For a couple of weeks in September we found ourselves again at Departure Point Campground at Holter Lake, followed by a stay at River Canyon RV near Cascade. The goal for our stay this trip in Montana was to spend time fly fishing and floating on the Missouri River.
We had been hearing about the great fishing and the beautiful trout on this river, and one of the main reasons for our prior trip to Holter Lake this spring was to scope out the area to get an understanding when we were really ready to tackle it. It really is a gorgeous area.
The first couple of days we caught nothing. We got familiar with the sections of the river we were travelling, and had a great time being outside. We learned a lot from the locals on how to properly fish this river and what flies to use. Everyone has different techniques. Nymphs, dry flies, 9 foot leaders, 4 foot leaders, this weight and that weight, etc.
I finally gave up the fly rod and became an outlaw on these waters, by using a spinning rod. And… I caught one! It was my first ever brown trout. I’m used to pulling in rainbows.
When our week at Holter Lake was up, we moved down the canyon to River Canyon RV to stay near some friends who have been fishing this river for a lot of years.
Shortly after moving, Nathan and John took a guide boat out on the river to learn it’s secrets. They came back excited having pulled in fish all day. They learned what really worked for this time of year, and then put it into practice a couple more times. This made for successful fishing outings for the rest of our trip.
While we were in the area, we also learned a lot about the history here. We visited the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. After that, whenever we looked around, we couldn’t help but see the environment around us as it may have been back in those days without fences and roads, but free and open, with Native Americans and Buffalo.
One of the things that I have been most appreciative about with our travels is that we try to spend at least a week or two at a location. This gives us time to get a general sense of familiarity, as well as the time to explore and learn.
Simple things like finding out how far you have to go to get appropriate groceries, what we’d need to do to get proper data bandwidth to work, seeing the same person a few times when you’re checking out or visiting a local restaurant, discovering history about the area you are visiting, have been fun, real and grounding.
I am so thankful we have been able to do what we are doing.