Blog Posts In Bitterroot River

One of these is alive....

One is Nick's salmon fly nymph, one is Tommy's girdle-bug, and one is about to crawl back into the water.  Tough for a fish to differentiate in the swift waters of the Bitterroot!

A Dog's Life on the Bitterroot

I was raking leaves in Bozeman last weekend when my roommate called me from Missoula and pointed out how embarrassingly late to the game we are this fishing season. This school stuff keeps one busy, but that is no excuse. I told him to get on up to Wise River and I'd meet him there. After all, we're supposed to be on spring break.  Matt called in the A-team and gathered supplies.  Tyler brought the boat and his black lab, Winston brought a cooler full of elk meat and his chocolate lab, and Matt brought whiskey and the best attitude a fisherman can have.

The first day on the Big Hole was tough fishing due to muddy water, but we had a blast and enjoyed the warm weather and fresh air.  The next day started cloudless and sunny, before turning dark, cold, and rainy as we crossed the upper Big Hole Valley into the Bitterroot.  We stopped in Conner to look at the Westfork which looked a little high, but mostly clear and definitely fishable.  The weather worsened and we decided to pack it up and head down river in search of better weather.  The storm broke in Hamilton, so we tossed the boat in.

As we rigged up the rods, skwalas crawled up from the banks and onto the boat, gear bags, and fly-rods.  The water was clear, but high and swift.  Not ten minutes into the float, Winston hooked a whitefish, breaking his bad luck streak of two weeks since he left Jackson Hole.  Shortly after, he caught a beautiful little cutthroat, to which Matt made a toast.

Check out that neon-orange cut!

We each hooked fish and we each brought a handful up on dry-flies.  The fish definitely took a while to warm up and the better fishing started around 4 o'clock.

Our trusty river guides had been waiting patiently in the boat all afternoon for us to pull into a back-eddy and throw a stick for them.  Goose, the chocolate lab, couldn't decide whether he liked diving for rocks or swimming for sticks better.  Chaco had no such uncertainty.

It didn't take long for Goose to be persuaded, however.  After watching Chaco snatch the stick and proudly return it to Tyler for a third time, Goose took it upon himself to fetch Winston the trophy.

Storms surrounded the Bitterroot Valley all day, but never left the mountains. We lucked out with sunshine and spectacular views into the evening.

We arrived in Hamilton just in time for dinner at the Bitterroot Brewery before heading back to Missoula.  It was the perfect two day getaway and we were all tuckered out by nightfall.  Goose and Chaco snored all the way home.