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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Wbranch has attached these 9 pictures. The message is below.
Back in the day when I met my idol on Armstrong Spring Creek circa 1969
This was taken right where the water wells up out of the ground on Armstrong Spring Creek.
This is one of my biggest Montana spring creek fish - of course on top!
A wonderful SW Montana spring creek.
Another view of the same bridge stretch twenty-five years later
The name says it all
Upstream from the bridge pool
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 28, 2014April 28th, 2014, 6:04 pm EDT
Thought I'd showcase some of my many Montana spring creek pictures. Many are scanned print film hence the lesser quality while others are pure digital. Enjoy and questions are welcomed.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Apr 28, 2014April 28th, 2014, 6:41 pm EDT
Thanks, Matt. I especially enjoyed the Spring - Fall photos of the same location. That water looks somewhat familiar (hehe). Btw - he's one of my heroes too. True gentleman and a class act.

Oh... Look at all that hair! :)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 28, 2014April 28th, 2014, 7:04 pm EDT
Talking about hair ---

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Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 28, 2014April 28th, 2014, 7:17 pm EDT
Good stuff Matt! Are we supposed to guess at the mystery "idol" or do you want to keep it a secret? You ran in lofty circles back in those days. :)

When did you first become aware of the spring creeks? After all you were a boy from the east. How did you get interested in such an intense way in fly fishing?

Those early days of our youth were incredible, no?! We didn't seem so concerned about things as a kid. Rambling around with good friends...I look back at some of the things I did and shake my head. Risk wasn't even part of our vocabulary. One of my favorite lines of Dylan's was, "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

Thanks for sharing, Matt!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 28, 2014April 28th, 2014, 7:37 pm EDT
Hi Spence,

How the heck are you? I just PM'ed Kurt to mention I'd not seen any posts from you lately and was wondering if everything was okay.

You wrote;

You ran in lofty circles back in those days. :)

When did you first become aware of the spring creeks? After all you were a boy from the east. How did you get interested in such an intense way in fly fishing?


Yep, back in them olden days I saw many of them and met a few too. Kurt & I are wondering just how many of the whippersnappers on this forum are going to know the name of the gentleman on the right in the photo. If you are less than fifty you probably don't have a clue.

My interest in spring creeks came about quite by accident. The first year I went to Montana was in 1968. I was working as a toolmaker in an aerospace company in NJ. I had just two weeks vacation but management liked me so much they gave me another two weeks off without pay. I'd actually tendered my resignation so I could go to MT and my Dad thought I was nuts.

So I took my 1967 Pontiac GTO and loaded it up with fishing rods (back then it was two Leonard Baby Catskills 7' #4, an Orvis Battenkill 7 1/2' #5, and a Fenwick 8 1/2' #6) some clothes, and whatever flies a had at the time (not very many and no little stuff)

When I got to Livingston I went straight to Dan Bailey's. Of course he was still alive and active in the store. His son John was quite a few years younger than me. I asked him where I could find some dry fly fishing and he told me about Armstrong and how to get there. He showed me the only flies they had in the shop to imitate the PMD's. To this day I can remember they were basically just #16 Light Cahills and were very heavily hackled. They sucked at catching fish and I was clipping the hackle on the bottom and thinning the hackle within the first few days.

I've mentioned this before but back them Armstrong was not a pay to fish operation. It had five or six sponsors. One being 3M - I can't remember if they were called Scientic Anglers yet. Also Lucky Seven beer and a few others I can't remember. There was no limit on how many people could fish per day. It was not crowded that first year but the second year it was no longer a secret (but I can't help wondering how it fished for all the decasdes and decades before fly fishing became so popular)
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Oldredbarn
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Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Apr 28, 2014April 28th, 2014, 8:09 pm EDT
I took my 1967 Pontiac GTO


Now that's one classy fishing wagon! Growing up here in Detroit that car of yours was dreamed about. We had one guy in my school in high school with one and we all envied him! Nice!

I was up in Grayling this past weekend for the opening day hoopla. There was little fishing with the rivers swollen and it still being so damn cold. We had a record winter here for snowfall and the deer up north look horrible...Ribs hanging out etc.

A good friend of mine just bought a cabin on the Holy Water in a primo spot. The cabin was built in the 30's and he had it blasted somehow with corn cobs? It looks wonderful. I'd love to show you this area sometime...There is a ton of tradition and some of it is pretty cool.

