Missouri River, MT - 1994
Sunday, March 6, 1994
First tried the cow chip access, but saw nothing at all. Went further downstream to four different areas and still nothing. Later in the week, I'd find that some guys were having luck going way down deep with woolly buggers, etc. The water is just too cold for the fish to be very active. Although, there were significant numbers of gnats hatching.
Saturday, April 2, 1994
During lunch, I watched lots of trout start to rise right at the access site. Began using a bead head nymph in place of the midge, but that didn't do anything. It probably made too much of a splash in this very calm water.
Switched to a small caddis on the end and got a strike right way. When I landed the 14" rainbow, I found the hook embedded near its tail. After that, I got no more strikes but saw lots of them surfacing. I don't think they hit again because the two flies kept getting tangled together.
Saturday, April 9, 1994
Sunday, April 10, 1994
Took a nice walk along the rails and under the cliffs. This was one of those days where the beauty of this canyon just astounds me. It's not green yet, but you can see the snow receding from the high cliffs, the geese heading home, the grasshoppers appearing - spring is here!
While I had been using muddler minnows down way deep before, I switched to dries as the sun began to set. Still only one or two rises in the pools upstream of the bridge. Just before the sun set I walked to the other side of the bridge and saw lots of trout rising and jumping clear out of the shallow river. I quickly, too quickly, casted to them, got a few strikes and then spooked them. Will have to return here soon as they are eating up all these midges with real hunger.
Saturday, April 16, 1994
The views along the ridge are great, I could see the boats cruising up and down the river as well as far into the Beartooth Wildlife Area and a row of very nice cottages which are only accessible by the river. Some parts of the hike require climbing the rock outcroppings and traversing the steep hillside. Although much of the hillside is loose rock and sand, I never felt I was in danger. Nevertheless, it was a lot of up and down hiking and a good workout.
After hiking, I stopped at the Dearborn pulloff I was at last week. The guide from the new Orvis shop set me up with a dropper system that used an olive parachute dry fly and a palomino midge. He said that the rising trout weren't eating the hovering midges, but actually their subsurface pupa.
I tried this rig in the evening, casting very carefully and getting lots of good drifts, but had no strikes despite lots of rising trout. After a while I used my net to get a better look at these pupas. I could see gazillions of midges, but never did I see one pupa. The only thing I found in the net were dead midges. I swore at that moment I would never fish the midge hatch again.
Sunday, May 1, 1994
Drove onto the access road and tried a spot opposite of where the Dearborn enters the Missouri. There's a huge eddy here, much like pond. Lots of trout, rising to midges and some mayflies. Used a blue hendrickson, size 12, that got a few hits, but seemed too big for the hatch and the fish. Switched to a very small olive parachute and got several more strikes.
Landed a twelve-inch and eight-inch rainbow around 8:00 when the wind died down. This is a great place for casting and drifting as the flow is even and slow.
Friday, May 6, 1994
Once the sun set, the trout surfaced like crazy. I fished it for a while but I couldn't see the fly and I don't think the trout could either. Should try an all-white fly next time.
Saturday, May 8, 1994
Although Joe tried it earlier with no luck, I eased down there to try it. I used a couple of dries but got nothing. Then I snuck behind a large boulder and tied on a bead head nymph with a strike indicator about two feet up the line. With this, the nymph would slowly float two feet below the surface in the eddy.
On the second cast I got a hit and landed a 17 inch rainbow, which I took home. A few casts later I had a second strike on an even bigger trout, but the fly broke off. That was it for this nice sunny day.
Friday, May 13, 1994
Along the bank at the head of the eddy, I landed three beautiful rainbows. All of them measured about 17-18 inches and fought hard. I was so excited, I had never caught so many big fish at one time. On landing the third rainbow, I lost the hares ear. Probably because the fish were so big I couldn't lift them out of the water. At that moment, I decided if I keep getting big fish, I need a net.
I tied on a black bead head nymph and casted a few times where I usually use dry flies. Landed one more big rainbow and then switched to a parachute adams. On the first cast caught a very strong rainbow that made several spectacular leaps high into the air. Landed this one too, but it was to be the last. Absolutely great success in just two and a half hours.
