A Missouri River Weekend

With the semester drawing to a close, fishing has taken the back burner. Instead of being able to enjoy these warm spring evenings on the water, I now have to finish projects, write reports, and study for exams. Not my idea of enjoyment, but it needs to be done. Do not think however that I did not make time for one last fishing trip! For some time now, my fishing buddies and I have wanted to fish the fabled waters of the Missouri River. It was decided that Sunday, May 3rd would be the big day. With the flies tied and the car packed, we hit the road Saturday afternoon around 4. After two and a half hours of driving and a few stops along the way, we arrived at our campsite and pitched our tent.

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You cannot go camping without a campfire!

After a solid meal of chili and tortillas (they ate cold hot dogs), we sat around camp and talked of the past and future fishing adventures.

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Dreaming of the fish to come!

We then turned in for the night, all knowing sleep would be a long time in coming. Finally after a fitful night of rest, the day came and we busted out of camp around 7:30 AM. Fifteen minutes later we arrived at the river and wadered up (put on waders). We hiked for about 20 min and then began fishing. Cody was the first one to hook up for the day and landed a beautiful 17 inch rainbow trout.

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Billy watches from afar as Cody nets his fish.
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Cody was incredibly proud that he beat me to the first fish of the day!

The fishing continued on, but we could not hook up with any more fish. Finally after about an hour I caught and released my first fish for the day, a nice fat 16 inch rainbow. We fished downstream for about and hour and a half and then I hooked up with what would later be the biggest trout of my life. I let my line drift downstream, when my indicator dipped i set the hook and watched a giant rainbow roll over. After minutes of fighting I landed my biggest wild trout to date, a 22 inch wild rainbow trout.

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The stunning 22 inch rainbow, a fish I will never forget.

After that fish I did not really care what happened for the rest of the day.

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Scouting for rising fish.

The rest of the morning was rather uneventful and the fish were few and far between. Early afternoon found us downriver about 2 and a half miles from are car, so we decided so slow down the pace and fish one spot for a while. Cody caught his first fish on a dry fly and was happy to finally learn the beauty of dry fly fishing. Nymphing the shallows hooked me up with another large fish, a 20 inch rainbow.

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The mighty Missouri River below Hauser Dam.

At about 5 we turned around and headed back upriver to return to our car. Cody and Billy headed to the car, but I decided to fish one more small stretch before breaking down the rod. I managed to catch two more trout, one of which reached 21 inches on my tape measure. What a way to end the day. I returned to the car with a smile plastered to my face, proud to have caught 3 of my biggest trout in one day. It was a great trip and one that will be long talked about. Hopefully it will get me through the next two weeks before I return home. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment!

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Spring has come to Missoula!

One last picture of Missoula, before I end this post.

 

November Gold

The colors have vanished with the fallen leaves, the birds have moved south, and the cold is here. It’s so easy to stay inside watching Netflix all day during this seemingly¬†dull time of year. Fortunately I’ve had enough motivation to bundle up and do some exploring during November. After successfully chasing Maryland’s first sighting of Couch’s Kingbird, I traveled down several Huntingdon dirt roads, leading me to some golden moments.

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A winding road south of the Mason Dixon Line
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The rare Couch’s Kingbird from Texas was seen for several days along the banks of this pond in Allegany County, Maryland

Since nearly all migrant birds have passed through, November is a good month for studying common species that stick around through the winter. Several chickadees and sparrows landed within 4 feet of me.

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A curious Black-capped Chickadee

Yellow-rumped Warblers (Top Left) are some of the last warblers to frequent Pennsylvania in the fall. The colorful Fox Sparrow (Top Right) is always exciting to see as they arrive during November. Several duck species can be found in November, including the aptly named Northern Shoveler pictured below.

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Most of the valley in Huntingdon County is a dead zone for cell service. Without my iPhone for navigation, I often venture down random roads in search of my destination. One of these “wrong turns” lead me to this scene below.

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Did I say that the colors are gone? November is full of Gold!
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This Red-tailed Hawk put on a show for me

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After a good hike on the Mid State Trail, a couple friends and I made a spontaneous decision to spend the night in a cave we found. We arrived just in time to build a fire before a soft rain serenaded us to sleep. With two hammocks hung and a warm fire, the cave quickly felt like home. The excitement of the wild came to a halt early in the morning when we traded our camping gear for books and schoolwork.

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The fire was a warm welcome to any weary traveler, caveman or black bear
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The s’mortilla. A wonderful camping dessert

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I wish everyone a Happy (white?) Thanksgiving! There’s golden moments in every month so get outside and enjoy this beautiful creation!