Spaghetti Feed October 21st

Should you happen to find yourself in Wolf Creek or Craig next Saturday, October 21st and you’re looking for a place to eat, get over to the Wolf Creek School for the annual Spaghetti Feed.

It’s a great dining option and a great cause with the proceeds going to benefit the Wolf Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

There will be auction items to bid on and donations are always accepted and very much appreciated.

Volunteer Fire Departments make up the vast majority of the fire fighting force in the state of Montana with close to 94% of registered departments made up of all or mostly volunteers according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who volunteer and these fund raising events are a perfect opportunity to support the local efforts.

The Spaghetti Feed will take place on Saturday, October 21st from 5 pm – 8 pm at the Wolf Creek School gym. Please come out and support our local volunteer fire department if you are here.

By |2017-12-07T16:01:24+00:00October 12th, 2017|Categories: Wolf Creek Chatter|0 Comments

9/11/2017

I noticed yesterday while flipping through the channels between football games that there were very few programs having anything to do with 9/11. This struck me as strange as it seems in the past there were always a bunch of programs leading up to the anniversary. We are 16 years out from that monumental day, a day that was much like this day with bright blue September skies above.

I saw a  smattering of “Never Forget” profile pics etc. on Facebook this morning but the conspicuous absence of news stories and special programming dealing with this fateful date in American history have me wondering if perhaps we, as a nation, are starting to forget. Or is it that we are being conditioned  to forget? I don’t know the answer and I’m not much about conspiracies but I do know that this is a day worth remembering, no matter what your political stripes.

I am a million miles away from where I was in 2001 and I have zero interest in politicizing this day. This is a day nearly 3,000  people lost their lives. It’s a day that caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage and a day that forever altered the collective American Psyche. That day changed the world forever and while the immediate aftermath seemed to draw us together as a nation, it feels like part of the consequences of this event include the planting of the seeds for the polarizing journey we’ve embarked upon as a country which has brought us to where we are today. We are divided as a nation (though I don’t believe nearly as much as what the media would have us believe) politically and philosophically with a few small minority groups expressing their views very LOUDLY and  exerting entirely more influence over the majority than they should ever be able to.

I expressed similar sentiments on this blog last year at this time and my feelings remain the same. This is a day that I recall the events of 16 years ago like they happened yesterday. It’s a day I reflect on the journey I’ve been on for these years and a day I mourn the deaths of those who died on that day and also  mourn the losses I’ve experienced personally since 2001.

To me it’s a day to count our blessings as well and to be thankful for everything we have. Our families, our friends, our livelihoods….all of the things that make us who we are.

Draw your loved ones close, hold them tight and celebrate life as you think back to how it felt that day.

 

By |2017-12-07T16:11:39+00:00September 11th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized, Wolf Creek Chatter|2 Comments

Peter

I met Peter the first year I was out here when I was working for Montana River Outfitters and I liked him from day one.

Peter and his friend John were a major component of a group which takes over the majority of our lodging every summer at Wolf Creek Angler. If you’ve ever fished anywhere near the second trestle below Wolf Creek Bridge during mid June to early July you’ve likely met both of them.

From their friend Matt who’s been joining them on the Missouri since 1994;

Peter loved to fish the 2nd RR trestle below the Wolf Creek bridge. He would literally stay there for hours on end. John told me a couple of times Peter stayed there all day. He would put in at Wolf Creek, row down to the 2nd trestle, fish all day then row out to California Island at dark to take out.

John and Peter have been coming to fish Montana since 1988, originally to the Big Horn then splitting time between the Horn and the MO’ and finally settling exclusively on the Missouri.

Al, John and Peter on the porch at WCA photo by Matt Hanist

 

Usually between mid June and early to mid July we play host to an awesome group of anglers from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. They fish hard and they spend evenings on the porch talking about it…..LOUDLY!

I’ve come to consider all of these folks good friends and when I talk about how my favorite part of my job is getting to see the same guests and clients year after year, Peter and the rest of these guys are a major part of what I’m talking about.

Peter passed away last week. He will be missed on the MO’ and on his beloved Delaware.

I’ll miss having him around here at WCA. I’ll miss the ball busting and the laughter and I’ll also miss having him around to man the grill at our annual fourth of July cookout. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Rest in peace my friend.

 

By |2017-12-07T16:16:58+00:00September 2nd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized, Wolf Creek Chatter|1 Comment

Goodbye August (Back to School Blues)

It feels like fall this back to school Thursday.

Temps will soar again today, but the cool mornings and the false overcast caused by our smoke filled skies make it feel like fall at least for the first few hours of the day.

