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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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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring fishing on the lower Bitterroot with Jack

A trout I caught. Jack is holding the fish and I am, of course,
taking the photo. Freda, our Chessie, is looking on.
After fishing clients all week, Jack was excited enough to take me fishing on Sunday. It was REALLY cold in the morning when we launched. Then it drizzled. I rowed for Jack for awhile while we hunted for pike, but the day picked up about 1:00 pm when it cleared intermittently and warmed up. Then it happened; a beautiful mayfly hatch broke loose and so did the feeding trout (and whitefish!). I had one of my best "catching" days ever, even with my very rusty casting skills.

Here are some photos from that day. There are also eagles, geese, Belted Kingfishers, and of course lots of ducks on the river now, too. The first slideshow is from Jack's camera and is uploaded to our Picasa site. The second is from my camera and is uploaded to my SmugMug site - more photos of the river and birds.

Photos from my Canon EOS7D

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fishing the Bitterroot in March - they came from San Diego and sun to fish with us

Dusty with a Bitterroot River cutthroat trout
Dusty and crew came again this spring. They always hit really cool weather. At least it didn't rain.
This year the crew was Dusty, Don, Gary, Jim and Peter.

I have a few photos from Jack's camera, a few photos of the river that I took and when I get some others emailed to me, I will include them in the Picasa slideshow.

The group stayed at the Bitterroot River Lodge south of Hamilton, Montana.

Here is the slideshow from our Picasa album on Google.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring fishing on the middle Bitterroot

Jim with a nice cutthroat trout
The spring has been cool, very cool. That is keeping our ample snow-pack in the mountains and the Bitterroot River is not bumping up in cubic feet per second (CFS) very much. But, there are fish to be caught. Here are some photos of John and Jim who fished March 21 and 22. Below their fish are photos of the Bitterroot at Bell Crossing and then at Stevensville Fishing Access Site (FAS). If you dress right, you will have fun and catch some trout.

Below are just some river photos and a boat, for your reference.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bitterroot River report for March 22, 2011

From the charts below one can see that the Bitterroot River is near normal near Darby, but drops in the middle stretches and then is near normal again in the lower stretches near Missoula. Today is in the upper 40 degree range and partly sunny. Not a bad day for fishing and not as many boats during the middle of the week. Get out and wade fish while the river is at a friendly level!

Below are photos from Bell Crossing (middle river section) yesterday afternoon.

Upper Bitterroot CFS chart near Darby, MT

Middle Bitterroot CFS chart down-river (north) of Bell Crossing.

Lower Bitterroot CFS chart near Missoula and the confluence of the Clark Fork

See Wapiti Waters Stream Flow Links for more links to USGS water data in Montana.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is here, boat hatch on the Bitterroot

By Merle Ann Loman - Missoula Outdoor Recreation Examiner
The Bitterroot River has fairly good access and early in the season has less ice than the Blackfoot or Clark Fork where it is cooler both in and out of the water. The Bitterroot is the river that western Montana and visiting fishermen and recreators first visit to enjoy the spring.

Today was clear. That means cold. It was 36 degrees this morning. It warmed to 40 degrees by 2 p.m. and it was 50 degrees by 5:00 p.m. When the sun is out, that is darn nice weather; but if wind comes or you get wet, it is darn cold weather. Fishermen come prepared with waders, gloves, hats, and layers of warmer jackets. They also bring fishing boats and gear.
The video/automatic slideshow above shows the river and visitation of access sites in the middle river today from Veteran’s Bridge Fishing Access Site (FAS) just north of Hamilton, down-river (north) at two other stops, and finally, about 11 miles north of Hamilton at Tucker Crossing.
Below is the breakdown of vehicles spotted at the times of the photos. What one doesn’t know is, were they wading, putting in or going to take out at the FAS.
  • Veteran’s Bridge, Hamilton, MT – 12 vehicles, from Idaho and western Montana; 8 had boat trailers; one was a father and kids hanging out.
  • Woodside Crossing FAS, 5 miles north of Hamilton – 14 vehicles from Idaho and western Montana; 9 had boat trailers.
  • Private access, 7 miles north of Hamilton – 1 vehicle; a friend from the valley was wade-fishing.
  • Tucker Crossing FAS, 11 miles north of Hamilton – 26 vehicles, in-state and out-of-state; 16 had boat trailers. One was a hurried shuttle driver moving at least one if not two boat/trailer rigs down-stream.
What does this say? It says spring; it says popular river; it says a lot of recreation use on the river.

Today the river levels are about normal, 307 cubic feet per second (CFS), at the gage station about seventeen highway miles up-stream at Darby in the north end of the valley. But at the gage station near Florence, the river is below normal. Today it is 749 CFS when it is normally above 800 and almost 900 CFS. The water was clear.

Soon a lot of the shelf ice you see in the first photos will melt to become river water; snow in the mountains will also melt and flow in. In a few weeks it will look a lot different. The weather is forecasted to remain cool which will help the snow melt in a slow and orderly fashion. That means the river levels won’t surge as much as they would if the weather were unseasonably warm. We can predict, but, one never knows what the weather, the snow, and the river will actually do. Mother Nature has the power, not us.

Note that the photos show river and bank conditions and debris now, before run-off. When high water comes with the spring run-off, it will change dramatically. The power of the water will take trees, root wads, and anything else it can move down-river and deposit it where ever the debris lodges. When floating after high-water, scout the river carefully and use extreme caution.

New fishing posts, river photos and more coming next week

I have been concentrating on other projects and my daughters basketball. She is a senior with the University of Montana Lady Griz who won the Big Sky Championship and are playing UCLA Bruins this Saturday in Spokane - first round NCAA tournament.

Next week, I hope to get back to fishing blogs with earnest energy. I will be visiting the Bitterroot and other rivers and photographing the water (and hopefully not the ice) to show what the conditions are like. I look forward to getting back in the fishing mode. We have plenty of snowpack so it will be a great water year in Montana! Come fishing!

Stay tuned....

Added Note: March 18, Hoping to get to the Bitterroot River today for photos. There is still lots of shelf ice, air temp is 36 degrees. The flows are low, below average, though that will change when the weather warms. Check back.

Billy Burk and early spring fishing in Colorado

Billy sent a few more photos recently with trout from the Arkansas River in Colorado. If you read our blog, you know I can't resist posting Billy's photos! We hope he gets back to Montana this summer so we can post him with Montana trout.

 Thanks Billy!