Nez Perce Fork .....
..... of the West Fork of the Bitterroot.
Gorgeous summer day here in Western Montana. Started out to fish the West Fork of the Bitterroot, but missed a turn and ended up in the National Forest not far east of Nez Perce Pass which is on the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana.
Beautiful little stream. Fished two different stretches. Both were fairly deep runs for such a small stream. The water was absolutely clear. One of those places you really have to watch your step because the water is always a lot deeper than it looks. Never got over mid thigh, but from the bank, and even after getting in the creek, you wouldn't think it much more than calf deep.
Fished the foam back royal humpy that Joe ( Lotech ) sent me a while back. That is one pretty fly. If it isn't the one Joe submitted for the Fly of the Week a while back, I'm gonna have to get tying instructions from him or figure out the materials and tying sequence myself. Golden pheasant for the tail, herl and red ( royal ) abdomen, poly or antron yarn wings and brown hackle ??
Fished the 3 wt. Too much rod !! Had a small cutthroat hit the fly on the second or third cast in the first place I fished. That run was about sixty feet long, twenty feet wide, and got to be maybe two feet deep. ( Took some pics and will post them as part of slideshow when I get back to SE Idaho. )
Did I say cutthroat, as in countless ?? Well, maybe not countless, but there sure were bunches of them in that little piece of water. Many, many small ones that could only bump the fly and sink it. Lots of bigger ones that could actually eat the fly - like 3" and up. A few that went 7" to 8". After the humpy started sinking, I went to a bwo with no hits at all. Then went to a PMD with no hits at all. Went back to the humpy and caught several more fish, which was especially interesting because there was a good PMD hatch for a good part of the afternoon.
Next run was longer, wider and deeper. Chock full of small cutts. Non stop action on that stretch of water. Same mix of really little fish, many that were big enough to eat the fly, and a fair number of the larger ones. Also fished a nice drop where a small side channel took off from the main run and hooked what was probably the largest fish I saw all day. Also fished a small hole on a corner of another small side channel and picked up a couple more little guys. Fished the soft water between two tongues of really hard current and found another nice cutt.
On the way back to Missoula, I found a turn out that gave access from a high back to the West Fork. Water was pretty deep just off the bank, and it was pretty fast over a medium depth riffle, so I decided to just cast from the bank. Didn't take long to raise a good sized trout with a JC's Salmonfly - but either he missed the fly or I missed him. Pretty exciting seeing him come to the fly. Not sure what would have happened if I had hooked him and had to fight him on a 3 wt in that kind of water.
On the day, landed somewhere between thirty and forty small cutts. Lost that many again, and had so many hits and misses that they were countless. Lots and lots of action in exactly the kind of water I love to fish. Check back sometime early next week for the slideshow.
The fish are always right.