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by Randy
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on Thursday, 19 October 2017
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"We fear what we don't know and we hate what we fear."



   Viet Nam vet and long-time grizzly bear advocate Doug Peacock talks about life and the big bears which to him are one and the same.doug_peacock_2doug_peacockdoug_peacock_3_jpg



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Alcohol, Cigarettes and Knowing "You're Nothing"

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on Saturday, 23 September 2017
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             The Tao of Harry Dean Stanton









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Steve Hubner

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on Thursday, 24 August 2017
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  ennis_bridge_bw    Right after I bought Red Thompson's old house with the apple orchard on the corner of 3rd & Ennis St. in 1981, I had a problem...too many sheds. Four sheds and an outhouse up front, two more sheds and a barn out back. I didn't need all these sheds and one tall shed in particular was blocking my view of Fan Mountain.

   What to do?

   Call Steve Hubner.

   I had gotten to know Steve through my many visits down around Jeffers, to Valley Garden fishing access, and through other various shenanigans involving geese, ducks and whitetail deer. He did me a couple of favors so I gave him an old blacksmith bellows that was laying around my place. In case you didn't already know, Steve liked to "collect" stuff.

   Anyway I had him come over and look at the shed in my yard.

   "If you can get it out of here, you can have it" I told him.

   He looked it over, up and down and sideways.

   A few days later he came back with a load of gear...jacks, blocks, timbers.

   "I will get it out of here but I have to wait for the right time."

   I wasn't sure what he meant but I found out later. It was a dicey deal moving that shed across the old Ennis bridge over the Madison River down to Jeffers. With the old steel girder system in place, clearance would be a problem... and a danger. It would have to traverse dead center on the highway to clear the overhang. Traffic would be blocked both ways. There were permits to be secured, but no one would grant a permit for this escapade...too risky. One false move and the shed would be laying down sideways in the middle of the road...in the middle of the bridge. Big trouble.

   But Steve Hubner had a plan.

   He pre-measured the clearance at the bridge and timed how long it would take to make the slow trip down through Jeffers and past Valley Garden to his house. And he would do it in the dead of night when nobody was looking. On a flat bed dozer trailer.

   Time passed. I had made a week-long trip over to the Bighorn River. Fishing was great and I had all but forgotten about the shed. I arrived home and in the back yard there was nothing but an empty square dirt hole and a few concrete blocks where the shed had been.

   I drove down to Steve's house and there it sat. The shed was neatly planted in a back corner of the property, looking like it belonged and had been there for years.

   "It was a close call, but I made it just before sun-up. Only saw two cars and a trucker," declared Steve.

   My old shed still sits there on the Hubner property to this day. Y'all can drive by there and see it for yourself. And if any officials want to get Steve Hubner to pay for a permit or fill out some paperwork or write him a ticket, you are gonna have to pay him a special visit in a very special place.steve_hubner_edit_jpg


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by Randy
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on Saturday, 19 August 2017
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   Here it is...you've found it! Your reality! Your Montana dreamscape on the banks of the Madison River. Join your like-minded environmentally challenged neighbors and just like on Ebay, BUY IT NOW!

   Own twenty acres of rocks, knapweed, Roundup/Tordon/DDT infested rattlesnake habitat. Grow your own Invasive Species!mt_dream_1


   So close you can pee on the river from your back door.

   Walk your property and find rusted out tin cans, antelope poop and thistles. Enjoy life in the Dead Zone!

   And listen to the wind!...30, 40, 60, 80 mph of it...whistling through your brain cells as you stumble across the rocks sideways trying to find your driveway.

   And the winter...picture your self huddled inside your dream home looking out across a massive ice field watching animals dying...it's 30 below zero and the wind is screaming...what fun! (no worries, there's always Palm Springs).

   And the view! All those trees! Imagine life on the moon. It's all yours!mt_dream_4

     Prospective buyers are lining up...here comes one now!


   Call now 'cause this property is hot!. Operators are standing by.rattlesnake_2





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by Randy
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on Tuesday, 08 August 2017
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About Glen Campbell from the great Jimmy Webb:


   "Well, that moment has come that we have known was an inevitable certainty and yet stings like a sudden catastrophe. Let the world note that a great American influence on pop music, the American Beatle, the secret link between so many artists and records that we can only marvel, has passed and cannot be replaced - my friend and brother in music, Glen Campbell. He was bountiful. He gave me a $2,000 bag of golf clubs once and I went out to Sterling Forest in Tuxedo Park and damned near killed myself trying to learn to play golf. He gave me a Remington 45/70 for my birthday and I was immediately more successful with that. His was a world of gifts freely exchanged: Roger Miller stories, songs from the best writers, an old Merle Haggard record, or a pocket knife.

He gave me a great wide lens through which to look at music. I watched him in awe executing his flawless rendition of “The William Tell Overture” on his classical guitar in his Vegas show. Jazz he loved. He claimed he learned the most about playing the guitar from Django Reinhardt. The cult of The Players? He was at the very center. He loved trading eights with George Benson in a great duel that broke out on a television show one night. Vince Gill and Keith Urban he eulogized. (About Urban he said one night, “that kid is a monster.”) Talking about Vince he would slowly shake his head in disbelief. He was recognized internationally in that unchartered fraternity of the very hot players, like Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck and Paul McCartney. (Sir Paul was present at one of the final concerts and paid a backstage visit.) He loved The Beach Boys and in subtle ways helped mold their sound. He loved Don and Phil, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, Flatt and Scruggs. This was the one great lesson that I learned from him as a kid: Musically speaking nothing is out of bounds.

Of course, he lavished affection and gifts on his kids, family and friends. His love was a deep mercurial thing and once committed he was a tenacious friend as so many in Nashville and Phoenix, L.A. and New York, compadres all over the world would testify. One of his favorite songs was “Try A Little Kindness” in which he sings “shine your light on everyone you see.” My God. Did he do that or what? Just thinking back I believe suddenly that the “raison d’etre” for every Glen Campbell show was to bring every suffering soul within the sound of his voice up a peg or two. Leave ’em laughin.’ Leave them feeling just a little tad better about themselves; even though he might have to make them cry a couple of times to get ’em there. What a majestically graceful and kind, top rate performer was Glen on his worst night!

