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Fall Fishing on the Bitterroot River

Location: Stevi Gate

11:45 Ken Quinn and I walked across the field to the wide lazy flow. We decided to walk downstream (river left), to find deeper pools. We came upon some rising fish at a cut bank. Ken moved back up to find a place to enter the water. I stood there watching, not to take his fish and to observe the fish behavior. I saw that they were rising but not expelling a bubble. There were size 12 – 14 mayflies flying so I know they were hatching. Standing on the bank, it was the first time, I had the opportunity to watch up close rising fish. The sun and my position was perfect no glare!

I started to string up my 13'4" tenkara rod. I used my remaining 6x tippet of 7 feet attached to my 6’ tapered leader. I tied a size 14 brown emerger with wings/legs. I then thought that the tippet was too long to control the emerger so I added a size 12 Purple Haze as an indicator. Ken made his way back to bank and watched me set up.

There were several drifts that I thought should have attracted the attention of the trout. I deduced that the dropper was about 12” long and was sinking well below the sipping range below the surface. I dipped the emerger in my floatant and recast. The slight wind was causing havoc with the 7’ tippet but final got a lucky cast further out where the fish were still showing themselves. Drift, drift, then a white mouth opened and sucked the fly. With the excitement, first I thought it was the dry but because I dressed the fly in the floatant, the Cut took the emerger in the sub-surface.

Ken held the rod while I climbed down the bank and released it. Love tenkara style whether fishing dries or Euro style nymphing.

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