I’m missing my summer help today which is also contributing to the fallish feeling. Summer came and disappeared in a blur and though our many hours spent together at the shop this summer were certainly not without the occasional dust up, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

I cherish the opportunity to spend time working with (and occasionally even fishing with) my son John, even if he doesn’t share my passion for all things fly fishing. His rowing skills have improved tremendously this season and he is definitely starting to know his way around the fly bins. Add to this his developing customer service skills along with an adequate set of grounds keeping and maintenance skills and you’ve got great summer help.

The first day of school is always a time of reflection and disbelief….more so each year. Somehow he is a junior in high school this year. I’m not sure how that happened. I don’t know how it’s even possible but it’s a fact. Yet another reminder of life passing by…of the likelihood of more years behind me than ahead of me. A day filled both with existential angst and pride. Angst as it relates to the stark reminders of mortality and pride as it relates to watching him grow and mature each year.

Anyways, farewell to August. It’s been a nice break from the chaos of June and July but we are ready to embrace the chaos again. It’s a welcome return to autumn.

Back to fishing next time…

 

By |2017-12-07T16:20:58+00:00August 31st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized, Wolf Creek Chatter|Tags: , , |1 Comment

On The Road Report: Misadventure Edition.

Yesterday, what started out as quick probe into the back-country on the northern edge of Yellowstone National Park turned into what I would describe as a hellish march to the edges of human physical capability. Okay, so maybe not that bad, but it was tough none the less. With high water plaguing much of the state I figured my best bet for a day off would be cruising down to Big Sky and hunting down some high alpine lakes with my buddy Will. Truth be told, he called an audible in the morning after conferring with a friend of his so instead of a quick walk into one lake, we’d take our chances on one tucked deeper into the canyon. In hindsight, not the best of ideas.

I can’t tell you the exact location of the lake, because we never made it. The road the trail jumps off has seasonal motorized restrictions, meaning no cars past a certain point, before a certain time.  Not like it would have mattered anyway; within the first few bends beyond the gate blocking us we hit the snow line. At first it was just giant, mostly ice balls strewn  about, but the higher we climbed up the switchbacks, the boulders transformed into drifts consuming the entire road. By the time we neared the ridge where we were to turn off, the snow had become a little too much for the both of us. Post-holing for the better part of a half a mile was enough. We retreated down the hill back to our car, passing fresh bear tracks along the way.

Back at the car we reverted back to plan a). Drive into the lake, catch Cutties. Wrong again. The second go round we actually made it to the lake, only to see  that it had turned in the last day or so. Minimal visibility and close to zero room for a back cast made the choice to abandon Lake Lame an easy one. Needless to say, not exactly a productive fishing trip. On the flip side, I’ve had worse days. Looking back now I’m calling the failed outing a success. Time spent exploring new country with a good friend on a shit road, in his car isn’t a bad way to wast an afternoon.

Will and I have had our fair share of misadventures over our relatively short time as fishing partners. Within the last two years alone we’ve dodged Moose in Wildlife Management Areas, thwarted an attempted robbery in Twin Bridges, patched a few flat tires on dirt roads, iced down swollen knees in spring creeks and on one occasion, Will came close to buying the farm in a side channel on Rock Creek. The bottom line is this, at the end of the worst of days, we laugh, imbibe and go to sleep that night no worse for ware. Save the quarter sized blister currently pestering my right heel. Whatever, that too shall pass.

~Cheers, Chewy.

By |2017-09-21T18:59:31+00:00May 27th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized, Wolf Creek Chatter|1 Comment

The May 2017 Late 80’s Time Machine

Somehow the planets aligned just right making this month the ultimate late 80’s/early 90’s Time Machine. It’s been a long time coming but I’m about to board that train headed to a place to which I never imagined I’d return.

This Sunday May 14th at Century Link Field in Seattle is the second stop on U2’s The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 – celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the record and tour which solidified U2’s status as International Superstars and their place as one of the greatest live bands in the history of rock and roll.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years but sure enough it was April of 1987 when I saw the original Joshua Tree Tour at The Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac MI. I was 16 years old and had been obsessed with U2 since 1984 when The Unforgettable Fire was released. There was no band I wanted to see more at that time than U2 and I was not disappointed. The Joshua Tree catapulted U2 into the mainstream and was the greatest commercial and critical success of their career. I saw them a couple of more times in the early 90’s and swore a couple of years back that if they ever came anywhere within 12 hours of Helena  we would be there.

When I heard rumors of a 30th Anniversary Tour earlier this year there was no question as to whether or not we’d be going. I can’t wait!

One of the coolest parts of the whole thing is that Sheila and I will be dragging our kid along to the show who just happens to be about two months shy of 16. He’s a fan (sort of) and he’s excited (sort of) but I have a feeling he’s going to be blown away if the show is half the near-religious experience it was back in the day. That or he’s going to be scarred for life. I guess it all depends on just how good the time machine works.