I remember one evening after his Vegas show he grabbed me and Roger Miller and Carl Jackson and we all went over to a hotel on the back side of the strip where Kenny Rogers was playing a one a.m. gig in a half empty room. Kenny was floating somewhere between the First Edition and mega stardom and things were kinda slow round about then. In we trooped and Glen sat down in a big booth and ordered ice buckets full of beer and champagne. We whooped and hollered our way through every damn song. We went back stage after and we loved on that big old bearded guy with a frog in his throat who was headed for the stratosphere of stardom.

When it came to friendship Glen was the real deal. He spoke my name from ten thousand stages. He was my big brother, my protector, my co-culprit, my John crying in the wilderness. Nobody liked a Jimmy Webb song as much as Glen! And yet he was generous with other writers: Larry Weiss, Allen Toussaint, John Hartford. You have to look hard for a bad song on a Glen Campbell album. He was giving people their money’s worth before it became fashionable.

I am full of grief. I am writing because I think you deserve some sort of message from me but I am too upset to write very well or at any great length. It’s like waking up in the morning in some Kafkaesque novella and finding that half of you is missing. Laura and I would call upon you to rest your sympathy with Kim Campbell and her children Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his older children, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren. Perhaps you could throw in a prayer for the Webb kids, Chris, Justin, Jamie, Corey, Charles and Camila who looked upon him as a kind of wondrous uncle who was a celebrated star and funnier than old dad.

This I can promise. While I can play a piano he will never be forgotten. And after that someone else will revel in his vast library of recordings and pass them on to how many future generations? Possibly to all of them."




"I learned it was crucial to play right on the edge of the beat ... It makes you drive the song more. You're ahead of the beat, but you're not."glen_campbell














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by Randy
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on Monday, 24 July 2017
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   From the July 7 Madison River Foundation Newsletter:


    "At the June 30th Board of Director’s Meeting the Board decided to not continue with the Labor Day Fly Fishing Festival. The festival was an intense undertaking, requiring a great deal of time by staff, members and the BOD with no economic return to MRF.  We will still host a small event night to pick the winner of the drift boat raffle and sell T- Shirts. The Board is choosing instead to focus our efforts on enhancing and protecting the Madison River."


   They also deleted the annual "Gala" at The Old Kirby Place and inserted the "Catch The Hatch" event at the Jumping Horse Barn.


   Many of you know I have been critical of MRF from the start. To me, it was a far cry from a true conservation organization. Mostly, it was a chance for it's "Founder" to blow smoke and schmooze with anyone who had a few bucks, a fly shop or a free bottle of cabernet (at a salary of $44,000 per year plus expenses), while at the same time utterly ignoring the travesty taking place up at Hebgen Dam. (By the way, any thoughts from the Foundation on the green garden of wavy gravy grass that is taking over the Madison from McAtee down)?


   The Foundation continued to make a "Steward" out of anyone who had a fat wallet.

   I guess money talks.


   Another Director has resigned and the Board contunues to be a merry-go-round.


   I have hope for the future but until MRF proves otherwise I have doubts.


   But you can still "WIN THIS BOAT"...for this year, anyway. And that is a good thing.win_this_boat

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by Randy
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“It was like a sledgehammer with teeth,” Orr said. “She was not just biting, but she would just forcefully slam me down, pick me up and shake me, umm, move me all over. I’m getting my face slammed into the dirt, my chest is getting smashed into my knees.”





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by Randy
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on Saturday, 22 July 2017
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                    with Tom's sons Peter and Tim Morgan...I took both these guys tarpon fishing in The Keys.


              with RIO founder and fly line guru Jim Vincent


    with Sage rod designer Jerry Siem, world class fly angler Diana Rudolph and their son Nash


   Over 200 folks attended this remembrance of the man who brought Winston Rod Co. to Montana and went on with wife Gerri to create the finest of fly rods at Tom Morgan Rodsmiths. More than that, he was a helluva guy who I fished with, played golf with and was proud to call my friend.tom_morgan

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by Randy
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on Friday, 14 July 2017
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   when_sin_stops   eddie_reeves

   "When Sin Stops" is the title of the 409 page book written by my friend Eddie Reeves about rock n roll music and country music and West Texas music and folk music and music by Kim Karnes, Faith Hill, Randy Travis, Waylon Jennings, Buddy Holly and Eddie's band in Amarillo, "The Nighthawks"...it is about Phil Spector and Kenny Rogers...it is about Eddie's amazing life...it is about life in the music business, the business of writing songs and recording songs and playing in bands, and about Hollywood and Nashville and life behind the scenes of all this stuff that Eddie and I were right in the middle of.

   Eddie did much more than talk the talk,  he remembered most of it and he wrote it all down.

   And while he was at it he wrote "Don't Change On Me" for Ray Charles and "All I Ever Need  Is You" for Cher and "Rings" for Cymarron and many more.

   We were best buds in Hollywood in the 1970s...I even made pg. 139-140 of the book but hey, THE BOOK IS NOT FOR SALE!

   Eddie self-published 150 hard cover copies for family and friends so ya gotta know somebody!martoni_1970

Martoni's restaurant...Sunset & Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood..."hangout of the stars"...where Eddie & I did most of our damage in the 1970s. Last stop for Sam Cooke before he was shot dead in 1964. Long since closed, the building is currently a print shop.


               "The Nighthawks" featuring Eddie Reeves far left.



   Eddie with Jeff Foxworthy, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, Faith Hill.


      Eddie & daughter Sophie with Faith Hill and Keith Urban.


                    With David Ellingson and Kim Carnes



    An incredible book of hard work and love...thank you Eddie for your many years of friendship.

   PS...where is my spiff for "Rings"???

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by Randy
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on Sunday, 02 July 2017
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by Randy
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on Saturday, 03 June 2017
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    What folks who knew him well are saying about the man who knew more about the Beaverhead River and its big fish...how they ate, bred, survived and died...than anyone who ever lived: Tim Mosolf.


