Trip Report MT fishing again


As Roper mentioned in his trip report, "Third time's the charm," I did ask him about this Missoula area fishing lodge that was so intriguing. The Missoula River Lodge has really nice accommodations and even better food. I thought Mrs. Salmo might enjoy it, so I booked a stay there, and it turned out to be the same time that Roper and Scott were going to be there for their third time. I didn't think to photograph the food, but Roper did, and it was even better than it looks.

And the fishing wasn't bad, either. Mrs. Salmo and I floated the Bitterroot on our first day out with our guide Luke. We'd never been on that river before, so it was cool to experience a new to us river. My wife caught the first two fish of the day, nice rainbows, while I followed up with a whitefish.


The second day we floated a section of the Clark Fork, mainly because we've only seen it from the highway every time we go to Montana. It was nice to fish the big river. It wasn't extremely productive, but it holds lots of nice fish.


I got in on the action too, and even managed to get a picture of one.



Three nights and two day's fishing is the usual stay at MRL, and it was over before we knew it. From there our itinerary took us up near Helena to visit a friend and former co-worker who spends his summers in MT and winters in Florida. Then we toggled on over to Bozeman to visit another family friend. Missed Swimmy this trip. He apparently had to actually work a few days during his otherwise endless summer vacation due to Covid. Our daughter, SIL, and grandson showed up at the house we booked in Bozeman, so the character of the trip changed decidedly with an active 5, almost 6 year old around.

Next stop was Gardner, on the north side of Yellowstone National Park. We were greeted at the house we rented by a big pile of grizzly scat in the driveway when we arrived and a cow elk staring in the dining room window as we trundled our baggage into the house. I've been to YNP a number of times, but never had a welcoming committee like this before. As per my usual style, I didn't think to take a single photo of any of this.

We fished some of the usual YNP haunts that I neglected to take any pictures of. My SIL joined me for a day on the Lamar, one of my favorite streams in the park. Although I caught my largest cutthroat ever from that river that day, I didn't bother to photograph it. You'll just have to take my work for it that it was indeed the pool boss. My SIL did photograph one of the last trout I caught that day, but only after it flipped itself sideways in the net. I guess it just didn't want me to have any cool fish pictures that day.

Lamar YCT.jpg

We spent a little time in Mammoth Village. That's where the ice cream store is. Did I mention my grandson was with us? Along with a bunch of tourists we got chased around by bull elk in rut.


That guy was Mr. Unpredictable, who let tourists know they were in his way of pursuing a harem of cows by chasing them onto porches and into buildings or cars. This next guy, a spike bull, was trying to stay out of the way of the larger bulls and got up on the porch that shortly before was occupied by a bunch of park visitors who were chased up there. It's all quite comical as long as no one gets hurt.DSC02224.jpg

Then we drove home to Olympia after the recent rain cleared up all the smoke that invaded the area during the week we were gone.

Bruce Baker

Active Member
Nice write up @Salmo_g. Thanks for sharing your travels. Glad you got to meet up with most of your friends, have some family time, and time to go fishing. Also glad to hear that no one got hurt by any of the bull elk. How did you like fishing the Clark Fork? What is your grandson's favorite ice cream flavor? Although the fish was sideways, that was a nice pic that your SIL took and having the rod on top going lengthwise of the net and perpendicular to the fish was a good touch.


WFF Supporter
Bruce, I enjoyed fishing the CF for the one day, but I'm not sure that I'd do it again. It's not that I dislike big water, but it can be quite a ways from one fish holding spot to the next, unlike most of the rives where it's one riffle and run after another. Grandson seemed partial to chocolate cookie flavor. Thanks for the kind words.


WFF Supporter
I meant to add a little about our Bitterroot float. We were floating the section that includes Mitchell Slough. The slough is a relic side channel of the river that was long ago converted into an irrigation ditch. It was then enhanced as trout habitat as millionaires like Huey Lewis bought mansions along the slough. They went to MT state court to try and over turn the stream access law, claiming the slough was a man-made ditch and not subject to public access. The millionaires lost; the public won.

Our guide parked the driftboat near the mouth of the slough, and we waded upstream, carefully staying below the ordinary high water mark. Mrs. Salmo caught a really nice cutthroat in the second riffle while I had a brief encounter with the pool boss under a small log jam just upstream. I kept working that log jam over and finally hooked the Deputy Assistant Director to the Pool Boss, a hefty brown trout who I named Huey Lewis for all the stream enhancement work they did. Meet Huey:

Huey Lewis 2.jpg

Not being a rich member of the landed gentry, I'm a huge supporter of stream access, like the MT law.

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