Must fish Montana rivers??

Discussion in 'FlyTyingForums.com, Fly Tying, Trout Fishing' started by Adam Peterson, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Adam Peterson

    Adam Peterson

    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Alpena
    Hey guys I kinda know there is the Yellowstome thread going but there is 4 of us driving out to Montana sometime after the 4th of July might leave the day after. Anyways, I was just hoping you guys that have fished out there before will be able to tell me some of the rivers I have to fish! I'll be taking my drift boat and I will work out good since the guy who isn't fishing will be able to take the truck to the takeout launch! I know an outfitter in crooke city who is going to let us keep the boat at his place while we do a back country trip up to slough creeks third meadow! We planed on fishing the Madison and maybe the henery's fork! There is just so many great rivers we just need to come up with a game plan so we can make some reservations and campgrounds and what not. Oh well probably be staying out there for 2 weeks so we'll have plenty of time!
     
  2. QuackerWhacker

    QuackerWhacker

    Messages:
    830
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Saginaw Bay, the PM, or Frankfort
    Are you staying in one place the whole time, or traveling to different places? MT is huge. "It's just a bit down the road" out there is about two hours.:lol:
     

  3. Barty57

    Barty57

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Grand Rapids/Irons
    the yellowstone is a great river to fish especially from a drift boat the last time i was there i just walked in a caught a good number of cutts averaging 14 inches i've never fished the missouri river but ive heard real good things about it. there are so many good rivers out there its hard to choose but you cant really go wrong with any of them.
     
  4. Adam Peterson

    Adam Peterson

    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Alpena
    not really planning on staying in one spot for to long maybe 2 days max on each river, the nearest trout water from where I live now is 1 1/2 hours and I really wouldn't mind traveling several hours to fish someplace! Was even thinking about going up to Alberta and fishing the Bow for a day or two! Traveling isn't a problem at all!
     
  5. green caddis01

    green caddis01

    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    michigan
    Adam,

    The time you are coming to Montana is likely to be just on the downside of run off. Slough Creek may not be very fishable at that time, but play it by ear. Hiking up to the third meadow and beyond could be pretty good, but it will be unpredictable based on the late spring and early summer weather. If you really want to fish some good stuff in the park in early July check out the Yellowstone. The river around Buffalo Ford will be closed until mid July but from Gardiner up through the Grand Canyon section will have good salmonfly activity.

    You mention that you are up for some traveling so i'll share some insight further beyond the immediate park area. It is true that in Montana you must be willing to travel a bit to find good trout fishing. You are coming with a drift boat and that will make it a lot easier for you. Southwest Montana in general is not that great in early July. The water will be high and tourism is at it's peak. Go beyond this area, skip the famous stuff like the Madison and Henrys Fork. You might find some fishing below Ashton Reservoir on the Henrys fork but it's unlikely. I would concentrate on some tailwaters.

    A good option if you are up sor exploring and want some solitude is a river called the Kootenai. It is way up north and far from anything really well known.Missouri River below Hauser Dam fishes pretty well this time of year as does the Bighorn out by Fort Smith, Montana. Those will be extra crowded. There is the Beaverhead out near Dillon, Montana. This is a popular spot too. You could consider some spring creeks, there are several to choose from. They include Armstrong, Nelsons, Depuys, Milesnicks, Poindexter, Big Spring Creek, and the list goes on. These fish quite well with really prolific hatches and difficult, but large, fish.

    You say you are interested to go as far as the Bow River so i'll throw out some real extreme places. British Columbia has some really fascinating places to fish. The upper Columbia and Kootenai systems are worth a look. Do some research on those and you will be amazed at what they offer. The Elk River drainage may still be in runoff in July but it offers some interesting things. If you like streamer fishing for big brown trout, try the Elk. But you wont find brown trout, instead you will get giant Bull Trout and really nice cuttrhoats. The same is true with the Kootenai. These are really quality fisheries if you are up for some adventure.
     
  6. Adam Peterson

    Adam Peterson

    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Alpena
    Green,
    so when would be the best time to come out? I wanted to come and fish the salmonfly but I can leave work at that time! I could push the date back to end of July early august if that would be better fishing! I would def be down for bull trout if I could find some! If the end of July early august would be better I would consider coming out then! I would really like to fish some of the more "famous" rivers, I have found out that it seems like a lot of the spring creeks you have to pay to fish! I'm totaly open for suggestions though so keep the thoughts coming!
     
  7. Bulletproof

    Bulletproof

    Messages:
    1,577
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Freeland
    Must Fish Rivers:

    1. Bighorn: A must float. Hit it on your way out. It's near Billings. Set aside at least 2 days to fish it. Put in at Yellowtail Dam and pick what take out you want. Large numbers of very big fish, river seems to ignore laws of biomass. See what fish are keying on at local fly shops. Very good nymph water with standard indicator applications. The Ray Charles Sow Bug has always been our bread and butter fly for this river.

    2. Madison: A river that needs no introduction. Go to Slide Inn and talk to Kelly Galloup, owner and a MI native. He will tell you where the bears ****inthebuckwheat. There are some absolute slobs in this river. Streamers can be gangbusters. We used very big zonkers and it was lights out. There are several different floats on this river but my absolute favorite is: Lyons to Ruby. It can be very windy in the valley, bring lots of big streamers.

