Forum Posts

Mark Wilbert
Sep 23, 2022
In Fishing Reports
Dateline, Montana. Evidently I need new waders. Fishing Rock Creek today I felt like I was fishing in a Northwest downpour: non-stop heavy rain. By the time I got off the river my pants and socks were soaking wet, and I hadn't fallen in the river for a change. The water just ran down my raincoat and soaked through my aged waders. I've never seen it rain steadily all day in Missoula in the fall before. As you can imagine, I had the river to myself. When I awoke this morning, it seemed like the perfect day to try some streamers for trout moving up out of the Clark Fork in preparation for spawning. I fished the very lowest section of Rock Creek and did, indeed, catch a couple fish. The first was a beautiful cutthroat, about 16 inches, that I pulled out from under a fallen log. I also caught a helpful bull trout (12 inches) that, when I over-reacted to its initial strike by jerking the fly to the surface, came up to take it like a dry fly and hooked itself. I'll take luck when skill fails me. The rain should stop later tonight, and the forecast for next week, when other club members come over for an outing, looks dry. Skies will be mostly sunny with high temperatures in the mid-toe-upper 70s. Fishing will be fun and, I hope, productive.
Fish Don't Mind the Rain content media
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Mark Wilbert
Sep 06, 2022
In Fishing Reports
I fished Ala Spit in the morning last Saturday (9/3), hoping to find a coho. No luck. I didn't see any action from three other fishers nearby either (two fly fishers; one gear fisher). I had a couple small pecks from something on my first couple casts, but nothing after that. Paul Messner told me that fishing friends of his have been focusing on crab, so that suggests fishing is poor. Has anyone else heard reports?
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Mark Wilbert
Jun 18, 2022
In Fishing Reports
I guess the heading says it all. Two hours working the length of the eastern beach with a shrimp pattern produced nothing. Haven't decided if I'll go back tomorrow or try Pass Lake.
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Mark Wilbert
Jun 16, 2022
In Let's Go Fishing
The tides are good for fishing Ala Spit this weekend. Lows (very low) are in the early afternoon, and the incoming tide lasts until about dark. I hope to try my luck tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, and I'll be there for sure Sunday afternoon. I'd welcome company. While I'll try, I'm sure I can't catch all those fish by myself.
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Mark Wilbert
Jun 16, 2022
In Let's Go Fishing
When I drove by Pass Lake last Saturday, the parking lot looked open: barriers and caution tape removed and sinkhole surrounded by four large boulders. The state park has confirmed that the lot is open, with (obviously) limited parking because of the area blocked off around the sinkhole. Still, that's good news. Let's go fishing.
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Mark Wilbert
Jun 13, 2022
In Fishing Reports
A heart-warming turnout, weather as good as we could have expected, aggressive fish, and fine eats: what more could a person ask? The revived first annual Nyerges Nymph One-Fly Outing was a hit! Nearly a dozen club members took to the water, and another half-dozen came to help with lunch. That's my definition of success. Gianna Holle did a fantastic job organizing this outing; give her a high-five next time you see her. The fish were quite cooperative, and nearly everyone caught fish. New member, Carla, caught her first fish ever on a fly rod as well as catching the biggest fish of the day--perhaps 20". Bob Adams caught another large fish. The majority of fish, however, ranged from 14" to 18". They were scrappy and acrobatic. As you'll see from the following photo, they were responsive to quite a range of colors. A hard day's fishing gives a person a hearty appetite, so for lunch we all chowed down on pizza from Village Pizza in Coupeville (another thing arranged by Gianna). There was good conversation and much laughter. Here are a few photos from the day (note that the last one is a video):
Nyerges Nymph One-Fly Outing a Huge Success! content media
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Mark Wilbert
Jun 08, 2022
In Fishing Reports
Not until today. Carol and I are exploring Idaho's scenic byways and have landed in Island Park, on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. I've read stories of the fantastic fish here and how hard they can be to catch. Now I can vouch for the first but not yet the second. Perhaps it's the early season, but even as a first-time fisher on this river I managed to net three nice rainbows (17"-19"), and I hooked several others. The water in front of our hotel room (after several days in campgrounds, it was time for a shower) is wide and shallow, much like I remember the Madison River in MT being. So, finding fish means finding small slots and rocks. My approach was to start moving directly across the river, casting as I went. I found good and bad water and fish where you'd expect. On my four-weight rod, these strong and heavy fish were a challenge to land in the fast current of mid-river. Even this early in the season, there are a good number of people on the river, but they come and go, so I never felt crowded. It may be that other sections of the river are busier, avoiding this section because I heard that releases of water from the Island Park Reservoir have had the river here going up and down daily. That works for me.
