Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blackfoot Gold

Found a new section of the Blackfoot today with Chris. We drove upstream for about 40 minutes and found a road that led to a walk in access site that is less visited than other access sites along the Blackfoot. We also discovered that the land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, something that we have recently learned about in our Natural Resources class. We walked along the path and then cut down to the river where we found some really nice pocket water for nymphing. We started fishing and I spotted one fish rising right off the bat. I missed the fish nymphing and then decided to get out the streamer rod and full sinking line. Some big boulders made some larger slack water downstream so I started swinging my fly through it. I was using my very own invention the M.F. special, a zonker stripped streamer with a chartreuse cone head and orange collar. On the first cast I stripped the fly towards the current seam and as my fly hit the faster choppy water a big head emerged out of the water chasing the fly. The fish turned back to the seam. I immediately made the same cast and stripped the fly in short quick bursts. SMACK! the fish nailed the fly. I thought it was a nice cutthroat but the fish held in the current. As I brought the fish closer I could see it had a dark body. A bull trout again! how fortunate was I to be able to hook up with another one of these super aggressive and rare fish. I brought the fish to shore and snapped a couple photos.

What astounded me about the fish was its width. It had such a wide head and chunky "shoulders". I guess that's where they get their name. The fish also had very beautiful orange and pale spots that extended all the way down its 15 or 16 inch body. I was very happy and I yelled with excitement to Chris that I had landed another Bull Trout. I'm really interested in the Bull Trout and I hope that someday I can maybe do my undergraduate or masters thesis on the species.

After that Chris and I didn't get into anymore good fish. The stretch looked great but for some reason there was a lack of fish. I worked a perfect looking pool nymphing and then went through the entire thing again and worked every inch of water with a streamer with no results. It was still good to find a new stretch of water and even better to hook up with an elusive Bull trout on the second cast of the day with my streamer rod. I will be out somewhere tomorrow and will probably bring the streamer rod again, although its going to be hot one.

Midterms over, Back to Fishing

Had my last Midterm today. Its been a tough week of studying and balancing that with fly fishing. My midterms all went well and I'm very relieved. I went to the fly shop 2 days ago after losing my sunglasses and bought the same model of smiths for $107.00. Not to bad of a deal with a $50 gift card from my mom. Thanks mom.
I'm back to being a trout bum and headed to the blackfoot today. I'll be bringing the streamer rod to try and hook up with some big Cutts. Stay tuned for the report tonight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goodbye Glasses

For the past 8 years I've fished with the same polarized sunglasses. The rootbeer tinted Smith glasses have been at the bottom of many rivers and lakes and have been recovered every time, except for yesterday. I fished yesterday evening with Chris on Rattlesnake Creek. We did well, each landing a few fish nymphing the pocketwater of the small stream. No bear encounters this time but as we were walking back downstream I reached for my glasses(which are usually on the top of my hat) and they were gone. I considered going back to look but we had covered a lot of stream and the chances of finding them were pretty slim. And so ended the 8 years of having those glasses. I was actually pretty bummed but I think it was about time for a new pair.
As for the fishing Chris did very well today. I've enjoyed watching Chris go from not even being able to cast 10 feet, to being able to put a fly wherever he wants. He has improved so much in the past 2 weeks that he can now catch fish not only with dry flies but nymphing as well. I'm very surprised that he has picked up nymphing so quick. It's even more suprising though, that like me, he enjoys nymphing (which many people hate). I'd like to take some credit for Chris' improvement but I must say, he is a fast learner.

                                         Chris nymphing the pockets on Rattlesnake Creek
Headed to the fly shop today before going out to fish. I may be getting new shades, but they'll never be able to replace my last pair.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chaffin Creek Camping Trip

Me, Connor, Chris and Cameron left for our 2+ day camping trip right after our last classes on Friday. We were headed for the Selway-Bitterroot Mountains to a trail called Chaffin creek trail which would take us far up a steep valley to several alpine lakes supposedly full of Westslope Cutts that are more than willing to take any fly. When we got to the trail head (about an hour from Missoula), we only had a few hours of light left to hike. We started up the trail immediately which was pretty gradual. About a mile in we started seeing some of the big cliffs that make up the walls of the valley.

