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Jack C. Mauer has more than a thirty year investment in fishing, floating and wading the waters of western Montana. He is intimately acquainted with the surrounding fisheries and their corresponding ecologies. It is his passion and enthusiasm for the art of fly fishing, a respect and knowledge of trout habitat, and the ability to expertly instruct the technical aspects of fly fishing that clients appreciate as they return to western Montana and Wapiti Waters. Contact Jack at 800-254-5311.

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

We want to wish you a happy new year and hope it is a rewarding and successful year for all. We are looking forward to lots of snow this winter that will translate into plenty of water in our rivers all year long.
Best wishes to you and yours from Wapiti Waters and Montana.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NWCC - SNOTEL Snow Water Equivalent Update for Montana

 Wapiti Waters is already getting client dates on the calendar for 2012 spring and summer. Bookings get us thinking about river conditions and that takes us to the question "how much snow will we have in the mountains this winter?" The forecast is for a lot of snow...we better get started. Not much snow yet but we have a few more months to go.

Click the title links to go to the original site. Click the picture to enlarge.
NWCC - SNOTEL Snow Water Equivalent Update Graph

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ice fishing in western Montana - pike was the big catch

Five pound pike

Successful day on the ice

Ten pound pike!
Pictures say it all. Thanks for forwarding these photos to us Mike!

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Fascination" by amontanaview | RedBubble

da"Fascination" by amontanaview | RedBubble:

Freda is pretty darn interested in this beautiful cutbow (hybrid cutthroat/rainbow) trout. Maybe the trout is more than a little nervous. The trout was caught and released in the Bitterroot River north of Florence, Montana USA.
Canon EOS 7D, 1/500s, f/5.0, ISO:200, 160 mm
SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Aspherical DF Macro SLD Autofocus Lens

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Geoff on the Big Hole River in mid-August

Geoff Fitzgerald fished the Big Hole in mid-August for a few days. He had a great trip and one reason was this year there was a lot of water. He ended up fishing mainly in the faster water. Geoff takes lots of pictures when out fishing. He photos are of anything unusual and occasionally of trout. He shared two photos from his August Big Hole River trip that illustrate both the unusual and trout.

Here are his descriptions of the photos:
"The brown in the pic was right below Jerry Creek Bridge and it was hookedon the first cast using a yellow marabou muddler.

The speckled egg on the algae mat was incredible, yet a little tragic; absolutely untouched and unbroken - must've rolled out of a nest near the bank (meadowlark nest perhaps) or on gravel bar (in that case possibly spotted sandpiper or killdeer)."

Anyone have any firm ideas of the species of bird egg?

Geoff, thanks for sharing. We love getting other "points of view."

"Virga over the Clark Fork River" by amontanaview | RedBubble

"Virga over the Clark Fork River" by amontanaview | RedBubble:

This was taken April 9, 2011 west of Missoula, Montana USA on the Clark Fork River. The camera is looking north and east at Montana Snowbowl Ski Area and the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area. It was a gorgeous spring day and the fishing was good.
Virga is precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates before reaching the ground.
Canon EOS 7D, 1/500s, f/10.0, ISO:200, 39mm
SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Aspherical DF Macro SLD Autofocus Lens

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"North Fork, Idaho steelhead hen" by amontanaview | RedBubble

"North Fork, Idaho steelhead hen" by amontanaview | RedBubble:

Fall is a great time to fish for steelhead in Idaho.

A beautiful female steelhead from North Fork River in Idaho. My first steelhead photo.
Cannon EOS 7D, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO: 200

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Triple play pike day

Marshall and Jack both think pike fishing is a ton of fun. Jack took Marshall to some of his favorite holes today and the success was amazing. Three pike. I think that is a record for Jack's boat on the Bitterroot. Yes, they kept them, yes they will eat them. As you can see, it was a beautiful fall day on the Bitterroot.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jack with a pike he caught in the Bitterroot River
We love fishing in the late fall because we can find targets to shoot at, both trout and pike. The trout are usually noses and fins feeding on tricos and spinners. The pike are a different story. We look for them in certain slow water spots and try to throw big, gaudy flies. Once in awhile, we can actually see the big lunkers deep in the water. Seeing them doesn't mean they will take the fly, there-in lies the challenge.

Catching a big pike is a thrill. They are much bigger than most trout and are an effort to land. Jack caught this good sized pike October 12. Usually, I ask Jack to give them away, but on this day, our friend and avid pike fisherman, Eric, showed us how he fileted them. We cut up the firm meat into steaks, covered them with fresh, seasoned bread crumbs and baked them. They were delicious. I was pleasantly surprised. I am ready to go pike fishing again soon.

