Beaverhead

by Phillip Dobson
(Butte, MT)

The Upper Beaverhead River is where I caught my first fish on a fly; about a year and a half ago. Since then, I've wanted to float that section again.

That section closes at the end of the month, so I grabbed my little whitewater kayak and headed south. I packed a few fly boxes, (heavy on the nymphs), my Sagiri 54, a 4wt Western rod (that I never used), and not much else. I quickly jogged the 2.5mi car shuttle and set off.

I've never tried to support a fishing trip from the playboat before. Getting everything to fit is awkward to say the least. The nice thing about tenkara fishing is that it's easy to collapse the rod, float down to the next hole and start fishing again.

I can happily say that I wasn't disappointed by the fishing. The river is basically a big-fish factory. Abundant food and shelter make for fat, happy trout. After a couple big whitefish, I got into brown trout after brown trout with a couple rainbows thrown in.

This tailwater is a nymphing river, as evidenced by the indicator setups on every rod but mine. I quickly bore of bobber fishing, but I actually like the concentration involved in tight-line nymphing. There's nothing better than a super sensitive 5m rod for tight-lining with small files and fine tippet. The soft rod did a great job letting me keep pressure on these strong fish without compromising the tippet.

All in all, an awesome time revisiting this river. All the running, kayaking, and portaging left me exhausted and satisfied. I did sadly lose a fly box somewhere with a couple hundred of my favorite nymphs, but I'd say it was worth it. Hopefully the fisherman who finds it will have as much fun with those flies as I have.

Comments for Beaverhead

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Nov 07, 2016
Lost and Found
by: Chris Stewart

Yeah, I have both lost and found fly boxes on the river. I look it as an accidental Vagabox.

Nov 08, 2016
I need to move
by: Dave

Y'all fish in the most beautiful places. All I can say is I need to move.

Nov 08, 2016
Always remember the first trout on a fly!
by: Les A.

I caught my first trout on a fly on the Ruby not too far from the Beaverhead when I was 15 years old. That was 48 years ago! Now that makes me feel old! My first tenkara trout was this summer on Stanley Creek in Idaho. That made me feel young again. It was a very pretty native cutthroat. I used a Sakasa Kebari fly as well. I have strayed back into my more traditional flies since.

Nov 09, 2016
Thanks, Phillip for the reminder!
by: Herb S.

I caught my first big trout on the Beaverhead, a 22" brown somewhere around 1980. We were camped at the old River Ranch Campground, which was soon after bought by a bunch of Texans for a private club. There were lots of bugs on the water and in the air, none large that size 16 and I threw everything I had at 'em. No takers. In desperation I went to a local fly shop and was told the only thing they'd want was a #8 or 10 Brown Bear Black, a woven horse hair wet fly in the Pott's Mite series. I bought the last one and that did the trick, a tremendous fight with the water up to Hodgeman on my waders. What a beautiful river in beautiful country!

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