Where to go out West--need help [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Where to go out West--need help


Romey
12-27-2005, 07:29 PM
I am planning a week trip to the Western US or Canada (not Alaska) this summer--anytime in July or August. I have been to the Yellowstone area and don't mind going back. But I also don't mind going elsewhere either. :)

I don't mind camping but a cheaper lodge is also fine. I'm not an avid hiker though.
I can fly about anywhere (within reason) and then drive.
I intend to use a guide at least 2-3 days.
I really prefer less crowds--I want great fishing but don't want wall to wall people or a boat whizzing by me every 3 minutes.
I would like the potential for big trout (20 inches).
I like to wade but may be interested in a day or two float as well.
I like to fish dry flies or dries with droppers.
I'm a pretty good caster.

I had thought of the Yellowstone area again, but also had read about the St. Mary River/Wigwam River area in British Columbia. Also the Flathead river area in northern Montana.

Can anyone give me some suggestions that may fit what I am seeking?? Thanks! :)

juro
12-27-2005, 08:27 PM
Oh boy - you have a big list of options to choose from with those parameters!

Hmmm... Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and British Columbia, Alberta to the north... so many choices.

I would say if you are after a pristine wild trout environment go to some of the less traveled places in British Columbia, but if you are after the western trout adventure done right (accomodations, convenience and availability of guides etc) then Idaho, Montana come to mind. How about being Nelson's guest on the classic Henry's Fork? A float trip with forum member and moderator Frenchcreek in Calgary for huge trout in the Bow and Elk would be very hard to beat... and a mix of steelheading and trout would be good medicine in Oregon.

I hope others w/ experience in these areas chime in - it's gonna take me a while to settle on just one place for this kind of trip.

griz
12-27-2005, 08:53 PM
Yeah, I just had a friend return from BC this past summer. He rented a cabin on a fly in lake and fished it's tribs/outlet. Did some fly out stuff too with the lodge that had the cabin. Sounded pretty incredible. The cost wasn't too bad either. PM me if you want more specific contact info and I'll dig it up for you. About $2500, I believe.

He brought his daughter along for her first ever fly fishing trip. She had a great time. Her first trout she EVER caught was a 26" rainbow. I still shake my head with amusement over that one. Took me 5 months/6 outings to catch my first trout and 5 years before I got anything over 20" inches. :chuckle:

here is a pic of her with her first trout ever... :Eyecrazy:

FishHawk
12-28-2005, 05:09 AM
Take a look at the Missouri River in Montana. Rent a pontoon boat and you'll have some of the best fishing that Montana has to offer. Check out the flyshops in Wolf Creek they will help you out. Nothing beats the Big Mo in the Fall for the BWO hatch. It's a giant spring creek. You'll have some company but the river is huge and you can get away from the guides and their sports. FishHawk

Hawkeye
12-28-2005, 08:25 AM
Western Montana. More specifically Missoula, Montana. Point your car in pretty much any direction and you will find what you are looking for and there are a number of shops with guides in the area though I can make no recomendations.

josko
12-28-2005, 10:09 AM
I really want to try the western trout fishery sometime, too. My requirements are similar to Romey's, except I wouldn't mind hiking or packing in, and I would like to work it in around the New England offshore season as much as possible. I'm finding it virtually impossible to pick from so many options and just go.
I would really like some help in narrowing down te options. Thanks in advance.

juro
12-28-2005, 11:36 AM
Josko -

Last year I visited the Salmon River in Idaho, driving from Missoula MT over the Bitterroots. All I can say is that it's a near-religious experience seeing all that beauty and I can't wait to go back. The American West is really something unbelievable and it's so accessible, we're lucky.

Just do it! (let me know when I might join you)

griz
12-28-2005, 02:16 PM
hey josko,

yeah, your questions are huge in scale. Not sure when the New England offshore season is but I'd shoot for trips in August or early Sept if you are looking for a trip to the Rockies for hiking and fishing. If you come too early rivers may still be blown out from run off and high lakes might be iced over still. Everthing is settled in August and the mosquitos relent.

