Angling Day 3 - Spring Creek off of the Bitterroot:
This was my final day with Joe, as for days 4-6 I would be fishing with Missoula River Lodge's lead guide Evan. Today's trip was extremely unique - only possible with one angler, and a client who is willing to do a bit of leg work to get a shot at some extraordinary fish (which luckily for me, I was more than willing to do ). This Spring Creek is very unique in that a few years ago it was completely closed to the public, however after a litigation, anything in the water column became accessible for the public. However, you are not allowed to set a single foot on a bank, or you'll be at risk of being charged with trespassing. The only time you are allowed to use the bank is to portage around man-made structures that the boat cannot navigate under or around (i.e. fences and footbridges).
During this float, I have never seen more 20+ inch fish in my life. Both rainbows and browns were scattered in this super skinny, technical creek. After a bit of trial and error, I managed my first Spring Creek bow:
I few more runs down the river, I set the hook on what may be "a fish of a lifetime". He immediately exploded out of the water, and sprinted downstream, conveniently pulling my line underneath a footbridge. With Joe having to portage the boat, I launched myself out, kept my rod underwater, keeping side pressure, and a tight line to the fish, crawled underneath the bridge, and busted my ass downstream on the other side. Joe quickly followed with his net, and a few moments later, I was absolutely awestruck by this behemoth:
After the photo, I let this gentle giant slowly swim out of my hands and back into the river from where he came. I sat there, on my knees, for a good few minutes realizing what just happened. After a quick fist-bump, I hopped back onto the raft with Joe. The fight from that fish caused a big disturbance in the water and we decided to anchor for lunch while the silt settled.
This was an absolutely beautiful spring creek and I found myself just staring off into the distance during lunch.
After lunch, we came across another footbridge we needed to portage over, and before we created too much silt on the other side of the bridge, I carefully walked over to the hole on the other side, and tossed a cast on the outside seam of the riffle. The indicator dropped, I set the hook, and we ended up with this beauty bow:
The end of the day slowed a little, but I did manage this guy before we were done:
We then reentered the Bitterroot at the end of our drift, and admired the mountains in the distance as we drifted to our take out point.