'I hosted a group of friends and clients on a destination fly-fishing trip in SW Montana last week.'
This is an annual trip for me and was my 16th year fishing there. We fished the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Jefferson and Madison Rivers, a couple of creeks and lakes and caught and released numerous brown, rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout during the week.
We used streamers, dry flies and nymphs on 3 through 6-weight fly tackle. The dry fly action was with a variety of grasshopper patterns, sometimes with a nymph dropper, or with a smaller dry fly and a few other bugs.
Tim Siegel, from IN, met up with Lynn Skipper, from Apollo Beach, FL and me in Bozeman on Sunday afternoon, 8/6 and made the 2-hour drive to Dillon. Mike Perez, from IN, met up with us in Dillon after driving out from IN and fishing a few days before the rest of the group arrived. We stayed in a ranch house, remodeled as a fisherman’s vacation home, near the Beaverhead River outside of Dillon.
Mike and I fished a spring creek one day with guide Dave King, owner of King Outfitters (406) 596-0209 in Dillon, and had good action with brookies on hoppers on 3 and 4-weight fly tackle. Lynn and I fished the Big Hole with another guide one day and also had some dry fly action.
Lynn, Mike and Tim fished the Jefferson on a couple of trips with Dave and had good action with rainbow and brown trout on a variety of rigs. Mike, Tim and I also fished some other areas a few days with Dave and caught and released some quality rainbows.
Several of us fished an alpine lake at 7500’ a couple of days with guide Cody Meine on his family’s Smallhorn Ranch and had good action with cutthroats on dry flies. Cody and his daughter, Kayla also hosted us back at the ranch each evening with some great Montana home cooking.
One of the best things about fly fishing in southwest Montana is the variety. The fishing there is by either floating or wading. The weather and scenery were outstanding with temperatures ranging from a very comfortable high 40’s in the morning to the mid 70’s or 80 degrees in the afternoon with low humidity, a welcome relief from southwest Florida’s heat and humidity in August.
From tarpon on a 12-weight to brookies and cutthroats on a 3-weight, it’s all good especially with everything that goes along with it! In addition to beautiful valleys surrounded by rugged mountains, the wildlife is amazing! We saw whitetail and mule deer, pronghorn antelope, hawks, eagles, ducks, geese and sand hill cranes.
Back in Sarasota, catch and release snook fishing around dock lights and bridges and trout, blues and more on deep grass flats should be good options. There should still be some tarpon in the coastal gulf, in upper Charlotte Harbor and areas of Sarasota and Tampa Bay. Juvenile tarpon in canals and creeks may also be a good option if you can find them. You might also find them in a few places mixed with snook in dock lights.