Leviathan

bitterroot river guidesIt’s been a while since I’ve been involved in a catch and release of this magnitude, and just being near this fish is an honor.  Our good man Jim hooked onto this hen brown trout at the end of an excellent long day of streamer fishing with Chris rowing him as a single on day two of the trip.  Steve and I were sipping beers downstream in the same run, content with our good fortune of fishing for the day.  We heard some shouts and figured something good, or really bad, had occurred.  Stroking quickly downstream with Jim hunched over the bow holding the net, they pulled up mumbling with excitement and dropped anchor.  Chris finally spatted out, Leviathan!, and I understood immediately.

Merle Big BrownThese fish are once in a lifetime to many, and some of us guides are lucky enough to see a few in a career.  Springtime and early summer on good water years gives someone the best shot at a fish like this, covering many miles throwing the junk or rolling big stoneflies under a bobber.  My biggest client fish was a couple inches less than this girl, and amazingly ate a salmon fly dry during late June.  That’s been over five years now, and I’ve personally witnessed only one other fish of this caliber, caught on a san juan a few years back by a fellow guide’s client.  No camera on that one sad to say.:((

bitterroot river guidesOur springtime fishing has been excellent this season, with lots of little dinkers like this one.  Just kidding, this fish taped 19″ but after Jim’s legit 28 incher the scale got a bit screwed up.  The rest of our prior fishing for two days was grand, albeit big water and lots of cast with the big rods.  Little dry fly activity was happening, though when your catching solid fish every few runs underneath and having a blast why bother?  Keep that elbow in, power up the backcast, and let that puppy fly!  This is the time of year to suit up for bear, and get out on the big water with us.