February Blues – Cabin Fever Edition

 

We continue to dream of warmer days as February is rapidly shaping up to be one of the coldest on record with no end in sight.

We’ll see highs in the teens and 20’s for the remainder of the week with lows in the single digits or well below zero most nights.
The only fishing report we’ve heard comes from Holter Lake where the perch fishing has been slow.

Sure we’re tired of the cold and we’re getting a little stir crazy as Cabin Fever persists….ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY.

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY.

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a Dull Boy. All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All Work and NO play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no Play makes Jack a Dull Boy…

but looking on the bright side, these Missouri River trout have had weeks of peace and quiet with very little harassment from anglers. They’ve been busy burning calories and should be anxious to eat a well-presented fly if things ever warm up.

Look for this to be a phenomenal spring to fish the Missouri.

Summer is booking up nicely as we start to anticipate opening up more lodging for the season. Renovations are close to being complete in the motel and we’re confident you’re going to love what we’ve done with the place.

The shop is FULLY stocked for late winter fishing and spring deliveries are starting to roll in so we are anxious to see some shoppers again and we’d love for you to take advantage of some great deals on winter wear and help us clear the way for spring gear. It’s a win win.

This would also be a great time to gear up for the wading season with a new pair of Simms or Redington waders and boots. We’ve got you covered!

Looking for a boat? We’ve got a couple of great drift boats for sale and they’re priced to move. If you’re in the market for a boat we’ve got a 2013 Clacka Eddy and a 2014 RO Deville, both in great shape. The Clack is my personal guide boat, the RO was one of our rental boats. Give us a call or message us for details.

So what are we doing to get through the winter?

We’re excited to host Tipsy Tying in the shop this Friday evening at 8 pm and there are a couple fishing film events happening in Helena in March starting with the IF4 at Grandstreet Theatre on March 8th followed by two showings of the Montana Fishing Film Fest on March 24th at Lewis and Clark Brewing Company. We hope you join us for them both. If we can’t fish we can at least watch movies about people fishing to bide our time while we wait for spring to arrive.

The Window is Open

Winter Bows on the MO – photo by Wolf Creek Angler

As we close out the first month of 2019 we’re emerging from a cold snap but the window of fishing opportunity will be open for the rest of the week before we plunge back into arctic air starting on Sunday.

We’ll see temperatures in the low to mid 40’s for the next several days with a very manageable south southwest wind forecast in the 10-15 mph range. It looks even better on Saturday.

No need to weigh watching the Super Bowl against fishing on Sunday…with highs in the teens and snow in the forecast the Super Bowl party is where you’re going to want to be.

Prior to that however you should make every effort to get out and fish between now and then. We’ve currently got lodging available through the weekend but it will more than likely fill by the end of the day today.

This would be the PERFECT opportunity to take advantage of our Winter Guide Trip and Lodging Special. $500 gets you a full day guided Missouri River float trip for one or two anglers and two nights of premium lodging at Wolf Creek Angler. We challenge you to find a better deal ANYWHERE.

Don’t need the lodging? Full Day float trip is just $400. Don’t need the guide? Winter lodging is just $99/night (plus tax). Wolf Creek Angler offers the BEST WINTER FISHING DEALS on the MO’ Hands Down!

Swinging, stripping and bobber fishing should all be good for the next several days and with a drastic weather change happening on Sunday fishing could be prime on Saturday on the edge of that system. It could also be a bust but there’s only one way to find out. You won’t know if you don’t go!

Nymphers should target the SLOW, DEEP winter water. Pink anything, firebead anything, sowbugs, Zebra midges, Pill Poppers, Pederson’s Sow, Caviar Scud, soft hackle sows, UV Crush, Bubble Yums, Rainbow Czechs, Ray Charles….the usual suspects.

Swingers and strippers you know what you like but best sellers have been Polar Leeches in Olive and Copper, Kreelex and Hot Head Kreelex in gold and brown or silver and gold. Mojo Minnows, Skiddish Smolt and Sparkle Minnows should also get the job done.

