Meadowburke on the River

Meadowburke fishing tripAfter many years of fishing Montana streams together, my main man Jan brought his crew of executives from his concrete accessories company to fish the Bitterroot River with us.  Team Meadowburke, as we’ll refer to them, was a four person group with lots of fishing experience, just not much in the way of fly fishing.  So, Chris and I had our work cut out for us assembling our troops and teaching as much fly fishing knowledge as we could cram in there in our short two day trip.Meadowburke fishing trip

Starting with casting instruction in the lawn for a couple hours, then shifting right onto the river, our guys quickly picked up the basics of fly fishing and proceeded to lay into quite a few nice trout out there.  What our anglers lacked in fly fishing experience, was made up by their general fishing abilities: once they were hooked into a trout, a lifetime of fighting fish on the salt helped them to bring em’ to the net quickly and efficiently.  Casting and drifting a fly can be a whole new experience to most folks, but good ol’ fish savvy comes from spending time on the water with a rod in hand, fly rod or otherwise.west fork bitterroot cutthroat

Montana weather, always on the sketchy side, didn’t let us down in the least.  Our days would start warm and sunny, but would quickly deteriorate into overcast skies and falling temps: trust your weatherman when he says thunderstorms are predicted.  Soon enough the rain jackets would come out as we prepared for whatever was coming down the pipe from the West, dark storm clouds and lightning flashes.  We took shelter wherever available, sometimes under the immense canopies of ponderosa pine trees, sometimes anchored under the nearest bridge until the deluge passed us.Chris Rockhold west fork bitterroot cutthroat

With all the weather ups and downs, the river fished downright awesome.  Drys and streamers played very well with fish chasing the bugs hard from rocky banks and inside seams.  Just after we’d get clobbered by one of the many storms rolling down the valley, the fishing would light up, helping us forget about the drip off our hats and our soggy jackets.

bitterroot cutthroatA big thanks to the Meadowburke crew for fishing with Bitterroot River Guides, we enjoyed a true Montana fishing experience out there.  Many big trout came to the nets, we suffered with the mountain weather, floated and fished over twenty miles of scenic river, and enjoyed good camaraderie and great times in the mountains.  See you next time.

Montana Bass and Pike Fly Fishing

Chris_Rockhold_photo_31-16Adventure is what we all really live for around here.  After you’ve thrown a million dry flies to hapless cuttys and river rainbows, it’s time to go check out some other fisheries that Montana provides.  These rivers get warm, eventually: somewhere down the system temps become too high for the trout, but perfect for smallmouth bass and pike.

loaded upWith two days and eighteen miles of enormous river, Chris and I had plenty of time and equipment to seriously check out this piece of water.  Two 9 weights, two sevens, four spinning rods and baitcasters combined, we were straight loaded to reek havoc on this river.  Sloughs right off the bat held pike and largemouth, while midriver structure supported smallie hangouts:  everywhere you fish is a different setup.

pikeSlipping into slackwater sloughs we hunt pike, hanging in the deep mossbeds; way trickier than you think on a fly rod but way worth the effort and the steel leader.  Largemouth hang on the edges in the tules and right up into the shoreline, killer fighters and a blast to cast big flashy articulateds to.  We fish late into the evening  as the bass get going well past dusk.

Chris_Rockhold_photo_31-4Miles upon miles we travel on this quest of ours, awed by the size of the river system down here and the variety of structure.  We figure out our location to the takeout, finally, and decide keeping a few smallies would be a good idea.  Last night we ate one on the weber grill we packed along, and it was clean and fresh like the fish I remember as a kid.  Loading up a stringer from just one hole of thirty or so fish cruising around, we stung enough bass to feed the masses and pulled anchor for home.