By Tanner Smith

What makes a good fishing trip? When asked that question these days, it’s ironic how little the fishing has to do with it. Don’t get me wrong, good fishing will enhance any trip but, as trips add up, good fishing is hardly a guarantee. Give me good company, a place I don’t get to very much, a campfire, enough beers to get me through said campfire and chances are something memorable will happen. So when my buddy Jake texted me and asked if I was ready to make our annual pilgrimage to our favorite float, I replied, “When we leaving?” We decided to leave midday the upcoming Friday. Now we just needed to make sure our third, Dalton of Rising Nets, was a go and find a way to kill time until we hit the road. It just so happened Dalton was already up that way and would lock us down a campsite Friday while Jake and I were on the road. This was the perfect scenario.  

By now you’re probably wondering where exactly we were going. I know secrets don’t really exist anymore so I’ll tell ya we were somewhere in Wyoming or Montana or it could have been Idaho. All I know is we had a long drive Friday and I was more than ready to be on the road. In the meantime, I have found group texts are a pretty entertaining way to fill the void of anticipation for a fishing trip. You know the type, endless hilarious GIFs and if you look away from your phone for more than 10 minutes you’ll come back to 97 unread messages and a completely new conversation. 

Jake and I arrived at camp sometime around 10 PM Friday night. Dalton had a campfire rolling and cold beer on ice. A late arrival to camp is always a risky move. While fishing is the reason I go, sitting around a campfire and having some beers is a very close second. After making the mistake of the continual “I’ll do one more” many times before, leading to hangovers and long days, we have finally started to understand the importance of sleep. Time management is key. Afterall, Saturday we were going to be on a drift boat for 13-14 hours whether we liked it or not. So after making a few hamburgers we decided to call it a night.

Given our excitement, it was pretty easy getting up the following morning. We rigged rods at camp with 1 rule… Dry flies only. Rigs included the following: Chubbies, Stimis, Parawulffs, Red Humpy’s and PMDs. We arrived at the put in around 8 AM. A game warden saw us putting in. While checking our licenses and boat tags was certainly a priority of his, the question, “Have you boys done this before?” told me he was a little concerned. We told him we have and where we were camped. Knowing it would be dark by the time we took out, he told us he’d be around our camp Sunday and if he didn’t see us he’d send help. We all shared a laugh. Now it was go time and you’re probably sick of reading this so I’ll let some pictures tell the rest of the story….

Seeing stone fly shucks all over the place was a good sign for our hopeful dry fly mission

Locked and Loaded. 

Boat dogs make things better... Gus was happy to tag along!

Jake got us started... A real hog it was haha

Things began to look up... This fish absolutely hammered a stimulator!

It started to heat up... 

Jake showing off another great brown.

And another one...

The Red Humpy Strikes again... At this point it was starting to get a little ridiculous. 

Then the Visor King Dalton put the icing on the cake.... From this point on we still fished but...

After possibly landing the fish of the summer on a dry... It was time for a celebratory swig! 

Gus may or may not have been judging at this point

All good things, floats included, eventually come to an end. It was a hell of a day and one I won't soon forget. The day called for celebratory camp whiskeys...