Monday, July 6, 2015

Four Days, Three Rivers

Some great days in late June with Chad Olsen and Anna Riggs. We floated the Boulder and Stillwater Rivers in Montana and then spent two days on the Wind River in Wyoming. We went from two of Montana's most iconic freestones to one of the best tailwater fisheries in the U.S.
We started our tour in the quintessential Montana town of Big Timber. We met at the Grand Hotel, had a great meal and retired early, eager to get on the river in the morning.

You gotta love small towns in Wyoning and Montana

In the morning, we managed to put-in at a nondescript highway bridge on the Boulder. With no fishing access sites nearby, we decided to dismantle our raft to get it between the jagged guard rails and the landowner's barb wire. But, it was well worth the effort! We were to see no other fishermen on the 16 beautiful miles we floated! comes the frame

...on goes the frame

The Boulder River is bouncy with lots of Class II rapids and even more 12-16 inch 'bows and browns. Lots of fun with a hopper/dropper. Busy, shotgun-style casting…. hit that eddy there, flip your fly to that seam there. In the swift waters, it all goes by in a blur.

The next morning, we headed to the Stillwater River. The Stillwater is quite similar to the Boulder meaning there are lots of fish and plenty of boulder strewn rapids. Previously, I had kayaked this stream dozens of times, but I had NEVER fished it. I was thrilled to finally see what the river held! 

The trees held many clues as to what flies to use!

After the Stillwater, we drove to Cody, Wyoming for dinner, then continued on to Thermopolis to get some rest before floating the Wind River the following day. Flows were high, but the fishing was great. Plenty of 16-20 inch bows and browns. As you can see, lots of doubles! 

All too soon, it was over. Four days, three rivers. I would start over and do the whole trip again in a second! Thanks Anna and Chad, time to plan another "tour"!


  1. Nice! Water's up in the shoreline grasses. Rivers looked good.

  2. You know you have my the Stilly!