Stop by for bugs and shuttles and while you’re here don’t forget to check out our best deals of the year on winter wear as well as blow out pricing on all of our Redington waders and boots. These deals are too good to pass up and won’t last long.

Men’s and Women’s Sonic Pros and a few pair of Sonic Pro HD and HDZ’s left as well as women’s Willow waders and boots and a good assortment of Skagit and Prowler boots. Call ahead and we’d be happy to see if we have your size and hold it for you.

We’ve also got Adipose boats for rent and if you happen to be in the market for a new (used) boat this season we’re selling our 2014 RO Deville as well as my 2013 Clackacraft Eddy. Give a call or message us on FB for more info or to make an offer.

We are your pre Super Bowl Missouri River fly fishing destination!

January Water Report

Perhaps it’s a little early to start talking about what we’ll see for water this spring but since we’ve already been fielding plenty of calls on the subject here’s what we know.

Snowpack across western Montana is currently sitting in the 80-90% of normal range. It could be much worse but the fact is we could use some precipitation. Following record precipitation last year, this winter has been a return to what has unfortunately become somewhat of the new normal.

The January long term forecast is for above average temperatures and below average precipitation which could translate into a busy month of fishing on the Missouri while those waiting for the ice to form on Holter Lake may be waiting all winter long.

We’re thankful for any business we get during the long winter months so we’ll take the traffic but here’s hoping for some major precipitation over the next couple of months.

Regardless of snowpack, we’re anticipating a great year ahead on the Missouri. River flow predictions are calling for a likely scenario of flows holding steady in the 4,500 CFS range through the winter months and peaking in the 6,000 CFS range in May and June.  This is great news to the wade anglers who missed out on fishing the Missouri last spring.

Max flow predictions show flows holding in the 4500 CFS range through February and then bumping up around 1000 CFS each month through June with a peak in the 10,000 CFS range while the minimum flow predictions show a steady drop in flow over the winter, leveling off in the 3500 CFS range beginning in April and holding there for the remainder of the season. This is not ideal. Let’s hope we see the most probable scenario (or max probable) play out.

We’re anxious to see what effect last season’s high water scrubbing is going to have on the hatches this year. It could be an epic dry fly year on the Missouri! Will we see the caddis explosion that has occurred following high water years in the past? Only time will tell. One thing looks fairly certain however, that being that we will actually have dry fly fishing before July. We missed much of the traditional dry fly prime time last season so we’re anxious for some BWO and PMD activity.

As per usual this is all speculation. We’re using the best information we have available to loosely predict what we might see this spring but Mother Nature always has the last word.

We’re not climatologists, we just sell fish hooks for a living so we’re content to leave the actual business of forecasting to the experts. We’ll keep you up to date on snowpack and flow conditions all winter long but at this point it definitely feels like it could be a return to dry fly nirvana on the MO in 2019.

In the meantime winter fishing is HOT right now. The nymphing is good to great depending on the day and streamers have been effective both on the swing and the strip. We’ve seen some midge activity with sporadic feeding. If we continue to see mild conditions throughout the winter expect good midge fishing as early as late January and throughout February and March.

We’ve been busy with lodging and have been getting a lot of calls about our winter lodging and guide trip special. The rumors are true! $500 for a full day guided float trip on the MO and TWO nights of premium lodging at Wolf Creek Angler. Our lodging options are quite limited during the winter so things tend to fill up quickly. If the mild weather persists and the demand is there we may look at opening more lodging up sooner rather than later. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime – give us a call and book your cure to cabin fever today and while you’re at it, make those spring/summer plans if you haven’t done so already. Prime dates are filling fast.

A call to action

This is a call to action recently issued by Pat Barnes Missouri River Trout Unlimited. We are expanding this call to action to all of you who enjoy trout fishing on the Missouri River. Please take a minute to read and more importantly we urge everyone to click on the link below and submit your comments to FWP.

