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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dillon Montana Quickie

I just returned from a short (6 night/5 day), "exploratory" trip to Dillon Montana. The area has always intrigued me as I returned to California via I-15 past the Beaverhead and Clark Canyon reservoir; two bodies of water that I'd both read and heard about over the years. Two years earlier I fished the region's Ruby river and had great fly-fishing during pre-run-off April.

The area is over-shadowed because of the more famous waters available nearby such as Montana's Madison, Yellowstone, Firehole and Galletin rivers, Idaho's Henry's Fork; plus the numerous "grapevine", hush-hush-toned venues in western Montana & north-west Wyoming.

Suffice it to say that I will return to the area next fall. In addition to drifting the Big Hole and both wade-fish and float the Beaverhead, I will also explore Pointdexture Slough, a spring creek that flows into the Beaverhead about 3 miles out of town. This time I'll visit during the third week of September because we did experience some nasty weather for two days. At times the early snows and high winds made it difficult to fish...let alone cast.
I can't say enough about the class-act of Tom & Mary Smith's Back Country Anglers; #1 guide Andy and Tom's mellow canine partner, Tippet. All were great hosts; at the lodge, the shop and while on the water. Their personal service and friendly "down-home" demeanor was appreciated by both my bro-in-law Jim Williams and myself. I highly recommend them if you visit the Dillon area.

We floated the Big Hole river twice and the Beaverhead once. The best dry fly fishing occurred during snow flurries on the Beaverhead. We cast to rising trout for over three hours and landed 10-12 rainbows & browns to 18". The trout were in pods, elevated in the upper water column and feeding voraciously and steadily on #22-24 emerging Psuedocleons. We even hooked a couple on our indicator-dry; a #14 Parachute Black Ant.

The Big Hole had no rising fish so we indicator-fished using a San Juan Worms trailing either a #16 Copper John or #18 Micro-May. Most trout...and whitefish...were duped on the smaller patterns.


  1. That looks downright cold! It also looks like a great time on some beautiful water-- and that's a hilarious name for a dog!


  2. Brian--Sorry about the delayed response...I'm a newbie when it comes to blogging. I'm hoping you'll my comments, rants, humor etc...

    Yeah...Tippet is good name for a four-legged fishing companion. I have a friend who annually fishes the name: Madison

    A buddy who is a fly fishing guide and shoots the cannon at avalanches at Alpine Meadows has an all-around partner while on the slopes (the friend is a certified avalanche & resue) water...Shooter is the name.

    Another buddy who lives in Truckee and works in the snow has a wihite dog called Powder.