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Old 10-25-2007, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Hinton, WV
107 posts, read 322,448 times
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I am lookng to come to montana next year for a stay with a fishing ranch style lodge..Any recomendations?
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:08 PM
 
495 posts, read 366,595 times
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I don't have a specific recommandation but I would say........check the places out very carefully before you pick one. For instance, I often wonder why people come to areas like the Bitterroot to fish, I can't imagine them driving down that crowded Rt 93 to do a float trip then get on a crowded river and pay top dollar to do it, seems silly to me.
If you are going to travel some distance and pay good money - you probably want a place that's nice, quite and pristine, which I'd say is getting hard to find in weatern mt, perhaps on some remote lakes but the major rivers are all what I consider crowded with guides and rafters.
Seriously look around and don't just consider MT, I'm from here and fish a lot, and if I took a trip I'd go up to Canada, just north of MT, if I wanted peace and solitude on a fishing vacation. From what I hear it is like what MT used to be 20 years ago...and great fishing.
That's not to say you cant find a quite area in MT though, probably best to stay away from anything popular, places like the Madison River, Big Horn, you know all those big names. Then again some people like that kinda' thing, people call fishing on the Big Horn 'combat fishing', you catch fish but....jeez, plus the trout will probably have calisous on his lips from be caught so many times.
And don't beleive anything those fishing guides tell you.....40 fish days, they are notroious liers.
Do you research and try to get some references as to what it really will be like......Most of those places will just put you in a boat and float you over that same fish they've been floating their clients and every guides clients for the whole year......those fish see 50 flies a day all season long....
There are some private places with private lakes around MT, but for the most part those Lodges were they just take you out and float you down the major rivers for any serious fishermen would be a waste of time to come all the way out here for....unless you like that kind of thing. Personally if I was coming to MT I wouldn't want to see another fisherman.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Kingman - Anaconda
1,552 posts, read 5,535,886 times
Reputation: 711
The above post very good
The area around the big hole river and the community of wise river gets real popular.
This summer due to drought the fishing was shut down because of low water. I have seen people fishing shoulder to shoulder there and the drift boats just hard to imagine trying to fish those conditions.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Hinton, WV
107 posts, read 322,448 times
Reputation: 34
Thank you all and great posts indeed
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:46 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,901,272 times
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I took my kayak down the Clark Fork from St. Regis to Ferry Landing (fourteen mile bridge) a couple of weeks ago and we only saw two outfitters drift boats and about seven or eight shore fishers along the whole way. Everyone was hooking up to loads of twenty inch rainbows all day long and they all looked like very happy folks to me. I wouldn't pay to be taken down this river as I have a very nice fishing kayak, but for a visitor It may be the way to go. I seem to go after small mouth bass in the summer. The Lower Flathead produces near record size smallies now.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:02 PM
 
495 posts, read 366,595 times
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rickers wrote:
Quote:
Everyone was hooking up to loads of twenty inch rainbows all day
No offense ment to this poster but - this is what is called a 'whooper'
rickers is right about one thing though, there is no need to hire someone to float you down this section of the river - if you're a competent fly-fisher just walk down to the river and fish.....

Now then having fished the Clark Fork for years, twenty inch rainbows are rather rare, you might catch one or two per season if you fish really spend alot of time on the river. While the poster is perhaps sincere, I would suggest he actually take out a ruler and start measuring those rainbows. In all honesty a good day on the Clark Fork will get you perhaps 1/2 dozen trout in the 15 to 17 inch range, that landed/netted fish, and that's a good day.
Consider this, most of the day will be unproductive, as the fish will only be active for a part of that day, ie. evening hatches in the summer, or a few hours in the afternoon during fall or spring, second if you are floating most of your time is spent drifting over unproductive sections of the river.....I've been out in the middle of very active hatches, fishing rising all around, you get a couple good hours in, and while you may get alot of fish to hit your fly and even have them take it, in the end if I land 2,3,4,5 good fish, it's a good and day, and I've had a good time........you may feel like you caught 20 fish and they were all huge but..........
Also I can count on one hand, then number of trout I catch each season that are over 18 inches, in 40 years of fishing MT, I've probably caught, on fly rod in a river, 2 or 3 rainbows over 20 inches....lakes are a different story and larger brown are more common in rivers. Even browns I consider myself luck to get one brown over 20 inches in a season on western montana rivers...although some years I may catch more in that size class....
for some reason the numbers 20 and 40 seem to pop up over and over again in these 'whooper' stories. Some fishing guides even tout this 20-20-20 club.....that's where you catch 20 trout that are 20 inchs and you took them on size 20 flies in a single day - you chances of even doing this in a whole season is beyond a million to one in western mt rivers....
g-massie - like I said you have to be carefull - these 'whooper' stories abound, so be carefull in picking where/what you want to do with your vacation if you are serious about fishing.
PS: even a 16 inch Clark Fork rainbow on a light fly rod will scream the line off your reel and have you down into the backing.........they aren't wimps.