We continued on the trail until it came down to the creek. There was a couple of nice pools right next to the trail and I threw a twig in and watched as 2 trout came right up to try and eat it. The creek was full of trout. My rods were packed up so I took about a 5 foot piece of 5x tippet and tied on an adams. I threw the fly with my hand into a small pool. A fish ate it within 2 seconds and it was a beautiful cutthroat. It felt like I was back in NY fishing for brookies in the small streams. After a small break we kept on hiking for a little while until we found a nice place to camp. It looked like bear country so we played it safe and threw our food bag up in a tree. We all didn't sleep to well  because it wasn't the best place to camp. I think we all slightly rolled downhill during the night. To our surprise nothing touched our food bag. We packed up and began hiking again. About a mile and a half later we reached a falls on the creek which meant we were close to the first of many lakes. I caught one nice cutty and then we moved on. A little while longer we reached the first lake, Heart lake.

Heart Lake

It's a beautiful lake and we could clearly see tons of fish rising. I got down on a log near the grassy shoreline and immediately hooked up with a fish seconds after my fly hit the water.

It was a beautiful Cutthroat and it had some great colors. After releasing the fish Cameron and Connor both landed their first fish on a fly rod. The trout were going nuts for whatever we wanted to throw at them.


Chris was catching a bunch down the shoreline and after catching about 15 fish each we moved on to the next lake. Tamarack lake was definitely the most beautiful and it proved to hold some bigger fish also.

I rigged up rods for Cameron and Connor and we all spent a couple hours catching tons of beautiful Cutthroats.

                                                                              Connor with a nice Cutthroat on

Chris had the biggest cutt of the day, which smacked the Stimulator he was throwing.

It was a great couple hours of fishing and we each caught a bunch of fish. I estimated that I caught somewhere around 80 cutthroats. After having a short lunch we continued down the shore of Tamarack lake only to find we had to go up a huge ridge to get to our camping destination. We hiked up the ridge for about an hour and then came to the most difficult part of the climb. We had to make our way over a huge rock slide section with thousands of car sized boulders on a very steep slope.

It was a long section of the climb but we made it across to our destination; the high Chaffin lakes. The lakes were more like small ponds but it felt like we were literally on top of the world. The lakes seemed like some sacred place. They were surrounded by huge canyon walls and hundreds of short tamarack trees and it was a beautiful place to camp.

We were the only ones in the area and it felt like we were the only ones on Earth. To have an entire mountain range to ourselves was a pretty amazing feeling.
After checking out the views and exploring a little bit, we set up camp and cooked up a nice dinner. As the sun set we hiked up the rock face a little bit and watched as the sun went down.

We all slept pretty good during the night and the stars were as clear as I have ever seen them. There might of been a small meteor shower going on because we each saw a few flash across the sky before bed. We planned to watch the sunrise in the morning and I was woken by Cameron around 6:45 just as the sky was starting to lighten. We hiked up the ridge until we got to the top where its considered the tundra. All there was were very small tamarack trees and shrubs. We watched as the sun rose and that's when I realized that this is the reason that I came out west to go to college.......

We headed back to camp after watching for a while and packed all of our stuff. We wanted to get back to campus at a reasonable hour so we started hiking early. The trek back seemed like forever and we tried to go as fast as we could. The last couple miles were tough because we were very fatigued and very hungry (we had run out of snack foods half way through our hike back). We finally made it to the car and headed for the town of Darby where we bought lots of candy and chocolate milk. It was a great trip and we'll definitely be back again someday to catch some more beautiful fish and do what we love to do.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

3 fish, 3 casts

Had a great thing happen today on the Clark Fork. I was fishing a nice hole with plenty of rising fish. I fished the pool for a while and hooked up with a nice fish. It was about a 15 inch rainbow and I fought it for a good 4 minutes.

After releasing the fish I made a long cast across the pool and another decent cutthroat of about 12 inches nailed my fly. After releasing that fish I made another even longer cast to the far side of the pool. Again a fish nailed my fly. It was a rainbow of about 10 inches. It was literally 3 consecutive fish on 3 consecutive casts. Not bad at all for 1 pool on the clark fork. In total I landed 4 from the pool and 1 small bow upstream. The rest of the afternoon outing was slower. Riley managed to land a couple smaller fish out of the same productive pool. Tomorrow afternoon after classes we'll be headed to the biterroot mountains for our big trip. We'll be camping for 2 days and fishing some very productive alpine lakes. Stay tuned for the full story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Big Trip Coming

In two days me and my 3 friends Cameron, Chris and Connor will be headed to the Bitteroot Mountain Range for a 2 day backpacking trip. We'll be hiking to an elevation of almost 9,500 feet. On our trip we'll be targeting trout in the several alpine lakes on the trail. I'm looking forward to fishing some high elevation alpine lakes for the first time ever. Some research I've done suggests that it probably won't be hard to get these trout to take a fly.

