Month: December 2016

Before we begin our 2017 Ramble, we wanted to look back at 2016 and all the adventures we shared.   We were “on the road” for 231 days in 2016 and traveled 12,847 miles in the SaraLinda.  We should have checked the odometer on the Subaru Crosstrek we tow behind, to see just how many miles our car went.  I’m guessing easily double the SaraLinda.

We fished 47 of the TU Top 100 Trout Streams in 2016.  These 47 streams were scattered across 15 states.  In addition, we fished 24 additional streams on our Ramble, bringing the total to 71 streams fished in 2016.  To be honest, some of the “other” streams we fished were easily as amazing as the TU Top 100; streams like Duke’s Creek (GA), East Fork of the French Broad (NC), Pine Creek (PA), and Soda Butte (WY) to name just a few.

We also had some great “road trips” and diversions along the way that made our Ramble even more interesting.  Our visit to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming was very special.   Stopping by Crater Lake in Oregon and Craters of the Moon in Idaho exposed us to the volcanic nature of the American West.  Yellowstone National Park is always a highlight anytime we get to visit.  Our Ramble allowed us to be in YNP for about two weeks, not just fishing but exploring the park and experiencing a Snow Day.  We even made it to Woodstock!

We always enjoyed finding interesting places to eat and drink along the way.  Of course, we sampled some local beers that became favorites of ours from Ubu in NY (thanks Rachel Finn) to my Montana fav Cold Smoke.  We also found our fair share of great local bakeries.

Of course, music is always a highlight for us as we travel.  We found music in many different places, from music halls like Infinity Hall in Connecticut, to bars and breweries like Innovation Brewing in Sylva (NC), to the back porch of our dear friends Sue and Dud in Bozeman.  We were blessed to meet amazing musicians along the way, even guides who were in bands.  We featured many of them in our music videos we created, usually to highlight an area or state.  These included:  Hunter Morris, our guide on the Toccoa River in NC, whose band Blue Blood provide the background to our North Georgia Recap; Miller Watson of PMA, who backgrounded Tuckaseegee Views;  the duo Bird in Hand who shared Ms. Carolina for our North Carolina review; Atlas Gray who rocked Infinity Hall and shared their music for our Connecticut Color; and Kostas who provided our holiday post “Reflections Off the Water“.   Music will continue to be a major part of our Ramble.

Throughout out trip, we were constantly fishing the most beautiful places on earth and catching the most beautiful fish.  However, as we came to realize early on, “Its Not About the Fish“.  Scenery is great and hooking into trout is awesome; the Ramble has truly been about the people we’ve met who have helped us and befriended us along the way.  The guides we’ve had have been knowledgeable, focused on safety and so kind to us.  We’ve had 39 different guides who’ve pointed the way for us during 2016.  Their stories are told in our “Guide Talks”.  We’ve also met some amazing people who own, run and staff the numerous fly shops we’ve visited.   It’s not just been the assistance in picking the right flies, or the right stretches of trout streams or even the “Nunya” waterways they’ve shared;  it’s also been how welcoming they’ve been to us, inviting us into their homes, breaking bread with them, sharing a beer and allowing us to really get to know their local areas and waters.  These have been and will continue to be the most memorable parts of our Ramble…. the people we’ve met.

So, as 2016 draws to a close, we are already plotting 2017.  We’ll be starting in Arkansas in February and then heading west to begin.  We’ll fish our way around the west in the spring and summer before heading back east for the late summer and fall season, ending our 2017 Ramble in Tennessee.  We’ll fish 48 different TU Top 100 trout streams in 2017 and countless others along the way.  We are really looking forward to 2017 and hope you’ll follow along with us.  For now, we hope you’ll enjoy this 2016 recap music video set to “Follow Me” by Bird in Hand.

Thanks again to all who made our 2016 so special…. and Cheers to 2017 as we….

Ramble On!

