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redhooks

Fishing Helena area

10 posts in this topic

Hi all-

My wife and I are headed out to Helena (June 10-15) to visit my brother. He just moved out there and doesn't fish much. Anyone have any ideas on what/where for some quality adventures? I was thinking of a renting a driftboat on the missouri for a day and maybe hiking into some lakes or streams? Do I need a flyrod or can I get use spinning gear as well? Thanks,

redhooks

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There is a lot of varied fishing available in the area. I grew up there and will be back over the 4th to visit my family. I don't know exactly what you like to do but maybe this outline will help.

1. Canyon Ferry, Lake Hauser and Lake Holter all offer trout fishing if you have a boat. There are also walleyes in Canyon Ferry.

2. Missouri River. Can be floated, boated or fished from shore depending on what you have available. From toston to townsend is a nice float with good fishing and you can float. There is a guide shop in Townsend offering float trips on the Missouri and I believe the Smith.

3. Crick fishing- Worm dunking for brook trout is available in about every stream around. I would recommend Dry Creek, Deep Creek, Sixteen mile creek, Crow Creek in the Townsend Area. Wolf creek to the north. Dog creek, Spotted dog Creek and the Little blackfoot river by elliston. Prickly pear and others work towards Boulder. Just use a size 6 or 8 hook with a small split shot and a worm drifted into holes. A nice trip is to drive to the top of the Little Blackfoot, park at the campground or if you have a truck,at the trailhead and hike into the meadows and fish down from there. Easy hike. Great fishing.

4 Mountain Lakes. Park lake for shore fishing and drive to ability. If you want to hike there are many lakes out of Townsend/canyon ferry such as Edith, and Hidden abut these are a tough hike at 8000 feet and are probably still ice covered.

Spinning Rod will do everything fine unless you want to fly fish.

Hope this helps.

Ken

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Hey DrKen-

Wow a huge thanks for the great info! I'll be passing this along to my bro for working out a gameplan and will definetly be trying some of the places you mentioned.

He mentioned renting a driftboat and floating the missouri from Craig but I'll look into Toston/townsend as well-how long a float if your fishing it right? 1/2 day or full day?

I think he also mentioned Park lake but thought it had grayling? The crick fishing sounds perfect for taking the wife and dog to enjoy a day.

My bro has a canoe and I'm hoping to talk him and our wives into camping on/near a lake/stream so we can maximize fishing time and minimize drive time, hoping to find something fairly remote but not sure how plausible. Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction drop me aline if/when your heading up my direction and I'll try to do the same.Tightlines,

redhooks

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The toston to townsend float is about 10 miles and could be done in 1/2 day I suppose. There is a access about 1/2 way between that could be used to shorten the trip. If you want to camp relatively close, there are a few choices. My favorite camping is up on crow creek. You can acess this from townsend, toston or winston. Take a .22 and you may find some gophers to shoot also. No need for a canoe, just wade in tennis shoes or waders. Second choice, Kading Campground on the little blackfoot. Upstream is the meadows and this is a not motorized area and you can tube the river or wade. No need for canoe here either. Don't be surprised to see a dozen or more mulies come down at dusk. Of course, Helena it self is full of deer. Watch it when driving in town. Not unusual to see 6-12 deer in a few blocks in much of town, esp upper east side by St. Petes. Third, there is a nice campground but often crowded at Park Lake. Canoe would be great here. If there are grayling in that lake, its new to me but possible. Usually they require colder water. Don't be afraid to go into Capitol Sports and ask questions. They are nice people and one of the best gun shops in the state. Be aware, there are black bears and mountain lions in the area. Practice safe food keeping practices and they should be no problem. Never bothered me in all the years I've hunted and fished in the area.

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Muchos gracias amigo-I'll post some results when we get back and like I said give a shout if yiour heading up this way.

redhooks

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Hey Drken and fellow FMers-

We just got back from Montana and all I can say is WOW what a trip! We brought my pickup and I built a bed under the topper w/ room for our gear underneath. It took 20 hrs to drive out there and we took our time to enjoy the scenery.

We putzed around dickinson and checked out the newest sculpture "Fishermans Dream" along the enchanted hwy. I thought I might share a pic for all the fish fansfishermansdream.jpg

It rained all the way out there and so we wandered around the badlands, had a burger at the iron horse saloon and came out to a flat tire due to sharp scorria on roads. I changed a tired in the mud and rain, lowpoint ofthe trip and not very fun.

They had alot of rain out west before we got out there and then it got warm so there was alot of snowmelt to blow out the rivers so fishing conditions could have been better in most rivers.

The first night we shored fished below the Holter dam and caught a few browns and bows on spinners and raps. My bro lost a bet for biggest fish and had to go for a swim that night;-).

We camped one night at the Houser reservoir and I fished below the dam next morning, no fish but beautiful canyon scenery.

