I've always wanted to start a fishing report with words like these. The places I fish just don't seem to be anyone's secret. But the success of a fly fishing guide, like my son, often hinges on knowing those places to go that others don't know of or don't think about. So when Dave took me out for two days of fishing this week it was with the understanding that I'd keep his secret.
For our first day we were joined by long-time club member, Judy Tuvey. She had been fishing the St. Joe River in Idaho with her brother for a couple days and was kind enough to hop over the mountain to keep me company this day. Given the two-hour drive and the hour time change between ID and MT, Judy was already on the road by the time I thought about getting out of bed. She gets a good deal of extra credit for that. She arrived in Missoula at about 8:30, and since our put-in for the day was still an hour away, we wasted no time getting Judy on the road again. The time passed quickly as we told fishing stories and did question-and-answer as she and my son, Dave, got acquainted. We were on the water by about 9:30.
I've fished with Dave enough to know that his go-to rig is a dry dropper with a Chubby Chernobyl on top and a very sparse bead-head mayfly pattern (very much the Euro-nymph design) on a three-foot dropper. If we start to get a lot of takes on the surface, he'll remove the dropper and change to a more natural dry fly. The dry-dropper rig worked like a charm for us, and we stayed with it all day, catching a lot of trout (mostly browns) and, perhaps, an equal number of mountain whitefish. Both trout and whitefish were FAT fish averaging, say, 14 inches, with several in the 17-inch range. Literally every fish, large or small, surprised me with their strength and stamina. These were not fish that came to the net willingly (though there was that 4-incher that came flying into the boat on my hook-set).
We had seven miles of fine river, great fishing, good conversation and laughter, under a perfect Montana sky and temperatures in the 70's. Who could ask for more.
Day two was just father and son: always a treat for me. "Second verse, same as the first.": a different stretch of river, but lots of fish in a nice mix of cutthroat, rainbows, hybrids, and whitefish, with perfect weather. These are the days you dream of.