Blackfoot River,
Ovando, MT

Sunday, March 21, 1993

Didn't have much time to fish because I was on my way to Milltown Reservoir and Anaconda for ARCO.

I got to the Thibodeau Rapids at around 9:00 am after leaving home around 6:30. The river was exceptionally high and muddy because of runoff. Couldn't see the bottom more than two feet from the bank. The banks were covered with a two foot layer of ice and snow.

Because of all this, I didn't go wading. And, I didn't catch any fish with my worms. The Rapids area and Sheep Flats look good for summer fishing when the water is lower because there are lots of big rocks and boulders for cover. Also saw many dead husks of stoneflies above the ice line and in the branches of stumps. A cool day, but very sunny.


Sunday, October 3, 1993

On the way back from Missoula after the Homecoming Weekend, Stopped at River Junction Access in the early evening. Here, the North Fork of the Blackfoot joins the famous main stream. Access is very good here, and there are about seven official camping spaces - you could camp lots of other places as well.

I didn't have much time, so I quickly tried a few spots, looking for rising trout which were easy to find. I landed two fat browns (9" and 12") and hooked two others on a tiny Royal Wulff. The trout seemed to congregate together behind log jams or in waist deep pools.

For the most part, the river in this area is one long relatively shallow riffle. There are probably larger trout in these riffles as other fishermen who had been here before concentrated on these areas.

It was definitely one of the best days of the fall - warm and sunny. Parts of this area remind me of Michigan's U.P. Otherwise it's a meadow with occasional trees and an underlying bedrock that sometimes form cliffs along the river. This is a place I must return to.


Sunday, March 13, 1994

About 70 degrees today, near record high. Cloudy in Great Falls, but the clouds disappeared as I crossed Roger's Pass.

I first stopped at the first large pullout along the river after Lincoln. Right away, I caught two 14 inch mountain whitefish on a bead-head nymph. They were in the bottom of a pool right below the parking area.

Headed upstream a little ways and saw two whitetails cross the river, but no luck. Drove down to the next pullout and began fishing downstream. Again caught a whitefish right away, but still no trout.

Headed much further downstream, probably a mile in total. At one point, the river was straight, rocky, with no pools or ripples. Suddenly saw a whitetail doe heading towards me in the river. As I froze it continued toward me until it stopped about 30 feet away and checked me out. I must have stood still for 5 minutes as it looked around and sniffed the air. Just as casually, it turned into the bank and into the woods.

I finally fished a huge logjam at the end of the straightaway but still no luck. Did see a good size trout startle when I was walking across the logs. On the way back to the car, I headed through the woods, following deer trails. Very bushy and fairly difficult to get back - it would have been easier to drive down here.

Still, the logjam looks promising when some hatches are on. Plus, it's a beautiful spot with an eagle or hawk nest in the middle of a nearby meadow. Back at the car, fished upstream a little ways. Still no luck, but saw a lunker deep in a pool that wouldn't touch anything I'd cast.


Saturday, June 18, 1994

Met Terbo at Trixis Saloon in Ovando. Trixis was once (and is still rumored) to be a whorehouse operated by Trixi. There was a row of one room motel rooms that looked suited for this. It's said Trixi is 90 and living in California.

After a few beers while playing pool, we headed to Seeley Lake, where Terbo had just come from a wedding reception. The party was over, but had our own. We camped in the middle of these rental cabins like it was our own private campground. We had planned on fishing River Junction, but things change.


Sunday, June 19, 1994

After waking up, the owner came by and asked if we got in late for the wedding party. He didn't seem to mind too much that we were a freeloading eyesore in the middle of his upscale campground.

After breakfast in Seeley, we fished Salmon Lake for about an hour. A few surfaced, but not really near us. Water was crystal clear as was the sky. A perfect day.

We headed to the Blackfoot corridor to see if the fish were biting there. We stopped at River Bend where the access is good. There's a large section of rapids in this area, with calm water upstream from it.

I caught about a half dozen rainbows right near the bank at the head of the rapids. We tried other spots, but this was the only one that produced. Later in the day, I did see some large rainbows in the calm section. We had a great time just hanging out, talking and fishing.


Tuesday, August 8, 1995

Jim, John and Jennifer, Redwood and I continued our Mission Mountains backpack trip at Harry Morgan fishing access south of Ovando.

We hung out here a while, fishing, relaxing and letting the brisk wind and bright sunshine dry our stuff. Once it was all dry we talked about the weather for a long time. Finally John and Jim decided to stick it out.

We set up camp and headed to Trixis for a few Bayern's. We picked up a bunch of Molsen Ice's and headed back for food. Drank around camp and watched the weather get better.


Wednesday, August 9, 1995

Woke up pretty early, Jim woke up especially early, and we soon began fishing downstream. Very sunny today, the start of a warm day.

I saw two deer cross the river while fishing. I also caught the only two fish of the day. Both on an elk hair caddis. And both only after seeing the only surfacing activity I would see all day. And both in the same spot. The fishing wasn't too good, and I was giving up the better pools to Jim and John to fish first.

Far downstream, almost to River Junction, Redwood scared a fawn out of the woods and it swam/ran across the river twenty yards from us.

Since Jim and John had struck out here, they wanted more fishing. As a last resort, we packed up the gear and headed to the Missouri across from Pelican Point.

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