Saturday, May 14, 1994
Used the fiberglass pole from Grandpa Foley for the first time and caught the whitefish and the 20 inch rainbow on it. It casts differently than my graphite rod, more delicate and not quite as long casts. Took home one of the large rainbows for a tasty supper.
Sunday, June 12, 1994
Sunday, June 26, 1994
The water where I fished &emdash; at the Dearborn confluence and above and below it &emdash; was as low as I had ever seen it. Probably a foot lower than last time and two feet below when I had last done well. Despite the fierce wind, the trout surfaced quite heavily. Should go back to the spot below the confluence this week. (With the right flies, of course.)
Thursday, July 7, 1994
Thursday, July 28, 1994
The next day I went hiking with Redwood below Rainbow Dam. As a bunch of kids jumped off the cliff into the river, the fish were still there. All this time I took them for trout.
The next day, today, I learned I was looking at carp. Huge, giant-size carp. I caught one on a bead head nymph. It took about five minutes to get him in as he was a very tough fight. It probably weighed about seven pounds.
Ugly as hell &emdash; one eye was missing. I tossed it back with the rest of the trash fish. Another guy who had been there yesterday as well as today said he caught a fifteen pound carp earlier in the day. Oh, well. I had nice dreams about lunker trout.
Saturday, August 6, 1994
Wednesday, August 10, 1994
Sunday, August 28, 1994
Sunday, September 11, 1994
Warm, clear afternoon, but not much hatching. Perhaps a few large mayflies. Looked like the trout were surfacing for tricos, but they didn't work for me.
I caught one very large rainbow with a bead head hare's ear. It weighed 3-4 pounds and was about 20 inches long. Took it home and made two nice meals out of it. One of the most beautiful fish I ever caught.
Wish we could have stayed into the evening, but the guys had to get back. I will have to get back here before the weather turns bad.
Sunday, September 25, 1994
A beautiful evening &emdash; warm, sunny and hardly anyone out fishing.
Saturday, October 1, 1994
A few other guys around here, they all thought it was usually real good, but today was a bit off. I stayed until it was dark and fished the end of the water diversion. Saw huge trout slowly eat nymphs just below the surface. It was like watching killer whales expose their top fins in the ocean.
Friday, October 7, 1994
Friday, October 14, 1994
Ended up catching five rainbows, one brown and one whitefish. Two of the rainbows were big, beautiful 18-inchers. Used some different flies. A woolly bomber, a black-nosed dace and a sparrow (like a muddler minnow, but with soft hackles instead of the elk hair). The sparrow did the best, the dace did nothing.
A few guide boats floated by to keep me and Redwood company. Also with us were five muskrats (or small beavers). Tried two spots I hadn't before and caught four fish out of them. One was right where Sheep Creek dumps into a pool at the bridge abutment. The second was at the rocks below where the diversion enters the Missouri.
Saturday, October 29, 1994
We packed it in after a few hours since neither of had any luck after Chris' initial success. On the way back we saw Joe at the first access across from Pelican Point battling a large rainbow. We went down as he landed the fish and I took a photo. He had been hunting elk all week and was fishing here when he could. A few days later Joe told me he had filled his creel with five nice rainbows.
Saturday, November 5, 1994
Joe showed up around noon right as I had a rainbow hooked. We both fished here throughout the afternoon. He caught a few (including a good-sized brown) and I had one big 18-inch rainbow that I kept. Will give it to Terbo next time I see him.
Turned colder and windier later in the day and came back before sunset. Saw several hawks and pheasant, plus one bald eagle. Lots of deer, too.
Sunday, November 6, 1994
Saturday, November 12, 1994
About an hour before sunset moved my strike indicator 10 inches above my nymph. Should have done this before because the fish were mostly around the surface. (Before, I had it two to three feet above my nymph.) Upstream around the bend (across from the tip) caught three big rainbows on this set up.
Also caught one very big trout &emdash; I think it was a brown because it never surfaced and fought like hell &emdash; but it broke my six-pound test line. Fished until it was too dark to see my indicator. Should try this set up again next time I'm out.
Sunday, November 13, 1994
Saturday, December 17, 1994