Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trout Live in Truly Amazing Places

I'm sorry for the delay in posting another entry on my blog but we have been very busy around Whitefish and Libby.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week Sharon, Sara, Jay and myself took a short trip to the Philipsburg, MT area. It was an absolutely wonderful experience for me. I got my first chance to fish Rock Creek in an area about 25 miles from the town. The creek itself is considered one of Montana's Blue Ribbon streams, making it one of the best in the country!
     We headed south to Missoula and got on Interstate 90 east(If you take it far enough east you'll end up on the NYS Thruway) to Drummond, then south on US 10A to Philipsburg. At Philipsburg we turned onto Rock Creek Rd.(MT Rte 348) and traveled west for about 15 miles, until the pavement ended and the road came to a Y. We turned left at the Y onto Co Rd 102. The landscape seem a little barren and is rolling mountain terrain with many pines of different sorts. Once we reached the stream the landscape closed in but was very scenic.

Trout really do live in amazing places...

This rock wall drops to the stream which is behind the line of trees at the bottom of the picture.

     We were invited there by Sara's great friend, Shannon Ostrowski, whose family owns this beautiful cabin on the creek about 10 miles up the dirt road and a short walk from "Huffman's Hole" on the stream.

They also own these great little bunk houses for guest like us. Sara and Jay used the top cabin, Sharon and I were in the middle one and Shannon was in the bottom. There was plenty of space for all our gear and a nice comfortable bed. The cool mountain air was especially good for sleeping.

This picture shows a small portion of the trail leading to the stream. Shannon told us that at certain times of the year, Spring especially, the creek runs very high and overflows the banks. This is a small bridge for one of those overflows.

As I emerged from the trail through the woods, this is the sight I was greeted by. Not too shabby a scene to look at.

The 2 larger pictures show the views upstream and down. There were lots of opportunities to fish around the small channels entering the main stream. Most of my time was spent in the areas of the upper left picture. You can see the clarity of the water in the lower left picture, sparkling clear. Sharon caught me casting in the other picture above.

     In this section it is common to find Cutthroats, Rainbows, Cutbows (a hybrid) and Brown trout. The majority of my catch was the Brown Trout but I did land several Cutbows and a very colorful Cutthroat Trout. I used lots of different flies but I did best on a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis. Size 14 and 16 beadhead Hares Ears nymphs, beadhead Prince nymphs and San Juan worms worked well below the surface. I also got lots of short strikes on hopper patterns and Orange Stimys. I landed 15 to 20 fish during my fishing time and lost at least that number as well. The size ranged all the way from a whopping 4" up to 14". The best fish I caught was on the "Night Bite" with an Elk Hair Caddis. It was really just luck because at that time of day and low light conditions, you can't see your fly on the water. If you see a rise in the general area you think your fly is in you must strike and hope for the best. It was an 18" Brown Trout which was in full color. What a fish!
     The most unfortunate part of my fishing experience was that I came back with no pictures of the fish I caught. The stream is VERY slippery. As a result, I didn't want to take the chance of taking my camera out on the stream and then go for an unexpected swim.

We had a great time on Rock Creek and Shannon and her Grandparents were the most gracious of hosts. They really made our time there special and most memorable!

On our way back to Whitefish we made a quick stop in the town of Philipsburg at the most incredible candy shop called The Sweet Palace. If you can think of a type of candy they made it. I thought we were in the Montana branch of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Of course, we had to take home our share and buy Johnny a gigantic gummy snake, red licorice scotty dogs and a supply of multicolored candy dots.