Montana! This past week I got the chance to head home to Montana for a family function. I had been talking with a friend who guides in the area so we could meet up in my down time and fish. Over the past few years he has been telling me about a river with really large bows that are willing to rise to the dry. Of course I was eager to get out and fish the river but every time I tried something came up and our schedules prevented us from meeting up. I had a few hours to fish one evening and gave him a call… he said he was free and wanted to take me out to fish the river.

We met up with a few other friends and headed out to the river, each mile feeling like ten as I anticipated what it would be like. He told me it had been fishing well over the last few days and with any luck we should have a good day. Upon arrival I quickly rigged up and started fishing but had no love for the first hour. I figured I was fishing all the right water but nothing was going on. A friend was first to hook up and then after that the switch just flipped. None of us had long to fish but over the next 2 hours we each caught and landed some amazing fish. It was a great introduction to this special water as I brought 5 to hand and lost a half dozen or so – not a single fish was under 20 inches. Each fish resembling a linebacker. Every time my indicator tanked it was like someone was throwing rocks into the river as the fish exploded on the surface jumping repeatedly then turning down stream peeling line out at what seemed like light speed. I will say this, I have fished salmon in B.C. on multiple occasions, caught a few Rooster fish in Mexico, but when these bows got into the current and headed down stream they took line as well as any! My largest 2 fish of the day came in a riffle between 2 deep pools. I could see a good hole on the bend of the river so I shed my pack and swam to the other side. I started casting into the hole created by a dip in the river creating a break in the fast water that was maybe 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. After about 3 or so casts I got into a big fish right where the hole dipped down a few feet. The fish jumped 4 times in a row and then sped down stream with me running after. I brought it to hand and it was about a 22″ female that was thick from head to tail. I climbed back up to the hole and started where I began, it didn’t take long and I was hooked up again. The fish headed down stream immediately and I came unbuttoned before I could even could start chasing. I moved back into position but had no luck. I moved down stream about 50 feet or so to another nice seam and began working it. Once again my line went tight and the game was on. The fish jumped and I bowed, he ran and I chased. It was an amazing fight and at the end I was knee deep releasing a 24″ buck, my guess was 5 and a half or 6 pounds. Unfortunately, since I had swam across the river without my pack I didn’t have my camera. The only picture I took all day was of my first fish which was only “average” size. Luckily I have a few more days before I head back to Utah and will be heading out to this river. Growing up in Montana I feel I have been lucky, I have fished a lot of amazing water and caught some pretty amazing fish, without doubt this 2 hour span was some of the best fishing of my life! Anytime I catch a big rainbow I feel privileged and to land 5 in a 2 hour period, each one putting up an awesome fight, simply unreal! Stay tuned for more pictures to come as I will be visiting that river ASAP!

To be continued…..

About The Author

Hawg Wrangler

Derek Olthuis, raised in the wilds of Montana like the Jungle Book's Mowgli. Totally obsessed with fly fishing, exploring and adventure. When not guiding he enjoys fly fishing and Squatching for Unicorns. Fishing is fun!

2 Responses

  1. Name

    i haven’t got into the rainbows yet but i am digging some of the fishing in the missoula area. i do miss some of the water in utah though.


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