Montana Outdoors

April 17, 2007

Tree fishing

Filed under: Fishin' stories, Fishing, Humor, Montana, Nature, Outdoors — montucky @ 6:41 pm

Most people who aren’t intimately involved with the outdoors have the impression that fishing is done in oceans, lakes, streams, rivers and an occasional pond. Nothing could be further from the truth! As any experienced fly caster can tell you, most fishing is done in trees!

My personal favorite fishing tree here in Montana is the Alder: Thinleaf Alder (Alnus tebuifolia) to be exact. They have been called by other names from time to time, in fact I have observed a large number of very colorful descriptions of them over the years. I guess they’re at the top of my list because I have caught so many of them.

Alnus tebuifolia grows to be around 30 ft high, which is a very convenient height for the fly caster because he frequently uses approximately that length of line for most casts, at least on the smaller streams. There’s usually one stationed near the stream bank adjacent to a good trout hole (I think they have a contract with Mother Nature). When fishing rivers and larger streams, it is considered better form to catch taller trees, such as the pine and fir, but it’s slightly harder to do and they are not nearly as sporting as the Alder.

The exact technique for hooking Alders will vary from angler to angler, depending on their experience and ability. My own style has evolved over many years and is now perfected. I carefully calculate the distance to the exact spot where I have judged a lunker trout to be lurking, unspool the measured amount of line necessary to drop my fly precisely on that spot, go into my back cast and hook the appropriate Alder behind me which is growing at that exact distance, plus or minus a millimeter or two, depending on the wind conditions. This gives me plenty of exercise and gives the lunker an opportunity to escape or sometimes just stay put and laugh. I hate it when they laugh!

On my most recent fishing trip, after several hours on the stream, I met up with my fishing partner:

“Hey, Montucky, how’d you do?”

“Oh, the usual: two small Rainbows, one nice Brown, six Brookies, two pines, one fir and thirty seven Alders. How ‘bout you?”

“About the same. Except the fish. Didn’t get any of those.”

Well, what do you know! He’s a little short on experience, but already he’s becoming a purist!

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