CALL TO ACTION – Every Member Needed!

Good Afternoon,

As some of you may have heard, Montana’s Statewide Management Program & Guide Draft is out for public comment until February 4th.  The Statewide Management Program & Guide is the guiding document for how FWP manages fisheries statewide.  As you may have also heard, Walleyes Unlimited is pressuring FWP to consider walleye a native species east of the Continental Divide, which could potentially alter the current management of walleye downstream of Holter Dam.  This would threaten the Missouri River trout fishery we have all come to love.

PLEASE, visit the link below and comment on the plan to back the Department’s science-based management as a non-native species in Montana.  Particularly, not to alter the current management status of walleye in the Missouri below Holter Dam as anything other than “suppression”.  If nothing else, please copy and paste the language below into the “Comments” section at the link below and click “Submit Comments”.

“The Statewide Management Plan & Guide should uphold the current status of walleye as a non-native species in Montana’s waterways.  I support the peer-reviewed science that guide’s the Department’s classification of this illegally-introduced species as non-native to Montana.  Additionally, I support the full suppression of walleye management in the Missouri River below Holter Dam.  People cross continents to fish for wild trout in the Missouri River, and altering the management of walleye from anything other than full suppression places unnecessary risk on this world class fishery that draws millions of dollars to our local economy.  Thank you.”

http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/fishing/pn_0091.html

Right now, the Missouri River needs your help.  PLEASE take 3 minutes and leave a comment. The effort by Walleye Unlimited to have the Missouri managed as a walleye fishery is organized and energized. The Missouri River’s trout need your comment.

Thank you,

Sincerely,
PBTU Board Members

Happy Thanksgiving from Wolf Creek Angler

We would like to take this opportunity on this day of giving thanks to say thank you to all of you who have helped to make Wolf Creek Angler the growing success that it is.

We are so very blessed to be able to do what we do where we do it and it’s all thanks to you who have supported us over the years with all of your business.

Whether you shop with us, fish with us, stay with us or all of the above we owe you a huge debt of gratitude and we’re looking forward to another great season next year even as this one has yet to officially come to an end.

So enjoy your Thanksgiving gatherings today. Enjoy the food. Enjoy your time with family and friends and take a minute to count your blessings. We are.

We’re thankful for our health and thankful for our friends and family. We’re thankful for clean, cold water and trout and mountains and access to all of them and we’re thankful for the opportunity to make a living sharing our love of this place with all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Go Lions

By |2018-11-21T18:22:06+00:00November 22nd, 2018|Categories: Local Buzz, Shop Life|0 Comments

October on the MO’

The second season is in full swing here on the Missouri on this second day of October and if the last few days are any indication we could be in for one phenomenal fall fishing season.

Cloudy skies and chilly temps (with the exception of yesterday afternoon when summer made a brief return) have made for ideal conditions. The bugs are going strong and the fish are feasting. These past several days have been a DFO’s dream….a target rich environment to say the least.

Those focusing their efforts below on nymphs and streamers are finding success as well. Fall is definitely among our favorite times to fish the MO’ regardless of the conditions but this fall feels like it has the potential to go down as one of the best in recent memory.

We do have some interesting weather on the horizon next week with the forecast calling for snow with highs in the 30’s and lows in the 20’s. Wednesday could be challenging with a high of 31, a low of 22 and up to 3” of snow. Thursday looks roughly the same. Will winter be here to stay come next week? I wouldn’t count on it but be prepared for the elements if you’re headed out there.

I hit the water a couple of days ago on a 40ish degree morning and opted for muck boots instead of waders and a flannel shirt and vest instead of a jacket. Bad call. The forecast was for highs in the mid 50’s which I’m not sure we ever saw. I didn’t bring gloves, I didn’t bring a stocking cap. Thankfully my buddy had extras.

