Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

It Is Here…..

by Blue Damsel Manager on July 1, 2018

Runoff here in western Montana was especially heavy and long lived this year.  But Rock Creek, the Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers are all clear and fishing well. The Clark Fork is almost there. The upside to a long runoff season is that the late summer and fall fishing will be great. Blue Damsel Lodge Manager Emeritus Keith Radabaugh landed this giant Bull Trout yesterday while fishing the Blackfoot River with Blackfoot River Outfitters guide Evan Youngblood. Make plans now to visit soon.

Getting Ready……

by Blue Damsel Manager on May 14, 2018


Preparations are well underway for our season to open in early June.

The runoff has been very heavy this year in Montana. Rock Creek has stayed relatively well behaved. It is high and stained, but staying in the channel.
There have been some Stoneflies, Caddis and Mayflies showing up. So, everything should be ready to go once the water is down.

Wildlife has been abundant. We have seen Bighorn Sheep, Moose, Deer, Wild Turkey and a host of smaller animals on the lodge property or nearby.

Chef Tim has been doing some test runs of some of the great meals he will be preparing for our guests. We have enjoyed dinners like Garlic Butter Encrusted Rockfish served on top of Dirty Rice and Ribeye Steak with a homemade Louisiana Steak Sauce, Hasselback Potato and Asparagus.

Make plans now to visit Blue Damsel Lodge this year and see what is happening up Rock Creek Road.

Is Your Blue Damsel Trip Booked Yet?

by Blue Damsel Manager on February 6, 2012

It is definately time to make your 2102 spring, summer and fall plans for a fly fishing trip to Western Montana’s Blue Damsel Lodge. The super bowl is over and spring is on the way. Snow pack looks good, but not crazy like last year.
All systems are go and we are anticipating a very good fishing season. There is still a good bit of availability, but, the phone is ringing with guests selecting dates. If you’ve been here before, you know what a great trip to expect and we’d sure love to see you again. If you haven’t been yet, now is the time to get in touch and find out about available dates, fishing expectations and how simple it is to book maybe the best fly fishing trip of your life. You deserve a fly fishing adventure this summer and we suggest you take a few minutes to contact us about just that!

Happy New Year-in with the new, fond memories of the past

by Blue Damsel Manager on January 15, 2012

As we roll into a great looking 2012, we are just reflecting on the past season. There are some great memories and photos of really good times, great food, good music, new friends, and wonderful fishing. We made some new friends and caught some great fish; We also lost some memorable fish and good friends and choose to fondly remember the missed fish, past days, and departed friends.
We would like to share two links with you that remind us of the essence of 2011. The first was produced and directed by Craig Chiesa, who did a summer practicum with us as part of his program with the University of Montana. His friend, Thomas Caywood Vincent shot the video and put most of it together. Also, a special thanks to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones for the original sound track. The link will take you to the video on the vimeo site. This is only about a 2 minute video, but it is hi-def, on a hi-def site so it may take a while to download. To keep it from pausing, etc, just start it, hit pause and let it download before you watch it. It’s a really good little video that captures a lot of what the lodge and fishing is about.
The second link is to a You tube video of “US”, the staff house band last season, aka, Maren Wing and the Rock Bottom Boys doing an impromptu cover of a Felice Brother’s tune that was one of our favorite of the season. It is also just about 2 minutes and downloads really fast.
Enjoy and stay in touch. Still lots of good dates, but we are filling up fast for 2012. Hope to see you at the Blue Damsel this year.

Link to Blue Damsel Video:

Link to youtube music video:

Nice Finish to a Nice Season

by Blue Damsel Manager on October 7, 2011

Here is a picture of Enrique, and guide Adam, with a very nice Blackfoot River brown trout. Enrique and Paul were our last guests of the 2011 season and they just left after spending a week fishing with us. Enrique caught this monster (really near to 2 foot of fish) on his second day. His fishing partner, Paul took the photo and shared it with us. Thanks to both of you for helping us put a good end to a good season. You are both world class sportsmen!

We wanted to get this picture posted now, before we get busy with the end of season party and closing up for winter. Today brings our 2011 season to a close and we want to thank all our guests, staff, guides, friends, and trout for making this the best season yet! Soon we will post links to the awesome video Craig made and some you-tube video of the Blue Damsel Staff, aka “Maren Wing and the Rock Bottom Boys” doing our favorite tune of the season. But for now, we are done… Signing out for a while from the Blue Damsel Lodge. Keith’s going fishing!