   "I am heartbroken to say the least! Tim Moslof aka "Hoho" you hold a
special and very dear place in my heart and have for a very long time! A
friend, a teacher, a guide, a father figure and a legend! I have so many
amazing memories that include you and I am so very grateful that we came
to visit you and fish with all of our little squid 2 summers ago! I am
thankful my kids know Hoho! May you be at peace! We will miss you more
than words can tell! Fish whisperer and so much more! @zpartyof5" Michelle Zavodny


   "Broken and empty as I have to say goodbye to my guide-father, mentor, and
teammate for the last 30 years. No one will ever replace you as my
partner in crime, and no team will ever strike the fear of God into these
young guides like we did. Apparently it was your time to put on the old
size 8 beadhead prince nymph one more time, and go to the Henneberry in the sky. Save some Meister Braus for me and we'll drink them all when I get there. Your guide son, Dan." Dan Allen


   "From day one until forever, I'm blessed to have had you in my life. I'm
unbelievably lucky to get "extra dads" by being in the guide community,
and you were one of the best. Your big bearded appearance paralleled your
easy going, "teddy bear" personality, making you the perfect antithesis
to my dad's obsessive-compulsive antics and inability to grow facial
hair. You two were a force to be reckoned with, and it will be difficult
for him to hold down the fort without you. You were a legend and the
guide community won't be the same. Thank you for teaching me all of those
important Spanish words, sharing stories in our Mini parking lot
encounters, and teaching us how to hit balls into the backyard "golf
course"! I know you're somewhere where the fish are fat, the drinks are
cold, and no one is getting their flies stuck in the trees. Forever
grateful, and with all my love, I will miss you always, Mo!" Jaymee Allen


   "Dear Friends and Family of Tim/Mo/Razzmo,
I am Tim's daughter in law, and I am writing on behalf of Jesse and
Christina, Tim's children. They would like to thank you for all of your
kind messages about their beloved Dad. For those of you wanting to help,
we will be setting up a memorial fund for Tim and I will post the
details today. We are shocked, sad, tired and forever changed. Thank you
for your support and please be patient with responses to messages as we
still have a lot to do." Kristina Okonski

   "Father, Brother, Son. A master of his craft, a Beaverhead river legend.
Our family is grieving deeply, please be cool.

Frontier Anglers fly shop, Dillion, Mt has established fund for a
memorial for this giant of the Beaverhead community. Visit site.
We had many Abaco Bonefish, San Diego Bay, Barre Navidad Mx, California
Carpin', Alaska Steelhead adventures and, of course, on the Beaverhead
and Big Hole. 20 yr back, daughters saw him sleeping and thought he was
Ho-Ho- Santa, name stuck. We will miss our "Bro". Ted Wallace


   "In addition to his regular guide clients, many in the fishing community
came to know Tim Mosolf through Castwork, a book that featured
photographs by Liz Steketee of some of the best fly-fishing guides in the Angler and Guide, a mentor to his peers, demonstrating a commitment to
Simms featured Tim on the cover of our 2004 Catalog and in our ad
campaigns. For years, a giant photograph of Tim adorned the walls of our
headquarters in Bozeman and that image always reminded us why we chose
fly fishing as our passion and business.We have lost a friend, colleague and man of immense import to our shared
passion, but we are grateful for the time Tim spent sharing his love for
what we all love. And that has made us all better. K. C. Walsh, Simms Fishing Products"mo_simms


   "Tim Mosolf drew his nymph rig for me on a coaster at Macs for quadruple
rum and whatever 17 yrs ago. He was such a kind and gentle soul. I owe
ALL my success on the Beaverhead to his guidance. As do most others in
this valley. The fish on the upper river will sleep better now. RIP Mr
Mosolf...." Bradley Gene Platt


   "Zack Medina with Tim Mosolf...A day that I never could have imagined has come to pass. It has left me
shocked and deeply saddened. Like so many people whose life you have touched, I still remember the
first day I met you. The way your hands always seemed to be held in a
loose grip even when they were empty (as if you were still holding an
oar/net/beer or working on a rig). How your booming laugh was so distinct
that it could never be mistaken for another. From that day forward, we
shared a thousand conversations, laughs and stories about this crazy
world, and life in general. You always had the best advice:"If you go slow you can go some mo. If you go too fast you won't last"."Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things."On fishing: "Just throw it in the water."On guiding: "A monkey could do it."Buff to Henny will never be the same. I cannot put into words how much
your friendship and kindness have influenced my life. You taught me so
much, whether by intention or by coincidence, and I thank you for that. You are a good man Tim Mosolf, and more than that, you are a timeless
soul. Please know that your light will continue to shine on. Carried by
those of us who were blessed enough to know you. I will never forget you
my friend. Fair winds" Zack Medina.


    Sometimes when you look deep into the shadows under the High Bridge, instead of gentle swirls and eddys you see demons or the devil himself or mock-heroes and villains, or worse. 

   Makes no sense. All the love and respect you feel and now the riffles and pools turn dark...black holes with no bottom, way over the top of your waders.

    I did the best I could and I shared it the best I could. And now what?

   Aww, fuck it...have another paddle juice.

   Learned so much from you, Mo, and hardly any of it was about fishing. 

  Remembering you with deep respect...Randy B. mo_on_the_beav

  Tim Mosolf 1/25/1947 - 5/30/2017






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DR. RONALD LOSEE...OCT. 29, 1919-MAY 14, 2017

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This obituary appeared in The Montana Standard and The Bozeman Chronicle. Doc Losee was a legend in our valley. He will be sorely missed and always remembered with a smile. The writer is anonymous.doc_losee




It is difficult to write about Doc Losee. There is so much to say it would take pages. We were thinking that if he would be able to put this in his words it might go something like this….



I walked off the face of the Earth today.



I closed my eyes… then, darkness – nothing… the big void. Like before you were born.

   I was prepared for this; to let nature take its course, and now this big wonderful life is over.


