07/21/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
3    Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
6.   Slate Drakes - hatching
7.   Little Green Stonefly - hatching
8.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
9.   Beetles
10. Grasshoppers
11. Ants
12. Inch Worms
13. Crane Flies
14. Helligramite
15. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process - Part 30 - Destinations
I've mentioned more than once that it is common for a stream to get rated as a
great fly fishing destination more as a result of the number of the accommodations
than its worthiness as a trout stream. Streams that are written about in magazine
articles often are the ones anglers tend to rate high simply because they are the
ones getting all the press, so to speak. In this article, I will give an example of a
typical situation were some streams are almost ignored and others are highly
praised simply because of their location in respect to facilities.

For example, in Montana, the Clarke's Fork, Rock Creek, and the Bitterroot are the
usual streams that anglers traveling to the larger town of Missoula Montana pay
attention to. After the movie, A River Runs Through It, the Blackfoot River begin to
get some attention in the area but mostly be the local anglers. The other larger
town in the area (near in Montana terms means anything within a hundred miles) is
Helena. There the nearby Missouri River is the place to fish and with good reason, I
might add. In the general area of those two towns theres a lot of Montana territory.
Choosing where to fish in that part of Montana can be a problem because there are
so many choices.

One of the factors in determining what is a good trout stream is the size of the fish.
Thats far much more important to many anglers than it is to me. I got over the fish
size challenge years ago. I still enjoy catching larger fish but over time many other
things become more important. I had rather have solitude and be out in the middle
of no where than I had stuck in the middle of the crowd. I suppose thats why I enjoy
small stream fishing. We fish them all, small and large streams, in crowds and miles
from anyone else, but given a choice, I am perfectly content to be fishing miles from
another angler.

It didn't take us very long traveling all of the country fishing all the top destination
trout streams to determine those streams that were written about the most were
often no better than other streams in the same area rarely mentioned.  We found
out that many of the so called Blue Ribbon trout streams were simply trout streams
nearby populations of people. After all, no one is going to put a fly fishing resort, or
a fly shop or even a decent motel out in the middle of no where. It is also unlikely
very many fly fishing magazines are going to write many feature articles about a
stream with no related accommodations nearby. Once we figured out that many of
the so called "good" trout streams were really not that great and some of the "no
named" trout streams were excellent streams to fish, we changed our schedules to
include them all. Often, especially in places like Montana, this landed us in areas
where we had to search for a place to eat and sleep. We usually solved that by
taking food with us and often staying in small motels where we were the first ones
ever to be wearing waders when we checked in. Often the puzzled looks ended in
questions like "where you'll fishing".

We headed out of Missoula one morning to the Blackfoot River. It had been written
about some because of the movie and because we were aware of that, we didn't
expect much from it. Using a two page article in a book we managed to find some
fairly new areas that looked like someone had gone to a lot of effort for fly anglers,
campers and other visitors. What we didn't find were people. Later we found out the
river could become busy with tubers and rafters during the weekends. It was during
the week, but smack in the middle of July, when we first visited the Blackfoot River,
yet we didn't see the first person all day. We fished several spots along the river
and caught a few nice size trout each time we stopped. We couldn't quite believe
what we were experiencing.

That night I thought about a gentleman we meet on the Frying Pan River in
Colorado who turned out to be a Psychiatrist from Helena. Although it seems a
strange mixture of occupations, he was a guide during his spare time. He usually
fished the Missouri near Craig but in one of the conversations I had with him, he
mentioned that if we wanted to fish with him, he would take us to his favorite stream
- the Little Blackfoot River. The next day, we changed our plans to fish the Bitterroot
River and headed to the Little Blackfoot River. The "Little" Blackfoot is only forty
miles long. It starts in the Boulder Mountains near the little town of Elliston. For the
last few miles, headed to a point we had selected on the map where the stream's
headwaters runs through public property, we didn't see the first vehicle. We didn't
see a human the entire day while we were fishing.

Tomorrow I will tell you about the Little Blackfoot River.