Osprey Outfitters Guide Service and Fly Shop

Osprey Outfitters Guide Service and Fly Shop
Osprey Outfitters Guide Service and Fly Shop

The Shop

The Shop
The Shop

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Passing of a Good Friend and a Great Man

Tommy at home by the campfire
It is with an extremely heavy and sad heart with which I write this blog. I just found out that my good friend Tommy Sagen died early this morning. Tommy was a great man and a true Red Belly, a name for a native Montanan and our state fish. You always knew where you stood with Tommy. If he told you he was going to do something, it always got done. He was cut from the cloth of a dying generation, where a hand shake still meant something. Even though I only knew Tommy for the last four years, I had an immediate connection with him.

I will miss these times and only wish I had more of them
I first met Tommy the summer of 2007. He walked in my house with his usual summer attire of cutoff jean shorts and a denim long sleeve shirt, which always had a small empty plastic milk container for his snoose spit. After tipping back a few Captain Morgan and Coke's (Tommy's favorite drink), Tommy asked if I minded if he brought his guitar in to play a few songs. To which I replied, "Hell no! I will pour us a couple more cocktails while you get it." This began my love affair with Tommy Sagan's music. Tommy mostly played all his own music. The lyrics came from his experiences through life. From hunting big game in the Flathead Valley, upland birds on the Highline, fishing for trout and salmon, running trains and the women that broke his heart, Tommy's lyrics were funny, poignant and deep with wisdom. I, and many other people, spent many of nights around a campfire listening to Tommy play his guitar. After a while we all knew his lyrics and he loved it when people would sing with him. Every once in a while we would hear a new song on the radio that we knew Tommy could play. Sure as shit, it would only take him a couple of times for him to listen to it before he could play it. Tommy was an incredibly talented musician. I always threatened to rent a studio so we could get some of his music recorded. I regret not ever doing it now more than ever. Every time I mentioned it to Tommy he was always a little leery. He would say, "I will do it Buddy-boy but I just don't think it would have the same feeling that it does sitting around the campfire." It may not have had the same feeling but his music would have lived on. Now his songs are lost forever.  Fortunately, I did film a couple of songs a few years ago.  Here are three songs on the following links on Youtube:  Tommy singing "More Desire" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9dn0gEk1xg Tommy siging "Red Belly" with help from the crowd http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LUa2CFIh9w and Tommy singing "Turnin' My Wheels" also with help from the crowd http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAtx7QRdoWw

 A great man and musician.  RIP Tommy Sagan
Tommy wasn't just a good musician he was a kind and generous man. He would literally give you the shirt off his back. That expression gets thrown around a lot. I think it is due to the fact that it never happens much anymore. Tommy and I had many discussions about the demise of morality by the younger generations. Tommy was a man who worked hard and played even harder. Just a few years ago he had retired from the railroad. He was at the point in his life where he was able to enjoy the things he loved most; fishing, hunting and being with friends. Unfortunately that time was cut way too short.

I am sure the music in heaven has gotten much sweeter and more colorful. I picture him sitting around a campfire entertaining the angels. I bet he has even got them singing along with him by now. I will dearly miss his company and songs around my firepit! My you rest in peace Dickhead (Tommy's term of endearment). Save a spot for me around your firepit up there. I love you and goodbye.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lost Rods!!!

A good friend of mine lost his two rods on Thursday March 17th while guiding. He was floating Wally Crawford to Angler's Roost and thinks they may have accidentally got kicked out of his boat near the Rennaker Diversion Dam. They are two Temple Fork Outfitters Signature Series 9 foot 5 weight rods with an Okuma & Ross Reels. They are in a two piece case that is tan and has a River Otter Fly Shop logo. If you happen to find them, Emmett would be very grateful if you called him at 406.370.5712 or you can call the shop at 406.363.1000. Thanks for your help on this one.

I am headed out for a couple of days of fishing this week and will report. We have been starting to see some fish willing to eat a dry skwala. It is just starting. It is about two weeks later than usual this year. It will only get better and better everyday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

HB 309

A hearing is set tomorrow in Helena for HB 309. This bill will potentially change the Montana Stream Access Law and prohibit access to hundreds of miles of water. The time is now to act. If you can't make the hearing, which is taking place at 3:00 p.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chambers (Room 303), in the Capitol Building in Helena, please write a letter any and all Montana Senators (State not Fed). Now is the time to act. Here is a link to find the email addresses http://leg.mt.gov/css/find%20a%20legislator.asp Democracy doesn't begin and end on the first Tuesday of November.

The following is the letter I have sent to many Senators and House Representatives several times:

Dear Senators,

I am writing you this letter in regards to HB 309. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the hearing regarding this bill on March 8th. However, I would like to go on record as being adamantly opposed to this bill. I am a fly shop owner and fishing outfitter in Hamilton . I believe that this bill is not only bad for my business, but for the Montana economy as a whole. Anglers contribute millions of dollars to the Montana economy each year. Most anglers enjoy fishing in Montana due to the stream access laws. If this bill were to pass, it would block access to hundreds of miles of river that was once accessible. The loss of revenue to local economies would be catastrophic. In times like these, we can't afford any more negative economic impacts.

The current Montana Stream Access law is very specific when dealing with ditches. It is very clear that ditches are not part of this law. So why the sudden move to adopt an amendment? Several years ago some wealthy, out of state land owners were ruled against blocking access to Mitchell Slough. Since then, they have made several attempts to appeal but all have failed. Now, it seems they are behind legislation to block access to the slough. However, if this bill passes, it will have huge ramifications throughout the entire state. HB 309 will surely benefit the owners along Mitchell Slough but the costs will be felt by all resident and non-resident anglers. The way this bill is written entire river systems, such as the Bitterroot, Big Hole, Beaverhead, Big Horn to name just a few, could be deemed ditches. Furthermore, many side channels and sloughs would now be off limits. A very bad precedent would be set and there would be no going back.

The Montana Stream Access law is a great piece of legislation that benefits the not only the economy but resident and non-resident anglers. HB 309 is not only reckless; it is an attack on our way of life. If HB 309 is passed, it will start an erosion process that will completely undermine the Stream Access Law. The Montana Stream Access Law already specifically states that no public access is allowed, without permission, on any type of man made "ditch". I strongly object to the following points in HB 309:

1) A live, flowing braid or channel can be defined as a ditch if there is any kind of control structure at the head of the live channel, including 'natural features incorporated into the water conveyance system'

2) Recreational access is available only with landowner's permission on water bodies created at least in part by waters diverted from a natural water body where the diverted water is the principal source of water in the water body - think about low flows in August and September and the many Montana rivers and streams with side channels and braids that have diversion structures on them where return flow could be considered the 'principle source of water' in the river or stream.

I ask you all to carefully consider the costs to this bill. I also urge you to listen to all the citizens and non-residents that have written letters in opposition to this careless piece of legislation.

Good Fishn',

Sean O'Brien
Osprey Outfitters Fly Shop & Guide Service