Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012: Thanks for the Memories!

Mike C. deep in Far East.
Here we are at the end of another year, and it's been a great one for ZCA.  This was our first year providing winter snow info, to offset our relatively short fishing off season.  The weather did not disappoint and we got three feet of fluff over three days in January.  Our readership expanded, as did our followers on social media.  We hope to keep growing in 2013.

Josh and beautiful Salmon River hen
In February, Josh D and I made our first explorations in the Salmon River country for steelhead.  We also made our yearly jaunt over to the Clearwater for the B-Runs.  For the first time, I began to better understand where steelies like to hold.  Those journeys also cemented my resolve to return to the Salmon this fall to learn the art of the swing. 

Jay Dixon and Al Pils having a skwala moment.
March brought us the skwalas and the annual craziness that surrounds this now enigmatic hatch in the Bitterroot.  We had great days, bad days, and days in between.  We also saw the unfortunate results of green rowing with several flipped boats.  Let's hope this season is safer!  Late in the month, we made our first trip to Yurtski in the southern Swan Range, and had a blast hiking the ridge during the day and playing Scrabble by night.  There's a lot of amazing terrain that we can't wait to ski again, especially with a bunch of fresh powder on it!
Jon Bentzel testing a cornice.

April brought more skwala silliness and our soon-to-be-traditional Smith River excursion.  We caught some nice browns, enjoyed some beautiful weather, then got soaked and frozen for two days.  It was worth it, as always, and we're all about to put in for permits next month.  Jason will be guiding the Smith again this year and I'm hoping to hop on at least one trip myself.
Later in the spring, I got to learn the ways of the lower Missouri, with a lot of thanks to Jay Dixon and Phil Camera, who were both instrumental in the steep learning curve.  And I have to also thank Marc Betourney for selling me the sweetest used drift boat in Montana.

The heart of the guide season was great for both Jason and myself, as well as many of our fellow brothers in arms.  Probably the highlight for both of us was our trip with Ira, Sal, Alex, and Phillip on the South Fork.  Great clients, great fishing, great scenery, and lots of laughs.

Ahhh, the South Fork.

The fall brought us our annual round of mayfly fun on the Clark Fork and Bitterroot.  We also had some banner streamer fishing.  I've definitely come to love fishing with my buddy Zach Scott from FCFT.  When he's not showing me up.

 Then there's the magic of steelhead on the swing.  I can't say enough about my new found love for these amazing fish and the incredible journeys they make. I can't wait for next fall.  I'll be that much further along and hopefully we'll have a bigger run.
Finally, after a slow start, winter arrived again and now we're all sitting around waiting for the next big storm.  I have a lot of people to thank for some amazing times this year.  In no particular order:  Jay and Deb Dixon; Russell Parks and the Missoulian Angler staff; Will Fisher; Josh Duchateau; Marc Betourney; Lance Gleason and 406 Outfitters; Tom Jenni's Reel Montana; Joe Maretta, Little Bro, Doog, Robin, and company; John Gould and Double Up Outfitters; Zach Scott, Stan Spoharski, Anthony Von Ruden and False Casts and Flat Tires; Karl, Adam and all the boys at Yurtski; Chadwell Dubose and Conner Scott, Smith River Corps of Discovery; Wes"t Ridge" Bolton, Jon Bentzel, Rob Bell, Mike C, Jay, Jamie Bird and our whole ski gang; Montana Snowbowl and LRI, especially the lifties and bar staff; and all our awesome fishing clients and endorsing outfitters.

 If I forgot to mention anyone, all apologies.  Hope you all have a wonderful 2013!  Happy New Year!!!

Happy 2013!

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