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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fished the Bitterroot near Bell Crossing for a few hours on Tuesday and the skunk smell is still on me! Weather was OK (even saw a few BWOs coming off), water was fine, zero shelf ice so those were not impediments. I tried low and slow with streamers, lots of nymph patterns from worms to little midges/ice cream cones, dead drifted some woolly buggers, fished emergers and dries and......didn't see a single fish. On the positive side, fished a Helios I recently exchanged (thx Leland Miyawaki and Orvis Bellevue for phenomenal cust svc!) and it is now my official "everyday 5 wt" - it seems to do everything well. Another positive - beautiful day and - no surprise - had it too myself.

Anyone else been fishing Bitterroot lately?
 

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Skunk proof or at the very least skunk resistant...now the reel might wind with the wrong hand, but that just adds to the excitement when you get that fish on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah good call Panhandle - considering fishing the CDA last week as I had visions of throwing small midge nymphs or soft hackles, but got stuck at work. Maybe next week
 

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Will be in March when the Skawla's start showing. I've never fished Montana from November - March. It's enough of a drive/time committment that I want the odds stacked in my favor.
 

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I spend probably 15 to 20 days a year fishing the bitterroot. That bell crossing area is not too shabby, but taking a 10 minute walk down stream on the west side and fishing the concrete and crap you see on the east side will produce. There is a great hole there and we normally pick a few off when we float it. Additionally, continue down about a mile or so towards Stevi and look for the braids. There are some good ones to fish on that west side, with a couple of nice holes at the tail end of most of them. Bitterroot has it's good days, but when it's on, like during the skwala hatch, it can be magical. I think that the best fishing of the year is late summer (tricos in the AM, hoppers, some mahogany's in the aftenoon, fall caddis) or the first two weeks in October. Obviously, fishing it and getting to know it a bit more intimately will aid in your success.
My parents live right on the river in Stevi, where the mitchell slough flows in to the main 'root. This is an awesome area.
I would also say that right after run -off is over the fishing can be very fine. bigger and faster water, best suited from a boat or raft. Additionally, check out the west fork, down south of Darby. Great Cutthroat water and easy to get around. Lots of fun.
PM me if you have any further questions. I know many a guide that fishes it and my dad puts in like 70 days a summer on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It can be good during the skwala hatch and I like fishing the braids (there are also some decent braids well upstream of Bell Crossing, and Phishguy is right the Stevi area has some really nice water), but my complaint is that in the last 10 years or so it seems like the whole world is showing up to fish it when the Skwalas show. Gets bit crowded for my tastes and don't usually float it at all or fish it that often- partly for that reason. Flyphishguy you sound like you have it wired though - good on ya......Did you hear about Huey Lewis feeding the ducks to keep hunters out of the slough?
 

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bugmeister, man, I agree on that skwala comment. Two years ago, easter weekend, no one out. had great fishing and was a blast to have the river to yourself. This past year, easter weekend, people all over and the spots i like to fish where i typically see NO ONE, had multiple anglers. It was really frustrating and I went home and drank beer. Do you live in that area? if so, I would invite you to come on by sometime and we can fish the slough early before the guides get there with their boats and clients. There is something so awesome about feeding fish for 4 hours and no one there to pressure them. Additionally, fishing spinners in the eavening, like right before dark in july can be friggin awesome.
I keep waiting to see Huey or Sibel rolling around the area. The water rights and access laws can be frustrating. I fish all over montana, and while my folks have river frontage, i dont mind seeing others. . . only when i want to fish and cant cuz others have tied it up or blew it up. it is what it is.
tight lines yo!
 
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