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Old 02-05-2013, 09:33 PM
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Default New to MT

New to Montana from northern Nevada this year, so far I've got to do a little fishing here on the Missouri with the new drift boat and some other rivers in the area. Looking to branch out and try the Beav. If anyone wants to help me out, is the river floatable year long most years and if not is there decent wading access? Thanks for any help.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: New to MT

Hi Matt, welcome to the FFForum.

Where in Montana did you say you were living?

I live in Missoula and have never fished the Beaverhead. But I've been going back and forth with another Montana member here, blackbugger, about it. Hopefully he'll see this and could give you better advice.

What I do know is that the flows fluctuate throughout the season all depending on the water level of the reservior above it and the needs below. I've been down and there wanted to fish it, not know anything more than it produced huge trout. It is quite narrow and choked with willow along the banks. When it's flowing normally throughout the summer the wading options are bad. It's just deep and fast with no chance of bank fishing. Plus it gets absolutely hammered with boats. All I've heard is that you better be pretty good on the oars to float it due to how narrow, fast and winding it is, plus the amount of traffic.

Hopefully someone else can give you more experienced details.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: New to MT

I'm in Helena.

Thats kind of what I was thinking about the low wading access. Might have to wait awhile to fish it then since I'm still learning on the sticks, which the Missouri happens to be perfect for. If not, every boat on the Beav. might be backed up because of me, haha. I just love the look of that river, with the runs and little rapids which I'm more accustomed to fishing rather than the big flatness of the MO, still great fishing though.

---------- Post added at 10:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:54 PM ----------

Thanks for the input btw. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: New to MT

The Beaverhead River in Southwest Montana - Fly Fishing Information and Photos
great website with alot of info. check it out
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: New to MT

Greetings.

It's closed from the dam down to Pipe Organ Bridge until the regular season opener. That's like somewheres around 8 miles of meanders.
That's the stretch that gets hit the hardest and sees the most boats with good reason. It's where you'll typically find the biggest fish though you could find a pig anywhere on the Beav.
It'll be floatable as soon as they start letting out more water for irrigation which will happen before opener.

From Pipe Organ down is open year round and you've got good wade access down to Barrett's. I don't think you could get a drift boat down from Pipe Organ right now without dragging...a lot...there's no real need for one right now anyways.

Once the water gets above 350 to 500cfs (depending on how strong a wader you are and how much you want to die of drowning) it gets really tough to wade and stay in the water and not trespass on the private land that surrounds a sizable chunk of the upper river.

I'm sure you could get a boat down it at around 200 cfs and up but I wouldn't take a boat unless it was higher like around 350 and up. Any lower and it's easy to wade and boats become annoying. Most of the time in the summer it's running pretty high like around 700-900, at those flows a boat is a must and Dean is right, it's relatively narrow, fast and deep. You should be a confident rower and able to maneuver in relatively tight quarters around other boats.
You see a lot of smaller rafts and skiffs on it.

It usually nymphs well at the higher flows but you'll lose a lot of flies to the brush that is dense, for the most part, along the banks and those big fish will head straight into the roots and submerged branches and break you off left and right. It's challenging that way.
When it's low it's an easy wade and pretty easy to fish.

I'm sure it's fishable right now. Call Frontier Anglers and get the lowdown or just head down there and do some recon. You'll figure out pretty quick where you can get access between Barrett's and Pipe Organ.

Oh yeah, in the summer don't forget the bug spray, it's mosquito central once the water gets high.
dean_mt, mattneeds and long bow like this.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: New to MT

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbugger View Post

Most of the time in the summer it's running pretty high like around 700-900, at those flows a boat is a must and Dean is right, it's relatively narrow, fast and deep. You should be a confident rower and able to maneuver in relatively tight quarters around other boats.
You see a lot of smaller rafts and skiffs on it.


Oh yeah, in the summer don't forget the bug spray, it's mosquito central once the water gets high.
In addition to BB the Beav sort of "braids out" (if you will) through the brush so definitely be able to be quick on the oars. Some parts I've found myself with the oars tucked in just hoping to get through to the other side. Bug spray is a +2 or dunk a buff in DEET and call it good.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:26 AM
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Default Re: New to MT

I think it's better on Rafts than drift boats too, although you'll see both on the river. I won't float it in my boat... you need a higher level of skill than I have. Lots of very tight turns in places with overhanging branches

The mosquitoes seem to be hit and miss. Last few years, they haven't been an issue.. 2008 or 2009 - they were ridiculous, think it depends on if they get a period of higher water and leaves a lot of standing water areas when it gets back to normal.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: New to MT

Quote:
Originally Posted by long bow View Post
In addition to BB the Beav sort of "braids out" (if you will) through the brush so definitely be able to be quick on the oars. Some parts I've found myself with the oars tucked in just hoping to get through to the other side. Bug spray is a +2 or dunk a buff in DEET and call it good.
My girlfriend was rowing through the braid section quite a few years back.
We came around a tight corner and there was a huge bull moose in velvet standing smack in the middle of the channel almost up to his belly.

The channel was tight and already testing her skills. The water was too fast for her to hold her place and too deep for me to jump out and grab the raft to try and stop it.
He just turned his head and stared at us as we barreled down on top of him with the girlfriend shouting "WHAT SHOULD I DO?!??!.."

It was all happening too fast and I figured about the only thing I could do was wack him with my fly rod right before we hit and maybe he would react and get out of the way because otherwise we were going to run into him head first with me in the front of the raft.

Right as I was lifting my rod thinking "This is going to be bad.." he elegantly stepped out of the water and up onto the bank with that weird moose agility that makes it seem like they are moving in slow motion but they are actually moving really fast and then spun around and watched us float by.
I could have almost reached out and touched his nose.

Pretty intense.

I made the girlfriend keep rowing because the fishing was good.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: New to MT

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Originally Posted by blackbugger View Post

I made the girlfriend keep rowing because the fishing was good.
BlackBugger, you gotta do what ya gotta do

Great story.

One summer a friend and I decided to drop the sponsored gear, tape up the stickers, and rock the classic board shorts--no shirt look to enjoy a fine sunny day. Floating past a guy slinging worms (hey, i've been guilty of that at times too) but he didn't get off his folding chair to shout out "F-ing highschoolers..." We made sure to catch a few still in sight of him. A day in the life....
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: New to MT

haha good stories, I would not want to get in close with a moose!

I tried looking and couldn't find any numbers, but from Pipe Organ down does the amount of fish decrease along with the quality of fishing since its open year round, or does it not really matter because the entire river is on the same regulation(I think, I'm having trouble finding the pertaining regulations)?

Last edited by mattneeds; 02-06-2013 at 03:48 PM. Reason: addition
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