   I was born October 29, 1919 and grew up in a small village along the Hudson River in New York State called Upper Red Hook, on my Grandad Teator’s Apple Farm. Grandad Teator was an enthusiastic amateur naturalist and thru his tutoring I learned the complex laws of nature, and cultivated a deep reverence for all living things. Dominie French, the local Dutch Reform minister taught me that it is a privilege to live, and for that privilege, you should live your life in service of others. So when I was 12 years old, I decided that I wanted to be a Doctor like my Grandad Edwin K. Losee, and Great-Grandad John A. Losee. I attended College at Dartmouth N.H., the worst 4 years of my life, where I majored in Chemistry and had to memorize thousands of chemical formulas and can’t remember a damn one of them, oh yeah H2SO4 is Sulphuric Acid. I graduated from Dartmouth Cum Laude, and got accepted to Yale Medical School. I spent the rest of my life un-learning everything they taught me. The last year at Yale, I was conscripted into the Army and graduated with my MD and as a Captain at the tail end of WWII. Those were troubling times but I came out with a wife, Olive, and a surplus Jeep that I had to paint blue. Becky was born in Kentucky and with her in the back of the jeep, Olive and I headed out west. We discovered Ennis and the Madison Valley in 1949. Son Jonathan was born in 1950. The rest is history.




I sure loved living! And I sure will miss it. You come and go and do not know.




I’ll miss the folks in Montana. My patients… I’ll miss the long intense times I spent with each and every one of them watching, listening, examining, touching, thinking so hard about their medical problems. I’ll miss the closeness I felt to a patient and the mutual respect we had for each other. I’ll miss love.




I’ll miss the Valley, the river, the Madison range in alpenglow late in the evening, the nighttime howl of the coyotes, wildflowers on the Gravelly Range, the black and white contrast of a herd of angus against a wind-blown snow-packed benchland, the rising of a full moon, the sound of my plaster-covered wing-tips in the dark hallways as I made my late-night patient rounds.




I’ll miss my stuff; my wool shirts and hats, I’ll miss my toys, my trains, my dear friends and professional colleagues, my kids Becky and Jonathan, their spouses Kit and Cathy and grandkids Joshua, Amber and Deirdre and great-grandkids Evelyn, Sylvie, Rowan and Grayson.

   I miss Olive. She was my soul mate. It has been a lonely 9 years since she passed away.




I have no regrets.




I was impeccably honest and lived by the Golden Rule. I did unto others what I would have had them do to me. And it served me well.




I’m so damn glad I chose to live the way I did, I am so glad I doctored, with intense devotion to my profession, I am so glad I loved strongly and passionately and with humor. I am so damn happy, you’ll have to bring me down with a string.




Doc Losee passed away at the Madison Valley Manor May 14, 2017. He worked for and was a devoted supporter of the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children in Bozeman, Butte and Montreal and would appreciate that any donations in his name be sent to that organization: www.donate2sch.org, and an RE Losee MD Memorial account has been set up at the First Madison Valley Bank.

A memorial service will be held in Ennis at the Pole Barn Rodeo Grounds June 17, 2017 11:00 AM. He worked for and was a devoted supporter of the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children and would appreciate that any donations in his name be sent to that organization: www.donate2sch.org.

























































































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by Randy
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on Wednesday, 17 May 2017
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   I would call the decade of the 1980s the salad days on the Bighorn River.  Previously a warm water fishery until the completion of the Yellowtail Dam in 1967, it quickly developed into one of the most fertile tailwater trout breeding grounds anywhere in the world. But few knew because it was closed to the public...only the Crow were allowed to fish and other than a few bait slingers and lure chuckers, nobody much bothered with it. I used to guide a gentleman on the Madison and Beaverhead by the name of Jack Love who had a ranch in Sheridan, Wy. He would tell me tales of the Bighorn where he had finagled his way on to fish.jack_love

                Jack Love, Sheridan, Wy. on the Beaverhead R.

                                           (Randy Brown photo)


"You know I only have had two trout mounted for my wall," he told me, "a ten pound rainbow and a twelve pound rainbow. I caught 'em both on the Bighorn using a Bitch Creek."

    Mr. Love would special order his Bitch Creek nymphs unweighted from Dan Bailey's, size four and size two, with the rubber legs head and tail untrimmed, dangling four inches each end. He would rod-tip twitch 'em like a streamer.


    His claims of big fish captured my thoughts.


    How can I get on the Bighorn?


    The answer came in 1981 when legislation was passed to allow public access to the Bighorn River up to the high water mark. After a brief kerfuffle at The Two Leggings Bridge near Hardin and some negative national press, the coast was clear and a bunch of us planned our maiden voyage to the Bighorn, fully armed with a fleet of drift boats, one canoe and boxes and boxes of secret flies.


   It was September, 1981.


   We were not disappointed.bighorn_group_9-81

 Richard Rosolek, Bob Walker, Tom DiMeola, Nancy DiMeola, John Seaman..Afterbay boat ramp, Bighorn R., Sept. 1981

                            (Randy Brown photo)


   Floating down a new river for the very first time is Forrest Gump’s chocolate box…you’re not sure what you’re going to get but you know it’s going to be good. We drifted down below the dam and under the power lines. Around the first bend to the left was a smooth pocket of water that was boiling with rising fish. We had on Girdle Bugs and Bitch Creek Nymphs. It didn’t really matter.bighorn_bow_2_9-81

                                       A fine Bighorn rainbow


   First cast, WHAM!...twenty inch rainbow and so on and so forth. The fish weren’t picky (stupid is a better word), and we caught them most of the way down. Then late in the day and into the evening out came the black caddis...hordes of them. Angry trout smacking on the surface, ripping line, burning drags, eating up backing.bighorn_2_9-81

 Bob Walker, Randy Brown, Richard Rosolek at Bighorn Access (13 mile), Bighorn R. Sept. 1981


   One afternoon, late in the day, we hung around the boat ramp at the Bighorn Access (13 Mile). A group of spin and bait guys in john boats from Billings were rolling in. They beached the boats, pulled out Coleman coolers and popped them open along the shore. Out rolled slabs of crimson red and golden brown…large trout, many well over twenty inches flopped out, slithering through grass and gravel. Filet knives flashed, bright orange shrimp-fed fish flesh was laid open, gills and guts were flung out into the river amid much shucking and jiving and loud boasting…”Son,  thatsa hog!”


