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GrtLksMarlin 07-24-2013 12:31 PM

Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
Hello All;

It looks like a friend and I will be flying out tomorrow landing in Bozeman for a quick week long trip to sling some feathers at fish. Our mission being, to take the noble life-time allowable accomplishment of a Trout Royal Slam (Brook, Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat, Golden, Bull, Lake), meant to celebrate a lifetime of fishing experience....and bring it down to our level of banging it out in one week :teef:

Why? Well if we fail that means we have to try again next year, clever huh. In any case what we're targeting out West will be the Golden, Bull, & Cutthroat, Laker a plus. The Cutthroat should be no issue. Our intent being, catch one/1/a single, then run like heck to try and get the next. However...

We're currently thinking one of Lightning/Golden Trout/Hidden lakes in Montana for the Golden, and due to current Bull restrictions in Mt., Bull in S.E. Idaho...For the laker we have no idea, yet push come to shove once we return to Michigan some of the local knuckleheads can put us on those on the big lakes.

Any suggestions for the Golden & Bull, heck even Cuts and Lakers out West would be appreciated....Thanks for any help!


dean_mt 07-24-2013 01:27 PM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
Your best chance at bull trout this time of the year will be on the South Fork Flathead in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The river headwaters in the wilderness and flows unimpeded to the N until it reaches Hungry Horse Dam. So everything above the damn is as it has always been: Bull Trout, Cutthroat, and mountain whitefish. You can target bulls there and catch quite a few. The challenge is getting there.

If you don't want to try to arrange a pack trip on short notice, you could go to the town of Columbia Falls where the dam in located and drive to the wilderness boundary then hike upstream as far as you want to. Also, on your back South you could stop at Flathead Lake and fish for Lakers, Flathead is the largest natural lake W of the Mississippi and unfortunately full of Lakers. Kill as many as you can.

I do not know of any Golden Trout lakes.

Sounds like a blast! Have fun!

blackbugger 07-24-2013 02:53 PM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
Hidden and Golden trout lakes up Portal Creek are pretty easy hikes.
It's been years but they were pretty easy to catch back in the day.

It's not legal to specifically target bull trout anywhere in Montana except the South Fork of the Flathead which is a LONG haul from Bozeman. At least 7 hours, probably more like 8 or 9 though you can catch plenty of Westslope cutties up there as well.
You'd be better off on the N. Fork of the Clearwater, that's still about 6 hours from Bozeman.

Lakers near Bozeman? The only thing that comes to mind is Yellowstone lake but good luck on that one. Shoshone lake, Heart lake and Lewis lake have lake trout as well but It's going to take a boat or packing in a float tube and good luck getting deep enough, with a fly rod anyways.
Flathead lake is a long ways away. Elk Lake down by Red Rocks has some as well but fishing for lakers here would be kind of a waste of time given all the other awesome fishing available.

GrtLksMarlin 07-24-2013 03:15 PM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
Thanks for the tips thus far....

As to Bulls anywhere except the Flathead being illegal to target, that's exactly why (due to the hike in) we're thinking Idaho. Some may call it a chump's call, yet frankly I ENJOY hunting and fishing by the rules. Though I can't speak as to out west, here in Michigan, our DNR really has made our state a tremendous sportsman's place to play. Besides the fact they know better then I, it's through those very rules and guidelines that our state really turned around with fish and game......So I'm a supporter of Wildlife Managers.

Any other tips as to Bulls in Idaho greatly appreciated.


dean_mt 07-24-2013 03:50 PM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
I didn't realize that you are coming from Michigan. In that case why do you want to try to catch Lakers and Brookies in Montana? They are both abundant and native to Michigan and an invasive species in Montana - in the case of lake trout, which have devastated the cutthroat populations in Flathead and Yellowstone Lakes or sort of a waste of time to find in Montana as they are small and inhabit only the upper most reaches of streams. Unless of course you wanted to find some lake dwelling Brookies like at Georgetown Lake, where they grow to good size.

I think it's honorable to follow the laws in place and not "chumpish" in any way. Plus this time of the year you will no luck targeting Bull Trout anyway except maybe in some special spots.

Good luck on the Idaho advice. Have you considered Alberta, Canada?

two_nymph_rig 07-24-2013 08:10 PM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
I have caught lakers out of the green river, below the green river lakes. Quite a haul from bozeman though. As far as the others go, good luck, I have no knowledge of Montana

GrtLksMarlin 07-24-2013 09:57 PM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
Thanks again dean_mt, blackbugger & SdDryFly...

@dean_mt; Well, the *plan* is to Golden first, Bull second, Cutthroats along the way (as who can resist walking by water with a rod in hand, the rest if we encounter them...However, the must haves for out West are the G/B/C....

Further, time starts with the first cast, and does not pause so we get 168 hours. Travel time is time lost. So we fly in late Thur., expect to be fishing late Friday, then fly out mid-afternoon Wednesday and should make it to N. Mich. before dawn Thur.. So at best I expect 36 hours to nab whatever remains.....Naturally, fail on the G/B/C and the game is over.

The Brook, Brown, and Rainbow we can nab in a half day all on the same very little river I love to fish here in Michigan (Pine out of Oscoda off the AuSable)....In fact, a river run holdover Steelhead is not that surprising, and during the run Salmon are ridiculously thick.

