September Caddis?

by Blue Damsel Manager on September 6, 2009

In this neck of the woods, we are proud of the size of our bugs. Kicking off with skwalas in March, there is always something big and nasty for trout to eat. Whether salmon flies, green drakes, golden stones, hoppers, or hecubas, there is a good chance fish are eating size #6-10 dry flies. In the fall, yet another fly shows up on our rivers.

The past few days we have seen more and more October Caddis, Montana’s largest species of caddis. The flies are enormous, sometimes covering two knuckles on your index finger, and fish love them. Skating huge elk hair caddis or orange stimulators at this time of year can be the ticket. And when a fish eats an October Caddis, they really eat it. It can be explosive–more akin to a largemouth bass eat than a trout–and the outcome is a pure adrenaline rush.
We are so pleased that the cooling days of fall are here. The fire place hasn’t been used in a few months, and we are looking forward to the sound of crackling wood and the smell of burning pine in the lodge once more.
We hope to see you soon.

Long Nights and Happy Trout

by Blue Damsel Manager on August 25, 2009

Although mid-day temps have been in the low nineties, longer and colder nights have meant cooler water temps. This has made for some great fishing opportunities around the lodge. Hopper/ droppers are still the game of choice (a red chernobyl got the job done on some big Upper Clark Fork browns yesterday), but we are starting to see more mayflies. BWOs, hecubas, and mahoganies are all around the corner, and fishing a purple haze or parachute adams is starting to become a better bet.

Our guides have been spread out on all rivers as of late, with the best fishing coming from the middle Blackfoot and upper Clark. We have not seen a 20-incher this week, and that surely means we’re due. Maybe today will be the day!
Things at the lodge are running smoothly. Josh has been busy picking cherries and huckleberries and creating some great pies, while Keith and Colin have been working on some new tunes for the campfire.
We wish everyone a happy end of summer!

Early Bird Gets the Worm

by Blue Damsel Manager on July 27, 2009

After a week in the mid-nineties, we have finally decided to start our days a little earlier. The past two days we met our guides between 6:30 and 7:00 and were wetting lines by 8:00 am. The results have been great. Fishing hopper/ droppers right off the bat has had people landing quality trout within sight of the put-in. By mid-morning, we are fishing double-dry rigs in the warming summer air. The meat of our good fishing has been between 9:00 am and noon, with lots of golden stones and PMD’s beginning to move around for the day. The guests in the lodge right now met their guides at 6:30 am. They will be back at the lodge for a cold drink and nap by 3:30. And then it’s off to wade fish Rock Creek before flank steak and strawberry pie. That’s what we call a good day of fishing!

Early Bird Gets the Worm

by Blue Damsel Manager on July 27, 2009

Blue Skies and Big Fish

by Blue Damsel Manager on July 20, 2009

As many of you know, mid-July in our neck of the woods can mean long, hot days, dry weather, and forest fires. Although the trout fishing usually survives (if not improves) under a smoky sky, we always prefer our beloved big blue. We are happy to report that so far this year there are no signs of fire. In fact, our summer has been so cool, and relatively wet, that river conditions are still favorable enough to catch fish right through the heat of the afternoon. This morning, our guests were chowing on Josh’s famous buckwheat pancakes at 7:30 and fishing on the river at 9:00. And when fish are eating bushy #8 dry flies, life is easy. We are fishing hoppers, golden stones, and PMDs these days, and enjoying the extra rest and happy trout provided by this awesome Montana weather.

No News is Good News

by Blue Damsel Manager on July 8, 2009

Things on Rock Creek couldn’t be better. We are now knee deep in the season, and staying busy despite earlier fears of a tough year (no one was sure just how the economy would effect our business). Every night we find ourselves thankful to have a dinner table surrounded by smiling guests, ready to share their stories of a day on the river. And there have been plenty of them. Now that we are fishing on just about every stretch of river, our guests are getting to experience the full spectrum of Missoula-area fishing. From the red rocks and rumbling rapids of the Blackfoot, to the green ranch land of the Bitterroot, to the big flat water of the lower Clark, people are fishing and catching everywhere. Nothing is new about that. That’s the way we like it. 

Warming Up!

by Blue Damsel Manager on June 29, 2009


Western Montana has settled into its mid-summer weather pattern. Warm temperatures, long sun-filled days, and cool, dry evenings have us all smiling. The lodge has been full for the past week, and the fishing has been hot. As of yesterday, we are officially fishing on all of the area’s rivers. As expected, the Clark Fork was the last to turn over, and it was worth the wait. The notoriously powerful lower Fork rainbows were on the eat yesterday, and we are expecting some really incredible golden stone fishing in the coming days. For those of you who have never fished those lower stretches, we strongly recommend giving it a shot next time you are in town. The lower river is big and flat with tall stands of pine trees sprawling across steep canyon walls. The fish their are bigger; mostly rainbows, averaging better than 15″ with lots of opportunities at 18″ plus.

Full Swing!

by Blue Damsel Manager on June 21, 2009

The wheels on the Blue Damsel van are turning! Despite rain and cool temperatures, the rivers are stable and/or dropping. Fishing on the Creek has been bananas: golden stones and green drakes are everywhere with every fish in the river looking to eat them. The Blackfoot has been getting hot too–big foam salmon flies with droppers have been providing all-day-long action for our guests. The Bitterroot seems to be right behind the pack, and we expect to be fishing dries on the mid-river by mid-week. The Clark Fork still appears to be a little ways out, but it will shape up before too long.

Grilled halibut with coconut rice last night. Pork tenderloin with roasted taters tonight. Life is good!

Mac and Colin prepare for the year’s first camp fire

by Blue Damsel Manager on June 17, 2009

What happens when Chef Josh gets his hands on some rhubarb

by Blue Damsel Manager on June 17, 2009