For example: There is a little unnamed feeder stream that crosses his yard and dumps into the river at the end of his property. It isn't very wide, and there is a little wooden bridge over it. In the middle of the bridge is a trap door. Inside the trap door is a bottomless drum and for many years the home owner kept cans of beer in there.

When guides would slide by they would grab a beer once and a while and replace them a few days later. My friend has decided to continue the tradition and I helped him load it up this weekend.

I have viewed this all from the river over the years...Don't pay too much attention to the cabins. This stretch has some nice fish and a rather famous large Brown that lives along the break wall...Unfortunately, this has gotten out, and its a hoot watching these guys stopping and trying their luck here...The current seams are tough and most of them leave sheepishly and move on downstream after awhile.

The trout has a name, but I'll leave it at that. :)

This stretch was part of my very first wade on the Au Sable, when my buddy then took me there for the first time. Nearly every pool here has a name. Storied water.

We stayed at a lodge that was rather dumpy for many years. A doctor bought it and brought everything up to code. We were living large...Everything new. I stayed in the main lodge and we also had a few small cabins there reserved for our club. Had a remote controlled gas fireplace and a sliding door that went out on a dock that looked straight upstream. This particular spot is a ways down from where I normally fish...It is better to fish from a boat, and I made jokes that I've been by here many times, but in the dark, in the middle of the night...It's Hex water.

On open day morning we have a memorial breakfast upstairs at the "board room" at Gates' Lodge. We have pastry, bloody Mary's, mimosa, etc, and remember our friends who have passed away over the preceding year.

I took up a couple pictures of a friend of mine that was originally from Canada. When he was 19 or so he married a local girl. He decided after a couple weeks it wasn't going to work out so he took her home to her parents. He was out fishing in the river when her father walked up to the rivers edge and shouted, "Are you sure there's no way we couldn't work this out?" He said no, it was done, and that was it. :) Not even sure if it was legally annulled.

Spence

Josh who runs the Lodge now gave me a lunch menu to show me they have included some vego options for this vegetarian...One is called "The Dirty Hippie"...

Back when Rusty was alive, his wife Julie ran the kitchen and I hassled her for years to add something to the dinner menu for me...She would tell me to leave her alone, "and why should I add something for you when you and I know you are never off the river at dinner time!" :)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 28, 2014April 28th, 2014, 8:58 pm EDT
Mack,

Wow Matt I can't believe the difference at the bridge between then and now thanks for sharing.


The reason there is so much aquatic weed growth in the 1st pic compared to the 2nd pic is because #1 was taken in mid to late August when it was very hot and the weeds were really prolific. Picture two was taken the 3rd week in June in 2008 and the weed growth had just not really started to grow yet. The fishing in 2008 was as good as it was when I first fished it in 1969 and again in 1987. The difference in 2008 was we did not catch one single rainbow which was disappointing.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Crepuscular
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Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Apr 29, 2014April 29th, 2014, 7:45 am EDT
Matt, thanks for posting. Wonderful stuff. One day I will get there...
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Apr 29, 2014April 29th, 2014, 3:54 pm EDT
Very fun to see. Thanks for those Matt. Strange how familiar and at the same time, dated, those images are.
Gutcutter
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Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Apr 29, 2014April 29th, 2014, 6:57 pm EDT


Yep, back in them olden days I saw many of them and met a few too. Kurt & I are wondering just how many of the whippersnappers on this forum are going to know the name of the gentleman on the right in the photo. If you are less than fifty you probably don't have a clue.

Matt
I don't know if you consider me a whipper snapper, or not, but did your idol happen to fish with a blonde?
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Apr 29, 2014April 29th, 2014, 7:02 pm EDT
That's Dan Bailey. At least that's his hat. Yes? Or did someone steal his hat??!
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Apr 29, 2014April 29th, 2014, 9:23 pm EDT
Close, Paul. They were very good friends...:) Tony is right - he did enjoy fishing with blondes.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts
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Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Apr 29, 2014April 29th, 2014, 10:11 pm EDT
Joe Brooks!
Entoman
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Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Apr 29, 2014April 29th, 2014, 10:50 pm EDT
HeHe. You're no whippersnapper! :)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Wbranch
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York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Apr 30, 2014April 30th, 2014, 10:04 am EDT
Compared to me most guys on this forum are considerably younger than me. I'm actually selling a couple of rods, Wheatley fly boxes, Perrine fly boxes, and other stuff at www.paflyfish.com. PM me for a list of stuff I'm selling.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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