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Rocky Mountain Range Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Post fishing reports, ask for information, discuss this area...

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 10-03-2013, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Lewis and Harks Big Hole Trip

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Originally Posted by dean_mt View Post
I hope you're right bb. I've been watching the charts and the river has been dropping hard way upstream so that curve should be done around Maiden by the weekend. But it sounds like there has been some serious weather around there for awhile. Have you guys been getting too? It was pretty dry in Missou today and nearly 50.

I'll tale your knowledge of the area to heart, 500 cfs would be sweet. And I've never waded the Beav and that sounds too good. Is it a streamer deal there or standard micro nymph fare? If we had a great Sunday on the BH I'd be very willing to make the hop skip jump down there.
I thought you guys were about a week out. It's definitely on the drop but I don't know if it'll drop that low by the weekend. Still, it's already below 800 at Maidenrock so maybe around 600 by Saturday???
Still a pretty good wade level. I sent dharkin a pm about a good area on the Big Hole and also the Beav. Hopefully the Big Hole area isn't gated off because of the shutdown but I don't remember seeing gates on it before so...

It's snowing and sticking here right now. We have 2-3" on our deck at the moment. They said on the news tonight that the snotel site above Pony registered 24", I guess it's around 8000'.

Gotta love this weather huh?
Blazing hot and dry all summer and then BANG, winter.

The Beav. is probably still a nymphing deal though I wouldn't hesitate to try some streamers in the size 2-4 range. There might also be some beatis.
I doubt they are on their beds yet but will be by the end of the month for sure.
Egg patterns are probably still a little too early. At these flows the fishy water is so obvious that nymphing is practically guaranteed to hook some serious fish.
I'd probably start with some type of scud and a small beadhead and start experimenting from there. Firebead scuds or Ray Charles can be deadly from now through November.
The Beav. is really fun at these flows and can be absolutely epic. And of course things could be weird and it could suck for some strange reason.
You definitely need to be a little more stealthy in your approach and, when appropriate, fish well in front of you.
Some of the holes will still be big enough and deep enough to stand on and nymph directly out from where you're standing.

Hope you guys do well. It's looking like conditions could be ideal.
Some really big fish have been coming out of the Big Hole over the last month.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: Lewis and Harks Big Hole Trip final Post

Hi,

I just wanted to take the time to thank all of you that assisted me (us) with the Lewis and Harks trip to the Big Hole river and share some of the details and limited photos of our trip with all of you. I want to send out a special thanks to Black Bugger. N, your information and specific details were a great help and hope to meet you on the water some day.

Sorry about the URL links for the photos..........



My buddy (Paul) and I, arrived in Bozeman on Friday the 4th of October around noon. After doing our grocery shopping in Butte, we arrived at our motel in Melrose around 4:00pm. We used Melrose as our base for the week. The motel has regular rooms, two cabins, and kitchenettes to choose from. We elected for the kitchenette. The room had two full size beds with a pull out sofa bed, a full kitchen with utensils, Full size fridge, microwave, and coffee pot. The bathroom was very clean, plenty of towels and we never ran out of hot water. Although the room had some pots and pans for cooking, we decided to buy a nice non-stick frying pan and a crock pot. We were glad that we had bought the frying pan as the pans provided with the room had suffered the abuse of previous visitors that apparently enjoyed the taste of Teflon. The purchase of the 7 quart crock pot also paid off for us. There is nothing better than returning home to a hot meal after a long day of fishing in cold water. (Please feel free to PM me with any questions regarding where we stayed).

After we got settled into the room and unpacking our gear, we took a ride to check out the surroundings. Unfortunately, both fly shops in Melrose were closed by that time and any helpful local advice was going to have to wait until morning.

Click the image to open in full size.

We decided to take a ride upstream to the Divide Bridge and Maiden Rock fishing access areas. The river flow was about 800cfs (high for October) and the water was really dirty due to the heavy rains and snowfall that the area received in the previous week(s) so there wasn’t much for us to see. We headed back towards our motel and checked out the Salmon Fly Fishing Access Point (FAP) that was right around the corner from the motel. After looking at the water, seeing a few nice trout beneath the bridge, it was decided that we would start there in the morning. We went back to the room and gave our 3rd fishing partner a call. He was scheduled to arrive sometime Saturday afternoon and we just wanted to check in with him. He was familiar with the area and he agreed with our starting location and gave us some great advice as to where and how to fish.
Our first day was great by our standards. We started at the Salmon Fly Fishing Access Point(FAP). We caught quite a few fish within the first hour. We primarily used size 8 or 10 Wooly Buggers. We both used floating lines but caught fish in a few different ways. We caught some on the swing, some on a strip just as the fly hit the water, and some on a retrieving strip after the fly completed the swing. Needles to say, we never keyed in on any specific method that produced more fish over any other method. We fished for 6-7 hours and covered about 2 miles of water. We just couldn’t believe how many fished we lost. So many nice fish and the weather was great.

Click the image to open in full size.

We headed back to the room around 4:00 and met up with the third member of our party, Dean_MT. We met John last year during our first trip to Montana in the Missoula area. It was great seeing him again and we could tell that he was as excited to see us as we were to see and fish with him.

We got him settled in, had a cold beverage or two, and made plans for Sunday morning. John had done some research on the local area and forum members (Black Bugger and others) confirmed that he was on the right path. Although John had fished some of the waters in the Melrose area previously, the area that we planned to fish Sunday was new to him.

