First up was 'Loch Laven to Pine Creek' (6.3 miles)
Things were not looking good on my way to pick up my friend Tom for our 'last minute decision to try new water...'
The 15 minute hail storm still didnt deter us as bad as we wanted to float..'
..I'd theorized "this is Bozeman, certainly things will be different over below Livingston.."
With wind gusting to 35 miles per hour we were kinda asking for trouble before we even put on, but the shuttle had already been called-in'; so we went for it...and paid (dearly)?!
This little bit of a clearing gave us hope that the trip could be salvaged, but...
..ten minutes later we were tying up to some random island and running for shelter as lightning split two trees before our very eyes on the opposite shore.
For all our efforts we were rewarded with only two fish in the 2.5 hour float; not bad considering we only fished about 20 minutes of it. The rest of the time we rowed our asses off and prayed we wouldn't die while trying to navigate a much narrower and faster river the closer we got to town.
Next up was "a 2 Day Float" first, I went with Tom and Chuck down a familiar stretch 'from Emigrant to Mallards Rest' and we had a blast!!
At the ramp we me met a crazy friend of mine Angus who was about to float alone the first few miles before he picked up a friend; I suggested he take Tom (who could row) and he agreed and we floated nearby each other the rest of the day bantering back-and-forth'.
My mistake though, as with Chuck's "limited rowing ability" I was now pretty much stuck on the oars, but we managed to boat about 14 nice cuttys on hoppers; on what we all agreed was "...a pretty slow day"*.
Tom, Angus, and his' friend they picked up at Mill Creek Bridge; "..managed to boat 20" - so they said?
* Thats (a 13.8 mile float) and only 14 fish computes to about one-per-mile or 2 per hour depending on how you look at it...
- Lately I'd begun asking random customers I'd never met before 'if they could row a drift boat' and a few could; so that's how I met Jack. He was friendly sort and had extensive experience behind the oars having guided whitewater in the famed 'Yankee Jim Canyon' for several years; so because of this we ventured further upriver to float '26 Mile to Grey Owl' (9.2 miles).
For all our combined river rowing experience (mine very questionable) we only caught 7 fish between the two of us; and at the end of that week I was about in need of a doctor afterward as I was plum whooped, my equaliberium all out of whack, and had the beginnings of third-degree sunburn to boot?!
Because of the 'limited footage of big fish caught' (or any fish pictures for that matter on the latter trip), I've condensed these two trips into one short photo essay below)...
Lastly, after a few days of work at the fly shop 'squeezed in to my busy fishing-schedule', Tom and I hit 'Carbella to Emigrant' yesterday (15.5 miles) and made up for some blunders in the weeks' past...
Amazing views on this stretch and not very crowded on this particular Friday. The high winds were a factor early in the morning, but calmed before noon. The fishing wasn't epic, but good and we boated over a dozen nice sized cutty's, two bows, and a few foul hooked white fish as well (the latter on black whooly boogers, they tried but couldn't ingest).
We'd attempted huge and wild patterned streamers early, based on some 'good reports days before', but only "turned some nice fish" and I personally like to catch them' so we stopped all that nonesense and switched back to little pink hoppers once it warmed up a bit.
It's always nice to be able to pull over into a shady spot and have lunch or just rest a bit...its actually one of my favorite parts of floating.
The predictable afternoon storm on the Stone, is something I've now grown used to and yet we got drenched still; even though we were wearing Gore Tex hoodys. The wind whipped us silly and before we could even pull over the boat had a few inches in her once the first storm passed.
The second one looked "really bad" though, so we 'pushed on through' as the lightning accompanying it was fierce.
Leaving Emigrant Access..(around 7PM)
The forest fires in the western part of the state have created some very cool sunsets as the smoke makes its way across the Monatana horizon; and made for some neat rides home after floats on the Yellowstone.
..I still have several stretches of the Stone to search out, and fish for the first time; so check back and see what we find...