Friday, July 29, 2011

Bitterroot River

I came home from the Missoula Trip with a broken 6wt rod and a light case of food poisoning. Well, the broken rod was sent to Sage and it will be replaced. But it will take 6 weeks minimum, which means no heavy nymph rigs and streamer fishing during the period. Then I seem to feel better from the food poisoning thanks to the pills that a Floridan physician/angler gave to me (another story).
I visited my fishing friend John at his uncle and aunt's place in Stevensville, south from Missoula. It's been a year since I last fished with John as in my post from last year. Time seems to have passed so quick since I crashed his boat to all the rocks in Madison a year ago (and I had such a long hair!!). Now I own my own boat and we floated with it. We floated Bitterroot. Bitterroot and other rivers in the region are also experiencing historical high-waters as in Madison and Yellowstone. My first impression for Bitterroot is that it looks like a bit smaller case of Yellowstone. Lots of braids and log-jams and then mix of deep pools, cutbanks, eddies, and foam pods that suit for either dry-flies, nymphs, and streamers. Then all through, it's one of the most scenic rivers in Montana.
I fished one of those braids and I caught a nice brown for the size of braid with a black Home Invader.
John's nephew caught a nice rainbow on dry too!!

We also floated the upper section. John said the section was really high for he recalled (flow was 1500 cfs or so? at least less than 2000, I recall) and a couple of boaters and shops warned us that two boats had gotten crashed/flipped over so far this year. Really?? Upper section has numerous boulders. But main concerns are choice of braids and log-jams. River seemed to offer any kind of flies and tactics of one's choice. I stuck with streamers in the morning with no luck then I switched into dry-flies. With this high-water and my observation (trout and insect hatches seemed more active in the afternoon), my best choice was this Royal Wulff Cripple.

It was truly a team work. First of all we forgot the landing net. John got me to the right spot and I made a perfect Reach Cast behind the huge boulder, a deep slick. Then this huge Westslope Cutty came up to snatch my Royal Wulff Cripple. I asked John to pull over the boat so I could bring the fish to the shallow. Then we made a perfect grip-&-grin pic!!

We took turns of rowing and we caught lots of brown, rainbow, and cutty on dry-flies. Though they were all small, it was a fun 16-mile float.

Some of deep pools and pockets of Bitterroot really seem to hold elusive Bull Trout. Since my 6wt got broken I couldn't even challenge (later on at Rock Creek either). But fishing with a good friend and those eager trout that came up to dry-flies made the days really memorable and enjoyable.

Rowing wise, Bitterroot is far easier than Madison or Yellowstone. I used only a quarter of my strength??

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