Where to catch Big Trout Fly Fishing?? (Where to catch 10 lb Rainbow and Brown Trout and have a memorable day without the crowds)

Sometimes it’s just nice to get away from the crowds and catch big fish. At Monster Lake Ranch you can do just that. It’s a place to get away and have some great times with your friends, family or just by yourself.

It’s located just outside the amazing town of Cody, Wyoming. (Map of where Monster Lake Ranch is)

Cody, Wyoming is a great place to spend a couple days and I would highly suggest doing so. You have the Buffalo Bill museum which is one of my favorite museums. In the summer you can enjoy the Rodeo every night of the week. It is also, only 50 miles away from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Don’t forget to eat at the Rib and Chop house when you are there!! You’ll love it! Best steaks and great atmosphere.

When you decide to book a trip to Monster Lake Ranch you’ll be amazed with the hospitality and willingness to make your day the best day it can be.

Big Brown Trout MonsterLakeRanch.com

Big Brown Trout MonsterLakeRanch.com

They have two ponds at Monster Lake Ranch.

Quick Lake is full of Brook Trout up to 4lbs but don’t be surprised if you hook up to a 10 lb brown trout though. Quick lake has some surprises to give you at any time.

Monster Lake is the one that I go straight to when I go. It has Rainbows up to 12 lbs to catch and Brown trout up to 10 lbs. It is an amazing fishery that generates huge fish from the Monster Scuds, prolific hatches, and flathead minnows that are in these waters.

My cousin Steven best described this Lake by saying, “This is just ridicolous” He said this after catching his 10th or so rainbow between 5 lbs and 8 lbs. Enjoy our video from a day at Monster Lake this October 2014.

Monster Lake Ranch is amazing, in the fact they only let a certain amount of people fish the two lakes in a day. This is nice because it will guarantee you a day of solitude and peace, without worrying about, if your favorite stretch of water is already taken. There is nothing worse driving to your favorite water and see another person fishing the hole, you so wanted to fish. So Monster Lake Ranch respects that and only allows a low number of fly fisherman on the lake a day.

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You can fish this lake by yourself or have a (hand picked guide for the day) that knows the lake very well. It’s still fishing and not a place where you will catch a fish every cast. Sometimes it is slower than other times. If you have never fished Monster Lake Ranch I highly suggest getting a guide. It can make you go from a 2 fish day to a 40 fish day (if the fish are cooperating) cause like I said it’s still fishing and not just catching.

You can choose to use a drift boat or choose to wade. I like the drift boat option because I just love the feeling of being on the water. If you choose to wade, don’t worry, you’ll still have a great opportunity to catch a lot of fish. A lot of these fish are beach cruisers and just cruise around the lake eating. So keep your eyes peeled and you’ll have a chance to do a lot of sight casting.

I hope you make it out to Monster Lake Ranch and experience this amazing place for yourself. You can make it a day trip or stay at the ranch in one of there many cabins and make it a few day trip. Just make sure you stretch a lot and do some curls before hand. You’ll need the extra muscle reeling in those big fish!

Book a trip by clicking this link or to find out more information about this amazing fishery: Monster Lake Ranch Contact Us Page. 

Here is a little bonus information for you. Here are some great flies to fish with while you’re at Monster Lake Ranch from Catch Fly Fishing.

 

 

 

Have you ever been Grandma’d?? (Being Grandma’d on the river and what it means)

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I love good old fishing stories and this one is 100% true and I hope you enjoy it.

On a day this summer myself and some friends decided to go fish away from our home waters. We were really excited about it and ready for the adventure. We hit the road and soon enough we arrived. There was only one thing wrong, why was the water so low??? I’m talking about a fourth of what it should be. Normally it wouldn’t be a problem but it was really mossy and the fish were buried deep in the green junk.

We already booked the hotel and were committed, so we all decided we were going to make the best of it, and have some fun. About the time we were ready to back up the boat, another car pulled up, with an old aluminum boat. It was all rusty, and looked like it might possibly have a couple leaks. Looked a lot like the boat below.

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When the couple got out of the car it was an older couple, probably in their late 70′s. The man started talking to me about how he had fished this river for over 50 years and how he couldn’t believe the water was so low. I tried saying hi to the woman but she seemed as if she couldn’t hear me or couldn’t speak. I couldn’t quite tell.