Ever Fished the Henry's Fork? content media
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Mark Wilbert
Mar 29, 2022
In Fishing Reports
The weather was great, the bugs were out, and the fish were up! We couldn't have asked for more last Wednesday as eight club members enjoyed a day's fishing on the Yakima River. Four guides from Red's Fly Shop shared their expertise and pleasant personalities with us--putting us on a lot of fish, teaching us a few things, and matching us quip for quip. While mayfly nymphs brought several fish to the net, the highlight of day was that the warm weather brought out the Skwala stoneflies and had large fish looking up. We all caught fish in the 16-inch to 20-inch range on dry flies. There's nothing quite like seeing that dark shape emerge from the depths, focus laser-like on your fly, and suck it in. McGinn deserves special thanks for sponsoring this trip and for herding our motley band in the right direction at the right time. Our consensus is that this should be an annual trip. You won't want to miss the next one.
Yakima River Trip a Big Hit! content media
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Mark Wilbert
Feb 02, 2022
In Let's Go Fishing
In case you haven't heard, here's a note Steve Raymond just received from a friend: "The current situation at Pass Lake is as follows. Pass Lake remains open to fishing. However, the parking area is closed indefinitely, making access to the lake difficult if not impossible. There is an 8 ft. wide sinkhole in the parking lot and the large culvert pipe from the lake to the road is failing and leaking. The culvert pipe was installed sometime in the mid 1970's. It is expected that the repair will take months if not longer to complete."
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Mark Wilbert
Jan 24, 2022
In Classes and Such
Boy, I'm almost too late with this post. If you're interested in this event, go to https://flyfilmtour.com/buy-tickets/ for all event locations, dates, and tickets.
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Mark Wilbert
Jun 27, 2021
In Fishing Reports
I fished Ala Spit near the beginning of the incoming tide mid-day yesterday and had pretty good luck: two Dollys, one of which was 27". The bright sun evidently wasn't a deterrent for these fish. I was using a fly called a foul-free herring (purple over olive rather than one of those shown here). I'm sorry there aren't fish photos to share.
Dollys at Ala Spit content media
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Mark Wilbert
Jun 25, 2021
In Fishing Reports
Carol and I are on the island for a couple days--escaping the Seattle heat. As we were sitting on the deck yesterday afternoon, I saw two fish jump just offshore. That's encouraging. Anyone have salmon reports?
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Mark Wilbert
Jun 21, 2021
In Fishing Reports
I've always wanted to start a fishing report with words like these. The places I fish just don't seem to be anyone's secret. But the success of a fly fishing guide, like my son, often hinges on knowing those places to go that others don't know of or don't think about. So when Dave took me out for two days of fishing this week it was with the understanding that I'd keep his secret. For our first day we were joined by long-time club member, Judy Tuvey. She had been fishing the St. Joe River in Idaho with her brother for a couple days and was kind enough to hop over the mountain to keep me company this day. Given the two-hour drive and the hour time change between ID and MT, Judy was already on the road by the time I thought about getting out of bed. She gets a good deal of extra credit for that. She arrived in Missoula at about 8:30, and since our put-in for the day was still an hour away, we wasted no time getting Judy on the road again. The time passed quickly as we told fishing stories and did question-and-answer as she and my son, Dave, got acquainted. We were on the water by about 9:30. I've fished with Dave enough to know that his go-to rig is a dry dropper with a Chubby Chernobyl on top and a very sparse bead-head mayfly pattern (very much the Euro-nymph design) on a three-foot dropper. If we start to get a lot of takes on the surface, he'll remove the dropper and change to a more natural dry fly. The dry-dropper rig worked like a charm for us, and we stayed with it all day, catching a lot of trout (mostly browns) and, perhaps, an equal number of mountain whitefish. Both trout and whitefish were FAT fish averaging, say, 14 inches, with several in the 17-inch range. Literally every fish, large or small, surprised me with their strength and stamina. These were not fish that came to the net willingly (though there was that 4-incher that came flying into the boat on my hook-set). We had seven miles of fine river, great fishing, good conversation and laughter, under a perfect Montana sky and temperatures in the 70's. Who could ask for more. Day two was just father and son: always a treat for me. "Second verse, same as the first.": a different stretch of river, but lots of fish in a nice mix of cutthroat, rainbows, hybrids, and whitefish, with perfect weather. These are the days you dream of.
