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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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Saturday, January 31, 2009

What's it like on the Bitterroot in April? Take a look...

Merle caught this on the Bitterroot in April I said I would blog a slideshow of photos from the month of April. Here it is. I slipped a photo from the Clark Fork River in as well. What a spectacular time to be on the river!
It is worth seeing this in a bigger view. Click Bitterroot River in April to launch it in a larger view.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Bookends" or Steelheading in Idaho

Josh Lauer photoOur friend and fellow outfitter, Josh Lauer, just sent these photos in. He was near a town called Kooskia (no McDonald's restaurant there) located at the confluence of the Middlefork and Southfork of the Clearwater River, along Lewis Clark US Highway 12 in North Central Idaho.Josh Lauer photo
Fly Fishing for steelhead is exciting! He said these two fish are in the smoker right now. What a pair of bookends they would make.

First hike, then ski - you do what you can to stay fit

There is not much snow in the Bitterroots right now, at least not enough to find a close place to cross country ski. These photos show a desperate attempt to exercise near home and find a place to ski!

Jack and I are spending about 8 hours a day working on the business, then attend meetings, Lady Griz Basketball (my daughter plays), play music with the band, and more. Winter is busier than you might think. He ties flies, writes material, works on gear and vehicles. I do admin and web stuff. The work is necessary, but so is a mind and fitness break. For Jack's work and for health, it is important to stay fit. We work in couple of hours of outdoor activity each day. The photos show one of our outdoor excursions with our dog, Bela.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Trout Unlimited on the Rise - Fishing the Clark Fork River

TU TV show logoTrout Unlimited On the Rise
Clark Fork River: Missoula, MT
Sat, Jan 24, 2:00 PM Run Time: 30 min.
OUTDR 153 on Dish Network
Genre: Sports, Sports non-event
First Aired: Jan 23, 2009
Topic: Fishing the Clark Fork River

For me, the jury is out on this new TU TV show, but in this episode, my favorite outfitter is fishing with Host Frank Smethurst. Check it out.

One of our clients saw it and emailed, "Hey Jack, I saw you this morning on Trout Unlimited TV fishing the Clark Fork. In early July and I will try to fish a day or two with you. The Clark Fork looked like a lot of fun. Hope all is well."

Clark Fork river in September - photo by Jack Mauer

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Clark Fork River - Guiding without the Dam

Guides on the Clark Fork River, Montana
Milltown Cleanup Update for Guides

On Wednesday, Feb. 4, from 5:30-7:30PM, the Clark Fork Coalition and Montana Trout Unlimited will co-host Guiding Without the Dam, an update for guides on the Milltown cleanup project, at the Coalition offices at 140 S. 4th St. W. Free pizza and beer will be served.

Please RSVP to or 406-542-0539.

Clark Fork Coalition
Montana Trout Unlimited

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rivers of My Memory, Stories and Poems from Streams and Wild Places by Alan Pilkington

Introducing Alan Pilkington's newest book!Book Cover image

In this compilation of short stories and poetry centered on rivers, mountains, and wild locations of great natural beauty, novelist and avid outdoors man Alan Pilkington shares the memories of the unforgettable times he spent as a young man on the banks of a mountain river outside of Melbourne, Australia.

Pilkington was born into a family where the men went to the mountains and fished for trout in the tumbling streams of the southern parts of Australia's Great Dividing Range. Cultivating a lifelong love affair with the outdoors through his many stays in cabins built by successive family generations, he learned about the bush and its creatures while gaining a deep appreciation for the value of wilderness. Pilkington shares the journal entries, stories, and poems he composed while on fly-fishing and hunting adventures in Australia, New Zealand, England, the United States, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania–some serious, some lighthearted–all with a focus on rivers and how they provide inner-peace to all who seek it through them. Rivers of My Memory will touch anyone with a passion for the wilderness and who have rivers happily entwined in their memories.

Note from Alan:

Dear Friends,

Thank you for supporting my writing in the past. Rivers of My Memory is my first published work of short stories and poems. It is now available.

If you'd like to learn more about it, go to my web site; you'll find links there to the publisher and to online
book sellers.

Or, simply go to iUniverse, Amazon, or Barnes and Nobles.

Thank you,

Alan Pilkington

Blog note: Alan is a friend of ours. With that being said, I love his novels. I haven't read this is just out. I am anxious to open the cover and get started. With his other books, I became immersed and didn't want them to end. You will want to check them out.

Click this link see another post about Alan's outdoor adventures.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Whitetail Buck on Ice near Miles City, Montana - Updated

UPDATE January 26: I found that the Billings Gazette published this story January 8. It is much more complete. See it here: Buck floatsdown Yellowstone River on ice chunks By BRETT FRENCH of The Gazette Staff.

Original Wapiti Post text:
Whitetail Buck on ice
A friend sent us these photos today. Brrrr....

An unidentified photographer took these pictures in Miles City Montana where the Tongue River flows into the Yellowstone River. The buck made it to shore. The photographer saw him jump to safety when the ice jammed close to shore.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spring Fishing on the Bitterroot and Emerging Insects

Bulltehead Skwalla - for so many years it was deadly and all that we needed
In the "Banana Belt" of western Montana, anglers not only have one of the longest fishing seasons in the state but also some of the finest dry-fly fishing at a time the fly fisherman needs it the most – in early spring. Flowing through the heart of the Bitterroot valley, the Bitterroot River has a hatch that has excited anglers for a couple of decades particularly after many articles have been published. Obviously, it is no longer a secret. I am talking about the skwalla stonefly hatch. The hatch is actually one of the several important insects to emerge in a typical western Montana spring.

