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The fire danced on the faces of Fink and The Kate’s as they sang an old Townes Van Zandt tune. The girl’s eyes transfixed on an iPhone to keep up with Fink, who’s committed more songs to memory than most could name. The buzz of a moped interrupts the melody as tandem riders rip past with a howl. The once vast selection of booze dwindles down to a few angry choices – moonshine gets passed around. The party settles into a meditative calm helped along by the harmony, the shine-snaps, and the realization it’s been a long day on the water in the scorching sun. One by one (or two by two) revelers limp back to their cabins, truck beds or piece of soft lawn at the Stonefly Lodge in Twin Bridges Montana.
That day started earlier than anyone would have liked. With hoot-owl in effect, time on the river was limited and the list of goals were long. A motley crew of anglers took their sweet time reluctantly rigging, fiddling with gear and slugging caffeine. Professional Snowboarder Eric Jackson eased into the morning with a few healthy pulls from his flask. Stonefly Lodge owner and Outfitter Dan “Rooster” Levins surveyed the water, talked himself into a plan, and then barked the lot into action with a few quick-quips and a dirty joke or two.
Eric grew up in Crowley California, a small hamlet tucked into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains just South of Mammoth Lakes. His days spent learning snowboard tricks in the massive parks of Mammoth Mountain were capped off by afternoons of tricking trout in the many high alpine lakes and drainages of the Sierra. Eric has been a professional snowboarder since the age of 11 and has been on the cusp of progressive riding ever since, winning contents, video part of the year, nabbed huge sponsors, and was featured in the biggest snowboard movie ever, The Forth Phase. Before and after every winter season of hucking his body off just about anything, Eric returns to the watery-world to relax, heal and catch a bunch of steelhead.
Fink serenades the two Kate’s
Charlie pops a wheelie
Pre or post shotgun?
A hog in every bend
Rigging in an old homestead
What are they eatin’
Fish eye view
No caption needed
Having never fished Montana, E-Jack was stoked to get back into some trout and the days (and nights) ahead were worthy of any anglers dreams. Casting everything from two-handers on the Jefferson, to 2-weights on hidden high-creeks, Rooster and the folks from Stonefly created an epic program with plenty of dirt roads to rally and just as many tailgate beers to shotgun.