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Jack C. Mauer has more than a thirty year investment in fishing, floating and wading the waters of western Montana. He is intimately acquainted with the surrounding fisheries and their corresponding ecologies. It is his passion and enthusiasm for the art of fly fishing, a respect and knowledge of trout habitat, and the ability to expertly instruct the technical aspects of fly fishing that clients appreciate as they return to western Montana and Wapiti Waters. Contact Jack at 800-254-5311.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bitterroot River near Stevensville, Feb. 24

wade fishing the Bitterroot River in February
Jack and I are doing some maintenance on our vehicles and we needed to drop one near Stevensville. We didn't have time to fish, but stoppped by the river to take a look. There was one lone wade fisherman working a run. It was raining, about 39 degrees out and you could see the snow falling in the mountains at maybe 4,500 feet. This is good news. We want moisture that will be stored in the form of snow! The weather forecast is for rain in the valleys and snow in the mountains all week. We will take it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Montana Hunting and Fishing Licenses - New Season begins Sunday, March 1

Roy Loman wade fishing in western MontanaMontana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announces availability of Montana’s 2009 hunting and fishing licenses—including conservation, fishing, spring black bear and turkey, upland game bird, deer and elk hunting licenses— now at all FWP Regional offices and license providers.

Sunday, March 1 begins the new 2009 license year for Montana hunters and anglers. The new license year is especially important for early-season anglers, and for those who enjoy ice fishing.

Most 2009 licenses are available on the FWP Web page at Click MT FWP Online Montana Licensing Services.

You can also find a link for MT-FWP online licensing at our Wapiti Waters website -

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

FOAM sketch of fisherman
Saturday, March 7, 2009
DoubleTree Hotel, Missoula
The FOAM (Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana) Annual meeting is in Missoula this year on Saturday, March 7th. You can find the agenda and a registration form at

Please send Registration Form by February 25 to:
FOAM Annual Meeting
PO Box 67
Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730

Saturday, March 7, 2009
DoubleTree Hotel, Missoula

FOAM invites you to the DoubleTree Hotel in Missoula on Saturday, March 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for discussions, lunch, our traditional raffle, and drinks.

Ten rooms are available @ $109 double occupancy if you reserve before February 20.
Call Rachel at 406-542-4654 and refer to FOAM when making reservations. PLEASE
CALL IMMEDIATELY if you want to reserve a room for the night.


8:30 - 9:00 Register, get coffee, find friends, swap stories
9:00 -10:30 RRAFT Blackfoot Mgt. Proposal - Charlie Sperry, Chet Crowser, Jack Mauer
10:30 -12:00 B’foot & Madison SRP Process, Fees, Expenses, Local spending - Molly Wainwright, Gerry Walker
Noon Buffet Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 Stacy Juelfs, Payne Financial Group, on FOAM insurance costs, coverage, benefits
2:00 - 3:00 Wayne Johnston, Board of Outfitters on operations plans, guide advertising, agents, and more
3:00 - 4:00 FOAM updates, Q&A from members for directors
4:00 - ? Raffle, hors d’oeuvres, drinks
For the raffle, we’ve got Simms, Patagonia, and Northwest River Supply gear scheduled to appear, other items from local and national flyfishing gear manufacturers, plus gift certificates from local eateries and such.

Are you a Montana guide and want to know more about FOAM? Visit the site at or contact the FOAM Director, Robin Cunningham, at 406.763.5436 or

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Salmon Flies by Billy Burk

Billy's Salmon Fly - Front View
Billy's Salmon Fly - Top View

Billy's Salmon Fly - Side View

Billy Burk sent photos of these flies he tied. Jack thinks he did a good job on them.
Hey Merle! Just a note to say hi, and run my pattern past Jack for this years' trip. Attached is my attempt at copying a leftover fly from our trip 2 years ago. The hook size is 8, barbless. I think it actually looks pretty good, (considering the source).
take care!!!!....Billy

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Support the Big Sky Rivers Act - MT HB 455

Posted from an email by Clark Fork Coalition:

Support the Big Sky Rivers Act TODAY! Join us Friday for River Lobby Day. Your river needs you this week.

Please voice your support for HB 455, the "Big Sky Rivers Act," up THIS THURSDAY, February 19 in the House Local Government Committee.

1) Leave a message for your Representative at 406-444-4800
2) Email a brief message of support directly to your Representative 3) Send your support to the entire House Local Government Committee: send emails to

Join us this Friday, Feb 20th, at the Capitol!

8:30 am - Vans leave from CFC office in Missoula.

10:30 am - Meet at the Rotunda and tour the Capitol building.

11:00 am - "Lobbying and Legislature Basics" with Brianna Randall of the Clark Fork Coalition, Sarah Cobler of Montana Conservation Voters, and other policy mentors.

