Fly Fishing the Beaverhead River in Southwest Montana Part I

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When people think about a fishing vacation in Southwest Montana, their thoughts usually gravitate to fly fishing the Beaverhead River.  The Beaverhead is one of the more prolific and challenging blue ribbon trout rivers that people come from all over the world to fly fish.

This tailwater flows out of Clark Canyon Reservoir and is a small river in size but an enormous river in stature.  With thousands of trout per mile and rarely more than 70 feet from bank to bank, the Beaverhead River is literally stacked with trout.  Big Trout.  The Beaverhead is known for its population of very large Browns and Rainbows, attracting fly fishers from all over.  The Beaverhead’s constant cold-water provided by the reservoir’s outflow, coupled with the generally silt-free nature of the water and stable summertime flows create an ideal habitat for aquatic insects.  This phenomenal insect habitat produces millions of bugs, which translates to prolific hatches throughout the summer.

When fly fishing the Beaverhead, you encounter a meandering river that creates countless holes and buckets, which provide ideal holding-water for trout.  A fly fishing angler should have no difficulty in finding trout on the Beaverhead–the challenge comes in hooking and landing these strong and energetic trout.  First, you must pick the right fly to imitate the hatch.  With so many natural insects in the water column, it is essential that you pick a pattern that closely matches what the tout are keyed in on.  Second, you need to have great presentation with your fly.  Whether you are nymphing or throwing dries, a good drift dramatically improves your chances of hooking one of these fish.  Finally, once you have hooked a trout, fighting them in the fast water and tight quarters is no easy task.  A fish landed on the Beaverhead is a well earned fish.


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