Streams Outside of Yellowstone National Park
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

12/23/08

Fly Fishing the Upper Ruby River

The Upper Ruby River is located in the Beaverhead - Deerlodge National Forest
between the Gravelly and Snowcrest mountain ranges. Three branches joint to form
the river. The overall length of the river is ninety-seven (97) miles long. Ruby Lake is
approximately in the middle of it's lengh. The tailwater section below Ruby Lake flows
for about forty-five (45) miles to join the Beaverhead River at Twin Bridges Montana.
This article is about the upper section that lies in the National Forest.

Much of the Ruby River cannot be fished. It flows through private property. If you drive
through the valley along the stream to reach the National Forest, you will pass several
ranches that cater to horse back riding. As far as I know, no one allows the public to
fish on their property, although I guess there would be nothing wrong with asking. The
road that takes you there from downstream is an unpaved road but it was in good
condition on both of our trips which occurred during two different years. It is a long way
there if you travel from the area near Ruby Lake.

The river has Arctic Grayling, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Mountain Whitefish, and
Westslope Cutthroat Trout. The Arctic Grayling have been stocked in the stream by
the State of Montana, to hopefully, reintroduce the species. We have fished the upper
portion twice and each time we were able to catch quite a few trout on the dry fly. When
we fished a nymph we caught one whitefish after another. We did not see another
angler on either of our trips.

The stream is small in size in its upper portion in the National Forest. The portion of the
stream we have fished flows up the mountain on a gradual incline with the typical runs,
riffles and pools you will find in most small pocket water streams that are not on a steep
decline. Most of the banks have bushes along the banks prohibiting you from fishiing
from the banks in many areas. The stream is fairly easy to wade, however, but if you
can cast from the banks, that is the best way to fish it. It probably averages around
fifteen feet (15) wide.

We were able to catch the trout on attractor flies. We didn't notice anything hatching on
either of our trips there. We were hoping to catch an Arctic Grayling. That was one of
the main reasons we fished the upper part of the river. We did not catch one and are
not certain where in the stream the state stocked the Grayling. We may have been
fishing in the wrong area.

Both days were much worth our effort to drive there. It was rare that we didn't have a
fish on every ten to fifteen minutes we were there. It didn't seem to matter where we
fished the stream, we had the same results. I could recommend the Upper Ruby to
anyone that wanted to fish without being crowded and was fishing in the general area
of Montana but I wouldn't rank it above other some of the other streams in the area.
Anywhere else, it would be probably be considered a great destination trout stream.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh     
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