Outdoor Report with Bruce McDonald
10-day hunting and fishing trip takes Luling’s Gary Brasher on a ‘Lewis and Clark’ adventure
MONTANA. Gary Brasher made the trip of a lifetime when he trekked through Montana on a 10-day trip. That’s the rainbow trout he caught using a brown nymph.
Belgrade is on the eastern side of the Continental Divide and also surrounded by some of our nation’s most beautiful mountainous and river scenery. And many says that the sprawling land offers antelope, mule deer, elk, bear, pheasant, ducks, whitetail deer and rainbow trout, just to name a few.
Montana is three times the size of Louisiana and has a total population of just over 800,000. Historical explorers, Lewis and Clark, trekked through the state looking for the Northwest Passage. So, with an invitation, Gary flew to Montana to meet his Uncle Dave and find a passage of his own.
After arriving on the first day, Gary and his uncle drove 30 miles southwest of Belgrade to a pheasant farm to fly fish on a privately-stocked pond.
With temperatures in the 60s in the morning and the 70s in the afternoon, Gary wore a T-shirt to fish in for rainbow trout.
Mountain backdrops provided a beautiful setting for fishing. The trout gobbled up a dark-brown nymph with a red Blazer-Tail Wet Fly. All the bugs were hand made for specialized use.
The second day’s schedule was planned around seeing snow, so Gary and Dave ended up in the Madison Mountain Range, 45 miles south of Belgrade.
With elevations ranging 11,000 feet on clear days, it was visible to see neighboring mountain ranges, some as far as 30 miles away.
On the return trip from the Madison Mountains, two herds of elk, nearly 600 individual animals, grazed undisturbed in the valley.
Hunting season had not opened yet in Belgrade while Gary was visiting, but Dave had friends from Baton Rouge coming in to hunt the following week. So they headed out to set-up a camper in the Gallatin Petrified Forest.
Near the campsite, Gary found wolf tracks ¾ the size of his hand. The reintroduction of wolves in that area has changed the elks’ activity patterns. They will now only graze below the tree lines.
On the way to the Gallatin Petrified Forest, Gary and Dave made a pit stop to fish in the Yellowstone River.
Dave told Gary, "The Yellowstone River is one of the Top 10 blue-ribbon fishing rivers in the state of Montana for rainbow trout."
To lure in the trout, the two used a floating dry bug made of light-brown rabbit hair that resembled a floating insect, and the rainbow devoured it.
The Yellowstone River is a clear, cold and pebble-laidened fishery. The river's deep pools and eddies collect fish along its banks and fishing with waders and a fly rod heighten the excitement when a fish is on - all of which make the experience so enjoyable.
On day three, Gary and Dave traveled three hours northwest to Ingomar, where Gary had a chance to hunt antelope on 6,000 open acres.
Slow rolling hills and wide-open terrain made this area a prime habitat for antelope, also known as “speed goats.”
Many of the farmers have plenty of land which is spread out over miles.
Each barter to pay another off when specialized work is needed, and in this case, Gary and Dave had the chance to stay in a top-of-the-line hunting camp. One that would normally cost $2,500 per night, all thanks Dave. He had completed some carpentry work and was given a few nights stay.
Gary’s trip also took him to Park City, which is 60 miles west of Bozeman. There he and his uncle had a chance to hunt on a 3,000-acre ranch.
Cottontail rabbits thrived there. And since the farmers didn't eat rabbit, Gary went out and killed six cottontails.
Adding a Cajun touch, Gary cooked the rabbits in a brown gravy of onions, celery and bell pepper. The farmer's family was delighted with the delicacy.
Rounding out the 10-day adventure, the two traveled to Cladwell, which is 40 miles west of Bozeman.
Waiting for the big-game hunting season to open, Gary hunted an area called Three Forks.
By this time the temperature had dropped to 16 degrees fahrenheit. They stayed at a friend's cabin on a pheasant farm. Gary managed to shoot a mule deer doe, and a few friends with elk and bear tags were able to fill them.
Gary sized up the trip by saying, "To catch rainbow trout, kill a mule deer, see elk, antelope, white tail, pheasant, and bear was a trip well spent."
"You spent 10 days and didn't scratch the surface," said Dave.
Personally, I'm hoping Gary will take his neighbor (hint, hint) next time he goes!
Spillway doubles as 4-wheeler paradise
Last weekend my son Hunter and I spent a Sunday afternoon at the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway riding his dirt bike.
The spillway is located on the north side of Norco along Airline Highway and offers many trails, jumps, mud holes and roads on the river side.
However, beware not to venture too far from a trail.
Escavators dig deep holes to remove river sand for construction and some pits are very deep. There are trails for the beginners and for the experts. Ride the area and follow everyone at first. Then pick the roads suited for your ability.
Also, pay attention to the spillway’s posted rules.
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