The Rock Bottom Boys

by Blue Damsel Manager on September 28, 2011

Thanks to Fred Crawford, we have a photo of the Blue Damsel house band- The Rock Bottom Boys. Technically, this season it has been Maren Wing and The Rock Bottom Boys. From left to right, we have Troy Lorenz on the stand up bass fiddle, (world famous?)guest guitarist Jim Cox sitting in on accoustic guitar, Josh Wing on fiddle and vocals, Maren Wing (Troy’s wife and Josh’s sister) on accordian and vocals, and Keith on lead guitar. This was a little session we did mid September on a wonderful evening after a great day of fishing.
We only have two weeks left this season to try and get a video/audio put together, but we are working on that right now. If it happens, we’ll post the link here.

Farewell to a Friend

by Blue Damsel Manager on September 3, 2011

We just met David this year, but he came out twice so we got to know him pretty well. We just found out David took his last fishing trip-one he won’t come back from. We are so sorry to hear that and so very glad to have known you and honored to have fished with you. Goodbye buddy-from all the staff and guides.

The Trout Is Saved!

by Blue Damsel Manager on August 12, 2011

This is not the typical conservation story, but this fish was saved by Kirk Kanady, one of Keith’s lodge partners. Thanks Kirk! Any of you who have been to the lodge in the past several years know the trout sculpture displayed on the main level. This sculpture, by Missoua artist Jonathan Qualben, has been on display here for 4 years. Jothathan found a buyer for this, the last of his 8 foot trout sculptures, and told us he would make another one if we wanted to keep our old friend. And Kirk “threw down” and bought the trout!

Those of you who have been here this summer knew that we were concerned about being able to keep the fish and may be relieved to know that the big old trout stayes right where it is. Thanks again Kirk!

Unforgettable..The Blue Damsel Lodge

by Blue Damsel Manager on July 30, 2011
7 o’clock. Pitch black dark back at home in my native Alabama. As I sit here and write, the images explode in recent memory. Deep diving Gorges lined with evergreen spruce and ponderosa pine, and river banks teeming with fresh hatchlings coming off the water, precisely at this same time that I am sitting in the aforementioned pitch black dark. Don’t get me wrong , I love being at my home and I love my state, but over the past week the Blue Damsel Lodge outside of Missoula Montana provided me with some of my fondest memories and experiences to date as a Fly Fisherman and Outdoorsman.

We arrived at the Blue Damsel early on our first day, ensured by our host Keith that we would not be intruding by getting there early. After a brief tour around the lodge, which was immaculate, we got a special little lunch packed by their amazing Chef and all around renaissance man Josh and we headed out for a little self guided fishing on Rock Creek. I had done my homework leading up to our trip and thought I had seen some of the beautiful vistas that rock creek could offer, however I was amazed as we trekked through the clear waters running slightly higher than normal at the authentic beauty of the river and surrounding mountains. A few rising fish were our first sign that there was a nice hatch occurring and subsequently we tied on what we thought to be a good match. Upon further inspection we realized that there was a large number of golden stoneflies hatching and the fish seemed to be turned on to them. On went a rubber leg yellow stimulator and the fish started to fall victim to our offerings. We worked our way upstream and ended the day with several nice bows, browns, and cutts. When we returned to the lodge we were greeted by the friendly people at the lodge and we got our fill of wonderful food and glorious tales of fishing greatness to come on our float trip the next day.

Sunrise the next morning brought about an eagerness to get out on the water, but not before another wonderful meal prepared by the lodge staff. We were met at the gathering place by our guide for the next two days Adam Spenner. Immediately I knew that Adam and I had a similar mindset as it pertained to Fly Fishing. Over the course of the next two days my fiancé and I experienced some of the best fishing I have ever been privileged enough to be a part of. Adam was a terrific guide and his knowledge of fishing was more than adequate to put us on the fish. Moreover his skills as a rower on the driftboat were downright amazing. I have been on a few driftboat float trips before and Adam takes the proverbial cake for the best driftboat guide I have had. Our first day on the Blackfoot river was spectacular filled with lots of dry fly action and good solid cutts , bows, and brows all in the 12-16” range. I was so thrilled for my fiancé to be able to experience the glorious vistas offered up to us by the blackfoot as well as fast and furious fishing action. In fact as much as I hate to admit it, she outfished me on that day! Overall 40+ fish in a day, wonderful companionship, and breathtaking scenery made for an amazing day, but what was to come was even more of a thrill.

