Tag Archives: fishing

Fall in Montana

This morning, I headed out the door bound for work. And while Montana is still in the trenches of summer, I felt something completely different. A new feeling that could only mean one thing—fall.

And while I’m not trying to rush summer out the door (I literally want her to stay as long as possible), I couldn’t help but let my mind water to fall in Western Montana.

My mind wandered to this scene of the Flathead River, taken last fall.

An early morning on the Flathead River, taken last fall.

It’s just that fall is so lovely. It’s filled with mild temperatures, changing colors, perfect fly-fishing conditions and a delicious breeze that manages to combine fresh, crisp mountain air with the warm smell of sun-drenched grass, pumpkins and cider.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is how I can share the awesomeness of fall in Montana with you. Because let’s get serious…you and I both know that my beloved Montana is not one of the first places you think of when you think of awesome fall destinations.

But, it should be. Here’s why…

Fall Colors
I’m calling it: Montana is an up-and-coming fall foliage viewing destination. While we may not have the gorgeous colors of Michigan or the spectacular array of reds found on the east coast, Montana gets its shine on in the form of brilliant shades of yellows and golds, with splashes of reds and oranges in the underbrush.

Autumn colors in Glacier National Park.

Autumn colors in Glacier National Park. Photo: Donnie Sexton.

Glacier National Park
While the height of visitation to my most favorite place happens during July and August, as far as I’m concerned September and October are totally the belle of the ball in terms of times to visit Glacier National Park. Why? a) The crowds are gone. b) The hiking trails are open and you and your hiking buddy may be the only one on them. c) The fall colors combined with the peaks are a site to see. d) Time restrictions on cyclists biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road are lifted after Labor Day.

A shoulder season trip with Glacier Park Boat Company in Two Medicine.

A shoulder season trip with Glacier Park Boat Company in Two Medicine.

Fishing
To be honest, there’s no time of year I’d rather fly-fish in Western Montana than autumn. I think it’s the quietness of the river, the crisp edge in the air and the relaxation that comes along with it.

Fishing on the Bitterroot River. Photo courtesy of Mike Brodwater

Fishing on the Bitterroot River. Photo: Mike Brodwater

Golf
Even though I may not be known for my stellar golf game, I can still appreciate a beautiful course that plays nicely. You know what else I appreciate? A golf season that reaches into the shoulder season so people like me can hit the links and not be afraid of hitting other golfers.

Epic Events
Montana has some sweet fall events. Topping my personal list are Montana Dragon Boat Festival on Flathead Lake, Montana Brewers Festival in Missoula, Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish and Scarecrow Festival in Stevensville.

Paddles up!

Paddles up!

Wishing you a fun-filled and delicious smelling fall,
TT

A Girl Needs To Fish

Truth #1: I’ve had a hankering to fish all summer. (As in a I-couldn’t-get-it-out-of-my-head-and-thought-about-it-all-of-the-time type of hankering).

Truth #2: I did not go fishing all summer.

Considering these two truths and where I live, you wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to go fishing. But before I knew it, summer had come and gone and fall was here smacking me across the face and reminding me that I didn’t do the ONE thing I had been jonesing for the last few months.

And for this girl, that just didn’t seem right. So I did what any logically thinking, smart-minded, innovative messy-haired person would do. I rounded up some buddies and went fishing. And it, my friends, was grand.

Where did we cast our lines?

First, we traveled south to the Bitterroot River where we met our guides with Montana Hunting & Fishing Adventures and spent the next several hours floating and fishing.

Favorite shot of the day.

Throughout the duration of our float, my cast went from not strong or pretty to slightly improved. After a day of instruction and fine-tuning, I’m happy to report that I landed one fish–a little, yet feisty fella.

Ya buddy. (Photo courtesy of my friend and fishing companion, Mike Brodwater).

The next stop on our journey had us traveling north, with a stop in Missoula to meet up with the nice guides from Grizzly Hackle. While the gentlemen in the group talked fishing, I did once of the things I do best–perused the shop.

Fish + Montana = LOVE.

Waders. Don't mind if I do.

After a pit stop in Missoula, our fish-loving crew north to the Middle Fork of the Flathead River and met up with Glacier Anglers. It was here, I’m very happy to report, that I caught six fish. And while that was the low number for the day (my companions all out-fished me), I take solace in the fact that my guide/friend said I had the prettiest fish of the day.

Want to make a grown man smile? Take him fishing.

Beauty queen.

Here’s to many more days filled with fishing rods, locally tied flies and the great waters of Montana.

xo,
TT

PS: Who wants to go fishing? Call me.

Montana Summer: A Photo Recap

I’m not sure how many of you feel this way, but this girl is having a hard time saying goodbye to summer. It’s like I blinked and all of the sudden it’s gone.

This summer was definitely one for the books, with thousands of miles logged, countless scoops of ice cream consumed and beautiful snapshots of images that will be carried with me always. And while I’m looking forward to autumn, colorful fall foliage, beautiful drives and spiced cider, my heart is still mourning the loss of summer.

But instead of saying goodbye, I’m going to bid summer a hearty farewell, so long and a hope to see you soon. And summer, until we meet again, I’m going to remember the good times and adventures we shared under Montana’s big blue sky.