               Bob Walker with Bighorn bow...Sept. 1981. Dave Shuler's canoe in background. (Randy Brown photo)


   On that first trip, we saw firsthand what The Bighorn was…an incredible fish factory.


   I guided anglers quite a bit on the Bighorn through the 1980s, making the 300 mile run from Ennis to Ft. Smith, Mt. for a week at a time in Aug. Sept. and Oct.


   Some of my notes from those days:


Oct. 22, 1987…AB to 3 (Afterbay to 3 Mile)… 5-8pm…hundreds of risers on #18 BWO…caught several nice fish


Aug. 10, 1988…caught 10 fish over 18” on shrimp and PMD emerger…22” bow went 4 lbs…Schneider’s to BA (Bighorn Access)


Aug. 17, 1988…30 fish day on shrimp nymph and comparadun dry…13 fish in side channel 2-4pm sipping small dries…6 bows, 7 browns, black caddis & midges late pm…4 over 18”


Aug. 18, 1988…Big fish at Soap Ck. channel…20" bow on shrimp…bigger fish working late pm in Rainbow Hole on #16 cream comparadun…5 trout over 18” on dries.


Aug. 17, 1989…Overcast, rain on and off…big fish bit all day…50 fish hooked, 34 landed all on shrimp…all nice fish…nothing under 15”…Schneider’s to BA…pd. $250 check.


Aug. 18, 1989…31 trout hooked, 21 landed on shrimp, PMD emerger, pheas. tail…20 ½” bow…Schneider’s-BA.


Aug. 20, 1989…25 trout below Schneider’s by noon…all over 15”…31 for 51 for the day…all on #14, #16 shrimp patterns.bighorn_shrimp

                                Bighorn shrimp pattern      


   Sept. 6, 1989…super good today 9am-2pm on caddis & PMD emergers size #16…30 trout, 20” brown, two 19 inchers.


Sept. 7, 1989…fished Big Riffle across from Schneider’s…big fish busting dry caddis…#14 elk hair…20” brown, 19” bow before noon.


Sept. 8, 1989…AB to Schneider’s…clouds, drizzle, rain…13 fish before lunch…major baetis hatch 2-5pm…thousands of flies…#16 flashback, #18 BYO…20” bow on dry.


Sept. 9, 1989…Schneider’s-BA…13 trout 11am-2:30pm on #16 elk hair caddis and caddis emerg…4 big fish at Soap Ck 4pm…3 fish at Cliff Hole on caddis emerg…25 trout total, 20” bow, 20” brown.


Sept. 11, 1989…Schneider’s-BA…13 fish at Big Riffle…19/31 for the day, most on caddis emerg.


Sept. 12, 1989…Big Riffle…PMD emerg…14 trout largest 19”, 20”…Soap Ck, two big browns on shrimp in upper stretch…Jerry lost huge brown.


Oct. 5, 1989…Schneider’s am, big trico spinner fall …20 trout on dries.


Oct. 6, 1989…Great BWO hatch in Schneider’s channel am…many risers…caught 10 on dries & hare’s ear.bighorn_map_1


     Map of first 6 1/2 mi. of Bighorn R. from Afterbay boat ramp

                                         (click to enlarge)




  Map of second 6 1/2 mi. of Bighorn R. to Bighorn Access (13 mi) 

                                                     (click to enlarge)


   1989 was my final year guiding on the Bighorn. The fishing was and is still great but just too crowded for my liking. It remains a world class fishery. I was so lucky to experience it at it's peak and the memories are priceless!







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by Randy
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"Elvis is king, but Bo Diddley is his daddy"..Tom Petty



    Early in his evocative, essential memoir
"Just Dead I'm Not Gone," an eighteen year-old Jim Dickinson , on the cusp of a unique and varied
career in music, already mature in band experience (The Regents, others),
recreational drug use (beer to grain alcohol to speed to acid), and getting there
with girls, gets the chance to open for Bo Diddley at a fraternity-sponsored fall
dance at the National Guard Armory in Memphis, in 1959. The night was charged, for
rumor had it that Diddley had "caused" a riot the night before in Nashville, when a
white girl jumped onstage to dance. Adding to the tension—to the thrills—was
Diddley's and his band's very late arrival at the Armory. Dickinson's band is
vamping and elongating their thin stage set to compensate. "It got later and later,"
Dickinson writes. "We stretched out. The audience was getting crazy. Finally, we got
word Bo had arrived." We stopped playing and went out back door. Two Chrysler stations wagons had pulled up and parked on the sidewalk. They were covered with randomly placed pinstriped hot
rod decals and a hand-lettered sign that read BO DIDDLEY BAND.


   Two giant black men
in thick fur coats were driving. The three-piece band unloaded their drum kit. Bo
argued with the frat-boy promoter. Ricky, Stanley, and I walked up. The frat boy,
irate and overly agitated, shook a performance contract and screamed, “It says right
here you are playing two hour sets and taking one break.” Bo Diddley slowly reached
in his pants pocket and pulled out a wadded up greasy piece of paper and unfolded
it. Sure enough, it is the contract. “Yeah,” he says. “It say that in my contract, too.” He wads it up and puts it back in his pants. He points at me. “He could have been Bo Diddley.” He points at
Stanley, who is in true racist near frenzy. “Or he could have been Bo Diddley,” he
continued. "But I is Bo Diddley and Bo Diddley is taking three breaks."That was it. I agreed to play the breaks for an extra $150; the proceedings commenced.



