The Bitterroot Continues to Confound

To be fair, I’ve only made four trips to the ‘Root since I started fishing. Each time seems to be under poor conditions (once in extreme cold, once in heavy snow and once it started off snowing and changed to extremely sunny by the end of the float) so, I’m probably not giving it the best chance to be productive for me.



Picked up my buddy Duncan and we headed down to just above Darby. He had some experience down that way from when he was a kid and I’d always heard the further up you go the smaller it gets so, why not. Rigged up, waded upstream a bit and started casting. I tied on a kebari and was casting along the bank when I saw a fish rise and take my fly. Set the hook, the fish jumped, probably just a 6 incher, and spit the hook. I won’t bury the lede, that was all the action we’d have today.


On a side note, I’ve really enjoyed all the wildlife I’ve seen since taking up fishing. I’ve probably seen more in the last two years than I did in my previous 25+ living in Missoula.


We tried a few other spots in this section but ended up getting back in the truck and heading further upstream. We stopped at the confluence of the East and West fork. My gut tells me we should have picked one and gone even further but, we didn’t today.


The water looked really promising but neither of us had any action. Duncan said he tied on tons of different rigs and spent plenty of time on a few holes that had to be holding fish. I worked up-stream hard and fast. Tried kebari, elk hair caddis, rubber legs, worms, eggs, nothing got so much as a bump.


As always, it was a fun day with a friend on the water. But the Bitterroot has once again left a sour taste in my mouth. Someday I’ll crack the code. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying.

I did manage one Cutthroat (IPA, thanks Blacksmith) on the way back to Missoula…


Happy Angling!

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