He continued with his conversation telling me I should use some worms, not those fake ones, but the real ones. Fish like em better and you’ll catch more. I told him, I appreciated his advice but we were going to try to do some dry fly fishing. He kinda looked at me funny and said “well, good luck lad, we’re going to go get some fish for super tonight”.

We pushed off the ramp and the Grandma turned to us and  said “good luck.” All of us looked at each other with a look of holy cow, she can talk!

We were off and the journey began. It was so low and there were several times where we had to get out of the boat, just to push the boat to deeper water. I kept thinking throughout the day, I hope that old couple is doing okay. I kept looking for them but was thinking maybe they changed their minds.

We had an okay day but the fishing was a lot slower than we were hoping for. We had about an hour left of daylight and that’s when I saw the best thing a dry fly fisherman could see. A huge pod of rising fish.

The spot where the fish were rising, was on river right and it was one of the only deep parts of the river that day. So I decided to anchor in the middle of the river and we could cast from there. It was working out great! We caught two fish in a matter of 5 minutes, without scaring the pod of fish at all. We were all grins and excited for the rest of the time we had casting to these rising fish. But that’s when it happened! The term being Grandma’d was about to originate.

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I looked back and their was old Grandma and Grandpa heading our way. Grandpa was rowing while grandma was in the back with her rod and worms. They could of went to the left of us and left the pod of fish for us to fish. But that Grandma had other plans! They rowed right passed us without ever saying a word, with stone cold faces, and dropped those worms right in the middle of those rising fish. Bam!! Fish on! She reeled that thing in, put it on the stringer with the other 10 trout and just kept on rowing.

All of us just looked at each other with blank looks on our face and just started laughing historically! “Did that really just happen!” We just got Grandma’d so hard!!

So that is how the term getting Grandma’d got started.

All I have to say is, Good for you Grandma!! You keep, keeping it real and I appreciate you for all the laughter we had and still will have for years to come.

 

Portraits for a cause is Today!!! November 15, 2014

As you probably know Tracy and I love to help out our community along with a lot of other charities we support. We need your help with this one and guess what??? It’s today November 15, 2014!

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It’s happening TODAY!!! From 10 am to 4 pm!!! November 15, 2014

Come support the Billings, Montana community and this amazing charity event “Portraits for a Cause” Tracy Moore Photographers by coming to the Billings Open Studio right above Bottega Clothing. Address is 2814 2nd Ave N, Billings, Mt 59101.

You can get a family photo on a disk with full photo rights for $35 and leave with it the same day. There will be 4 different back drops to choose from. All money goes to Santa Clause for a Cause by Hot 101.9. To help families this holiday season with meals, presents and feeling loved.

One of 4 backgrounds. The other backgrounds are all neutral.

One of 4 backgrounds. The other backgrounds are all neutral.

It is our 5th year doing it! We would love you to come down and support this amazing charity.

There will be free coffee from Rock Creek Coffee Roasters, an adorable 8 year old girl will be painting nails, and buddy the elf (played by my cousin Steven Ladefoged).

It’s from 10am to 4pm today. No appointments needed. Just come anytime.

Thanks and please come support the community of Billings!

 

How to get into fly fishing (fly rods, fly reels, fly line, backing, leaders, tippet, flies, polarized sunglasses, waders, boots, camera, net, knots, Simms, Fishpond, Patagonia, Loon, Buffs, Orvis, Everything about fly fishing)

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Are you new to fly fishing? Are you curious on how to get into it and what to purchase? Well, I spent the last 10 hours coming up with a power point presentation to help you with that. Make sure you click the full screen mode to enhance your viewing pleasure :).

Also, I will be partnering up with Monster Lake and offering classes in the near future that go over: rod selection, reel selection, setting up your rod from start to finish, building leaders, techniques for fishing and basic fly casting. It will be a really fun class to get you all ready for next years fly fishing season.

Story time with Montana Matt (Home is where you make it)

So as you can probably imagine, I hear a lot of stories on my boat. Some sad, some funny, some where only one person is laughing :), and then there are lots of life stories. Well, I am going to tell you a story, I heard on my boat, that was one of my favorites of the year. I am going to change some things up and make it a fishing story. So hopefully you enjoy it and feel free to pass it along to your friends.

'Wet flies, dry flies, they're all the same to me - help yourself.'