To be fair, I have piles of gloves and hats and jackets stashed in my boat so I’m used to having what I need when I need it, but on this day we were not in my boat and I didn’t do a very good job of being prepared for the elements. Being cold will rapidly ruin a good day so layer up and bring an extra pair of gloves. Err on the side of too many layers….you can always remove the ones you don’t need.

Along these lines we’re stocked up in the shop with great base layers, outerwear and hats and gloves a plenty from Simms and waders and boots from Redington and Korkers. Stop by the shop for all the best cold weather gear.

With the exception of the chill in the air it feels a bit like July around here right now with close to a full house all month long. We have had a few cancellations from folks who didn’t like the looks of next week’s forecast so we do have a couple of rooms available should you decide to brave the elements. We do have guides at the ready as well who’d like nothing better than to get you dialed in to fall fishing on the Missouri.

Six weeks from now we’ll likely be looking back at the awesome fall season that was. Don’t let it pass you by. Give us a call and book NOW! We’re open daily 7:30 am – 5:00 pm and we invite you to come in and discover what the buzz is all about. Wolf Creek Angler is the best Missouri River Fly Shop you never knew was here. Our mission is to earn your business, one customer at a time by providing you with exceptional customer service and the quality products and services you expect from your Missouri River fly Shop.

Come discover all that Wolf Creek has to offer. Not only is Wolf Creek home to THE up and coming Missouri River Fly Shop, Lodge and Guide Service, but it’s also got great dining (and drinking) options with Shotgun Annie’s and The Oasis; the best cell service for MILES AROUND; The Canyon Store which is the ONLY gas station/convenience store between Helena and Cascade and  all  closer to Holter Dam and Wolf Creek Bridge FAS than ANY  OTHER SHOP.

And speaking of Wolf Creek Bridge FAS – The FAS will be closed to the public starting tomorrow for a capital improvement project which will take approximately 30 days or less.

This will definitely be an inconvenience for the time being but it sounds like we’ll soon also be closer to the NICEST and NEWEST FAS on the MO’.

Healing Waters – guest blog from Shalon Hastings

One to the Net – photo by Amber Cassidy

Full disclosure: I was one of those teenagers that avoided the call to military duty in every way possible. Back in 1993, recruiters were doing the hard sell via phone and in person. Being the nice person I am, I went to lunch where the recruiter tried to “wine and dine” me, obviously no wine but plenty of soda. I dodged the bullet, if you will, and avoided the, in my mind, unbearable pain & suffering of boot camp and basic training by leaving for college with no forwarding address for the recruiter.

Fast forward to present day: I have 2 small businesses that I call my own in downtown Helena and just recently added fly fishing guide to my list. Over the last couple of years I had found that being on the water was the only time my mind shut off completely to the point of calm. Never before had I experienced such a quiet. It was an addictive break from my never ending worries about my businesses, my struggles and my musings of “Am I good enough?”

Earlier this year with help from some girlfriends, I started a women’s fly fishing networking group, Last Chance Fly Gals (LCFG). It was enlightening to meet so many local women who shared the same passion for fly fishing and to hear shared stories of frustrations and accomplishments on the water that only other women could relate to. Yes, both men and women will share similar experiences but in addition there are some that men just won’t experience. I don’t think I’ve heard a guy admit that he’s cried because his spouse tried to teach him to fish. But I hear it a lot when women talk about their first trials of learning to fly fish.

Through an article written about the formation of Last Chance Fly Gals, an old acquaintance and Project Healing Waters board member reached out to me to see if I would be interested in working with female veterans that would be participating in a Project Healing Waters fishing trip on the Missouri. I jumped at the chance to be a part of this outing. I am in awe of those that have the balls to sign up for military duty and serve our country so that I can freely choose my entrepreneurial path and quite frankly do whatever I so desire. My heart breaks when I hear of the trauma that our veterans have brought home with them. And I get frustrated and angry that they face struggles outside of our cushy civilian life after they have risked life and limb. If I could help any of these women get to the point where they find that peace in mind on the water that I get, I was going to be there.