As for Missoula the weather has been great and the fish are still actively taking dries. I fished above campus again today for about an hour and got 1 rainbow of about 10 inches to take a trico pattern. Tomorrow morning I'll be headed somewhere to streamer fish with my brand new full sinking line. I expect streamer fishing to continually improve all the way into mid October.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Fished above campus today for a few hours. The dry fly fishing was alright. However, there wasn't nearly as many fish actively rising as last week. I landed a rainbow and cutt(not of any good size) and then decided to walk up to the pool where I had landed a nice brown a few days before on a streamer. I put on the same streamer without a sink tip again and started working the top part of the run. It only a few casts before my fly got hammered by a fish. It felt like a big fish and for about a minute I didn't even know what I was hooked in to. To my surprise it was only about a 14 inch rainbow that had just fought like crazy.

It felt great again to have a fish hit and fight so hard on a streamer. After fishing the run all the way through a second time with a different colored streamer, I called it a day. I spoke to Cody on the phone after and we both agree, now is the time to start focusing more on streamers.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall is Here

Fall is approaching fast. Temps here in Missoula have been pretty cold at night and the forecast says that for the next couple days it could drop almost to freezing at night. The chilly nights have definitely had an effect on the fish and hatches also. I headed out on the Clark Fork today around 1:30 and found that it was pretty windy and overcast. I expected to see some hatches going on and plenty of fish rising but there wasn't much going on. I found 2 rising fish on a calmer stretch where the wind wasn't as crazy. I managed to land 1 cutthroat which crushed my adams parachute.

After that I decided to nymph a deep run in hopes of hooking up with trout, not whitefish. My hopes didn't come true so I headed upstream where I picked up a small bow nymphing. I went upstream even further and found an awesome looking riffle/run that looked perfect to nymph. I did and landed 1 whitefish right off the bat. Then I made the decision to switch to a streamer. The deep run looked perfect for it and I thought I'd rather fish streamers than catching a bunch more whitefish and probably no trout. I didn't have a sink tip but a split shot did the job. On the first cast on the second strip of the fly a fish smacked it. It was a hard take and it felt great to get a fish to hit that hard. It was a nice brown of about 14 inches.

With that fish I officially declare it Autumn. Now I'll be focusing more on streamers than dries. The hatches are somewhat dying down and fish are going into the prespawn stage very soon. I'm very excited for the coming weeks of fishing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Cody and I made it to Craig, MT at about 8pm last night. Made a visit to one of the 4 fly shops in the small town mostly composed of a bunch of trout bums. There were literally drift boats all over. The people in the fly shop were very helpful in suggesting patterns and telling us a good float to do. We camped the night at wolf creek access. Sleeping in the truck pretty much sucked and I don't think either of us got much sleep. I woke up a bunch of times to the sound of some pretty fast winds. When we woke in the morning at 6:30 we could tell it was going to be a tough day. The winds were howling. We ate a quick breakfast and then we were off on our float. The first half hour was slow but as the sun began to rise the fish began to also. It was clear to see why the Missouri is one of the most famous streams for large trout in the country. Every fish that I saw within the first hour came fully out of the water and they we're not small at all. The river itself was a lot bigger than I had imagined. The Missouri(as we discovered) is basically an over sized spring creek. Lots of vegetation that provide trout with all of the food they need.
Tricos were first on the menu. There was many of them but Cody and I found a nice braid that looked perfect for nymphing. Cody fished the run first why I had some equipment problems. The seat back on my pontoon boat snapped right off when I was rowing. While I was making a temporary repair to my seat, Cody hooked up with some nice fish nymphing.

    I managed 1 fish in the same run after Cody went downstream. As we continued our float we found lots of fish rising. It was very difficult though, due to the wind gusts over 30mph. The wind seemed to be non stop and I was having a rough day with tangled leaders and being blown to the bank again and again and again. I also ended up breaking 2 nice fish off, one of them had crushed my hopper. It was a very frustrating day for me. About 3/4 the way through our float we found a nice pod of fish rising to tricos. The wind made it difficult to present our flies but Cody managed to get a very nice bow of about 17 inches to take his fly.
    The rest of the float was pretty tough and the winds seemed to be even stronger. Neither of us hooked up again but it was still a good day (at least for Cody it was). Had it been a calm day, I know we would have done a lot better. We are planning to come back to the Missouri again this fall.