There is a local fly shop in the middle of a town. This fly shop gets many visitors everyday. A lot from the same town, some from out of town and some that are just moving into the area.

One day a man came into the fly shop and asked the fly owner, “How are the local fly fisherman in this town? The clerk responded “Where are you coming from sir?”

“I’m from another state and just moved into town”

The clerk asked “How were the local fly fisherman from where you came from?”

The man said “The greatest! Everybody wanted to help each other out. We would have nights where we would all get together and tie flies and just have a good time getting to know each other. It was the best”

The clerk responded “You can expect the same here sir. You’ll love it here! The people are exactly that way and you will fit right in.

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Two days later another man came into the fly shop. He had a scowl on his face and yelled “Who owns this establishment?”

The clerk popped out of the back room and said “I do sir, what can I help with?”

The man said “I just moved here from out of town, where all the fly fisherman were grumpy, mean, and didn’t want to help anybody out. They would start rumors about everybody and didn’t want anybody to do well. How does this town compare to my old town I just moved from?”

The clerk responded: “Sir, this town is the exact same. The people here are grumpy, start rumors, and won’t help you out. They will hold you down and don’t care if you succeed.”

The man walked out of the store and whispered under his breath “everywhere I ****** move, the same people live in the town.”

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I love this story so much because it speaks truth to the fact that what you give this world, with your attitude and spirit, is exactly what you will get back from it.

I’m sure every town has a few people you wouldn’t want to be around but if you’re not that kind of person, it will be pretty easy to stay clear of them.

I hope you enjoyed this story and keep staying positive and find people that fill you up inside instead of always taking from you.

Why I love Patagonia (Why I respect this company so much)

There are companies popping up all over the place but there is still one, that at it’s core, represents what every company should strive to do. This is a company Tracy and I truly believe in and what they stand for. We would love to be ambassadors for this company someday because our values in life are on the same page of this amazing company.

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Let’s first look at the awesome products Patagonia has to offer to the fly fishing community:

First let’s look at the Men’s waders:

These are the : PATAGONIA MEN’S RIO GALLEGOS ZIP-FRONT WADERS

Description from their site: “Our highest performing, most durable, feature-rich waders utilize our H2No® Performance Standard midweight fabric at the chest and heaviest weight fabric throughout the body; with a TIZIP® front zipper; wool-lined booties have abrasion-resistant soles.”

They have wool-lined booties!! Are you kidding me?? That is awesome! I don’t know about you but I love my feet being comfortable and warm and these waders will do just that!

They also have a zipper which is a must in my opinion. I pretty much live in my waders and I wouldn’t imagine not having easy access going to the bathroom.

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Then what I love most about Patagonia is how every manufacturing plant is recycling old products, and making new products with it; not compromising the new product in any way, but just helping out our footprint on this earth by being smarter.

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So the biggest complaint I hear about fly fishing companies from my clients is how they cater way to much to men. Women like to look good even when they are on the water. They want waders that fit their body type. Well again Patagonia has done this and has done this very well.

Here is the: PATAGONIA WOMEN’S SPRING RIVER WADERS

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My wife Tracy took this photo of April Vokey rocking the Patagonia Women’s waders.

Description from their site: “Designed specifically for the female angler, these highly versatile, lightweight, feature rich H2No® Performance Standard waders can be worn in the widest range of fishing scenarios—from small streams to big rivers.”

And again Patagonia goes way beyond just having a normal factory for these waders:

The Footprint Chronicles®

Again, from their site: “We promote fair labor practices, safe working conditions and environmental responsibility throughout the Patagonia supply chain.”
Below are the suppliers that impact the Patagonia Women’s Spring River Waders

Bemis Associates, Inc. has supplied our adhesives since 2000. Always a willing development partner, they adopted the bluesign® standard in their U.S. manufacturing location.

Bemis Associates, Inc. has supplied our adhesives since 2000. Always a willing development partner, they adopted the bluesign® standard in their U.S. manufacturing location.

So I have a lot of different jackets for all sorts of weather conditions. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one jacket that you could bring that would do a lot of everything! Well look no further, here is my new favorite jacket to bring on my fly fishing journey’s.

The PATAGONIA 3-IN-1 RIVER SALT JACKET

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Description from site: “The most versatile H2No® Performance Standard outerwear system designed for cold weather fishing. The snap out Nano Puff® Shirt can be worn alone as can the exterior shell. Wear both pieces combined for extreme cold weather protection.”