Now as if that weren’t enough, one week later, Sunday May 21st is the Premier of the LONG AWAITED Season 3 of Twin Peaks airing on Showtime.

If you follow this blog you know I’m a huge Peaks Freak so this is just as big, if not bigger, than the 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree tour. I’m counting down the hours.

Since the series ended in 1991, followed by the prequel film in 1992 I’ve been waiting for a return to Twin Peaks. Up until a year or two ago I never thought it would happen. I’ve probably watched the complete series half a dozen times or more and while there is of course a fear that I may have built it up too much over 25 years and may be disappointed, I just don’t think David Lynch is going to let us down.

What’s any of this have to do with Missouri River fly fishing? Absolutely nothing.  It’s just a peek into the past of your proprietor. Thanks for allowing me to share my Time Machine….Hope it works.

By |2017-12-08T15:41:44+00:00May 9th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized, Wolf Creek Chatter|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Pure Joy

Paula with her first ever on a fly rod…priceless!

There’s nothing quite like landing that first fish on a fly rod and as a guide, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as making that happen and seeing the pure joy expressed in the smile on the face of a client.

Every once in a while we are reminded of just how lucky we are to be doing what we do and to be able to bring  joy to our clients. And sometimes those clients just happen to be good friends.

We sometimes get bogged down in the numbers game and measure our success by the quantity or size of the fish we catch (or don’t catch) but seeing a smile like the one above puts it all back into perspective, or at lest it should. If it doesn’t then you might be in the wrong line of work.

Anytime I have family or friends come to visit I have the privilege of getting to share the awesomeness of Montana with them. Some have fallen under the spell of this place and can’t stay away (or maybe they just really like to hang out with us but I can’t imagine why that would be). A few are avid anglers. Others have never held a fly rod or likely had any desire to do so, but all have had a chance to experience floating down a river in Montana casting a fly rod and maybe even catching a trout or two and I have yet to hear any complaints.

Along with our friends Dan and Tara who visit us regularly, friends Jim and Paula from back east made their first visit  last week as part of an expertly devised plan by yours truly to throw an unforgettable 50th Birthday Party for my wife Sheila. I’m not sure if Jim and Paula  were all that excited about fly fishing while they were here but they were agreeable to it and we got them on the water for a day while they were being kept in hiding from my wife. I don’t know what they expected but by all indications they had an awesome day learning to fish, taking in the sights and catching some fine trout on the Missouri.

The party was a rousing success as well and we had a great time showing off our fly shop and our city and our state.

As we get into the busy season and  I  settle into my work routine  I never take any of this for granted but it tends to feel less like a leisurely lifestyle and more like a job during these months. Watching friends or guests or guided clients experience this place, especially when it’s for the first time, brings things back into perspective and I step back and take a look around and remember how utterly blessed I am to be here in this amazing  place, with the people I love more than anything doing what I love to do. Add to it, getting the opportunity to hang out with friends we left behind who mean the world to us and it doesn’t get much better!

So thank you Dan and Tara and Jim and Paula for making the long trek from Michigan and thanks to all of our friends here for helping to make this a birthday Sheila won’t soon forget. You all mean the world to us. And a huge thanks to all of you who shop with us, fish with us, stay with us and follow us. You make all of this possible and we are thrilled and humbled to be your Missouri River fly fishing destination.

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Break 2017

I’m back in the shop today after a week in Michigan, our annual spring break destination. Most people tend to migrate to the warmer regions of the globe for spring break but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure it was grey and cold and dreary for the majority of the time we were there but I’ll trade sunshine and hot weather any day for the once a year opportunity to reconnect with friends and family back HOME.

You Can Never Go Home Again!

We’ve all heard it said many times that you can’t go home and there’s nothing like a homecoming to prove the point. In some respects you really can’t go home but it doesn’t take long to discover that home is not so much a place as it is our existence in that place. It’s the collective of the people, the relationships and the experiences we’ve had in some geographic location. Take away those things and you are left with a physical place upon which our existence, or lack thereof makes not a shred of difference.

Places consist of landscapes and structures to which we may grow very attached but the reality is these things in and of themselves are not our homes and once we leave them behind the only connections we have with them are the ones in our minds. We are the essential component of the thing we call HOME.

Most of my trips back to Michigan over these past several years have been an emotional roller coaster, a case study in existential angst. There are places we’ve returned to because it seemed like the right thing to do only to find that these places held no special magic. After repeated attempts with the same results I concluded this time around that it’s ok to close the book on some of those chapters.