Friday, September 16, 2011

To the Missouri!

In a few hours I'll be headed to the Upper Missouri River with my friend Cody. We plan on fishing the day tomorrow in hopes of landing some huge fish. We'll be bringing our floats and will drift a few miles of the river. Fishing lately has been on fire and the reports from the local fly shops are great. Stay tuned for a report tomorrow.

Thank You!

Yesterday was a record day for hits on the Blog with 49 hits! I want to thank all of you who are continually viewing my posts. My reason  for creating the blog was so that people could follow what I'm up to and now I see that it's becoming more than that. I believe I have viewers from 4 different states now. I hope that all of you enjoy the stories that I post. I try and make them as interesting as I can. Please continue to spread the word about my blog, especially to people who are interested in reading stories related to fly fishing and the outdoors. Thanks again for your support!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Overcast brings the Hatches

Today was a rare day in that it was overcast here in Missoula. It's rained only 2 times since I've been here and today actually felt really good. It was very cloudy and we even got some sprinkles of rain. At about 3 o'clock Chris and I walked upstream from campus to the run where I landed the 16 inch bow a few days ago. The rain really brought some hatches out and there were plenty of fish feeding. Hatches included Tricos, some PMD's, BWO's and Mahogany Duns.We fished first above the falls and I caught a small rainbow and small cutt on the pink panther pattern. Then we continued upstream to the run.

There was a good amount of fish rising and I had a nice fish on the Panther but the fish threw the hook when it launched about 3 feet out of the water. I fished up the run more and then saw a big fish porpoise right out of the water. I threw a small sized adams parachute and after he didn't take I switched to a small BWO pattern. I positioned myself directly downstream of the fish as I watched him crush something on the surface. I made a long cast past the fish. I couldn't really see my fly because of the glare so I was guessing where it was. A fish rose to the right so I waited and then I saw a big rise about 15 feet in front of me. I set the hook and it turns out that I guessed right. The fight was on and I called to Chris who was downstream because I knew it was a nice fish. I carefully fought the fish for a couple of minutes and then eased it into slack water. It was a beautiful cutthroat of about 17 inches. Chris snapped a few pics and then I released the fish.

The sun came out about 10 minutes later and the fish became less active. After both of us casted at a nice fish we called it a day and walked back to campus. it was a good few hours of fishing. I will be somewhere tomorrow and will possibly do a float on the Missouri River this weekend with Cody. stay tuned....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Ones that got Away

Fished the afternoon today with my friend Chris on a great section of the Clark Fork that I've been fishing a bunch lately. We headed up to a pool that we had seen fish feeding in a few days ago. Turns out there were still fish feeding and plenty of them. I wanted Chris to get hooked up with a nice fish so I gave him fly after fly until I started to run out of ideas. The fish were being picky and wouldn't take anything and we tried a stimulator, elk hair caddis, hopper, baetis and an ant pattern. Chris was doing a great job of presenting the flies but the fish were just not liking them. Then I gave Chris a small size 14 adams parachute which worked immediately as a fish smacked it on the first drift. Chris got a little too excited and snapped the fish right off. After that, the fish wouldn't take so I gave Chris a heavy golden stonefly nymph and pheasant tail and had him throw some nymphs. He had a few hits but couldn't connect with the fish. Then he put the flies right in the perfect place and as his flies sank, so did his fly line which was holding up on something. He set the hook and I watched as his line moved to the side almost directly upstream of us. Then the line came right in front of us and I saw an absolutely huge fish swimming slowly but strongly right past us downstream. It was a massive fish (it looked like a Bow) and Chris tried to keep the pressure on. The hook popped out and the fish was gone. After that I fished the pool a little bit and managed to pull out a few small bows on a simple BWO pattern.

                                            Chris fishing a nice Pool on the Clark Fork

While Chris switched to dries, I moved downstream to nymph a run that I had previously caught a nice rainbow in a few days back. Almost at the end of the run I watched as my line stopped dead in the middle of the fast water. I set the hook and the fish took off so fast it snapped my 5x tippet like nothing. I was really disappointed and I knew I had lost a nice fish. The rest of the time we fished we didn't get into any fish. We did discover some nice deep pools and runs upstream which I'll be going back to fish probably tomorrow. Overall it was a nice evening of fishing, even though we returned to campus having to tell our friends about the big fish we both had lost.

