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> > The Blackfoot River and the North Fork of the Blackfoot

Martinlf has attached these 6 pictures to this report. The message is below.
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On the Blackfoot.
On the Blackfoot.
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The North Fork.
The North Fork.
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The canyon.
The canyon.
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Climbing down.
Climbing down.
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Westslope Cutt.  Note colors of the river rock in the water below.
Westslope Cutt. Note colors of the river rock in the water below.
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Another Westslope.
Another Westslope.
MartinlfJuly 28th, 2021, 8:41 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
For my last four days in Montana, my nephew joined me for our eighth annual fishing expedition. I left the Missouri River the day before to pick him up in Bozeman and we returned to my cabin at Wolf Creek Angler for the night. Up at 4:00 am the next day, we packed and headed to Ovando to meet Kelly, our guide, at Trixi’s Antler Saloon and Bar at 7:00. We were soon on the Blackfoot River, fishing dry dropper as Kelly piloted her blue raft down the river. Quick and sharp on the oars, Kelly took the raft through boulder filled rapids, keeping us fishing all the time. Marvin and I later commented on her ability to keep up with both anglers all day, always aware of what both of us were doing, giving us direction even as she negotiated the turns, twists, and drops in the river. It was a two-for-the-price-of-one float, a whitewater ride and a fishing trip. And the scenery was beautiful, with sheer cliffs and deep forests around every turn. Kelly, alert to changing conditions, switched up our rigs frequently, and got us into rainbows, cutthroat, and cutbows. We finished the day with a meal at Trixi’s, an angler’s tradition, and spent the night in a comfortable room at the Ovando Inn and Blackfoot Commercial Company. Up again at 4:00, we headed out in the dark the next day for the North Fork of the Blackfoot, in grizzly country. The drive through the foggy dark felt ominous, but arriving at the trailhead, where pack horse campers were getting up and readying their gear for the trail, helped set up at ease. Guidebooks had suggested that we hike in a mile of so, then descend to the river. Kelly recommended we go farther, and she had recommended an early start. Both proved to be good recommendations. Strapping on bear spray and deciding to share one rod, we probably hiked two and a half to three miles before climbing down the mountainside to the water. The river was gorgeous, but challenging. With huge boulders and a sharp gradient, it forced us to climb our way upstream as we fished the pools below the river’s drops and falls. Rocks in the riverbed were reddish, blue green, white, and many shades of grey, looking like jewels in the clear water. The Westslope Cutthroat we caught were as beautiful as the scenery, and they eagerly took a large prince nymph. Staying close and sharing a rod made us feel like a team working for a common purpose. The climb up and hike out was grueling but the canyon’s beauty made it worth every sweaty minute. We arrived at the Stray Bullet Café in Ovando just before they closed at 2:00 for one of the best late breakfasts ever. Then we were off to Philipsburg, looking to fish Rock Creek the next day.

More reports above and below. Scroll up or down to see reports on other destinations. Many waters in Montana are now shut down or on “hoot owl” restrictions due to drought and heat. Climate change is affecting the West, and if we don’t get it under control great trout fishing there may become a thing of the past.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PartsmanJuly 29th, 2021, 3:38 am
bancroft michigan

Posts: 420
Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
Jmd123July 29th, 2021, 4:38 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
More beautiful landscapes, and pretty fish! Well done, Louis!


P.S. Looks like some recently burned areas.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MartinlfJuly 30th, 2021, 10:54 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Thanks, guys! Due to the bear threat we didn't take any food in with us. Hunger drove us off the stream, or we'd have stayed all day. It was gorgeous!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
TroutnutJuly 31st, 2021, 10:32 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
Due to the bear threat we didn't take any food in with us.

They're really not that big of a deal! I wouldn't necessarily carry a hot pastrami sandwich in my backpack through grizzly country, but some dry foods well-bagged (snack bars are an easy one, but even things like jerky and trail mix) are really no problem. To play it extremely safe you could get a Loksak Opsak order-proof bag (which I use to line my bearproof Ursack food bag on backpacking trips) and put wrapped / low-odor foods inside that.

As far as I know, nobody has ever been attacked by a bear over food they were carrying with them during the day. I think the commotion you're making when active generally alerts the bear to your presence before it takes notice of any food odors. It's when a person is asleep or away from camp that bears think the coast is clear and come poking around investigating smells from improperly stored food.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfAugust 1st, 2021, 6:11 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
I thought we were likely being more cautious than necessary, but wasn't sure. A woman had been killed in the immediate area a week or so before, when she had food in her tent. A bear came while she slept, and dragged her out of the tent and killed her. They got the bear, but we were still a bit spooked by it all. Thanks for the information.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchAugust 2nd, 2021, 8:46 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
A bear came while she slept, and dragged her out of the tent and killed her.

Very sad story and that has always been my greatest fear to be attacked and eaten by a grizzly. No amount of scenery or even giant rainbows is going to get me into grizzly country without a skilled guide at my side with a rifled barrel shotgun and slug rounds.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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