This Jacket looks great, doesn’t stand out, and is ready for anything mother nature throws at you. I highly suggest this jacket and know you will love it too!

Insulation (Description from site)

PrimaLoftWe use PrimaLoft insulation inside insulated garments for its warmth, compressibility, and soft comfort. While the human body uses energy to stay warm, PrimaLoft insulation uses a patented microfiber structure to help the body retain warmth and conserve energy.

The proprietary ultra-fine fibers of PrimaLoft insulation form a tight collection of air pockets that trap heat from your body and keep the cold out, providing an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. When insulation gets wet, it loses these air pockets and consequently, its insulating properties. PrimaLoft ultra-fine fibers were developed to be water resistant so your insulation stays drier and maintains its insulating properties even when wet.

Ladies I will not leave you out in any of my post. So here is Tracy’s favorite women’s jacket on the river lately.

It’s the PATAGONIA WOMEN’S RIVER SALT JACKET

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“The River Salt Jacket is our toughest, most durable fishing shell made with 4-layer waterproof/breathable H2No® Performance Standard wader fabric for long-lasting bomber performance.”

It’s comfortable and works great as a snowboard jacket as well. Matches very well with the waders as well.

There are so many great products made by Patagonia and it would be impossible to show all of them on my blog but I will give you about 5 more that I have fell in love with and are a must on the river on your fly fishing days.

What guy doesn’t want to impress his ladies or many ladies when going out on the town? Especially not having to go home to change but going straight from the river right to the pub. Well this shirt is what you need:

PATAGONIA MEN’S LONG-SLEEVED SUN STRETCH SHIRT

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“Our most technical fishing shirt designed specifically for hot weather situations. The Sun Stretch Shirt may become your favorite shirt for all outdoor pursuits.”

Sun Protection (Description from website)

Lacking fur, feathers or scales, we humans have to think up clever ways to protect ourselves from the sun. Products with the UPF designation provide built-in sun protection that won’t wear off.

UPF stands for “Ultraviolet Protection Factor.” This value represents the fractional amount of the sun’s harmful UV rays that pass through a fabric. A rating of “25” indicates that only 1/25th , or 4% of the UV rays pass through the garment.

Patagonia products with rated UPF protection are tested independently to meet Australia/New Zealand or AATCC protocols. A rating of 15-24 earns a product a rating of “good”; a rating of 25-39 is “”very good””; and a rating of 40-50+ is “excellent.” *

* When tested in accordance with Australian/New Zealand test methods AS/NZS 4399 or AATCC 183/AS

Tracy just purchased this PATAGONIA VEST FRONT SLING and it’s amazing! One of the best inventions from Patagonia for simple storage for your day on the river.

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The best of a traditional fishing vest combined with a minimalist sling pack.

Last but not least is one of my favorite things I purchase from Patagonia. It’s there hats! They are by far the best designed hats on the market in my opinion!

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The LoPro Trucker Hat has an organic cotton bill to provide some shade and polyester mesh on the back crown to keep you cool.

Organic Cotton (Description from site)

Organic CottonIn 1996, with an increased awareness of the dangers of pesticide use and synthetic fertilizers in growing conventional cotton, we began the exclusive use of organically grown cotton in all of our cotton products.

The quality of organic cotton is equal to or better than conventionally grown cotton, yet organically grown methods support biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, improve the quality of soil and often use less water. Growing organically takes more time, requires more knowledge and skill, and, for now, costs more. But it’s worth it.

To ensure we are buying cotton that is organic as defined by the USDA’s National Organic Program, we require numerous certificates issued by an accredited third-party certification body for every step of the supply chain, from farm to factories.

It’s hard to just pick a few Patagonia items to share with you. There are so many more to choose from and I highly suggest you check out there website at www.Patagonia.com to find something that fits your exact style and needs.

So what I love most about Patagonia and what really makes me support them is just too much to ramble about. So what I will do is post links below to everything they do and I hope you will realize what a great company they are, just like I did.

First let me show you how Patagonia is different in the way they get their down products compared to other companies:

The next thing is their Environmental and social responsibility: Click the link to find out more but they are doing great things and it is worth reviewing.

The ambassadors of Patagonia are some of the best people in this world and if you have time its worth the time to go over and click their pictures and hear their amazing stories.