Here are more photos in a slideshow. One is of us releasing a decent sized trout next to the pike. You will see the size comparison.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Craig with a Bitterroot Trout
Lyle with a Bitterroot Trout

Craig and Lyle are from the Bitterroot but both now live out of state. They like to come back to the valley to visit Craig's father, Terry, attend the annual Trout Unlimited Banquet, and fish, fish, and fish! They enjoy fishing with a number of different guides and outfitters and we all appreciate that. They took most of the photos in the album/slideshow below. Thanks for sharing your photos with us. Jack had a great time fishing with you both. Hope to see you next year, same time, same place. For those interested in more about the Bitter Root Chapter of Trout unlimited click BRTU Blog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Little people love to fish, too

We love taking kids fishing, but there are certain clients that we have the most fun with. Connell's are some of our favorite people to fish with and when we can get great client's kids interested in fishing, that is a banner day. Matthew came up to visit Grandma and Grandpa this summer and got to actually catch some fish, not just be in the boat. Thanks to guide Eddie Olwell for these photos of Matthew. Isn't he just the cutest fisherman you have ever seen? I think he might be 'hooked.'

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October day on the middle Bitterroot River 2011

Jack and our dog, Freda, in the Koffler drift boat
Seven photos from today on the Bitterroot. There were lots of trout, just didn't take fish photos. We were too busy catching...not a bad thing.. Lots of hatches, noses, targets to shoot to, many fish caught. I did well on the small and medium sized trout. As you can see in the photos, there was little to no wind which was helpful for me. Presentation and drift were everything. I was getting much more accurate casting the small bug on this calm day and resetting to get a good drift, but I need practice on bringing in the 20 inchers on 5X. Today I got practice. Only got one of five big fish opportunities in the net. That is why they call it "fishing" and not "catching." I am willing to practice every chance I get!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fishing the Bitterroot early October in the rain

Early October...Rachel likes fishing so much, she bundles up and heads out no matter what the weather.These are two different (yet similar) trout.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fishing the middle Bitterroot river in early October

Four friends visited the valley the first week of October. They rode bikes on the Hiawatha Trail near the Montana/Idaho border one day, hiked a couple of days, and fished a couple of days. The first fishing day was shorts and sandal weather. The second fishing day (the very next day) was rainy and cold. They wore waders, rain gear, hats and gloves. Both days fishing days were great fun, just in different ways.

I didn't go on the fishing/floats but I have some photos from near and at the take out points. I am hoping our friends send me some of their photos when they get back home to Georgia and Arizona (where I am hoping they are much warmer).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Big Hole River in late August

These photos are from the Big Hole in August, but I just found out I can share them. So, here they are. Jack loves fishing the Big Hole and so do KJ and Tom. They drove over from near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and spent a few days with their family. They fished a couple of days with Jack, too.

See below for a slideshow of five photos.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lower Bitterroot in mid-September

Paul was back in the valley this month. He brought his nephew along in the boat with Jack. Again, nice fish were caught on this beautiful day. We had fires in the Bitterroot and near Missoula, but as you can see, the air quality was good.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bitterroot River in early September

Catching up on a few photos from early September. Gary and his friend fished with Jack years and years ago on the Big Hole River. This September, Jack had an opportunity to guide them on the Blackfoot and Bitterroot. This REALLY fat cutthroat was caught by Gary on the Bitterroot River.

Hope they come back next year. It was nice weather, great fishing and fun to catch up.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Important dates in September for trout

  • 9/10 Bitterroot River Cleanup 10 am to 4 pm followed by BBQ for volunteers at Anglers Roost (south of Hamilton). Call Don at 406-363-3146 
  • 9/14/17 National TU's Annual Meeting in Bend, Oregon Visit for details and registration.
  • 9/23 32 Annual Bitterroot TU Banquet 5 pm at Bitterroot River Inn in Hamilton, Montana. Contact Marshall Bloom at 406-363-3485 of
  • 9/24 Montana TU's State Council Meeting 9:30 am at the Double Tree in Missoula. Contact Kate Grant at 406-543-0054 or

Great September fishing on the Clark Fork River west of Missoula

Trout from the Clark Fork River - beautiful!
This has been a crazy summer for many people for many reasons. Mike fishes with Jack quite a bit each summer. He and his wife have a home in Hamilton. This summer, they had to be out of Montana more than usual. Today, Wapiti Waters floated Mike and some friends on the Clark Fork and you never know how it might fish. They hit it just right. Mike said it was one of the best days he has had on a Montana River. His friend, Jim, thanked Jack for sharing that day on the river with him. They deserved a great day and got it. Thanks to the fishing gods and the recovery of the Clark Fork after removing Milltown Dam.

