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Thoughts from the Center of My Universe

125 miles SE of Center on the Lamar River
125 miles SE of Center on the Lamar River

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT
As a young teenager growing up in Southern California suburbia in the 1960s fishing wasn’t high on my list of things to do. Even so, as a family we’d make regular summer trips to the beach to fish off the piers for perch and swim in the surf and there was also an occasional trip into the Sierras where we dunked salmon eggs for hatchery rainbows. In retrospect, my dad was an inept angler, but he was enthusiastic and somehow instilled a spark in me that has flamed for over 50 years.

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Easy as Cherry Pie

kline cherry 3Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

Of the thousands of fly patterns available to today’s trout angler, many are productive throughout the season. The Adams, woolly bugger, pheasant tail nymph, copper john, sparkle dun and stimulator, for example, are generally just as effective in March as they are in October and throughout the season. If you can find feeding fish, these flies work. However some flies, just like cherry pie, are seasonal. Out here in Southwest Montana, my favorite seasonal fly is the foam hopper. Regardless of whether you are fishing a high mountain stream in a green meadow, the rough and tumble tributaries as they flow into the big valley streams or those big, wide valley rivers our region is famous for, in season, the foam hopper will produce.

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Try Tying These Pine Squirrel Buggers

pine squirrel buggersGuest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman MT

Canadian Pine Squirrel has turned out to be a very versatile tying material. Where I fish in SW Montana, micro zonkers are very popular and are routinely tied with pine squirrel instead of rabbit fur. The fine fur is also useful for many types of nymph bodies and leech patterns. One of my go-to flies has always been the woolly bugger as I just thrive on striping streamers for Montana and Wyoming trout. Woolly bugger bodies are typically tied with some form of chenille or dubbing and palmered with a suitable hackle. The traditional go-to colors have always been shades of black, brown or olive, colors that pine squirrel skins are found in. A recent experience on the Missouri River prompted me to experiment with pine squirrel for woolly buggers.

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