Being a meadow stream in a flat basin the river snakes its way through many tight 's' bends where the concave portion of each meander cuts under the bank, offering ideal habitat for the stream's resident brown trout population. Brown trout just love undercuts don't they? A stonefly nymph cast right up against the bank had a good chance of being swallowed. Any more than 10 cm too far from the bank and it would be ignored. It called for precision casting and more than a handful of occasions of snagged grass and willow.
I found the browns generally hugged the margins or concealed themselves in undercuts while whitefish preferred the faster water and would also be taken from the head of the deeper pools where the current tumbled in. The fishing has been tough in Montana so far - I have drifted nymphs through perfect looking water with not so much as a nibble but today was one of those days where I just knew that if I presented the stonefly nymph in a likely looking spot more often than not my heart would be set racing by the disappearing act of my indicator. My final tally was something like eight brown trout and eleven whitefish and I lost many more.
I even caught a little brook trout. When I first caught sight of it I grew excited, thinking it may have been my first bull trout, but the vermiculated patterning on its back and tail soon dispelled that.
To satisfy my craving for truly small stream fishing I spent the first afternoon right up in the headwaters where I could unleash my 7'6 3wt for the first time this trip. Here the stream flowed crystal clear through a primeval looking forest where the trees were covered in moss and the place had a general feeling of perpetual dampness. This forest felt very different to the typical Ponderosa pine forests of Montana. I managed to tempt only one brown trout to take a nymph but it happened to be my first brown trout in America so it will be remembered forever.
|My first American brown trout|
The fishing is improving and with weeks to go yet in America that thought fills me with excitement.
[With apologies for some of the poor photo quality in this post]