Sunday, September 19, 2010

Discovering Montana

One of the great things about Montana is the availability of a seemingly infinite number of fisheries to explore. As much as I'd like to fly fish in New Zealand, Kamchatka, and Chile - so too would I like to explore the Tongue, Yaak, and Sun rivers of Montana. My meager travel budget forces my hand...Montana it is, but I'm certainly not complaining.

This week I had an opportunity to spend a day on a fairly remote Montana river that has always intrigued me. The river is definitely not a destination fishery and is fished rather lightly.

The river typically suffers from irrigation demands during summer, but this has been a great water year for most of Montana's rivers, with this watershed being no exception.

The fishery is largely comprised of brown trout, and the fish looked to be in great shape as they transition into fall spawning mode. Browns across a wide range of age classes and sizes were encountered and the river looked very healthy with a good amount of aquatic vegetation and insect life.

We saw no other anglers and only a set or two of boot prints in the mud, which petered out not far from the access point. It was a bluebird day with warm sunshine and a chorus of grasshoppers in the riverside grass. We rigged a rod for streamers and a rod for hoppers. The hopper bite didn't materialize until early afternoon, but once it did it was productive as long as the fly was presented tight to the banks - many of which were significantly undercut. The streamer bite on the other hand was hot from the get go, with fish darting from cover to take our actively retrieved crayfish and sculpin imitations. The two biggest fish of the day (20"+) were taken on a huge Kelly Galloup creation, the Sex Dungeon.

As much as I dream of fishing destinations half a world away, days like this are a great reminder of the world class water that we have right here in Montana.

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