was tree lined on the far side of the river, and clear casting on their side, with only short grass in the back cast. It was an easy part of the stream to read, the current for the most part, ran along the far bank, most of the good trout would be holding in the current, either under over hanging branches, or, in the deepest part of the run. Both men sat on the bank to observe the situation, in hopes of finding a surface feeding trout. The sun had just started to set, but, it was still good light to see, when Jack pointed and said ” there, did you see it? Just about half way down the bank, it was a very large trout. It looked like he fed on a Sedge”. Bender replies, ” yes, I agree, it looked huge, nice take on the surface, caddis take for sure”. ” OK my boy, your up, lets see what your made of”, came from a confident Jack Hunter. Billy, moved into the water from well below where the two had spotted the rise. He moved slowly and quietly in position in order to get the good cast and drift. He checked his knot and his # 14 CDC Caddis fly, he pulled his line off the reel and began to cast. Jack was startled at the line speed, the tight loops, and the accuracy in which Billy presented the fly just a few feet above where the two had spotted the rise. Billy is an excellent Fly Fishermen, and Jack took notice. The first cast was perfect, the fly landed straight and soft just three feet above where the large fish was last seen, it was dead on, a perfect drift, just as the anticipation was at it’s zenith, a nose appeared and the trout eat the white wing imposter. Bender set the hook on cue, and the battle began, the enormous brown trout was air-born that instant it felt the hook. Jack jumped up off the bank and yelled,” Well done”, Billy was in the zone, completely in focus with the fight in hand. The golden brown beauty made some fast runs up and down the bank, but never did try to leave the pool. Within minutes, Bender had his hand under the belly of the largest brown trout he had ever caught. Jack was in the water next to him with full approval of the task that was just completed. Jack barked out,” what a beauty, well done, that was quite a show!”, Billy had the trout just above the surface of the water in complete admiration of such a spectacular specimen. Jack announced ” this trout must be a good 12 lbs!, At least!” Billy squatting in the river, turned and looked at Jack and said ” Thank You, this is the best trout I’ve ever caught”. Just then, Bender faced the mammoth into the current, moved it’s tail in a back and forth until the giant slipped back into the dark green pool of the Hunter River, to give another person the thrill of a lifetime.
On the drive back to the house it was dark, the headlights jilted up and down, illuminating the rough, gravel road, that had endless rabbits scouring off the sides and into the darkness. There was a calmness within the two men, a sense of comfort that words were not necessary, instant friends. Heddy was at the back door with a huge smile, to welcome them back, and see how the fishing concluded. The tall elegant beauty asked,” Any Luck?”, Jack kissed Heddy on the cheek and said , ” I witnessed something tonight, I’m not sure I will ever see again. A 12lb brown trout caught with a Dry Fly on the first cast , brought to hand in record time. Mr Bender is quite a Fly Fishermen, maybe the best I’ve ever seen”.
The girls were getting a bit weary from the long days hike, and were looking forward to getting to the Hut so they could rest and get something to eat. It had been raining off and on during the hike, and the temps went from warm to cool, to warm to cold, throughout the duration of the day. It was rain coats on, then off, then on, it seemed better with the coats on due to the sand flies that were constantly biting any exposed skin they could dig into. Mark was in great shape and hiked with a fast pace, going head and having to wait for the girls to catch up.
Jane and Kelly both were warn out when they finally approached the steps of the wooden hut, a square wooden building that was small but cozy. Inside was a very small kitchen, and three sets of bunk beds, the bath was an out house about 25 yards away. No running water, but near all the huts were small streams with crystal clear water to cook with or drink. Kelly collapsed on the first bed she found vacant, ” oh my god, I’m so tired I’m not sure I want to even eat”, exclaimed the tall redhead. Mark was there ahead of the girls and had started cooking well before their arrival . Jane was wondering where Marks pack was, ” Mark, where are you sleeping” asked the ever gorgeous Jane. Mark, “outside, it’s such a warm night, and the clouds have cleared off , I thought it might be more fun to sleep out “, Jane perks in with a ” Perfect, I’ll join you” Mark asks, ” anyone for a glass of wine”? Both girls light up with a lively “YES”, and the three toast to making the first leg of the trek.
Originally posted on Missouri River Montana Fly Fishing:
It turns out that Jack Hunter was a very serious Fly Fishermen. That early evening, Billy and Jack set up their fly rods, tied on new tippets, and choose flies to start the session. Jack had driven them both up stream, in the older model land cruzer, some two miles to a lovely glide of a pool that was tree lined on the far side of the river, and clear casting on their side, with only short grass in the back cast. It was an easy part of the stream to read, the current for the most part, ran along the far bank, most of the good trout would be holding in the current, either under over hanging branches, or, in the deepest part of the run. Both men sat on the bank to observe the situation, in hopes of finding a surface feeding trout. The sun had just…
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On the Missouri River below Holter Dam, there is 35 miles of some of the most productive water for both Trout , Rainbows and Brown Trout, plus Walleye, and a few Ling Cod, in addition to thousands of Whitefish. The reason for such a rich diversity and shear numbers are mainly due to such prolific aquatic insect life. On the Missouri there is one insect that hatches every month of the year, Midges. These small aquatic insects are the building blocks for the over all mass of the Missouri river. It makes sense that one of the top flies for fishing, in fact, are midge patterns.