I joined two phenomenal female guides, Kelly Harrison and Kimberly Smith, and met the women in Craig. We were towing the Project Healing Waters Adipose boats that Wolf Creek Angler holds at the shop for veterans to use for free. The afternoon was spent doing introductions, then Kelly jumped into instructing basic knots, basic flies and basic casting. Each of the ladies was given a starter rod and reel package with miscellaneous small wares to get them started on the fly fishing journey. The lodge that was hosting us had a small casting pond. The pre-dinner entertainment was the girls catching little and mid-sized brookies on dry flies. The smiles, laughter, encouragement and commands to “hit it!!!” were raucous, heartfelt and contagious. After dinner was sharing of Jameson and White Claws, poop jokes, graphic bikini line mishaps and mentions of injuries sustained in service.

The next day was breakfast served by several PHW board members that waited on us hand and foot. After breakfast we gathered at the boats to rig up rods and review knots and flies with the ladies. Then it was to the river. Each gal caught fish. F bombs were dropped, cheering heard from one of the three boats across the river as one of the ladies in another boat would get a fish on, more F bombs when a fish broke off complete rigs, all 3 boats gathering to snap pictures of a fish landed in the boat. At one point, the gal in my boat had an epic fish arcing out of the water right after she set the hook, it was mad. It briefly showed its ginormous jawline at her before taking off and charging so fast it broke her nymph rig well past the split shot in a flash. That beast will haunt her.

At the takeout phone numbers were shared, promises to stay connected were made and sharing of pictures promised. The excitement, the frustration, the glee all shared and celebrated by an amazing group of women will be remembered forever. I expect and hope that I get calls and texts from these women sharing with me their future trips onto new rivers and the new found knowledge they will gain. I’m already looking forward to the next event, hoping that the guests will gain as much as I do in being a part of this honor of their service to the United States of America.

Fish on, ladies. Fish on.

FREE Drift Boat Rentals for Vets courtesty of Montana Project Healing Waters and Wolf Creek Angler

Wolf Creek Angler is the exclusive host for Montana Project Healing Waters free drift boat rental program.

Wolf Creek Angler is proud to be the exclusive host of the Montana Project Healing Waters drift boat rental program which provides free drift boat rentals on the Missouri River to all vets and active duty military personnel.

The shop hosts and maintains three custom Adipose Flow drift boats available free every day.  The boats can be reserved by logging on to montanahealingwaters.org and using the Reserve A Drift Boat link to select dates and boat options. Two of the boats come equipped with removable knee braces, the third has no braces and can be fitted with custom wheelchair platforms if necessary.

The boats are typically hauled by the user  (2″ ball required) but can be dropped off and picked up by Wolf Creek Angler for a fee. Vehicle shuttles are also available for purchase if needed.

“When the opportunity arose for Wolf Creek Angler to host all three of the PHW boats it was a total no-brainer” commented Jason Orzechowski, owner of Wolf Creek Angler. “We’d been impressed with the program from the start and had been lobbying PHW to place a boat with us since we opened the doors”.

They got their wish last fall when the board elected to add a third boat to the program and place it at WCA. Earlier this spring the other two PHW boats were relocated from Craig to Wolf Creek Angler, making WCA the exclusive host of the program.

“It was our privilege to finally get a chance to host a boat last fall” explained Orzechowski. “Having all three of the boats here this season has been awesome. We’ve met so many great people and the vast majority of them are so appreciative of the program. We owe these vets and active duty military a huge debt of gratitude and I feel like this is the least we can do to say thank you to those who are willing to serve.”

Montana Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of active military personnel and veterans through flyfishing, fly tying education, and outings, and education on the conservation, restoration, and improvements to Montana’s fisheries and their habitats.

Please consider donating your time or resources to this exceptional organization to help fund the outstanding work they do for veterans here in Montana.