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  Our Rivers of Choice


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The Smith River
The Smith is Montana's most spectacular river, a superb trout fishery, and a great multi-day fishing experience. Depending on the snow cover and the spring moisture, the Smith is fishable as early as May with permissible weather. The river itself is a joy to fish. Riffles and pools alternate with undercut cliffs, grassy banks, and spring creek-like weed 'beds. Unlike many Montana rivers which are large and brawling, the Smith is a medium size stream, ideally suited to wading and float fishing. While fishing for Browns, Rainbows and with luck, a Cutthroat or a Brook trout, you may see a black bear, mule deer, mink or an otter along he river's edge while eagles, cougar and elk roam the high country.

The Blackfoot River
This is one of Montana's most scenic rivers. The movie, A River Runs Through It, directed by Robert Redford, highlights a family's experiences on the beautiful Blackfoot River. I'm partial to it in the early season because of the aggressive Brown Trout that'll chase streamers, and come right out of the water during the salmon fly hatch. One of the Blackfoot's special charms is its ability to fish well during the dog days of summer. It's a true classic.

The Bitterroot River
This river fishes well early in the year with 3 different stoneflies. During the summer months, it's best left to other anglers. Rising water temperatures, due to de-watering, slows the activity. But in the late season, the Bitterroot picks back up with hot action on tiny dry flies.

The Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone scenery is incredible: rimrocks, 10,000-foot Crazy Mountains to the north, 10,000 plus-foot Absaroka Mountains to the south-this is Montana! The Yellowstone usually clears in mid to late July; from then on it produces well with a variety of patterns. August through September is grasshopper and Golden Stonefly fishing at its best. An angler may also trick a monster Brown at this time with a big ugly wet fly. No matter what your preference, the Yellowstone will provide the opportunity.

The Clark Fork River
This river has a split personality. It's virtually two different rivers: the upper Clark and the lower Clark. The upper Clark is a braided, meandering stream that's an excellent Brown Trout fishery, with occasional Rainbows and Cutthroats. The lower Clark is best characterized as big Water. Usually flat and slow, it carries pods of large Rainbows that rise at the drop of a fly. You can expect to see generous Westslope Cutthroats, as well. I've seen many Rainbows better than 18 inches taken from the lower Clark. This is probably the best river for taking a large fish on a small dry.

Others Rivers to Consider
There are quite a few other rivers and streams in the area that are expected to produce well this year, and I'm always looking for alternatives. The Big Hole, Rock Creek, the Sun and the Dearborn have all delivered some great fishing in past years.

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