   The hour struck and the witch man, great raiser of the dead, had arrived
with an amplifier that looked like an icebox lying down and an orange guitar shaped
like a Ford Fairlane. The trio wore knee-length red coats. Bo turned on the amp and
tuned his guitar at full volume. The crowd screamed. Bo laughed and laughed, and
kept tuning. Then he started, drums laying a repeated pounding rhythm, maracas
filling up the holes. Jungle sound filled the armory. The world stood on its head and
screamed. No one was dancing exactly; the crowd moved like one great sheet. On a
pedestal ten feet over the crowd's heads, mad men were rain dancing. The night
stopped being pink and became flaming green. Everything was orange, like methylate
spilled in a bathtub. Football disciples down front had six-pack beer cartons on
their heads and whooped the Indian dance, hearing the organ grinder, hearing the
mating call.

                HEY, Bo Diddley

                                  Bo Diddely 1965

                Bo Diddely Mona

                HEY Bo Diddely 1968





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by Randy
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Ed "Mystery Trip" Curnow

John " If It Flies or Crawls I'll Eat It" Seaman

Bill "No Effing Backing" Owen

Photo journalism: Randall "Better To Burn Out Than Fade Away" Brown

And a bunch of men...Madison R. August, 1983

eds_tacckle_shop_dec_79 shore_lunch_8-83





















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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NorthWestern Issues February 2017 Update on Hebgen Dam Project; Madison River Basin Snowpack in Good Shape Butte, Mont. – Feb. 20, 2017 – Work on a spillway replacement project at Hebgen Dam near West Yellowstone is nearing completion and planning is well under way for a project to rehabilitate the dam’s outlet pipe, beginning this spring. In 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) required safety repairs to the Hebgen Dam intake, spillway and outlet pipeline to meet current dam-safety standards and reflect advances in earthquake seismology. The approximately $40 million project is expected to be finished by the end of 2017. The spillway replacement project is now substantially complete. Removal of the spillway cofferdam is under way and will be complete by early March. The new gates operate under power and the control system will be complete and tested very soon. New security lights and cameras have been installed. Fine grading, topsoil, and seeding of the disturbed areas will be accomplished in the spring along with the replacement of security fencing. The outlet pipe rehabilitation project at Hebgen is scheduled to begin in the spring. Plans for the project are currently under review by FERC. New permit applications and permit modifications with the appropriate federal and local agencies will be transmitted soon in preparation for the work. NorthWestern Energy is working to secure a construction contract for the project in the coming weeks. Work on the project will begin as soon as the reservoir elevation and conditions allow. River flows will be diverted to the new spillway during the work, which is expected to be complete in 2017 before winter. Snowpack for the Madison basin is currently at 100 percent of median. The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Snotel sites above Hebgen are well above average at 115 percent, while the sites below Hebgen are at 89 percent. The NRCS issued an early estimate of the volume runoff forecast for the April to July period on February 3rd which projected Hebgen at 99 percent of normal and Ennis at 91 percent of normal. The Hebgen reservoir elevation is currently at 6,528.71 feet, which is 6.16 feet from full pool and right at the 10-year average level. January inflows were 83 percent of normal and inflows to date in February are 97 percent of normal. Currently, Hebgen outflow is 870 cubic feet per second (cfs). Expectations are that the flow will stay near this level through the end of the month. However, the daily operation of the Hebgen and Madison hydro projects are subject to constant monitoring, re-evaluation, and collaboration with applicable agencies. Appropriate operational changes will be made, as necessary, taking into account our FERC license requirements. NorthWestern will work to provide monthly public updates on the schedule and progress of Hebgen outlet-pipe repairs, snowpack and runoff forecasts and related Madison River biological and recreational issues. NWE also proposes public meetings on these same topics in mid-March (Ennis) and in late April or early May (Ennis and West Yellowstone)


________________________________________ About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 701,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at www.northwesternenergy.com. Media Contact: Butch Larcombe (866) 622-8081 JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING

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Sept. 23, 1987... 4am. Beaverhead Nat’l. Forestmtn_lion_track


     Pitch black except for a million stars spreading a blinking blanket over me, trekking up the trail in the dark. I really didn’t need any light, I had done it so many times. I knew every boulder, tree stump, juniper bush, creek crossing. Make it to the saddle before day break, take a breather, stop, listen. The wind was down, a silent darkness slowly being overtaken by first light, no bugles yet.


   Picking my way up the sidehill on the switchies. Huffing and puffing past the jack pines through the scree, climbing up...looking way down and across the canyon to the old ski hill over my right shoulder. Not much more to the steep part, gonna get up on top of the ridge and take another blow.


   Into the timber now, a sliver of first light squeezing through lodgepoles, doug firs and whitebark pine. Trail levels off, finally I’m on top.

   A light, misty September sprinkle happened up here…silent foot falls, moist for a change…no crackle to the sticks and leaves. Next year half of Yellowstone Park would burn, but for now...

   I walked over to the left edge and looked down the cliff into the creek, listened to it barely audible tumbling down the mountain over huge boulders and moss covered rocks. Took in patches of quakies turning gold. A raven croaked way down in there somewhere.aspens_2


   Moving slowly back up the trail, the several-hundred foot drop off to my left, a gentle slope downhill of to my right...I am in the trees at 8500 feet, noiseless. No snow up here. Good light now.

   Three black strands of sewing thread dangled from the tip of my recurve…I held it upright in front of me to check the wind. The strands blew back dead into my face. Head down looking at the soft earth for a sign…a nutcracker chattered off through the trees. I stopped, stood stock-still and listened.


   My eyes scanned ahead, up the trail, left and right, through the trees. Off to my right was an opening, just before the lodge poles got thick. My eyes searched.

I froze.


   The big cat was standing crouched, bent at the knees at forty yards, quartering away from me, facing left, into the wind, ears up, eyes staring dead, focused like lasers. A mature tom around 140 pounds congealed like petrified wood, powerful shoulder muscles rippled through a tawny coat, blending with the pine bark and understory. His long, tan, graceful tail, curled up at the black tip, barely twitched. He had no idea I was there.

   At first I tensed up. But the longer I stood there, the longer the wind stayed right and the longer the big cat didn’t see me, the more relaxed I felt.

   I thought, “how lucky is this?...what are the odds?” Here I am within a bow shot of one of the most secretive, elusive alpha predators in the mountains and he is unaware of my presence. He had his eye on some unseen prey and the thought of a kill had his full attention.

