Sunday, March 29, 2015

Clark Fork Early, Clark Fork Often

Fly fishermen have their unique habits, the behavior patterns that make us similar to all other beats of the wild. Year after year it seems I find myself in the same strange rut as years gone by: Driving by the trusty ol' Clark Fork on my way some other far distant trout mecca, leaving the local river all by its lonesome. Why is this? After all the Clark Fork produces dense hatches of caddis and mayflies, supports herds of formidable wily Browns, and despite its proximity to Missoula gets a fraction of the fishing pressure of other area rivers (you Rock Creek / Blackfoot fishermen will know what I'm talking about here). This year I vowed would be a different story and I would make a half-hitched effort to explore the 80 or so miles of meandering trout haunts that lie between Missoula and Warm Springs.

Wading a river is always the best way to get a true understanding of it. You get a good long look at all the structure, rather than just blazing by in a raft, and if you still are not sure whats really down there you just go wade across it. The sheer popularity of float fishing is understandable but its easy to overlook how thorough the wade fisherman is by comparison: Changing tactics and patterns within the same run or eddy can be the difference between striking out and hitting paydirt. Thats not to say that the floating isn't a great way to get after a river too. After a couple a wade trips to learn the types of holding structure the raft gets set lose and the full-day run- n -gun trip is on. Ten miles at a shot of meandering undercut banks and choppy mid river riffle seams. Not a bad plan for a day out on the water, plus when you get a chance to look up from the river, the scenery isn't half bad.


  1. aha so now you know you can do it, i expect to mixed ones to get by you