Great Trout Action in Southwest Montana
Capt. Rick Grassett
August 28, 2011
Beaverhead River - Freshwater Fishing Report
I hosted a group of fly anglers at Crane Meadow Lodge in Twin Bridges, MT last week. The group consists of clients, who have all become good friends over the past 10 years that we've been going to the lodge. Nick Reding, Bob Reynolds, Howard Curtis, Jay Sandza and Bob Virgil, all from the St. Louis, MO area, Mike Perez and Dennis Kinley, from IN and I all met up at the lodge last Saturday and Sunday. We fished the Beaverhead, upper Big Hole and Ruby Rivers, a spring creek and a high mountain lake.
We caught and released brown trout, rainbows, cutthroats and brookies on a variety of dry and wet flies. Some of the best dry fly action was with hoppers and caddis imitations. We also caught fish stripping streamers and nymphing. The Beaverhead River was fishing so well it was hard to do anything else, but we fished various sections of the river from Clark Canyon Reservoir to Barrett's and on private water north of Dillon. We also waded the river in a few sections. Mike Perez and I each caught and released big browns to 24" (4-lbs) on hoppers in a spring creek. Bob Reynolds and I floated the Beaverhead on Thursday and had good dry fly action with browns to 22" drifting hoppers along grass banks and on current seams.
One of my favorite days was when Dennis Kinley, Jay Sandza and I waded the upper Big Hole River and had great action with brookies on small hoppers. They aren't large but they are aggressive. They would sometimes launch themselves out of the water to blast our hoppers, providing a great fight on 2 and 4-weight fly rods. We ate lunch at a turn of the century one room log school house where students from the early 1900's had carved and written their names and the date on the logs inside the building. Nick Reding, Bob Virgil, Howard Curtis and Jay Sandza had great action with cutthroats on a high mountain lake on Thursday.
Weather was great, lows in the high 40's and highs in the low 80's with very low humidity, except for a morning and an afternoon of thunderstorms, although the thunderstorms were strong with hail, wind and lightning. The variety is one of the things that bring us back to Crane Meadow Lodge every year. There are usually several different options for any given day from floating a river, wading a smaller tributary or spring creek to fishing dries and hoppers. The food and the accommodations are great and their guides are usually dialed in to the best action. The scenery is outstanding with lots of snow capped mountain peaks around. We saw whitetail and mule deer, elk, and antelope and numerous waterfowl, including the namesake of the lodge, Sandhill Cranes.
Flats action should be good next week in Sarasota Bay early in the day. Look for tarpon rolling on deep grass flats or around bridges. Outgoing tides in the morning will get stronger as we head towards the end of next week, which should mean good flats fishing. Check the coastal gulf for tarpon, albies and tripletail when conditions are good.
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
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