   I stood there, barely blinking, watching him coiled motionless.

   I thought about all the history this impressive animal carried with him…mountain lions had survived years of being chased, treed, hazed, shot at, trapped, snared, speared, poisoned…the bounty hunters of old cutting off ears and tails for $10, $20, $50 per cat…females and kittens brought bonus money.

   The campaign of killing was often waged by professional hunters like Ben Lilly, Jay Bruce or Uncle Jim Owens… in New Mexico, Idaho, California, Arizona…anywhere they could find a cat to kill. Mr. Bruce claimed responsibility for 669 lion kills in California alone and “Uncle Jim” laid waste to over 500 lions in Arizona.





        Before them, Arapahos and Nez Perce, Mandans and Blackfeet , Cheyennes and Lakotas and many other tribes hunted lions.

   While I watched the big tom I thought about how the Native Americans killed the mountain lion to utilize them, making quivers and blankets with the hides and eating the meat, while the European invaders killed the big cats to eradicate them off the face of the earth, hanging them by the neck from a tree limb or the side of a barn, to rot in the sun.

   In one fifty year period in the USA and Canada, over 66,000 mountain lions were killed. By the early 1960s, only 4000 survived in the lower 48 states.

   I watched the big tomcat intent on his business, the business of survival. I felt insignificant in his world...the natural world. I only had to make it back to the pick-up, turn the key, start it up, get home, feet-up, crack a beer.

   He had to make it through another brutal Montana winter in the wild.

   I hunted for fun, the big cat hunted to survive.

   I clucked at the lion like you cluck at a horse. His big head wheeled on a swivel, looked straight through me with piercing yellow eyes, locked in, without fear.

   I stared back, feeling small, out of place, like I didn’t belong.

   Then two or three astoundingly swift and graceful leaps…a blur of movement without a sound…and he was gone.

   I just…

stood there…dazed…impressed…humbled.

   I squinted hard down through the maze of lodgepole and jack pine and downed timber. Nothing.

   From somewhere a red-tailed hawk let out a scream, a pine squirrel chattered, a chipmunk poked its head out of a stump to get a look.

   I turned around and headed back down the trail the way I came from. 

   A chill of a north wind whistled through the timber with another Montana winter not far behind.

   I had a lot of time to think during the long hike down the mountain.mountain-lion-eyes








































































































































































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BUD LILLY 1925-2017

by Randy
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   A whole lot of how many of us love and respect fly fishing started with Bud Lilly. His "Trout Shop" in West Yellowstone survives today along with his beliefs about our sport. Fly fishing is in a better place because of him.bud_lilly_2


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My Friend Survives Grizzly Bear Attack in Madison Valley

by Randy
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    Watch Todd Orr's video here:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK609rbSBLs


       Todd Orr grew up in Ennis. He is a life-long outdoorsman with many years of experience in the mountains. I have known him since he worked in the local fly shop here in Ennis in the 1980s. He went on to own and operate his very successful business, Skyblade Knives in Bozeman, Mt.



   On Sept. 30, 2016, he was attacked by a sow grizzly bear with two cubs in the mountains near here...not once, but twice.

    He survived.


   Here is Todd's story in his own words with photos he provided:






Grizzly 10/1/16

Hello everyone.
 Thought I should share yesterday morning's Grizzly incident.

I took an early morning hike in the Madison valley to scout for elk. Knowing that bears are common throughout southwest Montana, I hollered out "hey bear" about every 30 seconds so as to not surprise any bears along the trail.

About three miles in, I stepped out into an open meadow and hollered again. A few more steps and I spotted a sow Grizzly bear with cubs on the trail at the upper end of the meadow. The sow saw me right away and they ran a short distance up the trail. But suddenly she turned and charged straight my way. I yelled a number of times so she knew I was human and would hopefully turn back. No such luck. Within a couple seconds, she was nearly on me. I gave her a full charge of bear spray at about 25 feet. Her momentum carried her right through the orange mist and on me.

I went to my face in the dirt and wrapped my arms around the back of my neck for protection. She was on top of me biting my arms, shoulders and backpack. The force of each bite was like a sledge hammer with teeth. She would stop for a few seconds and then bite again. Over and over. After a couple minutes, but what seemed an eternity, she disappeared.

Stunned, I carefully picked myself up. I was alive and able to walk so I headed back down the trail towards the truck 3 miles below. As I half hiked and jogged down the trail, I glanced at my injuries. I had numerous bleeding puncture wounds on my arms and shoulder but I knew I would survive and thanked god for getting me through this. I hoped the bleeding wasn't too significant. I really didn't want to stop to dress the wounds. I wanted to keep moving and put distance between us.

About five or ten minutes down the trail, I heard a sound and turned to find the Griz bearing down at 30 feet. She either followed me back down the trail or cut through the trees and randomly came out on the trail right behind me. Whatever the case, she was instantly on me again. I couldn't believe this was happening a second time! Why me? I was so lucky the first attack, but now I questioned if I would survive the second.

Again I protected the back of my neck with my arms, and kept tight against the ground to protect my face and eyes. She slammed down on top of me and bit my shoulder and arms again. One bite on my forearm went through to the bone and I heard a crunch. My hand instantly went numb and wrist and fingers were limp and unusable. The sudden pain made me flinch and gasp for breath. The sound triggered a frenzy of bites to my shoulder and upper back. I knew I couldn't move or make a sound again so I huddled motionless. Another couple bites to my head and a gash opened above my ear, nearly scalping me. The blood gushed over my face and into my eyes. I didn't move. I thought this was the end. She would eventually hit an artery in my neck and I would bleed out in the trail... But I knew that moving would trigger more bites so a laid motionless hoping it would end.

She suddenly stopped and just stood on top of me. I will never forgot that brief moment. Dead silence except for the sound of her heavy breathing and sniffing. I could feel and her breath on the back of my neck, just inches away. I could feel her front claws digging into my lower back below my backpack where she stood. I could smell the terrible pungent odor she emitted. For thirty seconds she stood there crushing me. My chest was smashed into the ground and forehead in the dirt. When would the next onslaught of biting began. I didn't move.
 And then she was gone.