Thankfully there is still plenty of HOME left. Family and friends  (and rivers) still remain and we will return time and again to experience HOME in new ways, creating new memories and riding the waves of emotion. It’s fun to be there and hard to leave and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So this is home in 2017…

A Huge Thank You to Mike Batcke at Stealthcraft Boats for the use of a boat on my beloved Pere Marquette River and as always a big thanks to Brad Turner aka The PM Angler for sacrificing a day of income to row me down the river.

It feels great to be back in Montana and despite my assertion that landscapes have no hold on us the mountains and rivers   have been calling  for as long as I can remember and while I cherish EVERYTHING that makes up my collective home, there is no place I’ve been  that feels as much like home as this.

Now back to fishing the MO’.  Up to date fishing report coming very soon.

 

 

By |2017-09-21T19:03:40+00:00April 4th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized, Wolf Creek Chatter|1 Comment

On the Road Report: Madison River Edition.

Bathroom Art. Gravel Bar, Ennis MT.

That’s right, the OTR Report is back with the first installment for 2017. It’s been a long winter and its about damn time. Chewy needs a change of pace, luckily for me I was able to assemble a mostly willing crew of fellow fly tossers and head south for a day. From the looks of it, Ennis and a majority of the Madison River valley would be sheltered from the wintery-mix expected across most of the state. In addition to the promising weather outlook, word on the boat ramps was the streamer bite had picked up. Water temps were (and still are) much warmer than the MO and fish were chasing down big meals. If you know me or anything about me, you know that alone is enough to get me going.

If you’ve ever fished the Madison you know it can ambiguously frustrating. No real defined seams or obvious holding water, the entire river is, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, one big riffle. Fish hold in the tightest pockets, the smallest seam created by the most imperceptible of rocks. There are no limits to the number of targets to throw at and for that matter, no discernible spot  where the next fish may come from. The opportunities are endless. It wasn’t too long after we launched that the big white streamers getting tossed starting getting some attention. Fish darting from their cover, inspecting and swiping. First fish to the net was a healthy Brown caught by WCA guide Billy Brann on a lil’ something whipped up by yours truly. Fly
selection varied throughout the day from white, to olive/white, to olive, to grey, back to olive/white. Fish seemed to react right after a bug change but their excitement for a fresh fly waned after a few dozen casts. Either way Billy and I were able to net a few nice fish over the course of our 16 mile float. That’s right, 16, windy, boulder dodging, low-bridge ducking miles. In hindsight, not the wisest of choices of floats, but I’ve done dumber things with less intelligent people.

By the end of the day Bill and I were both pretty well spent. Casting 7 wts with big flies in the wind all day paired with rowing can take it out of ya’. As good fortune may have it, the Gravel Bar in Ennis was still serving by the time we came back through town. After a round or two of draft beers we hit the road home. The Madison Range faded into the night as the clouds blanketed them once more, undoubtedly dropping more snow on the already frigid peaks. I’m looking forward to returning when the snow begins turning into runoff and the Salmonflies make their annual appearance.

With another weather window popping up later on this week, it looks like I’ll be getting out again. Make sure to check back for more updates from the road as we push into spring.

~CHEERS, CHEWY.

 

By |2017-09-21T19:03:40+00:00March 12th, 2017|Categories: Fishing Report, Wolf Creek Chatter|0 Comments

Weekend Update

 

We’re continuing to enjoy the spring-like weather this weekend with temperatures forecast to be near 50 again today. We flirted with 60 degrees yesterday topping out at 57 here in Wolf Creek and the word from the river the last couple of days was that the fishing is definitely starting to pick up.

We’ve reached that magic 36 degree water temp (currently 36.5) so expect things to only get better as the water continues to warm and the fish snap out of their winter slumber and go on the hunt for calories.

Traffic is concentrated in the canyon right now but we’ve heard good reports all the way from the dam to Prewett.

We’ll see a brief cold snap on Monday but then right back to 40’s and 50’s through the end of next week. We’ve got plenty of lodging available all week long and more opening soon! It might be just be the perfect week to book that spring special guide trip.

We’re definitely transitioning into spring mode here on the Missouri and if the initial response to our Spring Special is any indication it’s going to be a BUSY spring at WCA.

Just as an aside, some Montana news as history was made this week  with Congressman Ryan Zinke  being confirmed as the 52nd United States Secretary of the Interior, becoming the first person EVER from Montana and the first Navy Seal to occupy a Cabinet position.

No matter what your political stripes this is a big deal for the state of Montana. We congratulate him and wish him the best of luck in this position where he will continue to serve this nation as he has for most of his career and while we will keep a close eye on what’s going on in the Department of the Interior, just as we should with every other department under every administration, but we will judge Zinke’s job performance by his actions rather than by the letter after his name or by his back cast.

Spring is in the air and we hope to see you soon at Wolf Creek Angler.

 

 

By |2017-09-21T19:03:41+00:00March 4th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized, Wolf Creek Chatter|0 Comments