The skwalla draws attention to the largest trout in the river and the beauty of it all is that it is top water fishing. In my mind anyone can (and frequently does) put on a bobber with a nymph pattern and fish to the large trout -- even using skwalla nymph patterns. But to fool large trout on the surface in the right conditions is what our spring fishing is all about.Jack's Nemoura - Skwalla hybrid

Knowledgeable, observant anglers pay attention to the natural world around them. The phenological events of spring are indicators for the fisherman. We watch for the appearance of buttercups, biscuitroot, pasque flowers, and glacier lilies on the hillsides. The robins, western meadowlarks, and western bluebirds are giving us a reminder that it is time to fish.

1. Phenological: the relationship between a regularly recurring biological phenomenon and climatic or environmental factors that may influence it.

Here are photos of a few of my favorite fly patterns that have evolved over three decades of spring fishing on the Bitterroot and Clark Fork.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm Thinking about Montana Fly Fishing in March - Bitterroot River

Jack's trout from the Bitterroot in March For those who are interested in spring fly fishing on the Bitterroot River in Montana, I am posting a series of slideshows for March, April and May.

This blog entry is for March since we begin our new year of boat fly fishing in this month. The earliest photo I have is on March 13. On any given day, you can have sun, snow, sleet, rain or a mixture of all of it. When you are floating, it is important to know the river and your boat - understanding the type of water and the distance between put-ins and take-outs. We always take a thermos of hot coffee (or cocoa) and/or soup along, and we dress in layers. It can be exhilarating to experience weather changes, the related hatches and trout feeding responses, so hold on to your hat! Remember in this season, if today is not great fishing, tomorrow probably will be. The message here is be patient and plan for at least a few days. It will be worth it.

Note: one of the photos of Jack is from the Clark Fork. We also fish the Blackfoot, Big Hole and Missouri, depending on the weather.

These photos are varied in quality. To view the slideshow in full screen mode, click View Album and choose "Slide Show."

A future entry will show the river in April. Besides featuring fish, it will have more photos of scenes including wildlife and birds. The river bottom is a "happening place" in the spring.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Tribute to the Dusty Bernard Group

Bitterroot River brown trout in the spring Dusty Bernard has been coming to the Bitterroot for years. Some of the regulars are Don Young, Jim Shultz, Jim Ogle, Peter Zouvas, Gary Spradling, Dusty and his son Tim.

I am posting a slideshow of select photos through the years. We wish you all a Happy New Year. It would be great to see you in 2009.

To view in full screen, click on "View Album" then select "Slide Show." You might need to slow it down a bit (+).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Joe and Betty Graziano - Thanks for the Memories. Here's to the New Year.

Joe Graziano on the Bitterroot
Thanks Joe and Betty for all the good times we have shared. We look forward to many more.

In the slideshow, you will see some of their passions...take a look. They know how to have fun all year-round! The fishing photos are ours, the rest are courtesy of Joe.
For full screen slideshow, click View Album, then choose "Slideshow."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bitterroot Valley has a New Brewery - Blacksmith Brewery

Retirement balloonFriday I went to my friends retirement hoorah held at the the Blacksmith Brewing Company. What a great surprise! It is in an old-time Stevensville Blacksmith Shop with it's history and charm in tact - and the beer is fantastic! In honor of my friend's retirement from a fire postion with the Forest Service, I had a Pulaski Porter for $3 a pint. The flavor was deep and rich; a smooth, dark taste. It seemed almost silky as I sipped it, yum. Currently they have five choices --Brickhouse Blonde, Twisted Paddle Pale Ale, Burnt Fork Amber, Cutthroat IPA, and of course the Pulaski Porter. No seasonals are planned at this point.
Blacksmith Brewery beers
We were there for the retirement party which meant us old codgers and our younger friends with children attended. No problem, in the non-smoking taproom there were other young families, singles, skiers, and plenty of locals. The old shop handles lots of people easily. They don't serve food at this time, but many people were ordering from Kodiak Jax which offers delivery.

Click here

for an article from about the brewery. It talks about the founders, brewmaster, the building and history, and more...good article!

Blacksmith Brewing
Open Sun. - Fri. 3-8pm and Sat 12-8pm
114 Main St. Stevensville, MT * 406 777-0680

I am waiting for Tim Akimoff of the Missoulian and Grizzly Growler to do a story on this brewery. Tim....where are you? I assure you, this brewery is much more than a "rumor." It is here to stay!

Winter in the Bitterroot - What a Show

Bitterroot River in late December
I am sharing photos of the Bitterroot valley, river and mountains in December. View the slide show or click on it to view the web album.

We had rain, then snow, then FREEZING COLD, then rain, more snow...a very unusual early winter. There is a lot of moisture, much beauty, and I need to mention the avalanche danger again. We will all be eager to get out to ski the backcountry. Please check the avalanche site for western Montana before you go. Be safe.