Shields on the Big Hole and the Blackfoot Rivers in August

Brown trout caught by Jim
Jim and Naomi fished with Jack a few weeks in July. Now these photos are from August when they came back to fish the Big Hole and the Blackfoot rivers. What is great about the Shields is that they have fun no matter what the weather or the fishing have to offer. But, as you can see here, they always catch really nice trout. I have to say either Naomi catches more trout, or Jim takes more photos...not sure which. Jack sure had a good time fishing with them.

See more photos in the slideshow below.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dr. Fauci fishes the Blackfoot River with Wapiti Waters

Dr. Fauci with a trout from the Blackfoot River
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci MD, director of NIAID for the NIH since the early 80’s, spoke August 11, 2011 at the Performing Arts Center in Hamilton, Montana just 50 miles south of Missoula. The Division of Intramural Research (DIR) is a branch of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and more than 20% of DIR's research is conducted in western Montana at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton.

When Dr, Fauci came to visit, he also got to fish. Marshall Bloom, associate director of RML, set up an afternoon of fishing with Jack Mauer, fly fishing outfitter for Wapiti Waters in the Bitterroot. This is the second time in the last few years that Fauci explored western Montana rivers with Bloom. Fauci knows that the beautiful Bitterroot and surrounding areas are parts of the draw for RML's talented scientists. He wanted to see some of it for himself. In fact he said to the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI)  that "over the last 20–25 years, the potential liabilities of the physical separation between RML and Bethesda have morphed into assets, where the beauty of western Montana and the collegial working environment couple with state-of-the-art facilities to make RML highly attractive to world-class researchers and an integral part of the DIR."

Read more about RML and the campus at "Rocky Mountain Labs: NIAID’s Montana campus" by Karen Honey published February 2, 2009 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI).

Read more about Tony Fauci at the Director's Page on the NIAID website. He has dedicated his career in public health to becoming a top 10 expert in the world about AIDS policy and research His research in includes learning more about the understanding of how HIV destroys the body's defenses leading to the progression to AIDS. You can read more by visiting Anthony Fauci's biography on

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Upper Bitterroot River in July with the Shields

Jim and Naomi are fishing three rivers again this year, the Bitterroot (pictured here), the Big Hole and the Blackfoot. We will try to post the other two rivers soon, in August. Stay tuned because they always catch spectacular fish. Here are more photos of trout - of course caught by the Shields!

This is a slideshow of Jack getting the raft over debris/hazard while Jim and Naomi were out of the boat. Thanks Naomi for taking the photos! Jack is pulling and pushing the raft over a downed cottonwood. Thank goodness it wasn't too big. Good job Jack. You didn't even lose your hat or sunglasses.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Westslope cutthroat trout

Westslope cutthroat trout from S. Fork Flathead River
These photos were taken in the world-class Westslope cutthroat trout fishery in the South Fork of the Flathead River, Montana, USA. The Westslope cutthroat trout is one of two subspecies of native cutthroat found in the state. According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the population of Westslope cutthroat trout in the South Fork is the strongest and most vibrant in Montana, and perhaps in the entire West.
Put in was Big Priairie, take out wast Woodfir Creek just north of White River.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Father and daughter fishing the Bitterroot

Daniel and Leslie fished with Wapiti Waters on August 1. Woody Hayward was their guide. They were nice enough to send us these photos. The are from Wisconsin and were in Montana on a father/daughter trip. Leslie enjoyed fishing so much, she now wants her own gear. Dan is delighted. He is looking forward to more fishing and quality time with his daughter.
Woody working on the boat with Leslie looking on.

Leslie at lunch, Woody walking up from the river.

Sweet little trout!
Thanks Leslie and Daniel for fishing with Wapiti Waters. Hope we see you both again soon.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Big Hole River in late July

Scott Warren guided with Jack on the Big Hole River. The photos show this young woman with her first trout EVER. Pretty cool. And, she caught more fish that day including a brown trout.

