Matt and I had plans to fish Monday evening. As the day went on, more and more fires flared up around Missoula. Ash was falling like snow at one point. We decided worst case scenario, we take a little drive and turn back. That’s not what happened…
Heading east on I-90 things kept getting worse. We were planning on Turah as a back up if things were ugly in Rock Creek. Clinton was almost as bad as Missoula but, as we rounded the corner coming in to the turn off at Rock Creek the sky cleared. Just a few miles up we had blue sky. Amazing to not feel like you’re sitting in the midst of an enormous camp fire.
Well worth the drive, even if we don’t have any luck (spoiler: we had some luck).
That’s not a cloud. That’s the smoke we’d just come through. Thoughts are with all those being displaced/endangered by the fires and many thanks to the folks working to contain them.
We waded through a few small channels, Matt started throwing in one of the side channels and I moved up the main artery. Had a bump or two and then a decent sized looking fish came up and took my fly. Broke it right off. I think my knots need some work as I’ve lost a few this way lately. Can’t imagine they are all too big for the tippet I use.
Matt broke the ice. Nice brown to start the day. A bit further upstream I got into a few myself, similar/smaller size. We worked up towards a cliff face that was shading the river. Ran into another guy fishing so we gave him a wide berth. Upstream from him I had another large fish on the line. While I didn’t lose the fly this time, it ran downstream and spit my hook.
Gorgeous day. We’d initially talked about moving upstream here along the cliff face but, the path was a bit overgrown. I’d have been ok, I wear pants, a long sleeve shirt and wading boots. Matt however, had shorts a t-shirt and Vibram five fingers. Great warm weather gear but, not the best for bushwhacking. So instead, we moved down stream on a different channel.
It would turn out to be a good choice.
Spotted yet another snake. I’ve been seeing a bunch while out on the water lately. Thankfully, none have been all that interested in me. This one appeared to have a bulge in the middle, recently ate dinner?
A bit further down Matt cast across the stream and got into a fish. I was on the bank near the fish but as I mentioned earlier, it was pretty overgrown. Made my way to a better vantage point quickly when I heard a “Woah” and saw Matt going for his net.
Beautiful catch! He said it’s likely the biggest he’s caught on the Iwana so far, a very nice fish to be sure.
Shortly after I moved up, cast a yellow stimulator and had a fish on… it promptly broke the fly off. This is getting ridiculous! I tied on a red stimulator and got back in the same area. Glad I didn’t give up on it…
That’s about 17″ of brown trout there. Beautiful fish, fun fight, really got my heart racing.
After we both had such nice fish we figured it was time to head back towards the truck. I tied on a kebari I’d tied myself and got into several more fish, none that compared to the brown. I think Matt took several more as we worked our way out as well.
A great way to spend a Monday afternoon. We managed to escape the smoke, enjoyed a couple nice beers (thanks Matt!) and got into some beautiful fish. Can’t ask for much more than that.