Sunday, 24 May 2015

Slow Start in Montana - USA 2015

My first taste of Montana fly fishing didn't quite go as planned. I headed out to Rock Creek, about 30 miles from Missoula, after a guy in a local fly shop suggested it was the place to go because it would not be as high or dirty as some of the other rivers in the area, including the famous Bitteroot. He also suggested it could be waded. I was a little surprised then when I first spotted the river to see what in my books is a high and discoloured river! Perhaps they have a different scale of things here in Montana or look at it first and foremost from a drift boat perspective. An angler visiting from Seattle with his wife took one look at the river and called it a 'widow maker' so it wasn't just me being a little timid.

I gave it my best shot and where I could gain a foothold in the river fished heavy nymphs through the seams, but ultimately to no avail. I wished that I had a streamer or two in my fly box and when I returned to Missoula I rectified that by stopping in at another fly shop. I was glad for having my raincoat with me because it rained hard for about an hour at midday, doing nothing positive for the water level. Cold, wet, fishless and hungry I eventually decided to pack it in and return to Missoula for a hot meal.

On the drive back down the valley the sun emerged and bathed the National Forest in sunlight. I saw two salmonflies fluttering across the road so I parked and cast a salmonfly pattern into the water and had a cautious nibble from a small fish but nothing else. There were a couple of salmonflies on the water but nothing appeared to trouble them. I guess it might take a few more days yet for the fish to become active.

Nevertheless it was great to simply be out in American mountain nature and to be in Montana with a fly rod in hand after a lifetime of dreaming about it.

Can you spot the little critter? What is it?

Even though I failed to catch or see a trout I was left in no doubt that I was in a place of trout.


  1. Justin
    Just as you say, this is Montana, where all fly fisherman are born. This place is on my bucket list for next year. Glad you made the trip and shared it with all of us.

    1. Thanks Bill. I should hopefully have a little more to write about Montana in the coming weeks too.