Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Land of the Giants

I can't seem to stay away. The allure of big, river trout and virtually no fishing pressure had me enduring another chilly day on the Missouri River this week. Granted, our weather has been very warm for this time of year in Montana, but it's still cold enough to keep most anglers indoors.

We justified the week day trip to ourselves by scheduling a couple of business appointments in Helena in the morning, before devoting the afternoon to "field work". We accessed the river from Hauser Dam this time, rather than by making the longer drive to Beaver Creek. Upon our arrival, trout were rising in the slack water to a prolific midge hatch. However it didn't take long to realize that all of the rising fish were quite small (10-14").

Throughout the afternoon I stuck with a weighted, double nymph set-up. A scud and zebra midge were consistent producers for me, each fly accounted for a few rainbows. My biggest fish of the day - a beautifully colored, 18" male rainbow - took the beadhead midge. My friend Matt took big fish honors on this day with a solid 20" rainbow that took a pregnant scud pattern.

As good as the fishing has been for us here this winter, we know we've barely scratched the surface of what this location is capable of producing. Reports have been surfacing of some big fish moving up out of Holter Reservoir in recent days. I hope to have another first hand report from Land of the Giants next week. Of course there are already reports of skwala stonefly hatches occurring on the Bitterroot River this week...decisions, decisions.

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