....................... ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
Destinations: Fly Fishing Bitterroot River, Montana The first time Angie and I fished the Bitterroot River, we were fishing the tailwater section or the West Fork of the Bitterroot River, and didn't realize we were fishing a tailwater. We were just driving around look for some good water to wade.
I started fishing first and Angie started running the video camera. I caught one trout after another, mostly rainbows. I couldn't quite believe what was happening. The Pale Morning Duns were hatching and the fish were cooperating as well as anyone would expect. I don't remember the numbers, but they were well over 30 during that hatch with some running up to 14 inches. There were not a lot of large trout, but that is fast action for wild trout anywhere.
It is difficult to tell the West Fork is flowing from beneath a dam. When we drove upstream and realized we were fishing a tailwater, we were amazed. I had very little information about the stream and no advice from anyone. It was just a lucky stop.
Our next day there was spent on the upper East Fork. While the action was not quite that fast, we did catch a large number of trout before the day was over. None of them were large. They were mostly smaller cutthroats. The stream is pretty and the action was consistent all day, so we had a good day.
Our third day there was spent on different parts of the main river. We didn't catch near as many trout as we did in the two branches but we still managed about fifteen or so trout with a couple over 16 inches. The average size was between 12 and 14, so that would be considered a good day anywhere.
We have fished the Bitterroot many days since and we have had days on the main stem even better but for the three days of our first trip there, I don't think anyone could ask for much more. What is more relevant, is probably the fact that the Bitterroot River is considered primarily a drift boat stream. If the drift boat trips get any better than our wading trips, then maybe we should give that a try. If you ever have the opportunity, you should give this stream a try. I hope you have the same degree of success we always have.