Not carp

I got into a big fish at my favorite local lake. It pretty quickly took me into my backing.
The fish took about 10 minutes to land on my 5-weight. It was a healthy channel catfish, 7 or 8 pounds. I was disappointed. I thought it was a carp.
I've also caught bass at the lake. Again, not carp.
And bluegill. This guy grabbed my fly just as I dragged in front of a half dozen carp that were lounging on the bottom.
And another catfish that briefly fooled me into thinking I'd finally hooked a carp on a fly. This fish was lighter than most of the catfish, which are darker, almost black. It jumped once after I hooked it. I was sure it was a carp. I've had a few near misses, but have yet to hook one. Carp on a fly are tricky.


Wolf carnage may reduce public support for hunting in general

I'm a bit "meh" about wolf hunting and population control in general. The origin story of wolf reintroduction in the Northern Rockies included the bargain that hunting would be used as a means to manage the species, and generate revenue for state wildlife agencies. I'm not a participant, but I recognize some management (killing) is part of the reality of having wild wolves in Montana and the West

Recent plans to increase the wolf death toll in Montana is another matter. This column by Matt Barnes in the Missoula Current spells out the irrationality or the policy. Barnes makes a good point about the potential damage of widespread wolf killing: it will likely further damage the public perception of hunting among the non-hunting public.

Whether we like it or not, support from the non-hunting population is essential for the survival of the sport in a world in which most people do not hunt.

FWP restricts or closes rivers due to heatwave

When Montana cities are registering new all-time high temperatures in June — Kalispell reached 101 on June 29, breaking the previous record of 95 set in 1979 — things are going to be bad for rivers. To protect fisheries, Montana FWP imposed restrictions on especially imperiled rivers across the state earlier this week.

I can personally attest to the conditions in the now closed section of the upper Big Hole River. I fished just downstream from the closed section, which felt like a bathtub, or at least a heated swimming pool when I hit it last week. I'm glad I didn't catch any trout. A fight and release is likely a death sentence in these conditions.

Commission delays guided trip regs on Madison

The FWP commission has voted to delay regs that cap guided trips on the Madison River for another year. The rules, which would limit outfitters to the number of trips they led in 2019 or 2020 (whichever is higher) were to go into effect on Jan. 1. 2022. The rules now won't become law until 2023.

The commissioners voted 4-1 for the change, saying the delay would allow the newly formed Madison River Commercial Use Work Group to review the plan.

Back to the River

A lovely interview and story from Billings Gazette outdoor writer Brett French with author John Maclean, as he reflects on his family's legacy. John Maclean's “Home Waters, A Chronicle of Family and a River” looks back on his father, Norman's tribute to family and the brother he couldn't save, the classic, "A River Runs Through It."

Also, follow the links to read my reflections on "A River Runs Through It" written in the bleakest days of 2020 when the pandemic raged.