The Snag Hole

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on Wednesday, 15 March 2017
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   Corky Furillo and I run a lot of guide trips together. He is a solid dude, 5’10”, 210, all muscle and spends a lot of time in the gym. His hair is dark and he wears it in a pony tail which he sometimes braids. He sports a Metallica tat on his left bicep. He is a flannel shirt and jeans kind of guy.


   After Iraq, Corky decided to become a fishing guide. We run trips together over to the Yellowstone and few on the spring creeks and lakes but mostly around the Madison. All in all, Corky is a loyal friend and a great guy to fish with but he has a couple problems.


   He has flashbacks.

   And he likes to fight.

   One afternoon, after a half day charter, me and Corky stopped by the Wagon Wheel for a few brewskys and some pool. As usual, there were a few drift boats parked out front on trailers behind pick-ups…blue, green, red, yellow and one all white with a large rainbow colored peace sign logo stenciled on the bow.

   Some of the other fishing guides were already getting tuned up inside…T-Bird, Skeeter and One Fly were in the bar…and over at the pool table was Rachel shooting eight ball with Shawn.

   “Legs” by ZZ Top was blasting out over the speakers

   Rachel Kenworthy is a knockout 5’9” raven haired beauty…tall and curvy and delicious. Long, straight, coal black hair, either parted in the middle or pulled straight back (it doesn’t matter), perfectly framing her dark bedroom eyes and full lips the color of Flathead cherries. How she squeezes into those skin tight Levi’s nobody knows but everybody wants to find out. She favors Hopi silver and turquoise jewelry…the expensive, Santa Fe, NM type…gifts from her fans. This day she was rockin’ a black lace bustier top that said it all.


   Shawn is a tall, handsome Alan Jackson look- alike with long blonde hair and a bushy stash. He runs a successful cow/calf/hay operation south of Town.

Shawn is a friend of ours.

   At the end of the bar by the pool table me and Corky noticed two of the newer fishing guides yakking it up over craft beers. They were both dressed alike; same hipster “Rip Lips” fishing caps worn backwards, exact same earth tone, long sleeve t-shirts with “Fly Fishermen Have Longer Rods” silk screened on the back. Both were in their early twenties, male-model slim, facial hair perfectly groomed and trimmed. Justin Timberlake would be jealous.    

   We learned from Smitty the bartender their names were Niles and Jeremy (nickname “J-Dawg”) and they were from “back east”. It was their first summer on the river and they had been spending a lot of time at the Wagon Wheel, drinking brews and tequila shots, hitting on chicks and weaseling fishing information from the guides.

   It was obvious the lads had been in the bar a while. Me and Corky watched them whoop and holler after every pool shot, and when Rachel bent low to try the five ball in the corner pocket, they both high-fived her cleavage.

   When “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple came on over the speakers, the one kid, Jeremy, who was drunk and getting drunker, stumbled over to Rachel and asked her to dance.

   She didn’t want to.

   “J-Dawg” insisted.

   When he grabbed her arm and twisted it, Rachel had had enough and she threw a haymaker bitch-slap catching Jeremy on the left ear and spun him around. “J-Dawg” yelled “owie” and his buddy Niles jumped on Rachel’s back, grabbing her by the hair. Cowboy Shawn had seen enough and jerked the kid off Rachel and threw him to the floor. Shawn never saw Jeremy coming at him from the blind side as he sucker punched him with a dead soldier bottle of Trout Slayer beer over the cowboy’s head with a loud CRACK!

   Then Niles picked up a pool cue and took a vicious swipe at Rachel just nicking her right ear, sending a turquoise earring flying across the barroom.

   By this time Corky had seen enough and moved in for the kill. First he grabbed Niles by the back of the neck, pinned him to the pool table, and pounded his head into the felt six or eight times, bouncing his dome off the slate till his eyeballs crossed and his cheeks turned green. Niles passed out with his head near the side pocket.

   A couple from San Francisco sitting at the bar fumbled with their camera phone getting ready to video the fight so they could post it on “Snapchat.” T-Bird and One Fly moved over to discourage them.

   Then Corky found Jeremy cowering under the pool table, picked him up by the belt buckle, took off one of his Tevas and slapped him upside the head with the sole of the sandal till “J-Dawg” started to cry. His face turned the color of a strawberry daquiri.



   Corky waved me over and I grabbed Jeremy by one leg, drug him across the floor, out the front door of the Wagon Wheel and deposited him on the sidewalk. Niles wasn’t so lucky, Corky had him in a head lock and was squeezing so hard his eyeballs began to pop. And then Corky launched ole Niles out through the front door to join his buddy.


   “Do yourselves a favor, boys and don’t come back in here acting all “back east”, said Corky. “This ain’t a college frat party, this is Montana. When a woman says no she means no! Have a nice day.”


   Smitty got a cold bar rag with some ice for Shawn’s noggin.

   After the place settled down, me and Corky and Shawn and Rachel sat down at the bar and joined T-Bird and One Fly and Skeeter. I bought a round for the whole crew while the jukebox was playing “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.


