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NDR - Montana fishing trip...

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NDR - Montana fishing trip...
NDR (but there is one pic of ducks and several of a boat).

I wanted share our summer fishing trip rafting a river in the Bob Marshall Wilderness to camp and fish for Westslope Cutthroats. The river is quite a production to get to, but the wilderness experience is what we were looking for in this part of the trip.

Our plan was to hire a packer to pack our raft in on mules from the trailhead and we would hike about 30 miles to the river, our truck would get shuttled to the takeout, and after about 30 miles of rafting we would meet another packer to get our raft packed out and hike to another trailhead where our truck would be waiting. What could go wrong, right?

Any adventure begins with packing and this was our final packing and organizing of gear, what we would take and what the mules would carry.



Just us and our packs. Leaving the truck to be shuttled.



First camp on the way in.



Views were great along the way.




Flowers were spectacular.



Grouse for the dog to chase.



This guy that left this was a couple hours ahead of us.



Spirits were high and everyone was peppy the second evening.



Hiked through a lot of burns.



Did I say a lot of burns?





At the end of day 3 the packer and string passed us within sight of where he would drop our stuff.



Inflating the raft the next morning and getting loaded to float.



First fish!



First camp on the river.



First serious fishing.








Fish food.



People food.



Night of thunderstorms, little did we know at the time.


Rafting solo through a toothy shallow section.



The depth and clarity of the pool I caught it in was more spectacular than the fish.



Taking the raft for a walk.



More.






Way too many views like this. We knew the river was low, but the amount of dragging was plain tiresome.



Shallow again.





Wildlife.



The rocks are real purty and old.



Second river camp.



Ducks.



We wanted to get on the hopper bite that the river is known for. They weren?t going crazy for hoppers, but hungry enough to have some fun.





Smoke. Hmmmm, what is up there?



Source of the smoke as we approached downriver. The fire started during the thunderstorms a few days earlier and was smoldering.



Winds kicked up and a few acres turned into several hundred as we got around it and put it behind us.



This was our view from where we planned to camp the next couple days.



When you see this, you start to wonder.




And then when you see this 2 miles from where are setting up camp things get really interesting.





We had been in contact with the Forest Service all day on the sat phone and they asked us to evacuate as the fire blew up. It was late afternoon and we had done a lot of miles already that day and we had about 5 to go through a canyon with few spots to stop until the takeout.



So, we got to the takeout and set up camp, now several miles from the fire and having gone through the most technical and scenic part in a rush.

Look who is tired and wants in the tent before it is even fully up.



Next morning, it would have been pretty awful had we stayed where we planned to camp near the fire.

We were able to get ahold of our packer and the folks doing the truck shuttle and amazingly get our gear out that day and get the truck shuttled the 160 miles to be waiting for us when we hiked out.



The lower river canyon that next day after the wind shifted and blew the smoke out.






Bittersweet hike out.



Stock with our raft, just passing us at the end of the trail.



View from the packer camp. Folks were sitting around watching the smoke that meant an early end to the season for them (and us).


Last edited by:

tod osier: Sep 3, 2019, 10:06 AM
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
All I have to say is; "Gus is spoiled". Want to adopt and spoil me?

Looks like it might be the year for shortened yet wonderful trips. I enjoyed your story and pics, thanks for sharing.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Well that ended up being an unexpected adventure. Bummer the trip got cut short.
At least you got to eat a few of those beautiful cutthroats.

Tim
-----------------------------------------------------------------
"Ah Nuts!"

http://snipehunterfishart.blogspot.com/
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Great photos and great adventure. If a trip like this didn't have a hitch now and then, it wouldn't be a wilderness trip! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Huntindave McCann wrote:
All I have to say is; "Gus is spoiled". Want to adopt and spoil me?

Looks like it might be the year for shortened yet wonderful trips. I enjoyed your story and pics, thanks for sharing.


Yeah, I saw that the wind drove you away from your trip. Damn weather, seems like there is some every day.

Gus doesn't know how good he has it. The catching on this trip was as good as it gets, just amazing.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
TimJ wrote:
Well that ended up being an unexpected adventure. Bummer the trip got cut short.
At least you got to eat a few of those beautiful cutthroats.

Tim


In the 2 week trip we only missed 2 days, or so, but we would have been in one place fishing those days, so about 1/3 of our sedentary/fishing days. I really didn't need any more fishing, there were a couple times when it was shaking your head good, with amazing scenery, so you can't beat that.

They are some beautiful fish. Keepers are 12 and under, so nice size for frying.

The waters also are home to Bull Trout in the late summer (and into the winter). Imagine 5-10 pound trout lurking in gin clear pools coming up to chase your cutthroats. Pretty neat to see. I caught a couple cutts that had obvious bites from the Bull Trout.

Last edited by:

tod osier: Sep 3, 2019, 2:40 PM
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
greg setter wrote:
Great photos and great adventure. If a trip like this didn't have a hitch now and then, it wouldn't be a wilderness trip! Thanks for sharing.


