As has been the routine for us around Phasmid Rentals (now Explore-Adventures).
The past month and throughout August marks our peak season here and we have been busy enough the blog posts had to take a bit of a backseat. That being said, our out-of-work adventuring thankfully hasn’t!
What can I say. It feels like the summers I am used to in the south around here and has for quite a few weeks now. Granted, I have no illusions and are keeping all of you sitting at 5 degrees shy of hells kitchen in my thoughts. The forecasted high here at the office today is 96. Even though we started at about 50° around sun-up this morning. We have all still managed to stay outside and get in ample adventuring time. If the blog posts aren’t enough for you, you can always keep up with us day to day on our Instagram as well @Explore_mt_adventures!
I’ve got a lot to cover in this post, time to get down to it. First and unarguably most important is fishing, whats happening with the fishing?
Well, with the warmer summer temps we are unfortunately loosing fishing water by the day with a lot of rivers already being on the Hoot-Owl Closure. Hoot Owl closure means the river is off limits to all fishing (yes, even you bait and spinner guys) from 2pm-Midnight. This is done in an effort to protect the fishery; warm weather like this is extremely hard on these fragile fish and during this time even the least bit of stress or exertion can result in the fish dying.
Hoot Owl Closures:
BeaverHead River – Hoot Owl from Anderson Lane to the Confluence with the Big Hole
Big Hole River – (24 hour closure)
Bitterroot – Emergency fire closure as well as hoot owl
Blackfoot River – entire length is Hoot owl
Boulder River – from Natural Bridge to the confluence of the Yellowstone River.
Clarks Fork – from the mouth of Warm Springs Creek near Warm Springs to Rock Creek.
Copper Creek – entire length is Hoot owl
East Gallatin River – from Spring Hill Road Bridge (Hwy411) to the confluence with the Gallatin River
Gallatin River – From the confluence with the Madison River at Three Forks to Sheds Bridge (Hwy 84) near Four Corners, MT
Jefferson River – (24 hour closure)
Madison River – from Ennis Dam to the mouth
Mill Willow Bypass – Downstream portion of Silver Bow Creek Closure
Monture Creek – entire length is Hoot owl
Morel Creek – entire length is Hoot owl
North Fork of the Blackfoot River – entire length is Hoot owl
Ruby River – from Duncan District Road to the confluence with the Beaverhead River
Shields River – from Daisy Dean Road Bridge to the confluence with the Yellowstone River.
Silver Bow Creek – entire length is Hoot owl
Smith River – from the confluence of the North and South forks of the Smith River to Eden
Sun River – from the Highway 287 Bridge to the mouth of Muddy Creek.
Yellowstone River – from Carter’s Bridge to the confluence of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River and the Yellowstone River.
This being said, the past 3-4 weeks of fishing haven’t been terrible, or even bad. Pretty decent actually. Generally this time of year if you are fishing you should plan on fishing from 5am-11am and 7pm to midnight for the most productive activity. The middle of these bright sunny and warm days really slows the fish down or shut them down completely. If you are willing to change your fishing hours and find some cooler, off the beaten path waters you have a good chance at some really awesome dry-fly fishing. I wont bore you with what flies to use because every fly shop in Montana already is but I will tell you this, if you like terrestrial fishing it is just about time on many rivers and into time on many others.
A few weeks back I had the privilege of having my dad in town, we settled on a backcountry stock (horse) trip near Canada to chase cutthroats and westslope cut’s. It was a phenomenal DIY backcountry trip and we shared a lot of good adventures, laughs and hook-ups on some great fish. Here are a few photos from that trip.
I’ll be honest, with the extreme temperatures and water closures as of recently I have really moved my fly-fishing addiction to the backseat. For the time being I have shifted my focus to camping, glamping, roadtrippin’, exploring, getting lost and water-based activities. And a woman, that is neither her nor there though 😉
So here is a little something something for you that I haven’t covered before. I will give you a scenario I ran into recently.
You have two days off of work and wake up to a warm day with sunshine and blue skies, but no plans! What to do?
In Montana we have the Delorm Atlas and Gazetteer
This thing is a treasure trove and you will find that most true Montanian adventurers keep a really close eye on theirs. (Yes, we do rent these out, and yes, maybe somebody has already marked a honey hole in yours!) To make a long story short(er), I opened my Atlas to the page containing one of my favorite areas of Montana (hint: its within 1.5 hours of the office!) and started highlighting forrest service roads and connecting locations I wanted to hit. For me the planning is half the excitement of the adventure, and typically, the better you plan the better it turns out. Although, sometimes you can plan as thoroughly as you want and it seems like almost everything still doesn’t go as planned! As was the case on my latest adventure.
From previous adventures I knew that the general area we were starting in was a mining hotspot back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Setting out I could only hope we would get a chance to see something old and interesting.
We ended up driving these old mining and forest service roads for the better part of 4 hours, trying every option possible to figure out where exactly the road we were looking for was. We got “lost” 4 times (we knew where we had came in), and never found the road. We later realized this was quite a blessing in disguise as a forrest fire had started along our intended route while we were up on the mountain. After making it back to town and our original starting place we grabbed some lunch to go at Nacho Mama’s Burritos in Ennis (easily one of the best burritos i’ve ever had) and drove the highway to another area I knew well and knew for a fact would get us where we had initially intended on going. We made it up in perfect time, it ended up working out to where it would have taken us about the same amount of time either way when taking into account the rough forest service roads and fire.
We spent all afternoon exploring and driving dusty, empty forest service roads across rolling hills, snow fields, and alpine meadows. At a point the road took us right next to a very tall, very prominent peak and there was no option but to climb it. After getting out of the car and strapping some hiking boots on we summited the 10,500 peak fairly quick and easily and soaked in the 360 views all around us. After the hike we took another way out (that I was not familiar with) and actually ended up bypassing into West-Yellowstone, just in time for dinner at Wild West Pizza.
I never took my GPS on this adventure and I am very glad I didn’t. Sure it serves its purpose and it is safer to have it around just incase, but in the end it was the misadventures that made the adventure truly a great one and one to remember. Don’t be scared; be safe, be prepared, be adventurous and GO GET LOST!!!! Here are some pictures from that adventure.
That is all for today!!!! Everybody stop worrying about Hilary this or Trump that and get outside and explore the beautiful gift of mother nature we have all been blessed with.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Dr. Hunter S. Thompson