Sunday, August 28, 2011

No Bull

Got out early this morning on the Blackfoot. I started at the access area where I caught the nice cutthroat a few days ago. I was fishing streamers with an add on sink tip. I fished a deep run and only managed to have 1 small take. Then I decided to drive to an access point further upstream. I drove about 30 miles and when I got there, there was a good number of people fishing. I stood on the bridge and watched a while and noticed there was a nice riffle and deep run downstream.

I walked down there and began nymphing. I landed a few small rainbows and then worked my way to the edge of the deeper water. I hooked up with a few nice fish and landed 2 whitefish. I continued to work my way down the run. It was a deep drop off and I nymphed right on the edge. On the second drift I hooked into a nice rainbow. The fish was acting a little crazy and I saw it dive down deep into the run. Then I saw a huge dark flash on the bottom. My line pulsed and tightened up and it felt like the trout had gotten hooked on a log... A moving log. At first I thought a river otter had grabbed on the trout. But then I had other thoughts of what might be going on. One thing came to mind....Bull trout. I didn't know for sure it was one, but whatever it was, it was big. I fought the fish for a very long time and it kept making very slow runs back out into the current. It was like an anchor and it was a very strong fish. I fought the fish for about another 10 minutes and then I could clearly see that it was a nice sized Bull Trout. I couldn't see the rainbow yet so I figured the fish was already down the bullies throat. As I brought the fish closer I took a few underwater snapshots and a video of the fish.

I noticed that somehow the fish had managed to get hooked in the back just behind the head. The rainbow and my other nymph was gone so I figured the fish had broken off as the Bull Trout had attacked. Being an endangered species I wanted to release the fish as safely as possible. After taking a good look at the fish I estimated it to be about 24 or 25 inches.  I grabbed my hemos and the fish was very cooperative. The hook came right out and the fish swam off strongly. I was extremely happy and I had a lot of adrenaline from landing the big fish. It was a weird happening, but a great one at that. I couldn't believed what had just happened and I know I'll never forget it, for it may never happen again. After that I actually was a little tired. The foul hooked fish was a big challenge on my 5 wt. Orvis Helios. I headed back to the car very satisfied.

When I got back to campus Cody was there ready to go and explore the Bitteroot. We took my car and started driving. We found ourselves on some back roads going along the river, checking out access points along the way. We didn't find any good looking water so when we got to Stevensville we stopped at the local fly shop to ask where a good section of river is to fish. The guys in the shop were very helpful and they told us to head upstream. We did and we walked a good half mile downstream of a campground. We found a very nice deep run and we immediately got into fish. Cody fished the hopper, while I followed up with nymphs. It was a good strategy and both dries and nymphs produced strikes. I landed a very nice rainbow and Cody missed a couple really nice fish. They seemed to be short striking the dries today. It was a nice run and we were thankful for the guys in the fly shop and their generosity of telling us a great spot to fish. We will probably be exploring the bitteroot more as summer subsides. Today was a great day with a great surprise. Tomorrow classes begin and I have 5 classes. Hopefully I'll be able to get out before they start and after they end. Either way, Life is Great. Stay tuned......

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