I tried to peek out without moving but my eyes were full of blood and I couldn't see. I thought that if she came back a third time I would be dead, so I had to do something. Staying in position on the ground, I slowly reached under my chest to grab at the pistol I was unable to get to earlier. I felt I needed something to save my life. The pistol wasn't there. I groped around again but nothing. I wiped the blood from one eye and looked around.
 No bear.

The pistol and holster were lying five feet to my left. The bear's ferocious bites and pulling had ripped the straps from the pack and the holster attached to it. Now trashed, that backpack may have helped prevent many more serious bites on my back and spine.
 I picked everything up and moved down the trail again. I couldn't believe I had survived two attacks. Double lucky!
 Blood was still dripping off my head and both elbows and my shirt was soaked to the waist and into my pants. But a quick assessment told me I could make it another 45 minutes to the truck without losing too much blood.
 I continued the jog just wanting to put more distance between that sow and I.

At the trailhead was one other vehicle. I really hoped that person didn't run into the same bear.
 I snapped a couple quick photos and a video of my wounds, laid some jackets over the truck seat and headed for town. I stopped a rancher along the way and asked him to make a call to the hospital. When I got into cell service, I made a quick call to my girlfriend to ask how her morning was going, before freaking her out and asking her to bring me a change of clean clothes to the hospital.
 Another call to 911 and I gave the operator a quick run down of my injuries and asked her to call the hospital and give them a heads up that I was ten minutes out.
 Moments later I was met at the front door by the doctor, nurse and an officer. I had to ask the officer to open the door, put my truck in park, and unbuckle my seat belt. My left arm was useless. He was impressed I had taken the effort to buckle.
 Once inside, the x-rays revealed only a chip out of the ulna bone in my forearm. Following was eight hours of stitching to put me back together. Most were arm and shoulder punctures and tears. A 5" gash along the side of my head will leave a nasty scar, but I'm hoping my balding doesn't come on too quickly and leave that one exposed. smile emoticon:)
 And finally, this morning, numerous deep bruises and scrapes are showing up from the bites that didn't quite break the skin. Dark bruising in the shape of claws, line across my lower back and butt where the bear stood on me. Also a few more chest bruises and facial abrasions from being smashed and slammed into the ground.

Not my best day, but I'm alive.
 So thankful I'm here to share with all of you. smile emoticon:)
 In a couple weeks I will have to clean out the truck a little better. My girlfriend says it looks like I had gutted an elk in the drivers seat.
 Todd Orr. Skyblade Knives.







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by Randy
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   yellowstone_r   The recent news of thousands of rocky mountain whitefish going belly up in the Yellowstone River has aroused much angst and trauma amongst the local populations of  fishing towns like Gardiner, Livingston, Bozeman and Ennis. Widespread panic is working it's way through the fly shops, motels ( lodges, inns, resorts, "ranches", etc.).

   As the ospreys, eagles and turkey vultures are celebrating over their new-found bounty of fish flesh and bones, fishing guides are pouting and moping over their Bud-Lites in the Pastime Bar and The Murray Hotel in Livingston. Dozens of Fish and Game employees are firing off emails, texting each other and nervously checking on their pensions and 401Ks.osprey_eating_fish

   You really can't blame them. The Yellowstone kill is only one of a string of many bad fish-news events on Montana's Blue Ribbon streams. Starting with Whirling Disease on the Madison in the early 1990s and the blowout at Hebgen Dam in 2008,  we have had fish kills on the Lower Madison, brown trout fungus on the Big Hole, green slime on the Beaverhead, a 30 million gallon treated wastewater spill from the posh Yellowstone Club into the Gallatin River, vanishing grayling, full closure of the Jefferson...and mysterious goings-on at the Missouri and Henry's Fork in Idaho. Did I forget anything?fish_kill_2

   It's a fragile situation. I remember sitting in on one of the many "public meetings" held by the power company after the Hebgen Dam broke. The meeting, as it usually does, was disintegrating into a whine and bitch session when one bright eyed fishing guide raised his hand.

   "When you guys finally get this dam fixed could y'all make sure you make it a bottom release? This would cool the water down a few degrees and we all know trout love cool water."

   A lady sitting right next to me shot her hand up and nearly jumped out of her seat.

   "My name is so and so and I am a water quality person and we have taken many core samples from the bottom ooze of Hebgen Reservoir and you really don't want to be stirring up that stuff...it's ugly down there."

   The room fell silent. I had visons of swirling, turbid murky slime mixed with mercury, pestisides, cyanide and who-knows-what tumbling its way throught the spillway and into the gills of thousands of trout in the Upper Madison River. I never did find out what she found down there.

   But I'm really not all that worried. If we lose our wild trout in the Madison, so what? Fish and Game will snap into action. The fish hatcheries will step into full reproduction mode. Holding ponds will overflow with trout sperm and egg-laying females. The hatchery trucks will line up and carry the payload, backing up to boat launches at Raynolds Pass, Pine Butte, Lyons Bridge and McAtee, dumping thousands and thousands of six inch stocker rainbow trout into the Upper Madison. hatchery_truck

   The little rascals will be lost at first, but soon they will find a home behind a rock, along a bank or maybe in some soft water. They will do just fine until whirling disease eats out their brain cells and wipes them out or maybe a 20 below zero winter and the gorge freezes them to death. The next year and the years after? No problem. Lather, rinse, repeat.

   Fishing guides? No worries. Your future is secure. The hatchery truck schedule will be well published in advance. Just anchor up below Lyons or McAtee boat ramps, tie on a few fish pellet flys with a BB and a bobber and let 'er rip. A hatchery bow on every cast!

   "How's the fishing?"

   " We had a big day...we caught a dozen six inchers, a few eight inchers and a whopper twelve!"

   So don't worry about a thing... Big Brother will take care of you.






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  • Ralph Watson
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    Ralph Watson says
    Good News Lots of good deals on new pick ups, drift boats and rocket launcher rod boxes here in Bozeman