We woke on Sunday to another very cold morning. Paul did a great job ( as always) cooking a big breakfast and preparing the crock pot for the night meal prior to leaving for the day of fishing. The temp was about 24 as the sun came up;

Click the image to open in full size.

The drive to the fishing area was easy and the views were fantastic. Our first trip didn’t go too well but we could see that there was plenty of good water to fish. The first trip to any new water is always a learning experience and this trip was going to be no exception. The water was high, rather dirty, and access to the river was tough. After giving it a couple hours, the end result was one fish for John. We were fishing streamers exclusively and they didn’t produce as advertised. It would be two days later, after John departed, that Paul and I found much better water and conditions further up river. Regardless, the views were outstanding.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Monday…………We decided to take a drive and check out the Beaverhead river. Unfortunately, The reported flows were so low, that we felt we would be wasting our time. We had never seen the river. We didn’t know where the pools may be, and rather than waste an entire morning, we decided to abandon the trip and fish the Melrose area of the Big Hole. The three of us had some luck but nothing big or any consistent fishing. We had to hunt and peck but I still had a great day with Paul and John. How can you have a bad time when you have a chance to fish water like this with a couple of great guys?

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Tuesday>>>>>>>>>>>John’s last day. John and I started early. John had some luck nymphing right off the bat. He has the touch for sure. He saw some nice fish in a shallow riffle and saw some fish starting to make their beds but he never caught the big one that I had hoped he would catch. Given a few more days, I’m sure his talents would have produced a nice big male. (I met a man Wednesday afternoon that caught a 25” male at the very same spot that John fished Tuesday morning. Yes, I saw the photo and passed him on his way out of the river).

Here is a rare action shot of Paul;

Click the image to open in full size.

and here is the result;

He actually caught this guy on a fly that he bought last year at the Rock Creek Mercantile called the Wonder Bugger. So unfair that such a beautiful fish would fall to such a fly.

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/ph...on_Delight.jpg



Paul and I had similar results for the next few days. The water conditions continued to improve and some of our tactics changed a bit but the fishing was rather steady. What a great place.

Here are some of the typical fish that we caught during the week;

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/ph...t_day_pic1.jpg



Here is the only Rainbow……..FYI caught via Nymph where John told me to fish after he left on Tuesday


Click the image to open in full size.

One quick and rather unique thing to mention occurred the morning that we checked out from the motel. I reserved the room (without credit card confirmation) about 8 months in advance. I contacted Chuck (the owner) a few times between February and October just to pose questions and gather general information. He always took the time to speak with me or call me back if I had missed him and left a voicemail. Needless to say, it was a pleasure meeting him. We spoke a few times during our stay, always respectful of privacy, great conversationalist if engaged. Upon checking out, I mentioned to him that we really enjoyed our stay, his staff, and the facilities. I was trying to figure out a way to let him know that we were going to be leaving a new frying pan, crock pot, and cooler behind but didn’t really know how to say it. I didn’t want to sound ungrateful and criticize the amenities in the kitchenette. As I delayed, he caught me off guard. “Hey, it was great having you guys and I have something for you”. He then presented me with two hard cover copies of “ Montana’s Last Best River: The Big Hole and it’s People”, one for me and one for Paul. What a great guy and what a great place to stay. By the way, after telling him that we were leaving the stuff behind, he said that he would tag it with our names and set it aside for next year if we would like.

Yes please Chuck. John, Paul, and I will be back next year.

Take care,
Dan


Imagine the black dots as Buffalo not so long ago:
Click the image to open in full size.


What a great state.
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Last edited by dharkin; 10-29-2013 at 04:41 PM.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 10-28-2013, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Lewis and Harks Big Hole Trip

Cool.
Glad you guys had a good time.

Sorry about the water levels and clarity. You just never know when that first big storm is going to show up in the fall. Sometimes it's November, sometimes much earlier.
I wish the river could have been in the 400 cfs range for you guys but oh well, that's fishing.
The Big Hole really is a jewel of a river.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Lewis and Harks Big Hole Trip

Dan: Great trip report, thanks for sharing!

Larry
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: Lewis and Harks Big Hole Trip

Hey Dan! Great report man. The fishing is already so much better in my memory than in reality. I'm really happy you guys had a good time, good enough to consider doing the same trip again. Like bugger said, planning for October is tricky and need some luck. It went from beautiful on Friday here to cooold in one day. Those pictures actually warmed me up.

One cool thing Dan and I saw...we were walking up the canyon hoping to see some fishable water and shooting the breeze when Dan asked, "you don't really have mountain lions here do you?" We were in some great lion country actually and not an hour later we walked through some sand and some tracks really jumped out at me. At the same time Dan said "hey look at this, cats." Sure enough a couple wild cats had been there recently. Not big cats, but either bobcats or lynx. Really cool, I can't remember ever seeing that good of wild cat sign.

Let me say this in closing, Dan and Paul are both fisherman to the core. Sitting around at night hearing stories about the salt fishing on the Atlantic, the brookie ponds in Maine, the stories Paul has about 50 years of fishing trips...that's the stuff that makes going fishing for a couple days into a fishin' trip.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Lewis and Harks Big Hole Trip

It may have taken a while for this thread to culminate but I see things went well. I'm glad to hear about folks who meat here actually getting to meat in person.

Pretty cool,

Ard
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Lewis and Harks Big Hole Trip

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Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
It may have taken a while for this thread to culminate but I see things went well. I'm glad to hear about folks who meat here actually getting to meat in person.

Pretty cool,

Ard
Right no Ard. It's also good meet in person.
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