Our second day on the blackfoot began similarly to our first, a great breakfast at the lodge followed by a drive to meet up with adam to head to the river. This time we went much higher up river and started our drift surrounded by ospreys and even more spectacular scenery. Adam decided that we would target the “mack daddys” by going deep and slow, dredging some larger bugs on the bottom. That strategy immediately payed unforgettable dividends when I hooked into and landed a 17” Bull which immediately inspired me to enjoy a victory cigar. I never thought I would have the chance to catch one of these beauties and reality was setting in as I kneeled in the river, fish in hand, surrounded by the ubiquitous beauty of the Montana wilderness. The day progressed on wonderfully as we witnessed several eagles fly over head and brought fish after fish to the boat, including this beauty of a 19” brown.

After several hours on the river we made our way down to the takeout saddened to be departing from our guide and new found friend but full of gratitude and for his effort and conversation. Overall the day yielded another large number of fish and all but a few being over the 14” mark. My largest brown, cut, and cuttbow, as well as my only bull all came on this momentous day, a day not soon to be forgotten.
We returned back to the lodge for our final night and were once again amazed at the hospitality and talent of Keith and everyone else at the lodge. After our meal we said our goodbyes and thanked them for one of the greatest weeks of our lives. There are experiences in life that one will always remember for the people, places and thrills enjoyed and our stay at the Blue Damsel Lodge was undoubtedly one of them. I cannot recommend the Blue Damsel enough and I can never thank them enough for the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Montana in with such class and care.
C. Bryan Crumpler

July 23rd Fishing Report-Good news from Blue Damsel Lodge

by Blue Damsel Manager on July 23, 2011
Like this season, we’re a little late in “shaping up” and getting on track with our blog. Until a few weeks ago, we really didn’t know what to say and since then we’ve been busy gathering research (fishing). Our rivers really started dropping and clearing a few weeks ago-finally. Most of our waters have been fishing well the past few weeks and are really coming into shape right now. This has been a long time in coming.
Being cautious about the record snowpack, we booked our first fishing day this summer for June 21st, which has always been safely late. This crazy year, that was not even late enough for consistently good fishing on local waters. Everything was still running high and muddy. Fortunately the Missouri was fishing great and the Dearborn was fishing very good with good clear flows and good dry fly action. By our opening, we also would have either the Blackfoot or Bitterroot come into shape for a few days so no one had to make back to back trips all the way to the Missouri. All of our guests rolled with the flow, had some good fishing and caught some big trout. Both the Blackfoot and Bitterroot fish well in high water, if you know what you are doing, which our Blackfoot River Outfitter guides do so they have been pulling it off on those rivers for a month now. It has mainly been streamers and San Juan worms in the willows, but it has produced some big trout and, on the Blackfoot some non targeted bonus bull trout. Rock Creek has been flowing clear for about 3 weeks now and fishing very well with fish taking golden stone patterns and stimulators, as well as a broad variety of nymphs. Finally flows have dropped enough for wading the creek. The Bitterroot has had intermittently good dry fly fishing for a few weeks and is really looking good right now. And for the same few weeks the Blackfoot has gotten that still-cloudy-but-emerald green look that produces big trout.

Donna and Jeff fished 5 days and had great days on the Bitterroot and Georgetown Lake, as a few stellar days on the Blackfoot, as documented by her attached note and photo of a quickly released Blackfoot Bull trout. (Since a picture tells 1000 words, note the happy angler, smooth flows, and big bull!)

Hi Keith!

Thank you again for a wonderful stay at the Blue Damsel Lodge! As seen in the attached photos, we had an awesome trip!! Can’t wait to come back, 51 weeks and counting!!

Keith was able to get out on the lower Blackfoot for the afternoon on the 21st and trout were looking up and crushed a golden stone pattern all afternoon. Nice! In addition to quite a few goldens in the air, hoppers have grown to about 1 inch and there were still salmon flies in the air. In fact, fly shops are reporting it as a salmonfly hatch on the Blackfoot-on July 23-unbelievable!
The Clark Fork has started to get some good color in the past few days. We’d fish it, but why, with the Blackfoot and Bitterroot getting better each day? The bottom line is, it’s been a long time coming, but flows on all our western Montana rivers have dropped and cleared. Fish are hungry and insects are hatching. Runoff is finally over and it’s just going to get better. It certainly seems that we are assured of good, cold flows all season and correspondingly good hatches and dry fly fishing. Call us or e-mail about the few remaining dates we have openings this season.