Monday, September 12, 2011

From Wet to Dry

Coming from New York and entering the state of Montana, I knew I was in a little bit of trouble. There was a small problem coming from NY. I was not a dry fly fisherman. At least I didn't think I was. The fast flowing rivers and streams of my home state are just perfect for nymphing and I can honestly say most of the fly fishing I've done in NY has been sub surface. However, in these past couple of weeks I have seen and learned that dry flies is where its at for the west. Don't get me wrong nymphing is probably the most effective technique to catch trout but occasionally you'll get in those situations where you HAVE to throw dries.

I have already seen many situations where fish require the perfect presentation, perfect drift, perfect size and perfect pattern. I've learned a lot about dry fly fishing so far but the most valuable thing I can say I've learned so far (from my personal experiences) is to have complete confidence in what fly you're presenting. Its weird because I've found that if you don't trust your instinct when you're in one of those situations where you don't know whats hatching and don't know what the fish are feeding on, then you simply will not catch fish. Its all about having confidence in your selection.

This evening I went out to fish a run on the Clark Fork that I found while running last week. I walked upstream for about a mile looking carefully for rising fish. I took my time and then I started to see fish rising in a deep run. They were big too. My PMD parachute pattern that I invented that has been killer for me was what I immediately went to. I didn't think twice about changing my fly because I knew I was going to get the fish to eat it. Sure enough after a big fish rose about 30 feet in front of me I put the fly right in the feeding lane and the fish immediately came up and nailed my fly. The fight was on and it was a good fish. I managed to get a self taken picture of me and the fish which was a beautiful bow of about 16 inches.

                                             A nice Clark Fork Bow

A few minutes later I managed to get another fish even bigger to come for my fly. All I saw was a huge boil and the fish was gone. I had one more fish on that was about 14 or 15 inches but he threw the hook. There was still a few hours of light left but the conditions got very windy very fast. I called it a night with the one fish. I was very happy and my parachute pattern which has been deadly had come through again. I've caught a lot of fish on the pattern and I've been using it every day now. Fish just seem to love it. Its tied with a pink post and its visible from what seems like a mile away. Because of the pattern being so deadly in the past couple weeks it will be the new fly of the week. Check the blog tomorrow for tying materials. The name was made up by my friend Cody who deemed it.....The Pink Panther. Great name for a fly. Will be out at some point tomorrow. Stay tuned for the report....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bitteroot Float

Yesterday Cody, Garret and I floated an 11 mile section of the Bitteroot. It was a great day and we learned a lot. Early on me and Cody found a slow flat run loaded with rising fish. They were taking emergers and some adult patterns. The fish were playing hard to get but we both managed to land a couple. Cody missed a huge brown twice. The fish was pretty picky but Cody managed to get him to take twice with a small sparkle dun. A little while longer when we were fishing a deep outside bend, Garret nailed a nice rainbow of about 16 inches. The fish almost took him into a couple logs but Garret did a great job of keeping him out of the snags.

                                                           Garret with a nice Bow

As we continued on we each caught some ok fish. Me and Cody doubled up in the same run twice and I lost a nice Bow of about 14 inches. About 3/4 the way through our float Cody had a really nice fish of about 18 inches smack his fly in a deep run. Unfortunately he was in a bad situation and headed for a big log jam. He fought the fish for a while and as he was headed for the logs the fish threw the hook. Nevertheless he was very happy because the fish had struck his fly harder than he had ever seen a trout strike.

Overall it was a great day on the water and the section took about 8 hours to do. We caught some decent fish and saw a lot of new water. The three of us were very tired but very happy that we got to spend the whole day doing what we love to

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back in Action

After a couple days of focusing mainly on school work and also relaxing I was back to fishing today on a nice section of the Clark Fork with a couple friends. The section had some great nymphing water and I managed a 16 inch rainbow and lost another fish that was easily over 20 inches.

Overall it was a good afternoon. I stuck with the nymphs for most of the time and landed 9 fish including a nice brown and cuttbow. Tomorrow I will be floating a 10 mile section of the Bitteroot River with my fishing buddies Cody and Garret. Its going to be a great day. stay tuned.....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Great Weekend in Idaho

This weekend I drove down to visit my sister Kate and her boyfriend Tom. Tom owns a nice ranch with 2 amazing trout streams, both of which are tributaries of the Salmon River and spawning grounds for Chinook salmon and steelhead. On day 1 we fished a section of the Salmon river south of Challis. We met up with Toms friend Ryan who showed us a cool access road on the far side of the river. We began fishing and about 5 minutes into fishing, Ryan hooked into a huge Cutthroat. The fish was about 18 inches and it was FAT. We continued fishing the run for a while and each of us picked up some whitefish on dries. Unfortunately, the whitefish ruled the day and no matter what we tried the whitefish continued to make it difficult to get to the trout. I did manage to land a 16 inch rainbow and later in the day I picked up a beautiful cutthroat of about 17 inches on a dry fly. Overall it was a great day and we did find the trout in the faster sections. By the end of the day I had a double digit creel.