12:00 pm - Lunch with selected Representatives and Senators (food provided).

1:00 pm - View House and Senate floor sessions from the gallery.

2:00 pm - Join a mentor to attend committee hearings or lobby your elected officals on the Coalition's priority bills.

4:30 pm - Leave Capitol and swing by the Blackfoot River Brewing Company to meet and greet other Coalition members and river supporters.

Please RSVP by Weds 2/18 to attend or carpool: or 542-0539 x200.

Monday, February 16, 2009

May Fly Fishing Photos of the Bitterroot, Big Hole and Missouri Rivers

Barry Brown on the Missouri River
In this post you will see what some of our rivers are like through various years in the month of May.

May is one of the most unpredictable months, but if the rivers are not too big, the fishing is fantastic and the weather is nice, not too hot, not too cold. Sunset on the Bitterroot in May
Which rivers will be best this year in May? It depends on the snowpack and weather, stay tuned or give Jack at Wapiti Waters Fly Fishing Montana a call at 800-254-5311.

For more photos, see the slideshow below. Click View Album to see them in a new, larger window and choose the slideshow option.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Fishin' Finger - a Montana Made Product by Mark Stergios

On the "non-cutting" edge so to speak!

Wapiti Waters received a sample of the Fishin' Finger in the mail with a nice handwritten note from Mark Stergios. We just got it and haven't used it, but found the item intriguing enough to do a post. We are not endorsing it, just sharing this info. We fish for pike and this might come in handy. Please be gentle with the fish and its mouth when releasing it.

Avoid lacerations while lipping and unhooking your fish!

The Fishin' Finger is a protective thumb sheath and retractor for trauma-free catch and release. It is molded from tough, hypo-allergenic polyethylene. The retractor conveniently attaches to your vest or belt so your trusty Fishin' Finger is a quick-draw when you land the big one.

It comes with a WARNING: The Fishin' Finger does not provide adequate protection against shark, baracuda or man-eating piranha teeth. Anglers should always use their own discretion and proceed with caution.

Contact information for the Fishin' Finger:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An uncertain Top Hat - Steve Garr's children consider future in wake of owner's sudden death - By JOE NICKELL/Missoulian

See related posts about Pinegrass a Bluegrass Band

Garr Children

The four oldest children of legendary Top Hat bar owner Steve Garr, from left, Heidi, Nicole, Greta and Nate, spoke about their late father and about the future of the Missoula landmark Tuesday afternoon at the bar. Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

The Top Hat has always been a place of many faces. To some, the bar on Front Street has been a low-key daytime hangout, a place where the conversation flows like slowly poured beer and where you're perfectly welcome to light up a cigarette if you so please. Later at night, it's been a place where a somewhat younger crowd gathered to play pool and listen to local jam-rock bands, bluegrass ensembles or the occasional touring act.

Whatever was happening on a given night, the crowd at the Top Hat was never homogenous. Rather, it encompassed every walk of Montana life: barely legal drinkers playing pool with grizzled bikers; young professionals and dreadlocked hippies swing-dancing on the dance floor.

It is a place where the walls themselves are lined with memories of the diverse faces that have passed through. Photos of old blues musicians - some of whom count among the most respected and famous in America - share space with bass drum heads donated by rock bands that few people ever heard of in the first place (any Nite Snackr fans still out there?).

But when all was said and done, those many faces were, in a way, simply a reflection of the man who owned and operated the Top Hat these past 21 years: Steve Garr....

.....“The bottom line is that this is just about as heartbreaking as you can imagine for us,”
Steve's son says. “It's our dad.”

Read the rest of the original story about Steve Garr and the Top Hat on


A potluck celebration of Steve Garr's life will be held at the Top Hat this Saturday from 1 to 11 p.m. The event will serve as a fundraiser for Garr's medical expenses. The event is open to the public, and musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments.

Pinegrass will play a few sets Saturday, February 7, at 6:30 pm. Richie Reinholdt will join them.

Note: Pinegrass played every Tues night at the "Hat" for about 20 years. We hope this in not the end of an era.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Costa Rica - courtesy of Joe and Betty Graziano

photo by Joe GrazianoCosta Rica is a trying to preserve a delicate balance between tourism and protection of natural resources. From their deserted beaches to the dry coastal and then misty inland tropical forests, more than 27% of the country's area is protected. This attracts visitors eager to partake in the pura vida, the "pure life" of Costa Rica.
Visit these links to a travel site on Lonely, the US Department of State site, or do an internet search of your own. I visited Costa Rica in the 1970's, too long ago.I want to go back!Portrait by Joe Graziano
Joe and Betty Graziano traveled there in January. The photos were many and amazing. I pared them down to create the slideshow below. All photos are courtesy of Joe Graziano.