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So grateful for all the people in my life (Fly fishing has developed so many amazing friendships for us)

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Beautiful Rainbow trout caught in a lake near Lewistown, MT

Catching really big fish is awesome but it doesn’t help full fill my soul one bit. In fact catching that really big fish just makes me more addicted to fishing instead of what’s really important, and that’s the people around me supporting me.

I have developed a disease in my years of fishing that I am trying to get rid of. It’s called pre fish anxiety. It’s a disease that creates anxiety, grumpiness, irritability and not being in the moment. The disease tends to fade away with that first fish being caught. This should be something that shouldn’t exist though. It takes you away from all the good moments that happen before that first fish is even caught.

The true happiness of fishing really comes from the relationships you make a long the way. A hobby you can share with family, friends and complete strangers that need a break from their normal life. My new life goal is to be present through every aspect of the journey. Willing to be extremely happy setting up for the day, the dialogue in the car along the way, and helping others, to catch a fish first,  before I even set up my pole.

Danny and Timmy with a beautiful Rainbow right before dark.

Danny and Timmy with a beautiful Rainbow right before dark.T

These are two of my favorite people. Danny and Timmy have been part of my life since they were in sixth grade. We have had many fly fishing adventures over the years and I love nothing more than seeing them catch fish. They moved to California for three years but recently moved back to Montana because of the rivers calling them back to Montana. They are some of the most entertaining guys you can be around. They could both be stand up comics and it makes for every trip with them a laughing good time to be had.

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My favorite person catching a beautiful rainbow and giving it the famous Tracy kiss.

So my wife is my biggest supporter and my favorite person to fish with. She catches some of the most beautiful fish on a regular basis. Life wouldn’t be the same without my spouse enjoying the same hobby as me.

To all the young gents and gals out there, let me share with you a secret. It’s easy to think you are in love with someone because of their good looks but in all honestly, looks only last so long. When you are looking for a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife look for hobbies that you both enjoy and can do together. A marriage or relationship with someone who likes completely opposite things is very hard to deal with. It actually will drive you nuts at times. You need someone with the same passions that way you can experience things together and be able to plan trips with adventures you both enjoy instead of one always compromising and being resentful. So marry someone with the same passions and hobbies and it will be something so special and fun.

How do Rainbows get that big!

How do Rainbows get that big!R

Let’s be honest, rainbows rarely get this big without being in a private pond or an area that they are very protected. When you are lucky enough to go somewhere with big trout like this be ready for a one of a kind time on the water. Big fish like this fight like you wouldn’t believe. It was something I was so grateful to bless my friends with because of a great friend letting us fish his pond. The boys faces, when catching these fish were priceless and something I will never forget. This is a lake I could keep to myself but why?? Why be selfish when it comes to knowing good places to catch good fish? I love showing friends my favorite places I fish, that way they can have the same happiness I have been able to enjoy. Life is too short to be greedy and secretive.

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Is this fish real??

When Danny hooked this fish it was so unbelievable! It ran all the way to the other side of the lake while his reel was screaming out line. It jumped a few times, and every time it did, the lake lowered by three feet :) ha ha. Danny was one happy camper when we got this beautiful fish to the net but as you can see in the picture his brother Timmy was a little upset. ha ha poor Timmy.

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So after this day was over we made the long journey back to Billings. Everybody was worn out, for good reasons. Even Cooper the dog needed a power nap.

I look forward to fishing with a lot more people in the future and hope to hear all of your stories.

Try to remember we all love the same thing when it comes to fishing and try to not let jealousy determine the way you either like or not like a person.

Jealousy is so evil and will destroy so many opportunities for you in meeting great people and talking bad about someone you might not even know in person.

My suggestion to you is to make in effort to fish with anybody that rubs you the wrong way and you might be surprised with how much you actually like the person after a day with that person.

People are really not that bad, it’s mostly your unconscious mind or someone else making up your mind for you, and the truth is the person talking bad is probably someone who has never even had any time with that person.

Making friends is so much better than making enemies.

Monster Brown and Rainbow Trout at Monster Lake (Big Rainbow and Brown Trout in Wyoming)

Here is a video we made of our experience at Monster Lake. This is such a fun place to fish and hang out. It’s near the town of Cody, Wyoming going towards Meeteetse, WY. Make sure you get a good night sleep because you’ll be tired after a day at this lake.

