This summer we took our ’85 VW Vanagon on a bit of a journey through the Rocky Mountain West. Between Montana, Idaho, and Colorado, we added a few thousand miles to the speedometer, replaced a few crucial parts, tilted *slightly* off axis, and even hosted a rodent companion for a night (sorry Andrew). In its most honest definition, we truly embraced the trout bum lifestyle. From fast-paced high mountain streams in Colorado, to the majestic Madison River in Montana, we got a taste of some of the finest trout fishing in the west. While the fishing was, well, incredible, it’s the people and communities whom we shared these experiences that made it not only possible, but unforgettable.

    Gallatin River, Montana

    We started our next day's adventure with a stop at Montana Angler to meet up with our friend and artist Casey Underwood. You've likely seen Casey's work somewhere whether it was a decal on your buddies truck, a print on the wall of your local fly shop, or even on the back of your favorite Sage t-shirt. He recently moved to the Bozeman area and we just had to link up and get on the water together. We decided on an evening session on a piece of water Kurt had picked out, so while Casey finished up some work, we headed back to the Gallatin to kill some time. This time though, we did a bit better...

    Between the TROUT LL 590-4 armed with a sizeable Chubby and the ESN 3100-4 tied up with a duo of nymphs, we really made up for the lack of bent rods the day before.

    After redeeming ourselves on the Gallatin in a big way, we split off headed to our rendezvous location with Casey. With Kurt's wealth of knowledge and network of close friends, we were fortunate enough to gain access to a beautiful piece of private water nestled among fields filled with cattle and a lone friendly rancher whom owned the property. He was in the middle of repairing the small bridge we were about to drive the van over. A bit cautious, we got out and enjoyed a short conversation, all-the-while inspecting the structural integrity of the bridge without being too obvious. All seemed up to par as well as we could tell, and with the reassurance from the rancher that our old van wouldn't have any problems crossing, we hopped back in and rolled across without a hitch. As the sun started to dip towards the horizon, the light turned gold and we awaited the evening's hatch of PMD's. There was no rush upon arrival, just taking in the solitude of Montana one minute at a time; waiting for the first fluttering pale mayfly and the nose of a feeding trout coming up to take it.

    Right on cue, the first bug made its appearance and we took stride to the river's edge. After inspecting the bugs, we made our fly choices and waited for the first risers of the evening. We spread out, with Casey working up and down the bank.

    Naturally, the four of us ended up on the same bend of river, taking turns, laughing, shouting, and just generally having a good time. The sunset was incredible, and Andrew had one hell of a time shooting photos in the fading light. In one hilarious moment though, when the last crest of the sun fell below the horizon and the shadow of the earth was now cast upon us, Andrew so eloquently tossed his camera down and proclaimed "Light's gone, it's my turn." What a way to end the evening; just four friends standing in a river, tossing dry flies to rising fish, sipping tasty brews, and enjoying each other's company. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what it's all about.

    Stay tuned for the next installment of our Trout Season Recap.