While only 30 miles to the headwaters as the crow flies, there are over 100 miles of floatable, wadeable and fishable water. The upper reaches of the Beaverhead river are a classic tailwater fishery, with reliable hatches of mayflies, caddis, and yellow sally stones. At times, the amount of trout food in the water is mind boggling. The trout reflect the menu, and are often larger than you would expect in such a small river.
Also worthy of mention, are the fish of the middle to lower river. From Dillon to Twin Bridges the river marks more of a resemblance to a spring creek than a tailwater. Gin clear water, hundreds of oxbows, cutbanks and lumberyards provide cover for some of the areas true trophy size Browns.
Though the fish counts drop as you move down, so does the pressure. Some of these lower river fish grow to giant proportions, and at times can be easier to trick than your average big brown.
The last few years have brought lower than average flows from Clark Canyon reservoir, leaving the 3800 fish per mile few places to hide. Sight casting is commonplace on the Beaverhead river, and often nerve racking. With a fish over 20″ every 20 feet of bank, your odds of landing a real trophy just flat don’t get much better.
It takes a certain level of patience to effectively fish the Beaverhead. The clear water leaves nothing to the imagination as to how many fish are within your reach. While at times, during June’s PMD hatch for example, the fish are very susceptible – often feeding voraciously both subsurface and on dries, the successful angler will have methodically fished the riffles, pools, oxbows and runs – not leaving an inch of water unfished. If one of our rivers calls for the experience of a guide, this is the one.
On any given morning, if the Beaverhead is our destination – our drive will take us up the Lewis and Clark trail, past Beaverhead rock and upstream through the grain fields that attract thousands of waterfowl in the fall of the year. Southwest Montana at its finest, the Beaverhead and its trout will put any fisherman on Montana time.