Have fun!!

Monster Lake smiles on Halloween 2014

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Thank you very much Monster Lake for a trip of a lifetime for an amazing guy who loved it more than we probably ever will know.

Let me first start of this story with a picture. The picture below is from my friend Richard Schwend holding his uncles big brown trout he just caught.image1

Richard came to me about a month ago with this great idea. He explained to me that his uncle Dave was an avid outdoors men but because of his condition with Parkinson’s disease was now unable to enjoy the things he used to. He spent his whole life working hard to get to the point where he could just hunt and fish with his time off and then this horrible disease decided to show up. Dave if I’m not mistaken was diagnosed with the disease 10 years ago.

So that is when the wheels starting turning for Richard and I. We started thinking of what we could do to make a day for Dave to remember forever, but we had some challenges to over come. Because of Parkinson’s, Dave has a very hard time walking and being active for any length of time. So little things we take for granted were going to be a challenge. Like Dave getting in and out of the boat. Dave can’t lift up his legs like you and I could. The casting would be nearly impossible to maintain for any length of time.

(Here is a brief overview of the disease: Parkinson’s disease affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Parkinson’s disease symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait. After diagnosis, treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure.

Changes in walking (Gait). This commonly includes the inability of a person to swing their arms naturally while walking, taking short shuffling steps, “freezing spells” (difficulty starting to walk and difficulty stopping), and difficulty in maneuvering turns and corners.)

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We weren’t going to let these challenges stop us and neither was Dave. We were going to face them head on and have a great day.

We woke up on the morning of the 31st and headed to Dave’s house at 5:30am. We knocked on the door and there was Dave, already awake, walking very very slowly with his walker getting everything ready. My heart felt so overwhelmed with joy for what this amazing man was going to enjoy today. We packed up his things and headed for my car with my Clacka Craft attached.

We were entertained by Dave the whole way to the lake. He was like a boy on Christmas Eve. Telling us stories of his past hunts, fishing trips and all his amazing times growing up. It was amazing seeing his energy and positive outlook on life.

We finally got to Monster lake around 8:00 am and were ready to start the day. I had already rigged 6 rods with all different set ups. Each set up had a sinking line of different inches per second with different lake flies. We loaded up the boat with everything we needed and then backed the boat into the lake. We helped Dave into the front of the boat with a lot less effort than we expected. It was like Dave was floating on a cloud and could conquer any obstacle at that moment.

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The method we chose to fish the lake that day was to troll around with me paddling slowly, medium paced, and sometimes fast. Then when the fish would hit it would almost set it self. This method was perfect for Dave that way he could just hold on to the rod and wait for that feeling he has dreamt about for so long. Well let’s just say the fish god’s also loved what we were doing that day.

Bam!! After about two minutes of me rowing, Dave yelled “I have a hit” as his rod was bouncing up and down like crazy. The fish jumped three or four times, striped line like crazy, and by the end was ready to get his picture taken. The first fish of the day for Dave was in the boat and was an absolute beauty! Dave was thrilled and I’ll never forget the next thing he said. “I don’t know how long I can fish for, if they all fight like that, i’m tired.” but then after five minutes with out a hit he would say “I’m bored, I need another fish.”

After all these years he still had the lingo of a true fisherman. The tug is always the drug and you just need more and more of it.

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When the day was over and after a lot of fish were caught by both Dave and Richard, it was time to go home. Dave warned us he might fall asleep because of his medicine he had to take because of the pain. Let’s just say Dave didn’t sleep a second and I don’t even think blinked. He was so excited and happy the whole way home talking all about his experience and how he couldn’t wait to do it again. This won’t be your last trip Dave! As long as Richard and I are by your side we will make sure you get out there again!

Once we dropped Dave off at his house, Richard and I were alone driving back to my place. Richard said “Matt, did you notice all of Dave’s smiles?” I said “Yah, he was smiling all the time”. Well, just so you know with Parkinson’s it is very hard for someone to show emotion. Most of the time they look like there not having fun or very emotionless. That really spoke to my heart because Dave was so full of smiles that day.

Dave you’re a very amazing person and I am honored you blessed me with your presence on my boat. You always have a seat in my boat and we will continue this adventure at another time in the near future!  Thanks Richard for being such a great friend and having such an amazing heart for people and your family.

