Big Hole River 3780 cfs–Maidenrock

The river spiked a bit today making the fishing a bit more difficult. We still got some nice ones on salmon fly patterns but the two biggest were on streamers.

The river is still running bank full and can be dangerous if your not careful. This morning we were in the Dewey Canyon and I was using the raft just because it’s safer and I can get into tighter places and through the rocks better than the drift boat. One of the guys asked why we were using the raft when he saw a drift boat in front of us and it seemed to be doing fine. Next thing I looked down river and the drift boat was under water with only the bow sticking out of the water. We raced down there and the guide had managed to get it stopped near the shore. The two older gents had made it to the bank and were very lucky. They were wet, cold and shaken but ok. We gathered as much gear as we could find in the willows. The boat was basically under water and not going any where at that point. I had the older gent get in my boat and there was another boat coming to take the other two. All this came out with no injury and just lots of gear lost. Very lucky indeed. This was with an experienced guide on the sticks but a little mishap and your toast.

On a final note I was helping doing shuttles until nine this evening. A couple guys had filled out a shuttle sheet stating they were going from Maidenrock to Glen. Their rig was not at Maidenrock. The shuttle crew checked it out twice at different times. The only thing I could think of was that they put in at Maidenrock Fish and Game. So we drove all the way back to that no account access and sure enough there it was. We got it the Glen access at almost nine and the kid said what the hell took you so long. Not a good thing to say to me at this hour. I calmly explained they put in at the wrong place and there was an extra twenty buck charge on this shuttle. He paid it promptly.
Just to let everyone know, WE DO NOT DO SHUTTLES TO MAIDENROCK FISH AND GAME ACCESS. People who use that are a bit retarded anyway as you can float to Melrose faster than you can drive that dirty rough road. It is called the dead zone for a reason and should be stricken from all maps—-just venting a bit and feel better for it.


  1. First time reading your reports and getting a real kick out of them. The no BS approach is always refreshing. Thanks for the info and the commentary.


  2. Rick From Helena

    Great tales Al! We floated from Jerry Creek to Silver Bridge on Saturday of this past weekend and got a taste of the Dewey Canyon. We didn’t have any problems other than my wife and 6-year old son getting hit with a couple rouge waves unexpectedly. As my wife put it, “my pants were made from a quick dry material, my underwear…not so much”. It was a fun float but from a fishing perspective we would have been much better off taking out at one of the earlier ramps. The first half had lots of good fishing water but the last couple miles we really couldn’t fish much as it was spent mostly running whitewater or getting set up to run whitewater. We did find a few fish tucked in the willows willing to eat a salmon fly. We also saw a few noses up eating caddis.

  3. relax!!!!!!ur still fishing!!!

  4. David from Bozeman

    We fished Sportsman’s to Dewey, noon to 8p, and took a chance and fished adults all day pretty much. Landed 3 big browns 19-21″, a grayling (on a caddis), some other assorted fish, and lost an est. 24″er. It was pretty darn good, had to work, but fun nonetheless. Glad we took out at Dewey, don’t need to be having to think about my underwear.

  5. jim from Whitefish!

    Remember what I said a few weeks ago about floating at high water ???? No matter how much experience you have One bad move can lead to dire results. RESPECT for high water is often over looked. So although it is Mid June and your itchin to get out there be very careful not to become part of the river structure !!!!

  6. great to find your site, thanks for the detailed reports

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