Paul on the Bitterroot River, again - keeps coming back

Paul is the brother of my great friend Nancy. He lives in Washington State but comes to Montana to visit Nancy and family. He has many talents and loves to fish. The photos are from his camera and since Nancy was on this float, I think she probably took them. Thanks Paul and Nancy! 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Aquatic Invasive Species Workshop in western Montana Sat, July 9 - Missoula Outdoor Recreation |

Aquatic Invasive Species Workshop in western Montana Sat, July 9 - Missoula Outdoor Recreation |

Get the lead out. Use a Green Anchor on your raft or drift boat - Missoula Outdoor Recreation |

Get the lead out. Use a Green Anchor on your raft or drift boat - Missoula Outdoor Recreation |

Fly Fishing the west fork of the Bitterroot River in July

Rodney Boehm came here from Texas for a wedding. We fished with a few people from the wedding party and had a great time. The weather was good for both the wedding and fishing.

When fishing, especially if the water is somewhat high, the guide works hard to get people into fish and photography takes a back seat. We did get one photo and here it is. Rodney is holding one of his nice west fork of the Bitterroot trout. Congratulations.

Thanks for fishing with Wapiti Waters.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Petree and Mike back in Montana to fly fish

Mike wade fishing the west fork of the Bitterroot River
I am not sure if Mike has fished in Montana but Petree fished with us in the late '90's. Since then, her younger brother, Peter, has fished with us and become a great friend. Petree came up to visit Peter as he has recently moved to the Bozeman area. She and Mike fished the west fork of the Bitterroot River with Jack. It was a beautiful day and good fishing. Our water levels are starting to level off and actually step down a bit. One thing for sure, after the huge winter snowpack, we will have plenty of water in the rivers all summer and into fall.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June 17 and 19 with fellow Trout Unlimited members from Michigan, the Miller's

Pam with her brown trout from the Big Hole River
Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited - Wapiti Waters donated a fly fishing trip for their annual auction this spring. John and Pam Miller got the trip and fished with Jack in mid-June. With high water in most of the state, Jack was able to fish them on the upper Big Hole River. They were troopers as the weather was still cool, but they caught trout!
John and Pam are avid outdoors people and Jack had a lot in common with them. He really enjoyed meeting and fishing with them. Thanks for supporting Trout Unlimited and for coming to Montana. We hope they return soon.

See more photos in the slideshow below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 13, middle Bitterroot River photos

Photos from June 13 in the middle Bitterroot River. The CFS at the Florence, Montana gage was about 13,000 cubic feet per second and 11.73 feet in depth. There is 351 percent snow-water equivalent in the Bitterroot Mountains at the time of these photos. That is a LOT of snow yet to come down.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bitterroot River is coming up - runoff has begun

These photos are from Tuesday, May 17 at 5:00 pm. The Bitterroot dropped from 11,300 cfs to 10,300 cfs overnight (measured 7:00 am May 18) but day temps are predicted to be 68 degrees and scattered rain. We will see what that does to the levels.

There is room at Victor Crossing for more flow, but how much more? See Wapiti Waters Stream flow links to access USGS data for stream flows in our western Montana rivers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fly Fishing the Bitterroot with Greg and Bill - a trip for Bitterroot Trout Unlimited

One of Greg's trout
Bitterroot Trout Unlimited (BRTU) is a very active TU Chapter. Many people contribute time, money and goods to help BRTU do its work. Jack always offers a trip for the annual banquet auction and this was the trip for this year. The great thing about this trip is that Greg bid on and got the trip. Greg offers his own time, goods and money for TU, Greg and Jack both serve on the board. It made for a wonderful day. To top it off, Greg invited his friend, Bill to ride along...and everyone caught fish.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cool spring fishing on the Bitterroot River

Nick holding Elinor's beautiful trout
This trip was in the middle of April but I am getting caught up with some posts. As you can see, the weather is very cool. People are bundled up, but there have been hatches and the water levels have been good. If you dress right, the fishing is great.

In these photos are Rachel and Elinor. Rachel sent some of the photos in the slideshow, thank you!

And I think this was Elinor's first fly fishing experience. As you can see, she did well. So did others, it was a good few days on the Bitterroot.

See below for a slideshow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fishing the Bitterroot in early April with Doc Bolton

Doc was at his Montana home on the Bitterroot for a few weeks in April. Of course he was fishing with friends, on his own and with Jack. I guess Jack is also a friend - but a friend that fishes for a living. Sadly, Doc's and our good friend and favorite fishing buddy, Terry Nobles, isn't able to fish any more. At 90 years old, it just doesn't work for him now. But we visit him with photos and river stories.

Bitterroot April 9, 2011

Doc on the Bitterroot April 9, 2011
Doc and Terry in April 2009
Anyway, here are some photos of the Bitterroot and Doc. The first two are from this spring. The second two are from 2009 when Terry fished with Doc and Jack.
Terry with his brown trout on the day he was fishing with Doc. Jack is holding it for him.