Lake McDonald from Apgar, Glacier National Park

A quiet creek near Stevensville, Bitterroot Valley

Outdoor summer concert - Missoula

Kerr Dam - Flathead Valley

Late summer afternoon - Tobacco Valley

Early morning sunrise - St. Ignatius

A summer tradition - Serrano's in East Glacier

Fly-fishing with friends in the rain - Glacier National Park

Hello beautiful - Glacier National Park

Hiking with baby brother - Holland Falls

Blackfeet Nation

Missoula from Mt. Sentinel

Summer = Strawberry Lemonade

Seeley-Swan Valley

Montana hugs and kisses,
TT

A Missoula Good Time

Last week, I met up with five lovely ladies for a trip centered around the garden city of Missoula. We only had a few days together and decided to pack in as much action, character and food as we could.

And pack it in we did.

For the first night of our trip, we headed up to Ten Spoon Winery in the Rattlesnake Valley. While the wine (all organic mind you) got rave reviews, the thing that stood out to me the most was the setting. Located just minutes from downtown Missoula, it gave me the feeling that we were miles away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

The vineyard at Ten Spoon Winery.

And because we needed to work off our food and wine, the next morning we hiked the “M” on Mount Sentinel. While we got our legs burning and our sweat on under Montana’s big blue sky and beaming sun, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the city at the top.

A few of my traveling companions after making it to the M.

We also toured the Smokejumper Visitor Center and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Visitor Center, hit up Downtown Tonight, took fly-fishing lessons from Grizzly Hackle, enjoyed the local Saturday markets and rafted the iconic Blackfoot River with 10,000 Waves. I also had the smoothest trail ride of my life with Dunrovin Ranch on their Tennessee Walking Horses.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Learning to cast with Bryce and Ben.

Ready to raft!

Not to be left out, we gave much of our attention to Missoula’s incredible restaurants, with stops at Red Bird Wine Bar for their champagne fondue (one of my all time faves), The Catalyst (nothing says summer like their Caesar salad–for reals), Scotty’s Table (their lemon cheesecake is smooth, creamy and light), Hob Nob, The Shack, Finn & Porter (where I had the best yogurt/granola/fresh berry combination to date) and Lolo Creek Steakhouse where the highlight–besides the steak–was the coconut macaroon sundae. So delicious.

The grill at Lolo Creek Steak House.

It was one Missoula good time.

Until next week,
TT

A Trip to Glacier National Park & Whitefish

A few weeks ago, we rounded up some friends from Montana and across the country and made our way to Glacier National Park. The group was a tad nervous, as the skies and forecast really seemed to want to put a damper on our fun time. But we were a stalwart bunch and couldn’t be deterred.

We grabbed our beanies, down jackets, rain gear and headed northeast to the community of East Glacier. Having grown up just two hours south of East Glacier, I spent quite a bit of time there during the summers when I was just a little blond bundle.

While I looked forward to staying at Glacier Park Lodge when I was younger, I think I look forward to it even more today. It reminds me of a simpler time…when my hair was always messy, my gap was even bigger (I managed to knock out my front teeth when I was younger) and summer vacation was greeted with open arms, excited anticipation and big plans.

Today, going to the lodge is much the same. I look forward to each visit with a touch of giddiness that remains with me, even as the years pass by.

During this visit, we were able to take a red bus tour with perhaps the cutest jammer driver of all time: Jammer Joe.

Jammer Joe

He chauffeured our group to St. Mary, Jackson Glacier Overlook and Two Medicine, regaling us with history of the park, tales of the past and his sweet voice as it crooned a few country songs.

Two Medicine, Glacier National Park

After two days in East Glacier, we headed to our next destination on the west side of the park, the appropriately named community of West Glacier. We met up with a friend of mine, Ryan, at Glacier Outdoor Center and were given fly-fishing lessons for the next few hours. Two of the folks in my group landed fish…and while I didn’t catch a fish, I did land a tree.

Connor and Andrija perfecting a cast

After an evening in West Glacier and a morning hike with Glacier Guides, we rafted the Middle Fork of the Flathead River with Great Northern Whitewater Raft & Resort on waters that are best described as epic, fun and offering a kick-in-the-pants good time.

From there, we drove the short 30 minutes to Whitefish where we checked into The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. The next morning we headed up to Whitefish Mountain Resort for the 6-zip line tour. For our first zip, we were greeted with rain. And while it kept us company for the remainder of the morning, the zip line tour was an absolute delight!

We heart zip lining

Fog covered the mountain on a few of the lines…the longest coming in at 1,900′ and as zippers, you couldn’t see the landing platform until you were almost upon it after coming out of the fog. And to be honest, we didn’t mind the fog. It added to the excitement of each line and our determination to beat our zipping partner to the platform.

We ended back at the base lodge, where we dried off and relaxed after our adrenaline, giggle, race-filled morning.

After zipping, we headed back to town where we split up, with some biking The Whitefish Trail and others taking advantage of a break in the clouds by paddling a canoe on Whitefish Lake. As this was the last day of our journey together, we headed to McGarry’s Roadhouse for a delicious dinner, followed by several helpings of dessert.

Paddling Whitefish Lake

To my traveling partners, you were such a delight! If ever I have to spend five days in the pouring rain, complete with gray skies, I hope once again that trip will be taken with you.

Hope to see you in Montana again, soon. Until then, happy trails.

TT