Here Fishy, Fishy! Brookies and Browns are gorgeous, but can we talk about Rainbows? Rainbow Trout are some of the prettiest fish I have had the opportunity to catch. Not to mention catching them while “hanging out” in the mountains, in the clearest water I’ve ever fished in, with the best company a person can get, there may not be a better experience in life?
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Upper Canyon Outfitters (UCO) in Alder, MT with the team from Shoot Like a Girl. While UCO offers numerous experiences to partake in, fly fishing in the mountains (hello bucket list item I didn’t know I had) was my chosen activity.
Frank was the lucky guide that was given the rather large task of guiding myself and Suzetta Wise down the river.
Fortunately for Frank, we were more than ready to traipse through the woods, up the river to catch the big ones! Suzetta has had the opportunity to fly fish before, so I had the honor to start on the river first. While I have fished for trout before in Wisconsin, I had never had the opportunity to use a fly rod – which proved to be a learning process. Getting that itty bitty, lightweight fly to the area I wanted it to be in, proved challenging. After a few rather ugly looking casts, I was able to get the fly right where I needed, in the “sweet spot” where the trout were surfacing. Step 1, getting the cast down – check. The challenge was doing this while trying not to slip in the river, with the current and slimy rocks this proved to be quite the task. Here fishy, fishy.
Step 2, Setting the hook – a work in progress.
Suzetta and I are used to “setting the hook” with a quick snap of the rod tip (think Bass or Walleye fishing), however with fly fishing that’s not the case. Its more of a lift up of the rod verse a quick yank, which proved to be another challenge. We both kept finding ourselves snapping the rod tip, which resulted in the loss of a handful of trout. After some losses, we were both able to get the right motion figured out, which resulted in my very first Rainbow Trout! And Suzetta’s first double! (Catching two trout at once on a two-fly setup). Mine was HUGE! (Fish stories). Actually, it was just a little guy, only five inches, maybe six if we stretched its tail.
It was all down hill from there as the rods were hot, the laughs were rolling, high fives were abundant and the fish were on!
As our time on the river grew shorter, we inched our way back down taking it all in. Parts of the river required us to get out and walk the bank areas, which allowed the hunters like us to find a deer antler shed, a hunter’s version of Best Friend charms. We each departed Montana with one shed packed away safely. At the end of the river, we met up with the rest of the SLG team and their guides, swapping fish stories, showing off our prized shed finds, and cool rocks collected from the river. The experience on the Ruby River is one that will not soon be forgotten. I will forever be in awe of nature’s beauty, the company of good friends, and the experience of my first of many, fly-fishing adventure!
You can learn more about Upper Canyon Outfitters, and its owner Donna McDonald, HERE.