07/22/09

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 31 - Destinations

Continuing from yesterday, to illustrate my point about highly praised destinations
versus little known destinations, I'll get a little lazy and paste an article I wrote for
our Yellowstone website some time ago:

We studied the Little Blackfoot River on our maps and tried to find all the
information we could, but little was available. It flows from out of the Boulder
Mountains near the little Montana town of Elliston. The first fifteen miles or so of the
Little Blackfoot flows through public land. A forest service road follows along much
of the stream. Not far out of Elliston, the river flows through a beautiful valley. Most
all of the river is on private land from that point on all the way to its confluence with
the Clarke Fork. The river is similar in that respect to the Blackfoot River to its West
but that is about the only similarity. The Little Blackfoot is much smaller as its name
implies although it is forty miles long.

We fished the stream in the upper headwater area the first time we were there. We
stopped just above a bridge on the Forest Service road and gave it a try. It was late
July. The river is very small above Elliston. It is probably only ten or fifteen feet wide
on the average. I started the fishing and Angie was running camera. I caught a
small cutthroat trout on my first three cast. The fishing was incredible. You would
think the trout had never had anything to eat. They acted like they were starved to
death. Of course, they were not, they were just smaller cutthroats that were rarely
fished. During the next two days on our first trip there we never saw another angler.
In fact, on our next two trips during two other years there, we never saw an angler.
In fact we have never seen anyone fishing the Little Blackfoot from it headwaters for
its entire forty mile length. Much of the river is visible from a  road through its last
twenty-five mile stretch to the Clark Fork River. Our largest cutthroat in the upper
section was probably only thirteen inches long. Theres also a huge population of
brook trout. I didn't count fish but I would be willing to bet any good angler could
catch well over a hundred on a summer day.

There are a lot of bridge access points along the river from Elliston to the Clarke
Fork River. There are also a lot of log jams along the river. It is not a fast pocket
water stream. Its flows are generally moderate. The trout in the lower section are
mainly brown trout. We stopped at several of the bridges and were successful at
catching brown trout and whitefish at some of them. We have only fished the lower
section one time and then only for a short time at the bridges. We did catch several
browns although none of them were over twelve inches. I am certain there are some
large ones in the river. We just haven't spent any time fishing it.

I doubt it could be floated. The river is rather small even at it widest points. The log
jams would be a problem. We haven't tried it but I would seriously doubt if the
ranchers would care if you did fish their property provided you ask them. From the
looks of most of them I have met, I would make certain I didn't damage anything.
They live a rough, hard life or at least it appears that way. I would not want to cross
any of them. That said, every rancher I have talked to in Montana was extremely
nice and helpful.

The Little Blackfoot is a beautiful small stream and apparently it has plenty of trout.
We are told that there are several springs along the river and that prevents it from
freezing in its shallow areas during the winter. It also probably helps keep it cool
during the hot summer where it is openly exposed to the sun. The Little Blackfoot is
a great small stream. It just happens to flow through remote land where few travel
but yet in a general area of Montana with numerous blue-ribbon trout streams.

That was an article from our Yellowstone site that illustrates the point I wanted to
make. It is just one example of a small stream (if you could call it small) that gets
little or no attention, yet its a great stream. There's fifteen miles of public water in its
headwater and numerous bridges with access. As long as you get in the water on
public property at a bridge and stay in the water, you can fish as long as you want
to. Although we didn't give it a try on the Little Blackfoot, I would be willing to bet
anyone you asked would allow you to fish their property. I have been told by more
than one local Montana resident, that the ranchers are very nice and agreeable
until you cross them. I don't think I would want to do that. They remind me of the
cowboys in a 1960 Western movie. Thats enough for me to respect them and their
property. We have never asked anyone to fish their property anywhere in Montana
but I can remember two ranches that were nice enough to ask us if we wanted to
fish their property. We've even been given keys to their gates. This didn't occur on
the Little Blackfoot but it did on some other streams in Montana. We certainly
haven't run into that situation in the Northeast or New England yet.