Montana - Bitterroot and Rock Creek (3/31 -4/6)


Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
I've been back for a week, but been being killed by work!! That's always the way it happens, work twice as hard before you go and 3 times as hard when you get back! :beathead:

Got back from MT last Sunday evening after being out on the Bitterroot most of the week. This was my first time on the Bitterroot in all of my trips out to MT and is a beautiful river. Floated / fished with Ron from AATF and some of his friends. It's always nice to check off a new river in MT! :beer2:

Headed out out Saturday, early evening, stopped in Cle Elum for dinner and drove all night! Got into camp in Hamilton, MT (The Angler's Roost) at 5am on Sunday. Set up camp, slept for a few hours, got our gear together and we were fishing by about 11am that day!

We floated for five days (~ 34 miles total) and despite a pretty slow start had a great trip! Most of us caught fish everyday, and despite the lack of quantity, there were some awesome fights and beautiful fish! Between the five of us, we caught everything but a bull.. Bows, cutt's, cuttbow's, brown's (big one's) and some whitefish.

Skwala's and March Brown's were the ticket. I nymphed for a day, but most days used a Skwala dry with various droppers. Only took off the dropper when I was casting like shit or the wind was so bad that I got too many tangles. Luckily that wasn't too often for either! :eek:

Bug activity was slow early in the week, but picked up as the temp's rose, both air and water temps. Measured the water temps a few times and it was between 32 - 42 degree's. We would go Skwala hunting each evening, in the trees and banks near camp and while the numbers never got to prolific levels, their were more and more out each evening from Sunday 4/1 to Friday 4/6.

We spent three of our five days floating from Hannon Memorial down to Wally Crawford and the others from Darby down to the same takeout. Our last day to float, Thursday the 5th was by far the best followed a close second by Wednesday for overall activity. Thursday was constant action, with the fish looking up for most of the day.

Highlights! Too many, but probably hooking into a 22" brown that stayed on for 20 seconds, did a spectacular jump and said goodbye! A super subtle take, and I didn't even know how big it was until it did a few headshakes and then the jump!

A few days later landing a beautiful 17 1/2" brown with awesome coloration. Getting some time on the sticks! Incredible fighting and looking bows, cutts and cuttbows. By the end of the trip I was comfortably manuvering the big boat and was able to keep the guys positioned to fish effectively.

Friday we headed to Rock Creek for the afternoon and hooked up on some nice fish. March browns seemed to be the ticket.

Spent the weekend in Helena for my uncle's birthday. Didn't get out to fish, but got to check out his new Sportsmobile and watched Trout Bum Diaries II. Flew back on Sunday and wondered why i was. I'm ready to go back out there, maybe for good!

I've had some pictures in the gallery, but have added a few more and linked them here. Enjoy! Tomorrow it's off to float the Yak!


I was over there just last week for the first time and, though, the fish were tight lipped it was outstanding. My wife and I floated the Bitterroot with guide Chris Macadam one day; then fished Rock Creek for two days. The Bitterroot was stingy, but I did land a nice 20" Brown on a honkin' streamer just before the take-out. The weather was cold and windy, but the last day on Rock Creek lightened up with sun and no wind. The March Brown hatch exploded and we had a two hour window of non-stop surface action. I'm now counting the days until I return.

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