.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

12/22/09

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.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh