Back to the Wild – Part 1
Every summer we get urge to go fish in some of the most beautiful places Montana has to offer. This is the backcountry, a true wilderness. To top it off the fishing is pretty darn good. Travis and I decided to head out on a small camping trip that would take us far from society. With the weather questionable we finally pulled the trigger and loaded up. You only get so many days a year. We arrived at the trailhead around 1PM and knew we had a bit of a hike to get to our area. The trail was dusty and beat down with horseshoe prints and the occasional boot track. Every couple miles the horse tracks would get more prominent. To me this means little pressure on these wild trout. After five miles we made the last cross of the river before camp. We were sore and sweaty. The view of what was to come was a constant rejuvenatory.
We had one last push uphill push to make it to camp and get to fishing. We quickly got distracted again and decided to bag a few shots with the Nikon.
A lightly stylized look behind the lens of the camera.
In front of the lens.
Our Nikon sure is spoiled in what it gets to look at on a daily basis. After a few minutes of spectating, we made it back on the trail. The fishing was looking better and better and the effects of the 6 mile hike with 40lbs+ of camera gear slowly faded in my memory as fishing pushed its way in 100%.
Finally we found a nice little strip of grass next to the river, and we dropped the packs. We took the next hour to set up the tent and re-situate gear for some evening fishing. We had holes both upstream and downstream of the tent and the options were endless.
After changing into waders and piecing the fly rods together, we finally set foot in the river. We slowly headed upstream. The small fish were eager to smash a dry, and the bigger fish weren’t picky on what nymph we threw their way.
Slowly the river started tightening down and re-entered a mini-canyon full of small deep pools. You just knew where the trout were stacked up, and as long as you could physically make it to the hole you were landing spunky wild trout. That’s the thing though. There are no trails next to the river and moving up or downstream is difficult and sometimes outright dangerous. If you fall back here it’s going to be days until anyone comes looking for you. We encountered two channels of the river that had a knife edge of dirt between them. We made the right decision in not risking sliding down a hundred foot rock covered hillside and simply took the 20 minutes to go around to get upriver. Just before dark was starting to loom, we found a deep short pool under a small waterfall. It was only a few well placed steps away and Travis finally made it into position. A couple casts later and the rod was bent.
The sun soon crept too low to keep fishing, and we returned to camp. We even had company for the night. A curious mule deer doe circled our camp at about 20 yards as we were collecting firewood. Soon the smell of campfire filled the riverside and kept the mosquitoes at bay.
After cooking up a delicious meal of salmon pesto pasta we got to kick back and enjoy the fire. We were anxious to get deeper in the backcountry and explore some new water. We’d be hiking upstream from camp fishing the deepest holes we could find. I had a good feeling that the fishing 8 miles back would be pretty exciting. The water looked good, the fish were hungry, and the weather was looking nice.
We soon put out the fire and crawled into the tent. It wasn’t long before sleep hit and day one was a wrap. Day two was looking to be one we wouldn’t forget.