I always recommend Rich Ostoff's book Fly fishing the Rocky Mountain Backcountry for an overview of backcountry flyfishing out here. Some info is old and out of date but overall a top notch book. If you look to colorado kip carey's official colorado fishing guide is pretty accurate and with research will put you on good water. You could look at the Beartooth's in Montana too. A huge and very well managed wilderness fishery. Pat Marcuson's book is your best bet there.

When you narrow it down I may be able to help you out abit more. Backcountry fly fishng/floating in CO,WY,MT,ID is what I "specialize" in. Feel free to PM me when you do. Good luck in your research and reading.

josko
12-29-2005, 06:01 AM
Tanks Griz. I'll track the books down and get back to you. By the way, a good friend/colleague just took a job in Ft. Collins. I need to go visit him and am curious what my trouting options are in te area, this time of year and in the early season.

link
12-29-2005, 03:46 PM
The golden triangle in Montana and Idaho has lots of rivers from the South Fork of the Snake and Henry's Fork north to the Madison and Jefferson. Solitude can be difficult, you wouldn't enjoy the Big Hole during the salmon fly hatch. There are some lesser known streams like Rock Creek, Jocko and the Kootenai outside of Missoula or the St. Joe, St. Maries or Lochsa over the line in Idaho. Wilderness trips on the Flathead, Selway or Middle Fork of the Salmon are best by raft but could be hiked into. Talk to folks in fly shops and you'll get a lot of advice. For outfitted trips browse Outfitter's and Guide's Assn. on line.
link

Romey
12-29-2005, 07:19 PM
Anyone have any experience with the Elk River/Wigwam RIver/Kootenay River drainage in British Columbia a few hours dive north of Spokane? <non-sponsor links removed>

This looks interesting. Mostly cutts with chance for Dolly Varden. A friend had mentioned he really like a horse pack-in experience he had on the Flathead in northern MT. But BC looks pretty promising too.

griz
12-29-2005, 11:15 PM
Tanks Griz. I'll track the books down and get back to you. By the way, a good friend/colleague just took a job in Ft. Collins. I need to go visit him and am curious what my trouting options are in te area, this time of year and in the early season.

Winter time is pretty dicey for weather and far slower for action. Probably stick to the tailwaters around here. In the spring I'd check out the North Platte since it's in the Ft. Collins area(by Colorado standards anyway! :chuckle: ). You could shoot up to the Miracle Mile stretch below Seminoe Dam in WY also. Nice fish swim there. I really don't say any of this with great enthusiasm though and all of this info is well documented in fly fishing guide books. Colorado really shines in the summer... when you can cast on some gorgeous lake in a mountainous cirque in solitude with just you and a buddy and allot of uneducated trout swimming about.

For more in the Ft. Collins area...Early summer(early june on) you can hit some of the lower elevation greenback cutt lakes in Rocky Mountain NP. Lots of good lakes to day hike. Probalby stomp through some snow though. the Rawah Wilderness near Ft. Collins is nice but you pretty much have to backpack in and stay for a few days.

Brad
12-31-2005, 08:47 PM
Hi Josko, it was 60 here today so you never know what fishes well. Your closest option from Ft Collins this time of year is the Big Thompson below the dam in Estes Park. The Poudre is close but has alot of ice now. There are a few options on the south platte SW of denver Cheesman, Spinney and maybe Eleven Mile but the road can be sketchy. The Blue in Silverthorn can be OK. The big fish are on the Frying Pan and Taylor. Both of those rivers give up very large fish in the winter. The Mile is crowded with bait dunkers. Pack you skis, Ski in the winter and fish the rest of the year. Just because you can fish yearround in CO does not mean that you should. Just my 2 cents

Romey
12-31-2005, 10:54 PM
I guess I am still thinking of Montana. Anyone tried the Paradise Valley spring creeks? A couple days on those and then the Yellowstone area rivers... But I am curious about those spring creeks...Anyone recommend a guide out there?