   It was a good day.














































































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by administrator
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on Monday, 13 March 2017
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The Crew…


   Undercover Fishing Guide…6’2”, 210…light brown hair, Acme cowboy boots, Stetson cowboy hat, Carhartt vest, Lee jeans. Born and raised in Two Dot, Montana...been fishing everywhere, guided fisherman everywhere, has caught every species of North American game fish that matters including musky, northern pike, walleye, chain pickerel, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, Atlantic and Pacific salmon, both sailfish, tuna, wahoo, rainbow, brown, brook, golden, cutthroat, lake and bull trout, steelhead, grayling, bonefish, tarpon, permit, redfish, snook, black, blue, white and striped marlin and assorted other species including frogs, toads, turtles, catfish, bottom fish, carp, suckers and lots of other trash fish…he can cast a fly, lure, spoon, spinner, plug, jig, live bait, dead bait, stink bait, cut bait, jerk bait, deep drop, shallow troll, surface skitter, walk the dog, spank the monkey, dead drift, fast strip, slow twitch, tumble, tease or just plain sit there and let ‘er eat.


   He went undercover in the early 1990s.


Skeeter… the top guide, first call on all the guide trips, strong on the oars, gets all the plum clients, loved by everybody.


Corky Furillo… tough as nails, Iraq war vet, became a fishing guide to help deal with PTSD, wears camo fly fishing vest, sometimes packs heat, eats glass.


Windex…neat freak, clothes, boat, trailer truck are all immaculate, only river guide who waxes his drift boat with Carnuba.


T-Bird… little short guy with beer belly, candy apple red pick-up, hand painted palm trees on his drift boat, wears Jimmy Buffet shirts, plays guitar, sings badly, good guide for group float trips and shore lunch entertainment.


Junior…smokes dope 24/7, been to rehab multiple times, skinny little dude, nose ring, wears bandana for head band, blank stare, decent fishing guide if he can remember what river he is on.


One Fly… only uses #8 Prince nymph, medium weighted, 2X, no bead, no dropper, no bobber, rows homemade wood boat.


Lonnie McMaster… tall, thin, bad teeth, bad skin, rolls his own, curly red hair, knows the Latin name of every insect eaten by trout.


Jenny… ties flies, sells strawberry pies, breeds labs, runs fly fishing school for lady anglers.


Huey Short…good old boy, chubby, happy, gets along with everybody, in a bowling league during winter, redneck.


Doc… crusty old guide, has one client left, claims to have slept with Madonna back when they were kids in Detroit, wears suspenders, neoprene Hodgemans, drinks Crown & Seven.


Wally Livingston…owns Wally’s Fly Shop… odd duck, has a tick, tells stories.



Smitty…bartender at the Wagon Wheel Bar.













































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by Randy
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on Sunday, 12 March 2017
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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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by administrator
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on Tuesday, 07 March 2017
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   Me and my crew have fished all over, guided sports for pay, got in bar fights, banged babes in the back seat, smoked some not-so-good weed, fought against the bad guys and fought for the trout.

    We’ve hung with bikers and hippies and loggers and cowboys, rowed rubber and cedar and metal and glass. We would’ve blown up a few dams if we could, but there’s still time. We killed a lot of time in fly shops, mostly Wally’s Fly Shop. And a lot of time in bars, mostly the Wagon Wheel…and campgrounds and boat ramps and RV parks and grocery stores. We’re partial to bartenders and shuttle drivers and fly fishing chicks.


   My main guy was Skeeter, we been pards since way back, run a lot of trips together, a solid dude, my best bud. He was a little guy but wiry…partial to Patagonia baggy pants, King Ropes Sheridan, Wyo. caps, Birkies and leather side shields on his Costas. Strong on the oars; only guy I know to take a hard boat down through the Alberton Gorge and the Kitchen Sink and lived to tell.


   He also had kind of a drinking problem.


   One time Skeeter and me was coming back from a week long charter on the Bighorn…four doctors from Denver who paid the whole guide fee in hundred dollar bills. We decided to take the back roads home through the sagebrush, balls out, pedal to the metal, after splitting a twelver of Coors Lite.

   We’re rollin’ along doing about 90, watching the sagebrush and antelope herds whiz by, and my man Skeeter, he took a curve too fast somewhere on a ranch road near Laurel and didn’t make it. The Clacka fish tailed, bullwhipped and spun out, snapped the trailer tongue off the two inch ball behind his old red Chevy pick-up. The drift boat and trailer strapped together lifted up and flipped over three times, bounced off the embankment and finished tits up in the borrow pit.

   Skeeter lost control and rolled the pick-up ass over tea kettle, end over end… it careened into the barbed wire fence and bashed his head into the windshield.

   I saw the whole thing in my rear view mirror.


   By the time I made it back to Skeeter he was slumped over the steering wheel with his chest crushed and a nasty gash in his skull and a face full of broken glass and blood. The King Ropes Sheridan, Wyo. cap was mashed up between the dashboard, the steering wheel and the windshield. His Costas were mangled around his neck dangling from a blood-soaked Croakie.


   He was deader than a cob.


   We had a nice service for Skeeter back in Town at the Wagon Wheel, me and the crew. We cracked a few frostys…Corky and One Fly and T- Bird was there…Lonnie was there, Junior was there, Windex was waxin’ his boat, Doc couldn’t make it, he was sleepin’ it off at the house.

   Oh yeah, Rachel was there too, how could I forget her?

   But wait...I better back up a bit.



































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by administrator
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on Friday, 24 February 2017
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  The Undercover Fishing Guide will be a guest contributor to this site adding commentary and observations on fishing, the environment, the good, the bad, the ugly. He prefers to remain anonymous and his identity will not be revealed. black_ski_mask

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