    3. Box Canyon: Near Island Park and is the start of the Henry's Fork. Awesome nymphing water. One guy holds the boat outside from the back, while 1-2 guys highstick all the riffles in the boat. Wait until you get past the 1st set of rapids before you attempt to get out and do this. It's only a 3 mile float so this is the best way to do it as you give yourself plenty of opportunities to hit all the good water. Use a standard indicator set up for this river. 2 fly rig. We use a big Kaufmann(6-8) and a smaller dropper like a 14-16 beadhead prince or hare's ear. That's all you need for this stretch. Might want one dry rod(5) with a big stone fly to float if your bored of highsticking. This stretch of river is loaded with huge bows and is worth at least a day of your time. I will say that the fishing isn't nearly as good as it used to be, but still should make for a good day. Check stream flow data from the reservoir.

    4. South Fork of the Snake: Huge river. Classic Western Tailwater. This will be a 2 day trip as there is some traveling involved, but worth it. We always float the Canyon section, as it offers incredible fishing and views that will blow your mind. Float the section from Conant to Cottonwood. It's an all day float. Make sure you get a spot. It's tough getting outta Cottonwood at night. It would take too long to spot this float. Ask whatever shop that spots you to give you directions for getting out of Cottonwood. This is a big river that demands respect. Fish can get very, very big. Fish the branches/arms and numerous oxbows. There are some dandy cuts and very big browns. Bring big rods and flys.

    5. Beaverhead: Small tailwater with huge fish. Again, another river that appears to ignore the laws of biomass. Put in at Clark Canyon Reservoir and float to Hennebury. Read up on regs for this river as they have restricted float times, etc. It is a drive, but so worth it. Absolute monster alligator brown trout. If it's on, the fishing is unrivaled, the only thing that comes close may be the Bighorn. The fish are very particular in this river. Last time we fished it the fish would only eat 16 PMD soft hackles. Make sure you find out exactly what the soup du jour is for when your there, or you'll be wasting your time, trust me.;)

    This will keep you busy. Those are all 5 star rivers that will produce. As always, local conditions will dictate quality of fishing. Don't let the fly shops tell you those aren't good rivers or floats. Some will try their damnest to keep flatlanders off of their money runs, believe me. As long as conditions merit it, fish these rivers!
     
  8. Adam Peterson

    Adam Peterson

    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Alpena
    wow bullet thanks for all of the great info!!! What time of the year would you suggest going out there? Do you suggest any fly shops where you get your gear and spots from on those certin streachs of rivers! Thanks again for all the sweet info man!!
     
  9. Bulletproof

    Bulletproof

    Messages:
    1,577
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Freeland

    You'd be better off going in late July/Early August. This would steer you clear of any possible run off issues. Most of the rivers I mentioned are tailwaters, so they are usually better fishing early than some of the freestones out there. At any rate, wait till late July and you will be money.

    I don't have any real allegiance with any of the shops out there, didn't use them much. That said, Slide Inn would be a must stop for your Madison adventure, ask for Kelly and tell him your from MI.

    I lined out specific floats for each river. Do those floats. The time of year will be good for all of those rivers. The only thing you need are maybe a few particular patterns for each river. Check with shops in the area for each river on what is working. Water flows at Box Canyon and Beaverhead will be crucial. If they are getting good flows the fishing will be much better.

    Bighorn-you need nymphs, in particular small sowbugs. Check with shop for more up to date patterns. 5 weight rod, indicator set up. Dry fly action can be great. Standard attractor patterns can get you by.

    Madison- Check with Kelly, but I'd have a streamer arsenal ready. 6 weight rod with a good full sinking line. Dry fly fishing can be hit or miss depending on wind. Caddis are always a good bet.

    Box Canyon- Nymphs and more nymphs. Big stones for point flies and 16-18 beadheads for droppers, something with flash too. Indicator fishing is the best here. 5weight rod is fine. A big stone fly might work for dry fly action, or any caddis type larger imitations like stimulators, humpies, etc. Trouthunters in Island Park is a good place for info on Box.

    South of the Snake- Snake River Outfitters would be your best bet for info, they can do spots too. You'll need 5-6 weight rods. Chernobyl type flys, foam body thoraxes work good on the Fork. This is a good river for all types of fishing--nymphs, streamers and dries.

    Beaverhead- Pick a shop close to it and see what the fish are keying on, it will make a big difference. Last time I was there it was a 16 pmd soft hackle. I would also strongly consider doing this as an afternoon float, that way you can hit some caddis in the evening. The fish will tear up caddis in this river, moreso than I've seen elsewhere, as caddis can be kind of fickle as far as getting fish to feed. If you can score fish on dries, this is a fun place to do it. Use as heavy as tippet as you can get away with for dries and nymphs, you're gonna have to run 100% flouro leaders for nymphs and go heavy. These fish are hot and will tear you up if your light lined.

    These rivers aren't secrets. But they can handle the pressure and when there on they are on, regardless of how many wankers are fishing. I would fish Box Canyon and the Beaverhead during the week if possible.
     
  10. MT406

    MT406

    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    here n there
    this river aint too shabby... The Land of Giants

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also like the Big Hole, along with the rivers mentioned above, and every other river in MT for that matter. If you're in the Bozeman area, pm me and maybe we can float. I been known to row a day for beer and a good steak dinner ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  11. DHise

    DHise

    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North Carolina
    lived in Montana for close to 7 years- the Slide In of the Madison is some of the best trout water in the world. Do it!