12 May 2009

Spring Trout Fishing

With almost all of my grading finished, it was time to drive over to a favorite little creek in the upper Big Hole River watershed (just over the Great Divide from Butte Montana) for a few hours of troutfishing.

It was sunny and not too warm, but that did not stop an old, ailing dog from having a swim in the creek. Here's RolyTheDog just after her swim, enjoying the sun on her back:

I love fishing NoTellum Creek in part for the beautiful view of the high peaks of the Pintler Wilderness. At 10,000 feet, they are still gaining snow, even on days like this when the valleys are sunny:

But fishing is about catching fish, too. I had expected to bring home a good mess of brook trout for the table. Instead, 12- to 16-inch long rainbow trout were on spawning redds and you could not keep a "San Juan worm" (a small artificial worm) away from them. With catch & release fishing, I usually do not even lift the fish from the water. I couldn't resist one good photo, though:

The creek has other treasures, such as Western Pearlshell Mussels (Margaritifera falcata). They are readily distinguished by the purple nacre, as in this photo of a shell underwater:

In my hand, the nacre caught and reflected the blue sky for a wholly different look:

On the way home, I stopped at the watercress spring for some salad greens. When walking through aspen trees, I'm always on the lookout for bear claw marks (like the one in my blog photo). People, too, like to mark aspens, though usually folks just carve their initials. Never saw aspen art quite like this before, though it was allegedly common for Basque sheepherders:

As we drove up the hill to Walkerville, I had to pull over and stop for a photo of yet another gorgeous sunset:

But so much for the aphorism, "Red sky at night, sailors' delight." Yep, in the gray dawn light of this morning, I looked out the backdoor to find yet another spring snowstorm upon us:


The Crow said...

Beautiful trout, ER. Enjoyed all your photos, as well as the rest of your post. Glad you had a good day out.


Cutthroat Stalker (scott c) said...


Very nice post! Definitely jealous about the fishing (still waiting for a couple little creeks to clear--they're almost there). Jealous about having all your papers graded too--three more weeks until I can wrap up grading.

I noticed on the MFG site that the mussels are a species of concern. Are you allowed to harvest them (are there enough to do so)? Are they good eating?

Obviously the aspen carvers weren't anglers (there would have been a much different carving if they were--one track mind and all).

Great pics!

mountain.mama said...

Great fishing post, but really the tree "art" is something else! I wonder what kind of bear did that?

Anonymous said...

Small streams are closed to fishing until the third Saturday in May. You are jumping the gun a bit I'm afraid.

EcoRover said...

Anonymouse, I am very happy that most people think so, but check the regs: if you know where to go, certain tribs are open year around for brook trout (an exotic introduction) harvest. The regulation is intended to reduce competition with native fluvial Arctic grayling.

Lisa Wilson said...

I haven't seen any aspen graffiti quite like that either! Too funny.

Janie said...

What a beautiful day for fishing, even if it did snow the next day.
Nice rainbow!
We went fishing this week, too, and had good success.
I showed my husband your blog so he could compare fishing experiences. He enjoyed your posts.

Jennifer S. said...

Those are some beautiful pictures. And the carving on the tree was funny. :)

Anonymous said...

Those mussels are gorgeous.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi ER, Oh---how I'd love to be there. I'd be like Roly... I'd want to take a swim!!!! AND--to see that glorious mountain in the distance. WOW!!!!

The Rainbow trout is beautiful--and so are the colorful mussels.

As much as I love my mountains, I would love to be where you are!!!!

Have a good day tomorrow.

Tammie Lee said...

Wonderful post, sounds like you had a great day. I did not know there are mussels in the creeks. Lovely shells.

fishing guy said...

ER: What a nice set of photos of your area. We still get some cold morning temps but I'm done with snow. That shell was so neat. Really nice colors on the Rainbow Trout.
It is funny how many names there are for Crappie.

troutbirder said...

Those mussel pics were stunning! I never... As to the thought of trout fishing, I'm now laid up with a bad strep throat Grrrr.

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