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Montana Fly Fishing Day 1 Lower Clark Fork River

Updated: Aug 23


Beautiful Montana Cutthroat caught sipping tiny flies late in the day on the Clark Fork River

Back to Montana for more fly fishing action!

After my last trip to Montana, I brought Micheals dog, River, home with me for some vet work he needed. It was now time to take River home, so I decided to take the opportunity of going to Montana to squeeze in a few days of fly fishing. I also wanted to try out the new Sawatch fly rod and reel from Eagle Claw. Michael had a few days off from guiding, and my brother in law, Andy, had some time off too, so we all decided to meet for a day of fly fishing the on the Lower Clark Fork River. This has always been a bucket list fishery for me, so I was excited to see what we could do.

River and Mack had a great day! I was the designated "Puppy Wrangler" in the back seat.

The stretch of river we were fishing is near Superior, Montana and is known for big trout, caught on tiny flies. The fish on this stretch are big, strong and smart... and that is what we were after. Andy had fished this section many times when he was guiding back in college, but neither Michael or I had ever fished it.

Launch time was around 9:00am

We put in around 9:00am and the plan was for Michael and Andy to take turns rowing and fishing from the front seat, while I fished from the back seat, and took care of the two dogs, Mack and River.

The early bite was on Hoppers and Nymphs

The early action was mainly on either hoppers or nymphs. We caught a lot of fish in the morning, but when the sun came up and it got hot ,100 plus degrees on this day, the fishing slowed down and we started catching fish in the shaded areas close to the bank.


Fishing from the back of the boat I was very impressed with the new Sawatch rod and reel from Eagle Claw. It casted great, and the reel was smooth. The action on the 6wt rod was faster than I was used to, but I soon got the feel of it and was very impressed.

Michael and River with a mid day trout

We slowly worked our way down the river in anticipation of the golden hour when the big fish would be sipping small flies. I had tied on a Royal wolf and was doing fairly well, but when the sun finally went down behind the mountains, the fish started sipping tiny bugs and we knew it was time for some small flies. We tied on some #16 grey parachutes and looked for pods feeding fish.

Andy & Michael with another beautiful Clark Fork fish

We had to be super stealthy, but there is nothing like seeing your fly drifting into a feeding pod of fish and watching one take it. It is a sight that I will never forget...magical! The last hour proved to be worth the trip as we encountered many feeding pods of rainbows and cutthroat. Some were fooled by our presentation and others passed, but the action was incredible, just how fly fishing in Montana is supposed to be.

The new Eagle Claw Sawatch fly rod and reel performed great on the initial outing with it!

We took out around dark and all had a sip of blackberry brandy in memory of of my father-in -law, Greg Schmidt , who floated these rivers his whole life and introduced us all to Montana fly fishing.

It was almost dark when we got off the river and enjoyed a toast to Greg!

Thanks for reading,


Bill

© 2020 Bill Matthews Outdoors

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