Catch Up

Big Hole River 267 cfs
Beaverhead River 567 cfs

To start with Wally and I had a pretty good morning on Friday. There wasn’t many spruce moths around but the fish still hit those type patterns. We were off the river around one and it had pretty much died by then any way.

Got a surprise call from Len Anderson on Saturday. Len was a former member of the Blue Angels and was part of that group Art and I guided a few years ago on the Missouri a couple days after they did their show in Helena. They were performing their air show this weekend in Bozeman. They had problems with one of the jets so they contacted Len back in Pensacola and asked him to jump into a spare F18 Hornet they just happened to have sitting around and fly it to Bozeman for the show. Len jumped at the chance to get back to Montana and being the bright young man he is with lots of forethought he stuffed his 5 piece 5 wt. rod behind the seat of the jet.
He was at the shop early this morning and was eager to fish the Big Hole for the first time. The river did not let him down. It started a little slow and he missed a few fish and was actually worried about getting skunked. I didn’t say much but just smiled to myself and thought it’ll happen, and happen it did. For awhile there were so many fish rising he was getting dizzy trying to cast to them all. When we were in the boulders and pocket water he was going crazy trying to hit every spot.
After high noon it slowed way down again and we were off the river shortly after that.

I see on the USGS site they added another guaging station on the lower river called the Big Hole below Hamilton ditch near Twin Bridges. This is the near the end of the Big Hole and only about a mile from it’s confluence with the Beaverhead to form the Jefferson River. It’s about time they started to keep an eye on that portion of river. The flow and water temp. down there this afternoon was terrible.


  1. you might be interested to know that the only reason that this gauge got is installed is because the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited forced the issue, over some pretty strong opposition. In fact, GGTU is paying for a big chunk of the operating costs of this gauge.

    Bottom line, no GGTU, no gauge at the mouth of the Big Hole River. Seems funny that neither the Jefferson Watershed Committee nor the Big Hole Watershed Committee made this a priority. The Jefferson Committee has the most to gain from this gauge.

    Thank you GGTU for forcing the issue!

  2. Len Anderson

    What a trip! When I heard the word Montana as part of my destination, I knew I’d be giving Al a call. Good thing that there was a gap in his schedule and we were able to make it happen. I have had a unique opportunity to fly to various destinations around the country and the fishing in Montana is at the top of the list. Al took the time to show me his home stomping grounds on the Big Hole River. What a fantastic fishery. There was a slower start, but I had a feeling it would pick up, and did it ever.

    My personal favorite is what Al refers to as “pocket fishing”. Flowing through the rapids and smacking a fly down behind the rocks to see what happens. No finesse required, just rapid fire precision casting to the seams and eddies. When the fish hit, they hit with reckless abandon and it is pretty obvious for a caveman fisherman like me as to whether or not there was a fish interested. I think this should be instead called “Fighter Pilot” fishing. Fast and to the point.

    Now landing a fish in that stuff is tough. The raft and Al are going one way and the fish is not too eager to follow. It’s a personal decision as to whether or not to stay with the fish or go with Al…I chose the latter and stayed dry.

    Al, thanks for a great show. The only thing that would make Divide, MT a perfect destination is a 6000 foot piece of concrete to land an F-18 on!
    I’ll be back soon.

Comments are closed