Back in January, two of my close friends and I decided to plan a trip to Montana during the upcoming Summer. None of us had ever been, and we wanted to see if Montana really was all that we had heard it could be. It most definitely did not disappoint!
The three of us had a general idea of what we wanted to do once we got up there, but we took it day by day and spent a spectacular week fishing 7 different rivers across Eastern Idaho and Southwest Montana.
The journey began at Silver Creek in Idaho, a world famous spring creek that calmly carves its way through stunning country. With a consistent gentle current and shallow water, light tippets and small dry flies were the name of the game. We spent one day at this creek, and had an amazing time.
Small PMDs and sparse, low-riding caddis imitations were tied onto our 5X fluorocarbon tippet during the early evening;however, as the sun began to set, we were joined by swarms of Brown Drakes, and the slow, sauntering current that once was took the form of a riffle simply from the myriad ripples of rising browns and rainbows. We scrambled to tie on flies in the dying light and managed to hook, but not land, a few of the phenomenal fish that call Silver Creek home. Definitely a place I will be returning to in the future.
We continued East and spent the next two days fishing the Madison River. If you have yet to visit the Madison, you must go. Not only for the truly world class trout fishing, but for the sightseeing. The Madison River Valley is simply breathtaking.
With the salmonfly hatch still going off in the Upper River, we concentrated our efforts there. During the morning and afternoons, we fished the Chubby Chernobyl with a Jigged prince nymph dropper. And, in case you wondering, the jigged Prince rips just as hard up there as it does in our neck of the woods!
Once the sun began to set, the caddis hatches were unbelievable. During these evenings, my friends and I brought one rod down to the river rigged up with a Size 14 Elk hair caddis, and worked up the banks doing “One fish Switch.” The rules are simple: If you have the rod, you fish until you either hook one or whiff one. The rod was switching hands about every other cast.
From there, we explored the Ruby, the Beaverhead, and the Big Hole rivers with our few remaining days. For the most part the narrative stayed the same: beautiful browns and rainbows on caddis, PMDs, and some stoneflies as well. I came to realize that the reason why Montana is the real deal is because you can’t really go wrong- Pick any river, Im sure you love it.
Recollecting on the trip, I realized that the best part wasn’t necessarily the fishing. It was meeting up with two of my best friends who I don’t get to see much anymore due to our busy schedules, and spending a week without a care in the world and not having a clue where we would be fishing the next day. However, I always knew that whatever we did, it would be phenomenal, and that is why I will be returning soon, Montana.