Trip Report Exit 234 - Montana

Buzzy

Active Member
#1
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Rogers Pass - still cold

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Fishing day No. 1 at Holter Dam, yes it was busy. Flows were about 11,000 cfs. In my limited experience, with flows between 11 kcfs and 12 kcfs, there isn't much "wading".
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I met up with three friends in Missoula, we spent the night and the next day headed up highway 200. The Blackfoot was flooding (as was pretty much every river I saw in MT) with a huge mud load and conifers complete with their root wads. Boats? Busy.
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Little Prickly Pear Creek - all the boats on the river moved "river right" downstream of this confluence. Upstream, at least both river right and river left offered opportunities.
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Upstream of Little Prickly Pear I'd fooled a number of fish on size 18 zebra midges; downstream of the bridge and the confluence it seemed the midge lost its effectiveness. The guide suggested a red bead head sow bug. It was a very good suggestions and worked well for me.

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I know, the fish is out of the water. But it was a nice brown and I needed one quick hero shot. I figure the fish was about 18 inches.

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After two days fishing the "Holter" drift, my friends and I wanted something different so we suggested the canyon. We launched at Stickney to cloudy water with about 3-feet vis. That was enough. The guide pointed out "Spite Pinnacle" (interesting name). The fishing was very good for us in this drift.
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I'm told there are some 6,000 fish per mile in this section of the river. That's a lot of trout. The river needs to produce a lot of food for that many fish. No problem. We saw rafts of midges that at times were maybe 20 feet square and at times appeared to be more than a half inch thick. How many bugs are there? I'd guess enough.
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I fished the MO last year at the same time (May 1 - 3), flows were about 7.5 kcfs as opposed to the 11 to 12 kcfs we had this year. Day two last year was absolutely epic: lights out fantastic, mind boggling...... I landed 30 plus trout on that day. This year a dozen fish per day. Still smiling. You Montana guys have some fantastic fishing. The rivers are food factories and fish heaven.
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When you spend eight or nine hours in a drift boat, "potty" breaks don't usually allow privacy. Some guide had a little time on his hand (Stickney vault). I thought it was pretty funny.

We rented a really nice house about 15 minutes out of Craig. I booked the place through Headhunters in Craig: great little shop with staff who know their stuff.
 

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