Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bighorn Fishing Camp

I just got my home in Livingston from Bighorn River. Guide training school run by Sweetwater Travel was really worth for the money in many ways (being a licensed guide is my own issue but I know what to do!).

First of all, our lodge, Cottonwood Camp, is really a cozy place to stay over a week. I have once stayed in a place in Fort Smith and it was so know entire region is so rusty already........ As a resident in Western Montana, I hate the sulfur-smelling & slick water and sticky dirt in eastern MT. But water at Cottonwood was actually pretty good in terms of cooking, brewing coffee, dish-washing, and taking a shower. If you come to fish Bighorn, I strongly suggest to stay at Cottonwood, period.
Second, programs provided us all the groceries and we cooked fine meals. It was a gorgeous version of my own fishing trips. I love to cook fresh meals!! I took a charge of breakfast; tossing some eggs and bacons and brewing coffee.
Third, training session was well-organized all through. There were 9 students and 3 instructors. We changed team members and sections.

There were good interactions between instructors and students and among all of us as days go by.

We were hit by fluffy and puffy hales. That scared us a bit and as we found them tiny snowballs, not an ice-cubes, we started to laugh.

The program included the jet boat training. Well, it was not simply my game as it meant for guiding in Alaska. I did enjoy handling a jet boat as an experience but I just felt like I was going down the hill with a bicycle when I was a 5- or 6-year-old boy. Instructors already knew my intention and objective for attending the school = being a guide in Southwest Montana = so the instructor of the day was easy on this subject and and he told me to get off the jet and fish some by myself while he trained other two students. It was quite a relief for me as I was afraid of accidents such as flipping over the boat or grounding it!! Anyway while I was alone fishing, I caught a little one and to express my joy and relief, I self-timered myself!!

Indeed I caught some more while by myself.

We played roles as a guide and a client under an instructor. We talked a lot about pointing spots, observing hatches, selecting flies, reading waters, rowing a drift boat and all other stuffs but after all catching some nice trout verified our discussions and I made it happen by catching Bighorn trophies. This is one of the finest rainbow among us.

And brown. Both were 18-inch-class and they gave some excitement and chaos to the oarsman of the day along with my description how big they were!! I really enjoyed to play a role of an accomplished fisherman!!

We packed sandwiches for lunch on the river. On the very last day, we grilled salmon at the bank of Bighorn. It was terrific but I did worry cow-poop on the ground!! (just kidding)
The last shot before the departure. I'm the skinny dude on the left side with an orange hat and bandanna.

My biggest objective was nothing but how to improve my rowing skills. I explained my situations to instructors and they gave me best times. I'm sure I can offer great drifts in Madison and Yellowstone Rivers for both American and Japanese anglers, whether it will be dry-fly, nymph, or streamer fishing. Also through the course, Bighorn will be my guiding river as well.

Over all, it was an all-packed experience as I shared camping and fishing with people in different ages and fly-fishing experiences.

I'd really like to see a couple of students and instructors along the river in Montana!!

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