That was the question I had in my mind with the girls hanging with their mother and my schedule looking free. So I teamed up with D-Sum and headed for an obscure stream that we wanted to check out, thinking the water would be high and manageable and its cutthroats super hungry. And that’s what we found.
Not an easy mission, this one. The banks of this stream are steep and brush covered, and just to reach the prime water requires a three mile hike in, before cutting off to the river. We got cut and scraped, assaulted by horseflies and deerflies, and we got chowed by mosquitoes, too. We held the bear spray at ready and pushed through a devils nest of brush, hoping that we wouldn’t stir up a hornets nest. Or, worse, roll and ankle on the loose rocks.
Our rock hopping paid off and we found the cutts as we thought we would—eager to chow Trudes, small caddis and beetles. They weren’t in the fast water, and they weren’t in pocketwater. They were all located in the bigger pools and runs. That should be the case on all of Montana’s cutthroat waters right now, ranging from the forks of the Flathead River, to Rock Creek, to the West Fork Bitterroot and beyond.
If you have some adventure in your bones, pack a four or five-weight and a bunch of peacock Trudes, along with those ants and beetle patterns, and get into some underutilized water. Consider the upper portions of mainstem rivers and all of the feeders that flow into them. Remember, many tributaries are dewatered in their lower reaches, but the upstream sections, often located on National Forest lands, carry water and solid fish all summer. This is great adventure and sport for those who aren’t afraid to get scratched up. Go get them! Here are a few pics from our foray last week.