Brad
01-02-2006, 11:53 AM
July could still be in runoff depending on the snowpack. A friend and I fished Armstrong's a few years ago in June and had a great time fishing the PMD hatch. We were early for heavy dry fly action so we resorted to nymphing. The weeds were absolutly alive with nymphs. We even saw a few fish swimming around with gobs of weeds in their mouths. If you know what you are doing I would not pay for a guide on top of the tresspass fee. Soda Butte in the Park is good for cutts averaging 15 inches or so on dries and would not be too far away from Paridise valley since you could use the North Entrance. You could always float the Missouri or Bighorn for day trips or try for a multi day on the Smith. The day floats should offer the best opportunity for large fish and the Smith would have the fewest people.

flytyer
01-02-2006, 06:00 PM
It might be very difficult to get some time on the Paradise Valley spring creeks because many of the rod days are booked years in advance. I don't know what the current fees are; but the best way to find out if there are any days available and the cost is through Dan Bailey's Flies or Anderson's Yellowston Angler in Livingston, MT. There are also some wonderfuol spring creeks just outside of Bozeman, MT (which is only 30 miles over the hill from Livinsgston) that the shops in Bozeman could provide information on. You could also go to Dillon, MT and fish Poindexter Slough, which is a spring creek on public land that is literally 5 minutes out of town, it is hardly a secret and the shops in Dillon could easily direct you to it.

josko
01-18-2006, 01:24 PM
Well I just got Osthoff's book from Amazon yesterday, and it looks like the Wind River range is the place for us to be. Now I need to sort out horse packing vs llama vs backpacking and all the logistics at either end. I've heard that some of the horse packers, in particular, can be dubious outfits, so any recommendation of a fly-fishing-specific outfitter in the area would be welcome. I think we'd be looking at a 1-2 week trip.

bonefishmon
01-18-2006, 05:21 PM
Well I just got Osthoff's book from Amazon yesterday, and it looks like the Wind River range is the place for us to be. Now I need to sort out horse packing vs llama vs backpacking and all the logistics at either end. I've heard that some of the horse packers, in particular, can be dubious outfits, so any recommendation of a fly-fishing-specific outfitter in the area would be welcome. I think we'd be looking at a 1-2 week trip.

Josko. anglingdestinations.com They hail from Wyoming and have been all over the world. I have talked with them and I'm sure they would be happy to get you staerted in the right direction.

Phil

SteelheadKid
01-18-2006, 09:41 PM
Skagit/Sauk rivers offer some of the best Dolly Varden fishing in the world! 20" fish are a norm and many locals won't turn a head at anything under 30". However they aren't normally fished for with dry flies, but you can fish a dry line with an egg pattern dropper. We often times catch 5, 10, or MORE of them a day on accident while fishing in early spring steelhead season with sinking maribou or rabbit fur flies. Most being over 15" and usually two out of 10 fish being over 20" (depending on time of year and location of river, you will sometimes get only fish over 20"). Plus you have the opportunity of hooking a steelhead up to 30lbs. You said big trout, right? ;)

I would go to the upper stretches of the columbia river in canada for resident rainbows if I wanted to throw dry flies. I have never been there but seen pictures from friend's trips and the place is just awsome looking with some nice trout to boot. :)

SteelheadKid
01-18-2006, 09:44 PM
Also, a river I used to fish often is the UPPER Sacramento in California. I know, the sound of _California_ will probably turn you off. But the place is way out in the country with LOTS of trophy trout willing to take a dry fly.

Also, Yosemite National Park has thousands of streams and lakes with excellent native rainbow, cutthroat and the rare GOLDEN trout.

griz
01-19-2006, 09:16 PM
Well I just got Osthoff's book from Amazon yesterday, and it looks like the Wind River range is the place for us to be. Now I need to sort out horse packing vs llama vs backpacking and all the logistics at either end. I've heard that some of the horse packers, in particular, can be dubious outfits, so any recommendation of a fly-fishing-specific outfitter in the area would be welcome. I think we'd be looking at a 1-2 week trip.

Sounds great. You'll have a blast but don't forget your bug dope and if you are chasing those big goldens he is holding in those pics realize goldens are often the fishing equivalent of banging your head against the wall!!!

When are you planning on going?

I've always backpacked only so I can't suggest an outfitter. the only advice I can give is make sure you hire someone to take care of your horses or llamas if you go that way. They are a ton of extra work. I know some people who use llamas on occasion and they often feel they are not worth the extra effort allot of the time.