9/04/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Mahogany Duns
3.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
4.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching
5.   Slate Drakes - hatching
6.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
7.   Little Yellow Quills
8.   Needle Stoneflies
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 42

I happen to think about this lesson we learned because I recently wrote about the
Big Hole River in Montana. There are a few things we learned the hard way from
our first trip there a few years ago.

We didn't know anything about the Big Hole River except for what we had read in a
few books and magazines. No one that we knew had fished the river even though it
was supposed to be one of the top trout streams in Montana. A top trout stream in
the state of Montana would be a top trout stream in the nation. I doubt I would get
any argument from anyone by saying that Montana has more fine trout streams
than any state.

Our trip took us there in early July. We had stopped on the way to fish the Henry's
Fork in Idaho for a few days and from there we went to the famous Big Hole River.
Looking at the map, we decided to start in the town of Wisdom in the Big Hole
Valley. We approached the Big Hole from the upper part of Idaho above Salmon on
Highway #93. That route took us in by the Battle of the Big Hole site. Driving off the
mountain we could see the huge Big Hole Valley below. We couldn't wait to make
our first cast there. One reason we were so interested were the Grayling in the
upper part of the river. They are among the last of the population in the lower 48
states. I had caught plenty in Alaska and was anxious to catch one in Montana.
Most of them are in the Big Hole River near Wisdom in the upper part of the river.
Like everything in Montana, the Big Hole River is big, running for over 150 miles.

We got into town just before dark and found one of the very few motels. I got out of
the car to check in and was instantly attacked by misquotes. I was used to them,
having lived on the Gulf Coast for several years. When I got inside the office, they
didn't stop biting. The office was full of them. To be perfectly honest, the man
looked at me as if I was crazy for being there. He could well see why I was there by
the way I was dressed. I did happen to notice I was the only car in the parking lot in
front of the little motel.

When I got back to the car I warned Angie, who hates biting bugs, about the
misquotes. I told her that when we got out of the car, we should grab our luggage
and dart in the room as fast as possible. We did just that, but we still got eaten up
by misquotes. We didn't open the door unless we had to and that was when I had to
go get something for us to eat. That was another ordeal with the bugs I want go
into. We were bitten all night long in our room. We swatted misquotes all night. We
used about all of our bug spay and it still didn't make much difference.

Look
at these pictures of the Big Hole site I am currently working on and you will
notice Angie is wearing a funny looking deal around her head. The pictures of her
wearing the net were shot on the river near Wisdom. Thats where the grayling are.
The problem was that we just couldn't fish. The hue swarms of misquotes were
unbelievable.

The entire Big Hole Valley is intentionally flooded each year using water from the
spring runoff to water the crops. It is about impossible to fish in the Valley during
June and July. You must fish the lower part of the river in the Melrose area to get
away from them. By the end of August, the first frosts begin and the misquotes
reach a  level you can deal with. Not one other angler was in the entire huge Big
Hole Valley. The trip almost caused me a divorce.

The lesson learned was that the magazines don't always reveal the adverse things
about a trout stream or the area one is in. They tend to focus only on the good
things. Everyone in Montana but us knew that the Big Hole Valley was a terrible
place to be around the first of July.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh