Montana Moments From The Fly

It’s winding down to the last few days of a week’s worth of fishing through central Montana. I began the first few days hiking up Bear Trap Canyon, into the wilderness area several miles up on the Madison River to fish my way out. The wind was blowing about 15 to 20 miles an hour with hoppers popping up everywhere.

For the first couple of hours I had a hard time holding on to any fish, as they were furiously taking the fly. A couple of Rainbows took delight in throwing the hopper pattern right back at me. Finally after about 2 hours of them having their way with me, I managed to hang onto a small Rainbow.

Bee Brown Trout 4

At about this time, a hatch of olives began and the wind kicked it up a few notches, which was possibly an indication to put a small #16 light pink soft hackle trailer behind the hopper. I proceeded to land another 3 Rainbows on the soft hackle over the next hour. Over the next day and half, I landed 23 trout on the combination with the biggest being 18 inches!

The next few days, temperatures reached into the 90’s and high 80’s, which was rarely seen all summer. I traveled from small streams to spring creeks in the area, landing fish every day.

Brown Trout Swimming 2 Brown Trout Swimming 3

One day in particular, the wind was hitting 30 to 40 miles per hour. Clouds of olives were blowing by and hoppers struggled to stay on land.

I took off hiking a couple of miles upstream to find one of my favorite stretches on a small stream outside of Bozeman. It was one of those afternoons where deer were bustling from the brush. Bumble bees were buzzing and caterpillars creeping at every patch of wild flowers.

As I reached my favorite run and pool, fish were rising everywhere! I decided to sit upon the bank and watch for a while, instead of disturbing the river habitat bliss.

After about twenty minutes of sitting quietly, I could not stand it any longer. I quietly slid down the bank and carefully worked my way to the center of the stream onto the gravel bar to where the fish were rising in the tail out. I started false casting to the side so as not to spook the rising trout and on the very first cast; I hooked and landed a 14-inch Brown Trout.

Rainbow Trout Brown Trout swimming

For the next hour and half, I proceeded to hook 15 fish and land of 9 of them. It was an awesome display of acrobatics and sheer laughter as the trout plainly put me in my place, throwing flies at me and just flat running away with everything.

This ended a perfect week of hiking and wading small streams in south central Montana.

Off to the next trip. Tight Lines.

ZZ Troutski

Catapillar 2
Tom Ski
Tom Ski is a master of the great outdoors. You can find Tom fly fishing in Montana, photographing elk and bison, watching birds from a hide or in the long grass, talking about life on his radio show and writing about his adventures at NewsBlaze.