As those of you who’ve been following us know, we love to find great local musicians wherever we go on our River Ramble adventure.  We’ve found some great music venues like Infinity Hall in Connecticut and enjoyed some great artists including Atlas Gray who we featured in our Connecticut Color video.  We met the duo Bird In Hand in Sylva, NC, at an evening gig at Elevation Wine Bar; they graciously allowed us to use “Ms. Carolina” for our tribute to NC.  We’ve had guides who were in bands and shared their music with us that we’ve featured on our site.   We even made a pilgrimage to the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival and stood on the hallowed ground of the stage where all those amazing musicians played.

With this in mind, it seemed fitting to share yet another great musician with you for the holidays.  We met Kostas Lazarides (professionally known as Kostas) one evening at The Mint in Belgrade, MT.  Our dear friends, Sue Doss and Dud Lutton, had invited us to join a group who was having dinner at The Mint and listening to Kostas.

Since that evening, we’ve heard Kostas perform numerous times at music venues in the Gallatin Valley and at Sue and Dud’s place in Bozeman.  He is a singer and songwriter who is renowned in the country music world for hits such as Timber, I’m Falling in Love and Blame It On Your Heart, which was the most performed single of 1994.  He’s written songs for a multitude of artists including:  Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoakum, Travis Tritt, Martina McBride, The Dixie Chicks and The Mavericks.

We really enjoy all of Kostas’ music, but one night, Barb and I heard Kostas sing two songs that struck a chord with us, relative to our “ramble”;  the song featured in this post and one other we’ll save as a surprise for next year.  For now, please enjoy this music video tribute to “Reflections Off the Water” by Kostas.

Fly Dogs


We are now in Indy for the holidays with our kids and grandkids.  We needed to do a little shopping and ended up, as we often do, at FlyMasters of Indianapolis.  As we walked into the fly shop we were met by Noland and Seth…. not the two guys behind the counter, but two fly shop dogs.  It reminded us both of all the beautiful dogs we’ve encountered along our River Ramble in 2016.  We decided a blog post was in order to share some of the pictures we took of these beautiful creatures.  However, it was very difficult to pick just a few of the many we’ve encountered.  You see, these dogs are fixtures in many of the shops across the country as well as with the guides we’ve had.

As you might imagine, fly shop dogs are some of the friendliest and funniest you can find anywhere.  Just like Barb was greeted at FlyMasters, we’ve had similar greetings from North Carolina to New York… and… Pennsylvania to Oregon.  While we can’t show you all of them in this post, we wanted to share a few.  First, as you can see from the featured image for this post, Barb is sitting in FlyMasters with Noland and Seth.  We found out that FlyMasters actually has even more shop dogs at various times depending on who’s working.

The first image is Red from The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters, OR.  Early one morning, I left our campsite to drive into Sisters for some flies and encountered Red as I walked in the door.   I learned from Red’s owner that he was somewhat of a celebrity online.

Second, when we were in Maupin,OR, fishing the Deschutes, we popped into Deschutes Angler and found not one, not two but THREE shop dogs greeting us:  Lupin, Nelly and KD.  Barb had KD on the floor as happy as a dog can be I think.

The third image is of Desperado, or Desie, the black lab that roams the ranch at Roger and Mary Nelson’s Spring Creek Ranch near Livingston, MT.   Desie always comes to meet us at the parking area.  She usually comes down around lunchtime to just hangout but always enjoys a game of fetch.  It’s usually Barb that wears out first before Desie.

The fourth image, I took from a “Guide Talk” interview we did on the banks of Pine Creek in Slate Run, PA.   This is Brookie who hangs out with Julie Szur, guide from Slate Run Tackle Shop/Wolfe’s General Store.  Brookie hung out with us during the interview and often is at Julie’s side when she’s guiding along Pine Creek.