From Somewhere in Western Montana content media
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Mark Wilbert
May 17, 2021
In Fishing Reports
Carol gave me a pass on new-puppy duty today, so I spent a few hours on Rock Creek. The weather is beautiful here in Montana, with clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70's. I was expecting crowds on the river, it being Sunday, but found it rather sparsely populated. Maybe the rising water levels have people thinking the river's unfishable. This is actually my favorite time to fish Rock Creek. With high water, the lower river turns into a braided stream in several places, and fish will move into these smaller side channels to get away from the raging current in the main stream. In addition, these side channels reduce my chances of drowning in a stream notorious for its spring wading conditions. You can usually find wadable conditions along with nice fish. The rising water of the past couple days does seem to have the fish "off their feed" compared to what I experienced last week, but some hunting revealed several nice pockets and seams holding fish. Actually, two fish I caught today were the largest I've landed this season (photos below). I continue to play with tight-line nymphing and find it enjoying to try something new. I've not invested in specialty gear yet, opting to simply cut the head off an old floating line I had lying around and tying 20 feet or so on Maxima Chameleon on as my main line. Also, the raves about how productive this technique is seem to be true. Because this is a close-in technique, I find I have to pass up some productive water that I could fish with a conventional setup where I'm able to make some longer casts. I also find myself watching the wind forecasts more closely, because strong wind is a killer. I always throw a reel with my conventional line into my vest in case water or conditions make me want to change away from the tight-line. A pink rubber worm tied on a jig hook was the "fly" of choice today. Typically I use two flies, with a mayfly nymph above my worm, but once I figured out the fish weren't interested in anything but the worm, I took the second fly off, saving myself any frustration from dealing with two flies. That's it, except for the fish photos:
A Beautiful and Productive Day on Rock Creek content media
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Mark Wilbert
May 03, 2021
In Fishing Reports
I spent an couple hours fishing the outgoing tide at Ala Spit yesterday. Trying to get to the water was a chore in itself, given all the clam diggers. From the smiles and full buckets I saw, it must have been a success for everyone. Fishing (or catching, at least) was less common, though not totally absent. Even with the bright sun, I had a couple takes and finally managed to hang onto one Dolly that was 18" to 20". What a beautiful fish these are. For gear, I was using my 6-weight, an intermediate sinking line, and a small green and white baitfish pattern. I heard a report of another person, fishing the outgoing tide, who had at least one hook-up. It's worth a try if you're interested.
Ala Spit -- May 2nd content media
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Mark Wilbert
Apr 30, 2021
In Let's Go Fishing
I'm planning to hit the beach at Ala Spit this weekend: Saturday and/or Sunday. There are nice afternoon tides starting at 3:30 Saturday and 4:30 Sunday. I'd love company. Sea-run Cutthroat and/or Dolly Varden should be around.
