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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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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rainbow trout - an entirely synthetic fish. Learn more Feb 7 in Missoula, MT

Written by Merle Loman for Bitterroot Trout Unlimited.
Join Missoula and the author for a reading and signing of Anders Halverson's An Entirely Synthetic Fish. The event will be at Fact & Fiction, 220 N. Higgins Ave, Missoula, Montana on February 10th from 7 pm to 8:20 pm. For more information call the book store at (406) 721-2881. Click here for directions to Fact and Fiction downtown.
About the Book

An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World (Hardcover)

By Anders Halverson
$26.00 - ISBN-13: 9780300140873
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press, 3/2010
Anders Halverson provides an in-depth account of the rainbow trout and why it has become the most commonly stocked and controversial freshwater fish in the United States. Rainbow trout have been proudly dubbed “an entirely synthetic fish” by fisheries managers. According to Halverson, his book examines the paradoxes and reveals a range of characters, from nineteenth-century boosters who believed rainbows could be the saviors of democracy to twenty-first-century biologists who now seek to eradicate them from waters around the globe. He discusses how the story of the rainbow trout is the story of our relationship with the natural world—how it has changed and how it startlingly has not.

Anders Halverson is an award winning journalist with a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology from Yale University. With support from the National Science Foundation, he wrote this book as a research associate at the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West.
A lifelong fisherman, he currently lives in Boulder, CO.
Other Montana events for this book are:
Book Signing at Country Bookshelf Bookstore
, Bozeman, MT on Monday, February 7, 2011 at 4:00pm. Click here for more information about the Country Bookshelf Bookstore.
Book Discussion at Montana State Univ., Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT Monday, February 7, 2011 at 6:00pm. Click here for the website for Museum of the Rockies
Plenary Address at the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Great Falls, MT, Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 9:00am. Click here for AFS information
For fun, he posted this quiz on The winner received his book.
The Rainbow Trout Quiz: Question #1 - GoFISHn on GoFISHn
In 1996, IdahoDepartment of Fish and Game hatchery managers routinely taught their fish one thing before releasing them into the wild. What was it?

The answer: worms. Candy Craig got it right, and she's the winner of a copy of the book. The reason the fisheries officials put the fish on a worm diet was to prepare them for the wild. They feared the fish would swim around looking for pellets  when they were released, which is their normal fare in the hatchery.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Banjo Jack's Parachute Caddis - Jack shares his fly pattern

In guiding fly fishers over the years, I've noticed that clearly the single most important criterion for clients fishing out of a boat is fly visibility. Many great all-purpose and attractor dry flies work extremely well. Various colored Wulffs, humpies, parachutes, and the elk hair caddis come to mind -- all proven patterns that catch lots of trout, but are not always easy to see.

Another great all-purpose pattern is the Down-Wing Drake, developed by Phil Wright -- nothing more than a grey thread body, a deer hair tail and down-wing, and a grey hackle wrapped forward of the down-wing. It's a wonderful caddis and mayfly imitator. The only problem is that neither tired old eyes nor younger eyes accustomed to perusing the Wall Street Journal can see it.

Parachute dry flies are great, too. One can drag them around to the feeding lanes and they usually don’t sink or tip over. They seem to land with their wings upright most of the time and are easily seen with the naked eye, especially if tied with orange poly pro yarn or various colors of antron body wool for the upright wing. The high-visibility orange parachutes have been on the market for many years in various incarnations.

I've experimented with different down-winging schemes for a hi-vis orange, hot pink or white caddis parachute. Feedback from stubborn, hard-headed guide associates and friends has been extremely important in determining which combinations work best. In addition, I have had the opportunity to watch numerous clients of varying skill try them under differing water and light conditions. Thus has evolved "Banjo Jack's Parachute Caddis." Orange and hot pink seem easier to see under a sunny sky, while antron white seems to show up best under cloud cover.

By tying in a small clump of dark to medium-dark deer hair down-wing style behind the parachute wing, I've found an excellent caddis and /or mayfly emerger that is easy to see. Early to mid-summer fishing on many western waters can find both caddis and mayfly species throughout the day and Banjo Jack's Parachute Caddis fits the bill in a variety of sizes and body colors.

I've varied body materials using both synthetic and natural materials, but peacock herl and hare's ear dubbing ride low on the surface film and have proven very effective. A wire rib greatly increases the durability of the herl. You can vary the materials and even try a short tail of marabou or sparkle yarn. Give this pattern a chance and I'll bet you will enjoy the results. It is particularly good in smaller sizes, like 16's.

caddis illustration

The directions for tying are as follows:
  1. Start at the eye. Give head a good bed of thread and bring thread toward the eye of the hook.
  2. One-quarter shank length behind the eye, tie in a couple of strands of orange poly yarn with 6 good wraps and trim off as closely as possible. (The amount of poly yarn varies with hook size)
  3. Pull up the yarn into a post-wing and use 10 clockwise wraps around the base of the post; then reverse the thread and put on ten counter-clockwise wraps; don't trim the wing top. This forms a sturdy base for wrapping the hackle.
  4. Move the thread to the back of the hook and tie in the body materials, e.g. three strands of peacock herl and some fine copper wire. Wrap the thread back up to behind the wing.
  5. Wrap the herl to behind the wing, but don't crowd the wing and don't cut the herl strands. Then wrap the wire to rib the body and trim the wire.
  6. Next take a sparse clump of deer body hair (flank or shoulder area) and trim the butts evenly. Trim so that the ends won't extend too far beyond the end of the hook.
  7. Tie in the down wing firmly. Wrap the herl over the butts and under the orange wing, then tie off.
  8. Tie in a grey dun or grizzly hackle sword and wrap parachute-style around the base of the orange poly wing. Five or six turns will float the fly just fine.
  9. Whip-finish the head, cut the thread and trim the orange wing fairly short.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy new year to all our friends, old, new and not yet met

Pinegrass played new years eve for First Night Missoula at Break Espresso from 5 pm to 6 pm. The turn out was fantastic. Lots of people pulled chairs towards the band, stood along the walls and in the aisles and enjoyed coffees, teas, and pastries. Pinegrass has never sounded better. Happy new year everyone.

Pinegrass has been playing weekly since 1988. The over-all sound of the band is a result of the individual influences and passions of each player. The common denominator for all Pinegrass members is to play each number with feeling - they strive to play good tunes, the way they're "supposed" to be played. You will hear traditional Bluegrass played "true" to the original (mostly), and a bit of Swing, Dylan and whatever else strikes the fancy of the band-mates at the moment. Members are John Joyner, fiddle and vocals; Bill Neaves, guitar and vocals, Chad Fadely Mandolin; Jack Mauer, banjo, dobro and vocals; and Ted Lowe, bass and vocals. Tidbit: "Pinegrass" (scientific name: Calamagrostis Rubescens) is a native grass.