Thanks Greg, the hitch was pretty minor in the scheme of things. I was shocked it didn't have more of an impact.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
That is some gorgeous scenery! I used to chase upland birds and ducks in Eastern MT nearly 20 years ago. I need to get back out there one day, unbelievable country!
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Damn, now that?s one heck of a trip. Great scenery. Thanks for sharing


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Carl wrote:
Damn, now that?s one heck of a trip. Great scenery. Thanks for sharing


Thanks Carl, I see you are in FL now? When was the move and how did I miss it? I thought I knew it was in the long-term plan.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Another summer living the dream Tod. Your son has more outdoor experience at 12 than many get in a lifetime. Great trip, even with the fire.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Heckuva trip Tod. Montana is a great state for adventuring. See any moose?
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Excellent trip and pictures. Glad y'all made it through safe, not many people can say they have seen the timeline of a forest fire like that so a great family memory for sure.




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Absolutely proper trip in every regard. Well done!
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Dani wrote:
Heckuva trip Tod. Montana is a great state for adventuring. See any moose?


thanks Dani, very little in the way of large ungulates - quite a few deer though. We saw some moose sign is all. The area has high grizzly and wolf populations and the moose and elk populations are not what they once were because of it. We did get woken up by wolves one night.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Look forward to this post every year, thanks for not disappointing. Great as always.
"Pass the Tradition Along"
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Nice trip. What precautions did you take (if any needed) against grizzlies?
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Troy Fields wrote:
Look forward to this post every year, thanks for not disappointing. Great as always.


Thanks Troy (and everyone), I enjoy putting the story together and gives me closure on the trip.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Dave Clites wrote:
Nice trip. What precautions did you take (if any needed) against grizzlies?


Thanks Dave, the place is supposed to be infested with grizzlies, we saw a lot of tracks, but none in the flesh. There is a food storage order, which means you need to hang your food or have it in a bear-prof container, so we did that. We all carried something to protect against bears, spray or gun. I don't worry too much about it, but it is something to keep mindful of.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Tod, good to know you took precautions. My college buddy hunts near Choteau MT where his sister and BIL are Forest rangers. He has some hair-raising stories..Like sleeping in with a solar-charged electric fence around his tent. He has invited me along but I am not old enough to die yet...
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Great story and pictures Todd. I'd love to do a trip like that but I'm the only one in the family that feels that way. Did you have a guide service do your packing in and out and make sure your truck was in the right place. Logistics would be a bitch!.

Take care,

Ed L.
East Moline,
Illinois
_________________________________________
If I'd had asked what they wanted they would have said faster horses" - Henry Ford

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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Dave Clites wrote:
Tod, good to know you took precautions. My college buddy hunts near Choteau MT where his sister and BIL are Forest rangers. He has some hair-raising stories..Like sleeping in with a solar-charged electric fence around his tent. He has invited me along but I am not old enough to die yet...


Yes, I've heard the bears in MT are supposed to be really aggressive, especially if you are hunting and have an animal like an elk down. We have a bear fence and have used that in AK when we had meat, but it is heavy and a pain. If we don't have meat, we will go without every time. I remind myself that the likelihood of being killed by a bear is probably way lower than getting in an accident on the way there :). I have a lot of trust in bear spray, but in the tent not so much. I really like a gun in the tent. You can almost feel warmth from the reassuring glow of the tritium sights waiting at the ready in the dark of the night.
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Tod,

The move took place from late March through the end of June!
I left State service after 25 years on April 30th and started with my new company on May 1.
We closed on the house down here in Tampa in late March, moved a big Uhaul full of stuff down in mid-April, I moved down here in mid-May, then sold our house & moved the family down in late June.
Daughter started new middle school down here and our son is off to his freshman year at U of A-Huntsville.
So it's been quite a spring/summer for us!

I did manage to get out fishing a few times, caught some grey snapper and spanish macs. No snook or tarpon yet.
Still trying to figure out here exactly I can duck hunt down here. Tampa Bay is a complete change from Mobile Bay. Really hard to figure out what is restricted and what is not, not very duck hunter friendly area, IMO. But I kind knew that was what I was getting into. I'll try to get out a little this year but I dont have high expectations.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
WOW! I'll say it again, WOW. The picture of your first campsite, what a beautiful place to be. The trip must have been an amazing adventure, I mean rafting, trout, bears, fire, and the scenery. Speaking of bears, would that side piece of yours stop one? Thank you for sharing your trip, again as in the past. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the pictorials.

Eric
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Re: NDR - Montana fishing trip... In reply to
Ed L. wrote:
Great story and pictures Todd. I'd love to do a trip like that but I'm the only one in the family that feels that way. Did you have a guide service do your packing in and out and make sure your truck was in the right place. Logistics would be a bitch!.


Yes on the logistics a lot of moving parts. We did the trip a la carte with the packers mainly because there isn't one outfitter that handles both ends of the operation. The entry and exit are in 2 different ranger districts and are 150-160 miles by road apart, so they don't want to move between the trailheads with horse trailers. My first thought with the fire was the trouble that it was going to cause with the logistics, but it turned out great. For the truck shuttle, they don't want to shuttle until the last possible moment because the take out is notorious for packrats getting into the vehicles and wrecking them, so everyone leaves their hoods open to discourage them moving in (we didn't see any signs of packrats, but there were a lot of ground squirrels running around and everyone had their hoods open).