A friend from Team Cocktails has boasted about the monster rainbow trout that he regularly pulls out of Brown's Lake on the fly for quite some time. While not belittling the trout I have pulled out of the river, he certainly implied that the handshake a 12'' trout delivers is drastically different from the "hello sir, my name is monster trout" handshake a 20" football-shaped rainbow provides. So, this past weekend, with the area rivers flowing high and turbid, my friend took me out on his boat on Brown's Lake. We trolled the shoreline and structure with a seven-weight rods and a mystery fly. While not a standard fly fishing method, it certainly proved effective, as we pulled 2 to 3 pound 16 inchers with regularity. Both of us were able to land hogs in the form of 20'' Kamloops-strain rainbows stocked in Brown's Lake. According to my friend, our day was relatively average for Brown's Lake, if not below average. The highlight and lowlight of the day occurred when my friend hooked into a 30'' rainbow (that was extremely colorful for a lake rainbow - leading me to believe that it was a broodstock). On 5 pound test, my friend was able to bring the rainbow within arm's length of the boat. Using the ghost net (which can hold a 24'' fish), I tried to scoop the hog into the net. But, I was denied. Immediately following the net refusal, the potential 10 pounder snapped off the magic fly and returned to the depths of Brown's Lake. I sat with my hands overboard, afraid to look back at my friend for fear that he might toss me lakeward after missing a golden chance to net the monster. Afterwards, we decided that if he fails to catch a rainbow of equal or greater size in the next 20 years, he is free to contact me and give me a swift, vengeful punch. Seems to be fair.
With the spring semester coming to a close a week and a half ago, I decided to use my free time to fish and blogging about fishing took a backseat. Since my last post, I have fished the Blackfoot twice (with mixed results), upper Rock Creek and the west fork of Rock Creek, and Brown's Lake. With the discharge of Rock Creek on the rise, my first trip took me to the Blackfoot with a Red Sox fan and his trusty dog. On our way up to the Johnsrud section of the Blackfoot, we shared stories of frustration regarding this fabled river. I had fished it a couple times with absolutely no luck. Not a fish. Not a nibble. Not a nothing. It seemed as though the Blackfoot had displayed a similar reluctance to produce fish for my friend. We threw everything into the river and caught three tiny rainbows between the two of us. Indeed, after a day of fishing the Blackfoot, I had a whopping six inches of rainbow trout to show for it. Even though it was my first trout from the Blackfoot, I neglected to take a picture of the monster. We returned to Missoula defeated, as I think we both expected.
the mighty mighty blackfoot
A couple weekends later, the tortured Red Sox fan, his friend, the same trusty dog, and I made a weekend trip up to upper Rock Creek. The first day was spent exploring the west fork of Rock Creek and upper Rock Creek. The west fork produced a single nibble and no fish. On upper Rock Creek, we camped out near several diversion dams and associated downstream pools. With a wooly and a san juan rig, the white David Ortiz pulled several upper Rock Creek westslope cuttie slabs (16 to 18 inches). I was unsuccessful. The next morning, we made our way down to Gillies Bridge and walked upstream from there. I caught three whitefish, a cutbow/westslope cuttie, and two brown trout. Youkilis (sans the goatee) caught a couple whitefish. Oh yeah, it snowed and it was May. In addition, during our time at the cabin, we completed a 100 piece puzzle of the United States and kindly left it completed for the next inhabitants. Clearly, we are gentleman and should be lauded for saving those poor souls a solid 15 minutes of their life. Nobel Peace prize please?
cutbow in the ghost net
brown trout release
upper rock creek brown
east fork of rock creek
ponderosa pine on upper rock creek
100-piece puzzle of the US of A. Enjoy.
The following weekend, Team Cocktails, a co-rec softball team I happen to play for, took a weekend camping trip up on the blackfoot at Thibodeau Campground. I fished the majority of the day on Saturday. While the river was up, it was not filled with suspended sediment and several hatches occurred throughout the day. I finally saw success on the Blackfoot. I took 11 cutbows (averaging around 11") on streamers and dries, one 20" whitefish on a caddis pupa, and a 22" sucker on a caddis pupa. I also discovered that my waders may have developed a leak in the neoprene bootie portion. Hopefully, I have successfully patched the leak or the waders may make a trip back to Orvis land because it is too soon for these new waders to be leaking.
blackfoot at thibodeau campground
morning fog at thibodeau
morning fog over the blackfoot
The visit to Brown's Lake occurred after the end of the semester and deserves a separate post. Post to follow shortly.