The tradition continues at Sweetgrass Rods;
crafting fine bamboo fly fishing rods

Thanks for the wonderful craftsmanship. You guys are amazing.
Frank D.


My foot slid too furiously forward to keep perfect balance while crossing the ice-embanked river. I stumbled to, I stumbled fro, then spun a 90 degree turn rightly. I caught myself. Which was good, as I would have likely been dead had I fallen in. Dead, because Glenn and the Booboys would have killed me for breaking my rod.

Twenty-two degrees is my minimum temperature to fly-fish in. I set that rule about five years ago, after having a great time freezing on a river and catching nothing. It was difficult to catch anything, because my line froze stiff, making casting impossible. The temperature then was around five degrees. I figured I needed a few more degrees of warmth to have any possibility of actually fishing. Well, it was my minimum temperature.

While I was home deciding whether I should really hit the river or not, the thermometer outside the kitchen window hovered at 19 degrees. But the icicles hanging from the eve could not lock my desire to cast a Sweetgrass rod inside. I grabbed my 3 piece, pent. beauty, about five layers of clothing, toe warmers, a stocking cap-full of flies and Ariell and I hit the nearest river.

The river! Not real warm out, but sure beautiful. This side-channel offered the only ice-free place to fish. The main channel was a current of clunking ice chunks impossible to get a fly through.

Ariell was real happy to look for ducks dabbling stream-side.

I only had a few hours to fish before the sun set behind the valley walls, so I tried to be smart about where I fished. I simplify my ice-outings by tying on two flies that I likely will never change as I don't like to expose my hands to the  elements. If I loose them, it may be the day's end. I also try to cast as few times as possible, because then I spend most the time breaking ice out of guides. I found a promising drop where two currents met below a shallow shoal. One cast, and I was soon hooked to a fish! I figured it would be a Whitefish, as that is generally what I find in this section of river, and they are more active in colder temperatures than trout. However, I soon saw white-tipped fins, and a surging red stripe soon appeared downstream as I fought it closer to the bank. My Sweetgrass rod bowed double, and soon brought a nice surprise to hand.

A beautiful and very fat Rainbow trout! It was to be my only catch of the afternoon, but what a wonderful afternoon, it was. A while later, my hands and line were frozen. Every cast was locked tight to the pentagon rod's guides, making fishing rather problematic.

As my rod, dog and self were covered in ice, we decided to head home. I smiled a little as I slipped over still mossy boulders, and made it back to the car without filling my waders with ice water. I turned my car on to warm it up, and noticed the temperature on the display: 17.

In Wild Waters,

Zac Sexton

The Meandering Booboy
Winter winds whip the river, but the fish are risi...
My magic canyon


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Sweetgrass Rods ~~ P.O. Box 486 ~~ 121 West Galena ~~ Butte, Montana 59703
406.782.5552 ~~
(shipping deliveries to 60 West Galena)

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