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Martinlf has attached these 7 pictures to this report. The message is below.
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Sage Hills
Sage Hills
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Real skyscrapers.
Real skyscrapers.
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A coyote checks me out.
A coyote checks me out.
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Streamside flowers.
Streamside flowers.
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Grayling!
Grayling!
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Wet and in the net.
Wet and in the net.
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Brook Trout.
Brook Trout.
MartinlfJuly 30th, 2021, 6:46 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
Small streams were among the most magical places I fished in Montana, and the one where I found grayling was no exception. It won’t take pressure, so it will remain nameless here. Remote, in the heart of grizzly country, and requiring a long drive over an at times very rough dirt road, it was low and clear, like many other smaller streams I fished. But it was cold. The drive in revealed some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen. The light green of sage bush covered hills seemed to stretch into infinity in one direction, while massive jagged peaks commanded the sky in another. A coyote let me take photos at one point, seemingly unconcerned, though I’d bet ranchers would have shot him in an instant. I met a local angler near a trail in, and, packing a pistol on his hip, he asked me if I had bear spray. “Two cans,” I told him. As I made my way along the trail, I began to sing, having been told it’s not a good idea to surprise a grizzly. I’d tied up nymphs for the grayling, but rising fish caught my attention quickly, as did the pmd spinners dancing over the water. In a hole vexed with multiple cross currents and boils, fish fed in the most difficult water. I tried without luck to get a drift from one position, then another, until at last, with a high dump cast, the fly stopped skittering almost as soon as it landed. I caught some small brook trout and cutthroat, but bigger fish were rising in the toughest spots. Finally, I got the fly to one of these, it took, and the bend in my rod told me it was a bigger fish. In the net, I couldn’t believe it, a 12” grayling! I don’t typically attempt to photograph fish, fearing I might harm them or drown my phone, but keeping the fish wet in the net, I gave it a try. With the sun glaring down, I couldn’t really see on the phone’s screen what I was photographing, but in the resulting pics the showy dorsal fin is extended, and hints of the grayling’s subtle rainbow colors appear. A few minutes later I netted another grayling, and soon after, a 15” cutthroat. About an hour after that, getting hungry and thirsty I headed back to the car. After lunch I fished another section of the stream, finding brook trout after brook trout. One good sized fish rejected a dry fly I’d drifted next to a brush pile, so I put on a black wooly bugger and teased it into the limbs. A hard strike and in a few minutes I netted a 13” brookie, one of the biggest wild brook trout I’ve ever landed. With evening setting in, I made my way back to my hotel, feeling lucky and happy at the day’s fortunes.

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. Fires and smoke are often up the road. 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
TroutnutJuly 30th, 2021, 9:18 am
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
The drive in revealed some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen.


Yeah, that place is worth it for the views alone!

I'm glad you found one of the big brookies, and of course the grayling!

I’d tied up nymphs for the grayling


That's interesting... did you receive some advice that the grayling there are best caught on nymphs? In my experience in Alaska, grayling are more eager to rise to a dry fly than any trout, which is their reputation. I don't have enough of a sample size in Montana to judge, but they do like dries.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfJuly 30th, 2021, 9:46 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
I did have advice from a guy who fishes the stream to try flashy nymphs for the grayling. But he may be fishing it more at higher water. Thanks for the comment, though; I'm happy to learn all I can about grayling.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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