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So this adventure made me really think about things and the ability to help others with fishing. My outfitter and I donate a lot of guided trips to charities and also the refuge foundation. Those trips are amazing and I love them a lot because I know the money is going to something great. But this trip was something that opened my heart to something new. So here is the plan.

I would love to donate a trip once a month to someone in need, someone who could not normally afford a trip like this, someone who needs a day to just feel alive again. I will put a contact form below and please don’t hesitate to fill it out for you or someone you know for a trip like this. Myself with my outfitter and others will then choose someone once a month.

Steelheading in gorgeous BC with our new friends Charles, April Vokey, Cat, Victor, Brock, Yoshi and so many others. (Matt and Tracy Adventures)

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They are unicorns, as my friend Trevor would say. Are they real? Will you see them? Well that is up to you and if you believe in the unicorns of the river. They elude even the best angler some days or they can show themselves in bunches some days. Even after your millionth cast with no tug you will still have an enthusiasm in your soul that you are getting closer with every cast. When you finally get that tug you don’t feel relieved, you get freaking rocked!! There is an adrenaline rush that one only gets from this kind of fish at the end of your line. These are Steelhead!

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This is a story of new friendships, amazing fish, and following your heart.

Tracy and I are a little different than most. We don’t exactly like feeling comfortable living the so called “American Dream”. Our “dream” looks more like an Action Romance Thriller with no real plot. Our plot is probably written by someone with extreme Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) that loves God and wants to go wherever the moment takes their characters.

We were on one of our most memorable and heartbreaking adventures when we got the good news of going to see April Vokey and her husband Charles in BC. We were in Tanzania Africa building a clean water well and helping the school systems of Mafia Island. Tracy and I just got back to Dar Es Salaam from Mafia Island. We had all of our camera equipment with us and were traveling back to the place that we were staying. On the way back we stopped in at a hotel for a meeting with a guy about some fishing opportunities. While we were in our meeting our car was broken into and all of our camera equipment was taken. Tracy and I were devastated as all of our images to that point were stolen from us as well. Pictures of all the good works that had been done. Pictures of precious people and kids that grew dear to us along the journey.

A couple days later that is when Tracy woke me up freaking out….. Matt!! Matt!! wake up! wake up! What’s up sweetie?!?! April Vokey wrote me!! She wants me to take pictures of her new show coming up on WFN Shorelines in BC.

This news came at such a good time. It was just the little hope Tracy needed to get her mind off of what just happened. I am so grateful for April and her perfect timing for that email. Thanks April!

Long story short to summarize what happened in Africa. With the amazing help of Maryvonne Pool and the local police they were able to get most of Tracy’s camera equipment back. We didn’t get the memory cards :( but luckily we were able to capture new memories of the trip. With the help of Maryvonne Pool we were able to go back to Mafia Island and recapture some of the things we lost.

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September couldn’t of arrived any faster! We were so pumped for this trip! Fishing with April has been one of Tracy’s and I’s dreams for the longest times. The way she loves fishing and loves Steelhead is something very special. This sport is so lucky to have such a wonderful human being supporting it and being part of it.

Tracy and I decided to drive to BC. The drive was absolutely amazing!! You drive through Banff National Park which is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The sweet crisp fall air was everywhere. The leaves were gold, yellow, red and were out of this world beautiful. This is a portion of road that everyone should drive someday in their lives.

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After three long days of driving we finally arrived to our destination. I felt like a kid at Christmas. Finally I was able to fish for BC Steelhead with some of the most amazing people in the world.

The next day April was meeting us and the film crew at the hotel. That was literally the longest night ever!! But soon enough, morning came! April and Charles arrived and just like we imagined April was sitting in the front seat with a huge smile on her face. She gave us both huge hugs and thanked us for being there. Tracy like her normal crazy self decided to put a horse head on her face (that she purchased two towns away) and dance around before introductions were even over. I, like always, was just laughing at my crazy wife’s antics while hoping April was still going to let Tracy shoot pictures. I had nothing to worry about as April grabbed the horse head right away and decided to dance with it to. I am pretty sure Tracy and April our soul sisters. They were literally so fun and funny together. We miss them a lot and let’s just say that horse head was in many of pictures.

