Adventure 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.
With 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.
Slipping 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.
Miles 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.