Last edited by JoeJoeMan; 10-29-2007 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:42 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,528,268 times
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What about up the middle and north fork of the flathead?
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Old 10-29-2007, 04:19 PM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,901,272 times
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Sorry joejoeman but when was the last time you fished this river ? The day I floated that section almost everyone I talked to were reporting many 20 inchers and were thrilled to death. You need to get out in a kayak or drift boat on the Clark Fork again ! The fishing has improved and the pressure is way less than those so called trophy rivers down towards Yellowstone. I rarely fish for trout anymore (I'm on a bass thing right now) but 20 inch trout are not really trophy's. Fly fishing for cutts and bows is way over rated ! I like catching large fish from real small boats, I rarely keep what I catch anyway. Here's a link to a pic of my "Tupperware Trawler".

Picasa Web Albums - Rick - tupperware tr... (broken link)

This plastic boat has a downrigger, fishfinder, rod holders, a remote controled electric motor and the boombox wears a shower cap from walmart for going through the rapids ! Click on the "slideshow link for a clear enlargment rather than double clicking on the pic.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:25 PM
 
495 posts, read 366,595 times
Reputation: 96
rickers wrote :
Quote:
Sorry joejoeman but when was the last time you fished this river ? The day I floated that section almost everyone I talked to were reporting many 20 inchers and were thrilled to death. You need to get out in a kayak or drift boat on the Clark Fork again ! The fishing has improved and the pressure is way less than those so called trophy rivers down towards Yellowstone. I rarely fish for trout anymore (I'm on a bass thing right now) but 20 inch trout are not really trophy's. Fly fishing for cutts and bows is way over rated ! I like catching large fish from real small boats, I rarely keep what I catch anyway. Here's a link to a pic of my "Tupperware Trawler".
The last time I fished the Clark Fork, you ask ............Today ! I'll repeat myself, take out a ruler the next time you think you have a 20 inch rainbow, then we'll talk again.
I'll refer to this article, check the part about the "Wall of Fame"
Jackson Hole News & Guide
Recall - "Dan Bailey’s memorable Wall of Fame" a four pound trout taken from a river is a true rarity, and 4 pound rainbows are even rarer than browns. A chuncky 20 inch rainbow may push 4 pounds.
I couldn't begin to count how many trout I've caught in rivers in Montana over that last 40 years.....and I can count on one hand the number of rainbows or 20 inches.....The Clark Fork being close to home, and myself being somewhat retired I've fished it 4/5 times a week, weather permiting, from March thru November.....
As a side note my friends claims that "Fishing from a boat is like hunting from your truck"..........I'm not sure I agree with that but speaking for myself fly fishing from a boat is a waste of time and very unproductive, as much as people do it, you spend more time loading and unloading the boat and floating over fishless water, mean while my entire time on the river is spent in front of rising fish.
By the way I have caught many large trout, even rainbows up to 29 inche...of which I actually put a ruler next to verify the length...put they weren't caught in a river......Lots of large brown trout, mostly from lakes and ponds....some very large 24 plus inch browns in small streams in the fall...but they had run upstream from a lake below.
The Clark Fork river is not noted for its trout population numbers....the fish pod up, meaing you find a group a fish and then float perhaps a few hundred yards or so before you find another pod, not to say you can't enjoy good fishing when you find a pod, you can.
I'm trying to be honest with the orginal poster's question about finding a place to fish....If I was coming all the way out to montana, I'm not sure I'd choose the clark fork, although it can be good fishing, but not loaded with 20 inch rainbow by a long shot.
jimj, yes the middle and north fork of the flathead, I'm not sure about finding a lodge on the river or convient but the flathead river in the Bob Marshall would be a great experience....reliable fishing friends tell me you can truly catch 20 fish a day, cutthroats back in the wilderness area there, but you gotta get back in there.
It depends on the type of experience j_massie is looking for. Perhaps he can tell us.
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:04 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,528,268 times
Reputation: 15493
JoeJoe, most of the raft companies up here have day and multi-day trips out to that area.....I realize the OP was looking in So. MT, just chiming in.....
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