Finally, a picture of Solomon, who fished with us on the Henry’s Fork along with her owners Sue Doss and Dud Lutton.  We’ve been with Solomon on numerous occasions but never fishing.  He was so excited when a fish was on the line and always tried to “land” the fish before we did.  Solomon has been seen riding along in a drift boat with Dud at the oars on numerous rivers around Bozeman.

We will continue to highlight the beautiful dogs we see in shops, with our guides and along the rivers we fish in 2017 as our Ramble continues.  If you have any great pictures or stories you’d like to share, please send them to us at:

Ramble On

Our River Ramble travels took us to 45 different campgrounds in 2016.  While a few of them were simply travel stops, getting from one fishing location to another, most were places we stayed for 4 to 8 days at a time.  Since trout generally live in very beautiful places, we didn’t have much trouble finding campgrounds near each of the TU Top 100 rivers we fished, but they were all unique in their own ways.

Our criteria for picking these started with proximity to the river we were fishing, of course.  We were fortunate in that throughout the 2016 “ramble”, we were never more than 10-15 miles from prime fishing spots.  While proximity was #1 in our minds, its always nice if the campground has electrical and water connections.   The SaraLinda has a large water tank and a diesel generator so we we can easily “dry camp” without having connections.  However, its always nice to avoid noisy generators and carrying water weight.  Finally, being able to wash clothes, especially when staying for 8 days in one spot and traveling light, is a necessity.

Beyond these criteria, we found three other campground types that really became our favorites.  First, campgrounds in state and national parks were special.  These always seemed to have bigger spaces for the SaraLinda and our little Subaru XV Crosstrek.  They also usually had beautiful, large trees for shade.  We stayed in 8 state or national parks during 2016 including:  Yellowstone National Park; Unicoi State Park (GA); Deep Creek Lake State Park (Oakland MD); Kettle Creek State Park (PA); Hartwick Pines State Park (MI); and, American Legion State Forest (CT).   These were favorites of ours given their beauty and value.

Second, while proximity was our #1 criteria, the ultimate proximity was actually camping on the TU Top 100 river we were fishing.  Being able to simply walk out of the SaraLinda and down to the river was awesome!  Highlights of this kind of campground included:  Ekstrom Stage Station (Rock Creek / MT); Lake Placid KOA (West Branch, Ausable / NY); Kelly Gallops Slide Inn (Madison / MT); Ellensburg KOA (Yakima / WA); Roscoe Campsite (Beaverkill / NY); Angler’s Roost (Bitterroot / MT) as well as Yellowstone NP, Kettle Creek State Park and American Legion State Park.  We often overlooked some other criteria like laundry facilities, close to town, etc… in favor of being right on the rivers we were fishing.  PS…. if you are ever near Clinton, MT and want a great meal, go to the restaurant at Ekstrom Stage Station.

Third, and it’s really very close to the second, are campgrounds that are CLEARLY there to serve fly fisherman.  Of course, such campgrounds are often right on the river but that’s not enough.  These campgrounds typically also have fly shops, boat rentals, guide services and more.  The prime example of this, is Cottonwood Camp near Fort Smith, MT.  When you drive down the road to this campground, in addition to the RVs parked in spots, you see drift boats everywhere.  As you near the small hill that drops you down into the campground office, there are even more drift boats for rent.  Check in for the campground is actually in the fly shop itself.  This campground was fly fishing central for the Big Horn river.   Others we encountered on the trip included:  Slide Inn (Madison / MT);  Anglers Roost (Bitterroot / MT); and Roscoe Campsite (Beaverkill / NY).  If you are a fly fisherman and heading to these rivers, you must stay at these campgrounds.  If you’re not RV’ing, each of these have cabins as well.

We are really looking forward to our 2017 “rambling” that will take us to 49 more of the TU Top 100 Trout Streams and finding more campgrounds of every type.   For now, if you are traveling to any of these areas, please take a look at the campground websites.  We hope you enjoy the pictures we’ve included with this “Gallery” post.

Ramble On