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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Westward Bound Part IV; Montana's Big Creek

Today would be my last day of fishing in Montana before Theresa and I head to Las Vegas for a few days of R&R next to a swimming pool. I really wanted to fish somewhere secluded and out of the way, so after a little discussion, Scott recommended we hike in on a small stream outside of Livingston called Big Creek.

At first glance, this stream reminded me of our Pennsylvania brook trout streams, and I was really excited at the prospect of catching small to medium sized trout on attractor style dry flies. Scott had been told that the stream held a healthy population of Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Cutbow from 8 to 20 inches, but the hike in to get them could be extremely challenging, and the casting could be very difficult as well. Nevertheless, we looked forward to the challenge and packed up enough water and gear for the long haul upstream.

Montana's Big Creek

A nice Cutbow that took aTrude style attractor dry fly.

As we walked along this small stream everyone had a chance to catch a few of the smaller trout in the back eddy's and pocket water. Moving upstream toward some of the better pools that we could see in the distance required us to climb over some amazingly large boulders, and scale a few pretty narrow cliffs and corridors to be within casting reach. Most of the time we had to take turns fishing the better holes due to lack of standing room, so the peanut gallery was alive with laughter after every bad cast, missed strike, and tree snag...

Nathan with a decent Big Creek Cutbow

A closer view of Nathan's catch.

Big Creek was on a steady incline as we moved further upstream, but every so often we would come across a 25 to 50 yard section where the stream would level out with long runs and soft currents. Casting here became much easier and the drifts were maintained far longer than in the fast pocket waters of the decent. At each one of these level sections we were able to hook a few of Big Creek's larger trout.

One of the several runs we fished on Big Creek.

Scott drifts his fly in the slower sweet spot to the right of a nice run.
We all had a shot at the few bigger 12-20 inch trout that took residence in Big Creek. I was fishing in one of these spots, in which I had to cast and stand in just the right spot. I knew if I hooked a bigger fish it would be tough to land. Sure enough, I got a solid take from a fish much heavier than anything I had caught so far. The fish quickly ripped line off and headed for a fast water chute just below the pool, only a minute after I hooked this fish he was gone! Scott's eyes were pretty big afterward, and the smile on his face when he told me it was a cutthroat close to 20 inches made it even more bitter sweet. I didn't even have a chance to get a good look at the fish due to the truck sized boulder between me and the back of the pool. All I could do was smile and think of what I could have done differently.

Scott proudly poses with a beautiful Cutbow

Here's a close up of Scott's Cutbow from above.

We decided to end our day on a good note with Scott's nice trout! Besides, we had a long hike ahead, and now a severe craving for a hot pizza! I may have lost my biggest fish today, but I really didn't care! The whole day of hiking and fishing was absolutely amazing, and exactly what I needed before heading out to Nevada...

My next blog will shift gears to the East and our adventures to the streams and rivers of New York's Adirondack region. Joel Bock and Jason Gregory are on there way this week with 20 lucky anglers to King Salmon, Alaska for a unforgettable 7 days on the Naknek River, Brooks River, and Margot Creek for Silvers, Arctic Char, and Rainbow Trout! So we'll have more from them when they return.

Our steelhead season is right around the corner! Our fall dates are filling up, so if you are interested in spending a day on Steelhead Alley with us, please contact us at 419-466-9382 and RSVP your preferred dates. We look forward to seeing many of you again this fall!

We'll have more for you soon! Tight Lines!

Greg Senyo
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

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