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So the plan for the week was, Tracy and April would be busy with the film crew. They would be going all around for interviews, fishing, and photographing the journey along the way.

I was going to be with Charles (April’s amazing husband) and his friend Rob from Australia. Hanging out with two Aussies was beyond fun. We fished everyday (except weekends, watch the show for more details) from dawn until dusk. They called each other mates and by the end of the trip I was saying it to. It’s hard not to! Charles is a very special person and was a blast to fish with. He helped me a lot with my spey cast and was gracious enough to let me swing through the holes first. He is one of those guys that I would love to spend a lot of time with because of his love for fishing and his personality is absolutely great!

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Here is a picture of April and Charles with their first steelhead as a married couple!

The Steelhead were eluding us like crazy at first. We fished hard for 5 days straight without a single Steelhead. We saw a group of Italians at one hole that pulled 3 steelhead out right in front of our face. So the running joke for our dry spell was those dang Italians are taking all the fish!

Steelhead aren’t easy to catch, so when you do get one, your emotiions are amplified by 1,000 percent.

On day 6 my luck was about to change. Charles was fishing a hole and told me to hit the hole beneath him. He said go deep because there is a huge drop off down there. I put on my sinking line and put just the nastiest looking pink eyed, pink bodied fly I had. I gave it a kiss for luck and started swinging. Sure enough BAM!!!! there it was!! the tug I had been waiting and anticipating 50 hours for. It took my fly and just barely came up stream while fighting a little. I was confused and thought I might of caught something else. I knew it was big though because I could feel the weight of the fish. As I was doubting myself that’s when I saw those beautiful red marks. My first BC steelhead and it is amazing. After about 10 minutes of fighting it and bringing it close to shore I thought it was ready to come in. That’s when I hear Charles say “Get ready, it’s got a lot more fight”. It’s like that fish was waiting for those words and even before Charles finished his sentence it ran about 50 yards somersaulting, Jesus walking, and head shaking like nothing I have ever felt before. With Charle’s help we finally landed it. We took pictures of it and then let it go to fight another day. I sat on the side of the river for over 10 minutes just thinking of what just happened and thanking God for such an amazing experience. It made it even better that I was able to spend it with such an amazing guy. Thanks Charles!

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The most memorable times on a fishing trip is not always catching fish, often times it can be the hangout time in between. In this case it was both. Charles talking about how he is the boss of the internet, the boss of the camp and eventually he was the boss of the world. Cat’s (April’s assistant) contagious laugh and her being the 2nd boss in command when Charles is gone. April and Tracy making everybody laugh around the camp fire. Going to restaurants and Charles ordering 6 entrees for him and April because everything looks so good :). Victor (Film crew for WFN) blowing our minds and everybody’s else’s at karokee. Who knew he had a voice like a song bird. Brock (film crew for WFN) rocking out with his imaginary drum set when a good song would come on the radio. Seeing Colby and Moki on the back of the water masters floating down the river with Cat and April was pretty entertaining.

It was just as amazing hanging out with these people off the river as it was on the river.

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Besides the amazing people we met on this trip my favorite thing was seeing Tracy hook into her first BC Steelhead. Tracy says some pretty funny things when she hooks up big fish. My favorite being:

It won’t stop running, What do I do?!?! It still won’t stop!! Really guys, what do I do??? Guys??

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A beautiful Spey cast is probably one of the coolest things to see. April’s and Charles’s cast is something I could just watch for hours. It was so smooth and effortless. It looked like art in the air.

April knows her hometown water and is an amazing angler. On our last day she wanted Tracy to get a steelhead really bad. So she took Tracy to a run she knew Tracy had a great chance of catching one. She said start here and work your way down, you’ll get one. After only about 5 casts, Tracy yells out, got one!! It was incredible seeing someone with such a keen eye on where Steelhead hold. After about 15 minutes Tracy had the biggest Steelhead of the trip landed and she was all smiles!

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To end this adventure would be a shame, so instead, we will just call it a break that we will come back to at a later time. We will be back soon to fish with our new friends soon.

Thanks so much April, Charles and Cat for your amazing hospitality and your new friendships. We love all of you very much and can’t wait to continue this adventure sooner than later. May your life’s be blessed in such a way you couldn’t of even imagined it.

Here are some amazing photos Tracy took along the way. Tracy really wants to photograph for Patagonia someday. Hopefully this dream will come true someday!

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