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Mark Wilbert
Apr 14, 2021
In Buy / Sell / Trade
I was just made aware of this fly rod offer by Allen Fly Fishing. If you're in the market for a new rod (or two), consider checking this out. Here's Allen's pitch: "Now is the perfect time to add a couple new rods to your collection. Whether it's two of the same so you have a new main rod plus a backup, or different rods for different techniques or species, or even an extra to share with a friend, this is a great opportunity to save! This sale includes all of our new in-stock fly rod series (Volant, Heritage, Compass, and Source). Pick you preferred actions and line weights and you're off to the water!" "No code necessary; just add both rods to your cart and the discount will be applied. You can add one of each line weight and still get the BOGO pricing. Each rod includes a matching case with individual sections for each rod piece." Here's a link to their website
Allen Fly Fishing's 2-for-1 Fly Rod Promotion content media
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Mark Wilbert
Mar 28, 2021
In Let's Go Fishing
Meet Clarence Hein and me at Lone Lake this Wednesday, March 31st for an informal club gathering for fishing and/or casting practice. Fishing will likely begin mid-morning and last a couple hours. At 2 PM we'll move to the lawn for casting practice. Everyone's welcome to join us--for one or both activities. The weather is supposed to be good. The company will most certainly be excellent. The setting allows us to be as COVID protective as we like. I hope to see you there.
First Ad-hoc Outing of 2021 content media
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Mark Wilbert
Mar 05, 2021
In Coronavirus Humor
Bob Stephens sent me this Instagram post this morning. I hope you enjoy it. Perhaps we'll see this young fella on the casting circuit soon. https://www.instagram.com/p/CL7VLc8hUrG/?igshid=1t2y9hgvvh403
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Mark Wilbert
Feb 01, 2021
In Classes and Such
Thanks to Paul Messner, here's a notice from THE TAIL FLY FISHING MAGAZINE NEWSLETTER MASTERS OF THE FLY Thought you might be interested in these free fly tying sessions with some prominent figures from the Northeast. These sessions are absolutely free, you just have to register for them in advance. Share this email with friends and post on your social media channels. Special event - Jamie Howard on the filming of "Running The Coast" and HowardFilms' iconic fishing-focused feature films About this Event Join Masters of the Fly for a special evening with Jamie Howard. This session will include a screening of a short clip of his iconic fishing film, "Running the Coast," followed by a fireside chat and Q&A session moderated by Bloomberg News correspondent (and fellow Master of the Fly), Erik Schatzker. If you ever wondered how the aerial footage in "Chasing Silver" was shot before the availability of drones, now is your chance. Trust me, it's a great story! This session will be held virtually. Attendance limited to the first 100 registrants. Fly-tying demonstration with Captain David Blinken, North Flats Charters About this Event Capt. David will demonstrate how to tie two of his highly-productive striper flies - the Little Brown and the Jellyfish. Feel free to just watch, OR if you want to follow along, we'll be sending out a list of requisite materials before the event, AND a link to our partner, Chris at Saltwaterflies.com, who can send you a pre-packaged kit! This is a virtual event. The event is limited to 100 participants. Fly-tying demonstration with Jonny King tying the Kinky Muddler and the Hoo Fly About this Event Join us for a special evening of fly-tying with Jonny King, the inventor of the popular Kinky Muddler fly. Jonny will demonstrate how to tie both the Kinky Muddler and the Hoo fly - two of the most productive and versatile saltwater flies being used today. Feel free to just watch and listen, OR if you want to follow along on your vise, we'll be sending out a list of requisite materials before the event, AND a link to our partner, Chris at Saltwaterflies.com, who can send you a pre-packaged kit! This is a virtual event. The event is limited to 100 participants. Staten Island-based Ken Ekelund demonstrates how to tie his version of the legendary Flatwing About this Event Join us as Staten Island-based fly fisherman and fly tyer Ken Ekelund demonstrates how to tie one of the most productive and beloved saltwater flies, the (Rhody) Flatwing. Feel free to just watch and listen, OR if you want to follow along on your vice, we'll be sending out a list of requisite materials before the event, AND a link to our partner, Chris at Saltwaterflies.com, who can send you a pre-packaged kit! This is a virtual event. The event is limited to 100 participants.
Upcoming Fly Tying Presentations content media
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Mark Wilbert

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