Day 2 was a different story. Tom, Kate and I started on the Salmon River and managed to get into a few small rainbows and some juvenile Chinook salmon fingerlings. It was pretty slow so we decided to head back to the ranch and fish a very populated spring creek that runs on the property. The creek was full of trout and I had a great time catching plenty of fish. The rainbows and brookies ranged from about 7-12 inches and we also caught tons of juvenile chinooks. Almost all of the fish we caught were on attractor dries and fish were not picky at all.

Halfway through the day we did spot a big king swimming upstream. It was very cool to see because I haven't seen a salmon in about a year now. We continued to catch fish throughout the day and Tom managed to land a couple larger rainbows of about 16 inches. It was a great day and it was a beautiful spring creek to fish.

On day 3 Tom and I headed to the second trib of the Salmon river. We spoke with some people who work at the hatchery and they told us that there was a good amount of spawning salmon to see. We got to the stream and I found a nice fast riffle run. The run was a small slot and I caught 5 fish right off the bat. Then on my next drift I hooked into a big rainbow. The fish literally almost ripped my rod out of my hand as it flew downstream. Drag screaming, I called to Tom because I definitely wanted a picture with this fish.  I fought the fish for some time and then managed to land the fish and pull it up on the grass. It was a very fat rainbow of about 17 inches. Not a bad way to start the day.

                                                                            A nice Bow

We continued upstream spotting 1 big spawning salmon along the way. we fished many bends and we were catching tons of fish. I could not believe how many fish there were. I continued to stick with the nymphs and it continued to produce. Some of the fish were pretty nice and I caught a few that were 12+ inches. I missed a couple nice fish but for the most part I was having a blast catching fish after fish after fish. further upstream we reached a big gravel run and there were about 6 spawning salmon working on their redds. It was very cool to see salmon over 900 miles from the ocean and it made me really respect their toughness.

After we fished the run below the salmon and catching a few nice fish we headed back to the car. Before we left i fished that same run where I landed the chunky rainbow. My nymphs held up and I set the hook. Immediately a slab of 20+ inch rainbow launched itself out of the water and flew downstream. I'm pretty sure tom and I both said "holy shit" at the same time. The fish continued downstream and rolled and the hook was thrown. Man do I wish I had that one back.

The lost fish marked an end to the fishing and we headed back to the ranch. I had a great time in Idaho and it was great seeing my sister and meeting Tom. I want to thank Tom for the hospitality and hope to fish again with him as soon as I can.

Friday, September 2, 2011


After my chemistry class was cancelled today I headed a few miles north of Missoula into the Rattlesnake Creek Wilderness Area to fish a little on Rattlesnake Creek. As I drove north into a heavily wooded area I could tell I was really in some wilderness. My first worry was rattlesnakes. I didn't know if the name of the creek meant that there would be rattlesnakes there or not. The creek looked great with many nice pockets and fast running water.

I started with dry flies and nailed a couple nice fish right off the bat. I fished downstream a little and nailed another beautiful Cutthroat of about 10 inches. As I waded downstream further, I was thinking while looking at my surroundings "this looks a lot like grizzly bear country". I stood in the middle of the stream looking for rising fish and just as I was ready to move down I heard something to my right. I looked over and slowly walking under some branches right towards me about 30 feet away was a light brown coated grizzly. My heart literally jumped into my throat and I immediately reached for my bear spray. I kicked a rock quickly to make my presence known and the bear sprinted faster than I could imagine back up into the woods. I was already basically running back to the car myself. I really did have some fear and that marked the end of my day of fishing. As I got back to the car I was still full of adrenaline, the most I've ever had in my life. The bear didn't seem to be too big but I'm glad I wasn't closer than I had been.
I wont be returning to Rattlesnake Creek any time soon. That I know for sure. Its been an exciting day to say the least! My first close encounter with a Grizzly wasn't too bad. It just scared the crap out of me. I'll never forget it. I'll be headed to northern Idaho for labor day weekend to visit my sister Kate. Will probably do some fishing with her boyfriend Tom on the Salmon River and look for other places to fish as well. Hopefully wont run into any killer grizzly bears.