The next night we camped along the little blackfoot and once again the water was high and cloudy due to snowmelt, I tried flies, spinners and crawlers but no fish-didn't matter cuz it was so scenic I took lots of pics, here's one from our campsitelolaandcampfireLblackfoot.jpg

The next night we camped at Park lake, the next morning I brought out the belly boat and kicked around. managed 10 grayling a small cutthroat on the flyrod-they weren't very big but what a blast!ParkLGreyling.jpg

The following day I put my belly boat in below the holter dam and floated down to Craig and then on to stickney landing.It took about 5 hrs, the water was stained and unusally high and fast at 14,000 cfm when it was normally 8-9,000 cfm. I brought the flyrod and heard san juan worms were working but ended up having the best success w/ a plain hook and nightcrawlers on my spinning gear. I caught 5 chunky browns and a couple rainbows, all the fish were fat and great fighters. Here's a pic of a typical brownAnothersweetmobrown.jpgI would have rather been in a drift boat or raft to be able to slow down and work the sidewaters and eddies but that float to Craig and morning on Park lake made it well worth bringing the belly-boat along.

On our way back we looped through the Madison valley and west yellowstone. The salmonflies were just starting to hatch on the lower madison and I was told the fishing will be great when they are in full swing. There were driftboats, rafts and kids in innnertubes floating downriver everywhere so we stopped and fished for a couple hours and I ended up getting my biggest brown ever on a flyrod. MadisonRBrown.jpg

I'm not a very accomplished flyfisherman so this fish was my best catch of the trip! Caught on a sanjuan worm.

The last night we camped below hebgen dam and I missed a few more fish on the fly but it was still fun. we headed north along the edge of yellowstone park and up through bigsky. The gallatin river was high and muddy and there were lots of whitewater rafters going through some really nasty stuff. Next year we plan on spending more time fishing around yellowstone before heading north. All-in-all it was a fantastic trip and I can't wait to go back, my fly rods saw more action last week than in than the last 5 years. Thanks again DrKen for the great info. We're heading back in october for my bros wedding and i'm hoping I can sneak back out to the missouri and try for some fall browns, if not they'll have to wait til next summer. Great trip, tasty beers,York burgers rock and i can't wait to get out west and do it again. tightlines to all!

redhooks

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Glad you had a good time. They must have planted grayling in Park Lake cuz there were none when I was younger but then it must be nearly 30 years since I spent any time up there. I never fished the missouri by wolf creek and craig except for Beaver Creek by York and below Hauser. Fall and winter fishing below Hauser can be absoulutely magnificent. I concentrate on worm dunking in creeks and love that style of getting into the woods where you have to walk in and stay away from crowds. Sometime, when you go back later in year try Edith Lake btween Townsend and White Sulphur on Back side of Canyon Ferry. You can 4wd to trail head then walk about 3 miles through the saddle between Edith and Baldy mountains (about 10,000 ft elev) then down to lake. Doesn't ice out til July and full of 12-14 inch cuts. Can be a ball. Helena has a varied variety of outdoor opportunities and I miss living there. Leaving myself next Sunday to visit my mother there but don't anticipate any fishing but am packing my .22 and hope to get up in hills to fish and shoot. Might be able to borrow truck from brother. Glad to hear you had a good time.

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Hey Redhooks,

Glad to see you enjoyed your taste of the Big Skies. One thing about the Mighty MO, the normal flows for the last 8 years have been closer to the 4000 level and less. So you were flying by in 3+ times the "normal" flows. That is probably why you survived belly boating the MO.(if you mean float tubing with your legs below the surface. Quite a few tube anglers injure themselves on rocks in the powerful currents. I think you were pretty safe with the highwater and it being a tailwater with little debris to worry about. I both float and wade fish my "backyard" river, my favorite being my fishcat pontoon. There are some amazing square tales swimming here.

You may have heard of the two PFD wearing rafters on the Dearborn who lost their lives to a surging snag-filled river. The body of the second one was just recovered this week, under a tree. Things can get tragic in an instant. Not trying to be a downer here, I'm glad you had a good time. If you can time your trip for the first part of July, the water's at it's prime for dry flies with PMDs and Caddis. Right now it's still pretty high at 9700 but fishing surprisingly well below the surface. And the fall browns are monsters.

Drop me a line before your next trip out here and maybe we could rip a few.

Tight Lines and screamin drags

Dave

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Thanks for the info guys. Good luck out there DrKen and I'll put your suggestions in the vault for future reference. I'm glad my bro is planning on staying out there so i'll have many more chances to fish out there.

Copperjon, yeah you concerns about catching crossed my mind as well. There was a local guide who was at the landing w/ a driftboat and he figured it would be all right due to the high water but it was still a little creepy and I don't really plan on doing again. the water wasn't high enough for the Madison though and i was pretty jealous of all the guys floating it in rafts, driftboats and pontoon floats so and i'm planning on getting a pontoon style float boat for future trips. I'm heading back out for my bros wedding in october. I'll have Fri Oct 10th open and will prolly rent a drift boat and possibly a guide for the day to try for some big browns,if your interested give a shout and maybe we can hook up. Tightlines and good fishing to you out there in western paradise1

redhooks

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