Good Trout Action on Southwest Montana Rivers
Capt. Rick Grassett
August 17, 2014
Jefferson River - Freshwater Fishing Report
I hosted a group of friends and clients on a fly fishing trip at Crane Meadow Lodge (www.cranemeadow.addr.com) in Twin Bridges, MT last week. We fished the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Jefferson, Ruby and Madison Rivers, a couple of spring creeks and a high altitude alpine lake, either wading or floating, where we caught and released numerous brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. Many fish were caught with a variety of hopper dry fly patterns.
This is an annual trip for me and was our 13th year at the lodge. Nick Reding, from the St. Louis, MO area, Mike Perez and Dennis Kinley, from IN, Tony Merlis from NH and I met up in Bozeman on Friday afternoon, 8/8 and made the 90-mile drive southwest to the lodge in Twin Bridges. We ran into Jimmy Carter in the airport. He was on the same flight from Atlanta with Tony, who said the former president traveled in coach and made his way through the entire plane shaking everyone's hand on board. The fly fishing world is a small world!
I floated the Jefferson with Tony Merlis one day and the Big Hole with Nick Reding another day with guide Dan Allen. We caught and released rainbows and browns on both trips. We saw a moose along the Big Hole and a couple of eagles locked talons in a battle that almost put them in the river! Nick and I waded the Ruby with guides Tom Caffrey and Matt and I caught my first cutthroat! The variety of fishing available is one of the best things about Crane Meadow Lodge. As long as I have been going there, I fished new water every day except for one this trip.
Mike Perez and I floated the Beaverhead with guide Dave King and had good action catching and releasing browns to over 20". Mike and Dennis Kinley also had a good day wading with guide Dave King, catching and releasing numerous rainbows and browns over 20". Dennis and Nick had good action with brookies on the Big Hole with guides Tom and Matt another day. Tony had a couple of good days with guide Dan including some big brown trout.
The last day was one of the best when the entire group fished a high altitude alpine lake with guides Dave, Tom and Dan and Crane Meadow Lodge operator, Cody Meine. Cody and his staff of guides have become good friends over the years, which makes it even more enjoyable. The scenery was amazing as we took an hour-long drive up to about 7500'. We caught and released cutthroats and rainbows and grilled burgers for lunch. A great way to end our trip!
The weather and scenery in southwest Montana is outstanding. Temperatures ranged from a very comfortable low to mid-50's in the morning to 80's in the afternoon with low humidity, a welcome relief from SW Florida's heat and humidity in August. In addition to beautiful valleys surrounded by rugged mountains, the wildlife is amazing! We saw whitetail and mule deer, hawks, eagles, ducks, geese and sand hill cranes to mention a few. We also saw numerous moose and lots of whitetails around the lodge most mornings. In addition to great fishing, we enjoyed some outstanding meals prepared by Chef Nick every evening.
Back in Sarasota, catch and release snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges and trout, blues and more on deep grass flats should be good options. Reds should be schooling up on flats of Sarasota Bay and there should still be some tarpon in the coastal gulf. You should also find tarpon in upper Charlotte Harbor and areas of Sarasota and Tampa Bay. Juvenile tarpon in canals and creeks or around bridges are also good options.
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB's Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout
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