The real fly in the ointment are the Lakers. Besides being down deep due to the time of year, in Michigan the place to catch them is in the big lakes. So worse comes to worse if we don't get one out West we'll need to jump on a boat and so then they'll have to be on heavy tackle. All 7 on the fly is our ideal goal....and yes, Spring is the ideal time to do this.

Simply put.....It's what dull witted over 50 types do when they're too cheap to buy Ferraris. Attempt things that would tax younger men, then claim failure was due to lack of Geritol in our prune juice.....So you have to try again next year. :thumbsup:

Thanks again!


p.s....I think for the Bulls we'll try either the Clearwater per blackbugger or Salmon in Idaho....and I now get 18 hours to figure it all out. Maybe the plan is not so good afterall :faint::wink:

dean_mt 07-24-2013 10:47 PM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
If you intend to fish Idaho water and have only a few days to get all these fish, you be better off flying into Missoula, Spokane or Boise.

jimbaker488 07-25-2013 04:57 PM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...

Originally Posted by dean_mt (Post 575788)
If you intend to fish Idaho water and have only a few days to get all these fish, you be better off flying into Missoula, Spokane or Boise.

And don't forget, if you are packing much luggage including a rod case, you get 2 freebies on Southwest which is the only carrier I'm aware of which doesn't charge for either of the first 2 bags. And unfortunately Southwest doesn't serve Montana.

GrtLksMarlin 05-31-2014 10:33 AM

Re: Spur of the Moment Trip, Mt.-Id.-Wy. Tips needed...
Bump for the follow up!

For the record, I have really struggled with posting a report of this trip due to how it all played out. In a nutshell it turns out the quick hatched plan and its intended execution was very sound, yet there was one major, constant, and debilitating snag which made the trip miserable.

Anyway, your alls help proved invaluable.....Here was the result (in brief as I need to restrain my combative urges).

Seven Species in Seven Days, How Hard can it be?

As it turns out, not that hard UNLESS you go with an incompatible partner.

First off what say I describe the team members.

BF: (yours truly), Prior to this had worked for no less than 100-140hrs/week, every week, for roughly 3 years, and for not that much revenue for that matter helping a couple friends rebuild their business after the recent crash. Besides rarely sleeping, I rarely eat due to my wife's penchant for Pizza..........Top it all off I've pretty much lived a playboys lifestyle always having oddly had a thing for the gals, chain smoke, drink moderately, and wherein till 49 lack of excercise never bothered me even still lean and ripped, almost overnight I acquired the body of a potato with toothpics for arms and legs, lungs gone, muscles gone, and generally falling apart.

I had 3 actual goals on this trip......Get the Royal Slam, sleep/relax as much as possible, eat well......IOW, turn my life around and start getting healthy.

DM: Discretion restricts me from saying much. Lets just say DM is a great guy, will break his back for you, no request made of him too great. Top it all off he is extremely well off financially, and has gotten himself fairly healthy in all ways. That said DM is the cheapest person on the planet. Now I did not say frugal, I said cheap!

DM had a single goal this trip......To fish, period. Buster wants to fish and by gawd he will fish!

The Trip:
Unwise no doubt yet I had no reason to not trust him, wherein I did all of the planning and research DM had two sole tasks before the trip. 1. set up the air travel per our needs. 2. Arrange for a vehicle per my requirements......Did I mention he is CHEAP?

Working until the last 5 minutes before our trip, we race off to the airport oddly late in the day in my mind and against "the plan" quickly discovering that DM had used an appropriate travel site to book...."Cheap-O Air". Why, because it was the cheapest of course, and the cheapest tickets they offered would land us after 12 hours!!! in Bozeman at 11:30PM!

Naturally that entailed massive amounts of walking with all of our gear as we made connections....Not surprisingly having to literally walk from one end of each major airport to the opposite end, and I healthy as I am was on the constant verge of a heart attack. Of course I can get no rest, and to top it all off wouldn't you know it, we're getting in so late everywhere I can't get anything to eat.

Never the less we reach Bozeman on time, the airport all but closed, no way to get our vehicle, no access to vending machines, and this is me, pissed off, starving, exhausted, and holding onto anything just so my fists don't ball up....I'm the grumpy one on the right:

Having already had enough, I then step outside to cool off and have a smoke.....My God, cool but comfortable, the air so shockingly clean and sweet with even my dead palette I notice the vast and shocking difference. So much so though a chain smoker, it takes me 15 minutes to light up, and instantly I don't want it.

Montana is going to save me!......DM however had other plans.

DM gets a new job. His new job while I'm outside is to find us a room in Bozeman and get us a taxi there. A half hour later with no rooms to be found, and no luck calling a taxi, I decide to start asking around as he just looks at me and finally talk a driver into hauling our asses around as he graciously makes a few calls with all of the hotels full......or more, not wanting to book anyone so late as it turned out.

By 1:30AM we're booked into the Holiday Inn on the West side of Bozeman, naturally we get to haul all of the gear to the far end of the building, and more pissed off than ever I decide I need a drink, a smoke, and something to eat. Well, the smoke easy, the drink I find at the bar next door which oddly is also a casino (more on that later), and the ONLY food to be found is a hotdog at the gas station that had clearly been cooking for 11 months....So I had one bite of the dog, threw the rest out, and decided "tomorrow will be a better day".

I'll stop there for the moment...I'll post the balance when I have more time.....and yes, we eventually fish.


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