25 March 2010

Springtime in the Rockies: Hiking & Trout Fishing

The snow is still good high in the backcountry, and will be so through April and probably later. But I have put my skis away in favor of hiking and trout fishing. There is still a bit of snow on the open north-facing slopes of the side valleys along the lower Big Hole River:

The sunny sides are bare and call us forth for a cross-country hike. Here's Dave Carter (a retired colleague):

His daughter Chelsea Carter (a graduate candidate in Electrical Engineering):

And of course we brought the dogs. Here's MollyTheDog with an elk hoof she found in a melting snowbank:

The trout of the Jefferson River (formed by the confluence of the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers) are feeding heavily after a long, slow winter. Rainbow Trout will be spawning soon, and the regulations call for catch & release on the Jeff:

Brown trout are fair game, though, and these three 15" to 19" fish were about right for supper with friends, cached in a snowbank to keep them ice cold:

MollyTheDog has turned out to be a good fishing companion, though she does not relish swimming the frigid waters of spring the way my late, great RolyTheDog did. Oh, no comparisons among dogs or children however--she's a good pup, never mind that one trout that she ate:


Should Fish More said...

Nice browns, they look in good shape. I fished the canyon area near maidenrock on the big hole last week, picked up a couple on nymphs.

Judy said...

A girl does have to keep her strength up, after all!

troutbirder said...

How neat. I only fished the Jefferson once, hurrying home from the Big Hole, youngest son and I stopped for a break downstream from a bridge methinks below that confluence. The big browns were rising midday..... what a memory.

Chris said...

Hey guys, long time lurker...love your blog. I am a semi retired guy looking to float and fish the lower Ruby. I know you guys have written about the access issues and floating but can you give me further info on a 4-5 hour float and put in and take outs and type of craft? I'm fine floating through the uber rich dudes places. Thank you and I love the pictures of an area of Montana I am going to explore more.
Chris , Missoula

mdmnm said...

Dang, Ecorover- nice start to the fishing season! Many of the streams down here are turbid with low-level melt. I'm hoping for a window before the runoff really gets going.

EcoRover said...

Hi Chris, my occasional trip to the Ruby is generally wade fishing at Seylor and Lewis bridges. For a float, you have basically two options:
(1) Upper Reaches--put in just below the dam or at Vigilante FAS, and float to Coy Brown Bridge FAS or Alder Bridge FAS. Depending on water level & where you put in/take out, this will take a few hours or so.
(2) Lower Reaches--put in at Silver Springs Bridge FAS and take out at one of the county bridges--check a map but seems like it would be a 2 - 4 hour float.

Seems it would be a long float from Alder to Silver Springs, but it would get you on some great private water that doesn't get fished much.

EcoRover said...

Chris, one more thing--the Ruby is basically a big creek--go small--float tube is ideal. I like my inflatable kayak but it's hard to fish from--generally step out to fish.