Away From the Crowd

With the fall weather finally arriving in earnest, the rivers are crowd-free and producing some real autumn fishing, with sedges and the small stuff working well on top and streamers tempting big fish out of their slots. But for some anglers, getting off the main river and into the creeks has been the game, and armed with a 3 wt. and some good hiking boots, there are fish to be played far from the boat launches and honey holes.

Sure, we’ve got the big Clark Fork running through town, but this gem of a small stream also tempts anglers from their porches in Missoula. Rattlesnake Creek in the fall.

 There’s something to be said for folding out the map and finding the blue lines, and if you want solitude and trout you’ve got to earn it. But man, is a beautiful view along the way. Lucky for us in Missoula, there can be great fishing on creeks that are close and far alike. Heading out for a few after work can be just the ticket for a break from the usual, and there’s plenty of water to cover. Fall’s here and the fishing is fine. If you’re headed to try your luck on a small stream, size down the gear and get ready to lose a few flies in the branches, but bring your A game and you’ll be rewarded. Fish aren’t picky for the most part when it comes to fly patterns, but a solid presentation is going to matter more than anything. Think about your approach to every hole, and if you’ve spooked them with your first floppy cast, give them a bit to get comfortable again. Getting away form the crowd is rewarding in itself, but finding a little hole bursting with native fish along the way is something to really smile about on the hike home.

Cutthroat like these are abundant in the skinny streams, but be ready to earn it. Hiking in is the easy part.
Zach Orth finds some fish in his backyard on Rattlesnake Creek.

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