Montana Cast and Blast

Steve Call

Active Member
I just returned from 10 days in Montana. I spent the first three days fishing around Libby. I decided to pass on fishing the Kootenai after talking to a group who spent two days floating the area below Libby dam with guides and reported few fish - mostly 8-12". Instead I explored several creeks in the area. Water levels were low but in a few deep holes with cover I connected with 10-14" rainbows on grasshopper patterns. The fishing was challenging given clear skies, small water and brushy cover. The best fish was a 16" rainbow that I pulled out of a small hole making a side arm cast with about three feet of clearance between the water and an alder tree laying across the hole. I held my breath each time the fish jumped for fear he would reach the overhanging branches and break me off. It was a short but fun fight. Sorry, no pictures as I dropped my camera in the water.

On Friday the 8th we headed over to the area north of Shelby for the pheasant opener on Saturday. We've hunted the area (leased land) for the last four years and as expected, there were a lot fewer birds this year because of a hard winter and wet spring. The same wet spring meant the draws and bottoms were thick providing great cover for the birds that were there. Weather was great for us - sunny and 60's, but generally too dry for the dogs. Nonetheless, three of us managed one or two pheasants each for 5 days, plus several huns. We only saw a few sharps - they were still up in the hills - but shot two. But hey, how can you beat five days hunting with two friends and three great dogs.

Oh yeah, we took a break one afternoon and fished a 5 acre resevoir on the ranch stocked with rainbows in prior years. It gets almost no pressure and fishing grasshopper patterns close to shore was dynamite! In two hours I hooked half a dozen trout and landed two of about 3 lbs and one that approached 7 lbs!

While the hunting wasn't a good as previous years, it was a great time!