Welcome to the west…

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When oppor­tu­ni­ty knocks, the best plan is to answer, so wel­come to the west…

Ear­li­er this month I was invit­ed to Ennis Lake, MT to do some fish­ing. Sound­ed like a good plan so I accepted.

Montana Dry Fly

I had­n’t fished in fresh­wa­ter since I was kid. I real­ly had no idea of what to expect. Sim­ply put, I just did what I was told.

Day #1

Welcome to the west trout

It worked, short­ly after set­ting out on the lake I caught my first trout. 

Ha, I thought, this isn’t so hard. 

Of course, I was strug­gling with lay­ing out any kind of decent cast. Suf­fice it to say that as a salt­wa­ter cast­er I found myself over­cast­ing the six weight rod I was using.

Day #2

While enjoy­ing my morn­ing cof­fee, I looked down at the lake and saw the tell tale sign of fish ris­ing, rings on the water. 

Ennis Lake Montana

Today’s ves­sel would be a kayak, add my six weight rod and a dry fly and off I pad­dled. Qui­et­ly I wait­ed for the trout to rise, then gen­tly I would lay down my fly on the sur­face of the water. I was qui­et, I was calm, and I was patient… yet nobody came to check out my fly. Hmmm, this might be hard­er than I thought! 🙂

Drift boat fishing is the bomb!

Day #3

The day had a late start as ear­ly Octo­ber fish­ing requires await­ing the warm­ing of the water. Local fish­ing guide Anni Shores was in charge. We trail­ered her Clack­acraft drift boat up the high­way where our trip would begin.

Clackacraft drift boat

I love white­wa­ter canoe­ing. Float­ing a drift boat down a riv­er com­bines fly fish­ing with white water excite­ment. I was thrilled.

The drift boat com­fort­ably held two anglers (includ­ing my salt­wa­ter side arm cast) and the row­ing guide. Anni’s job, aside from rig­ging our rods with the appro­pri­ate fly choice etc., was to pilot the boat down the riv­er. Of course, there were rocks and small rapids to maneu­ver amongst.

My job was to keep my dry fly in the a part of the riv­er that seemed fishy to me. I caught a cou­ple of trout and the native (although appar­ent­ly large­ly unpop­u­lar) Mon­tana White­fish. Seemed fine to me! Of course, it was a “catch & release” day, not like the next fish­ing trip.

Day #4

Gates of the Moun­tains on the Mis­souri Riv­er is the home of the “giants”. This fish­ery is known for large trout that feed off of the churned up waters of the Hauser Dam. For trout, these fish were big. How­ev­er, I have to admit, the style of fish­ing was­n’t real­ly my thing. It felt like glo­ri­fied fly fish­ing with a bob­ber on the end of your very long leader. We caught a few fish, includ­ing anoth­er Mon­tana White­fish. It was anoth­er beau­ti­ful day on the water, but I’d rather ride the rapids any in a drift boat any day. Wel­come to the west!!!!