In the 2013 season, I was having excellent luck with clients using a size #18 purple lightening bug. From my success with this fly, I started experimenting with similar patterns, changing forms and colors, until I started using these flies below:
These are very small, flashy, midge patterns that seemed to work very effectively on the Missouri River, due to the color ” light green” of the river. Algae, floating weeds, exo skeletons of hatching insects all contribute to the slight color of the water. One of the main flies of the river is the Zebra Midge, a high contrast fly that is black and silver. In the past years it was a go to fly that always seemed to work from boat ramp to boat ramp. But last year I felt that at times the Zebra wasn’t as effective as in years past, oh yea, it worked, but not always. That’s when I started using these Electric Midges, similar to the Zebra, in that they are high contrast flies, but, different colors and shapes seemed to do the trick. Changing fly sizes and colors usually kept the fish interested, but there was a few things that seemed to be a constant: ribbing of silver or gold was important, and either silver or black beads. The color combination of the bodies could be , green, tan, black, purple, blue, or red, but to keep the fly flashy and high contrast, more important than body color was the ribbing and bead color. Silver for both gave more contrast in the flies profile, but I found that with the darker body colors, a black bead worked fine along with either gold or silver ribbing.
Try these flies, I think you’ll see that you’ll like them, and try different colors to see what works for you. Here are some close ups:
Thursday, November 14, 2013
What a great end to a wonderful season, 2013 was a stellar year on the Missouri River. The season started in March, with a very strong start, Dry Fly fishing with Midges, and today November 14th, the Midges are hatching just as strong , if not stronger than they were in March.
We were fortunate this past Spring having low, clear water, which enabled great fishing with Midges, Baetis, and Skwala Stoneflies. Some years on the Missouri the water is high and dirty, limiting the dry fly opportunities, this past Spring was a real exception. April fishing was spectacular and just got better and better once the warmer days of May arrived, bringing super hatches of Caddis, March Browns, Baetis, and Midges. I had some afternoons in May that I will never forget, fishing for just a few hours wade fishing in water that was not more than a few inches deep and hooking very large Rainbows and Browns that would explode out of the shallows with the speed and power similar to Bonefish racing off a shallow flat.
June fishing was the Zenith of the 2013 season, the incredible hatches of Pale Morning Duns, Caddis, Baetis, Brown Drakes, Yellow Sally’s, Golden Stones and Midges, fishing was as good as Trout fishing can get, period. The one draw back to having such low water is that wade fishermen were all over the upper river, when I say all over, I mean in every spot that they could get to, they were there, in droves. This is mainly in the upper river, the lower river does not have the access that the upper river has. The lower river had different problems, fly fishing guides using motor boats. After 30 years guiding on the Missouri, I have to say, that for years, the Fly Fishermen on the Missouri have been trying to eliminate the use of Motors from the Dam to Cascade. It is very disappointing to see Fly Fishing guides who now out number the spin fishermen using motors on the lower river. From Cascade North, or down stream , this is where the motors should be used, not Cascade up-stream, or South, this is in complete conflict with the Natural flow of drift boat fishermen floating down stream to the town of Cascade. For now, there are no takeouts below the town of Cascade until the boat ramp at the town of Ulm. This gives 15 miles of water for the motor guides to fish, there is no reason why, they are going going upstream to conflict with the drift boat fishermen. OK, got that out there, so the few who do use motors and conflict with the drift boat fishermen, my sediments are not alone, all the drift boat fishermen feel the same way, go below Cascade and everyone will be grateful!
The month of July we saw the water levels drop, on a year were we already had very low water. The water was just too low, the dry fly fishing was difficult, from the river being choked with weeds, and the amount of fishermen from the month of June. It was a shame, the hatches were as good as it gets, but the pods that we are use to seeing in July, just were not there. In July, we had amazing hatches of Trico’s, Caddis, and PMD’s . The Trico pods that we are use to seeing, absent, July fishing was not up to Par until at the end of the month when the water once again come up to a level where the fish felt more comfortable.
August was better fishing, there were a few pods eating Tricos, in spots, but not everywhere, fishing was not as good as it could have been, one really had to search for rising trout. Usually, in August we are saved by two things, Hoppers, and Trico’s. We had the Trico’s , but , not the huge pods, we did not have good numbers of hoppers. But, in August, this is a month where large Brown trout are caught on hoppers, this year was not an exception, large Trout, but not the numbers.
September fishing was quite good, we always see the return of the Grey Baetis ( pseudos) and the fish have Trico’s and Baetis, some hoppers, and the constant Caddis. Nymph fishing is usually very strong in September, so, the hopper – dropper rigs worked fairly constantly. Water levels were better and looking back at July, the water levels were just disappointing.
October is maybe the best fishing month on the river for pods of rising trout. In October we always get some cold storms from the North come through, and this really turns the fish on, at times, just a feeding frenzy where the Trout just want to feed and it seems like nothing will stop them, not a large fly or even a bad cast.
The main hatches, Baetis and Caddis, the hatches of Baetis are impressive, at times the river surface is covered with the small Grey and Olive colored bugs.
Most years this starts just after our first storm, and continues through most years until Mid – November, or until the weather really gets ugly, sometime in November. I worked quite a bit this past month and most of October the fishing was excellent. I was impressed just how strong the fish were feeding, most times if the angler made a bad cast , lining the trout, the fish would just bulge, then continue feeding. The weather is cool for most of the month, but we do get many warm days, but it seems like on those cold days, the fishing is even better.
In October, fish will eat a streamer, nymph, or dry fly, take your pick, they all work. Most of my clients prefer to fish Dry Fly, but, if you want a huge trout, the streamer is the way to go.
This season started with great Midge fishing, and ends again with great Midge fishing. I was out yesterday walking near the river with my black lab Pearl looking for Pheasants, the amount of midges were so thick that even wearing my buff, I was bothered by the small black buzzing bugs. Fish were rising, not in large pods , but were still feeding on top. What a great season, 2013 was a very special year!