Fishing: Clark Fork of the Big Stan
Thought I'd take a quick trip up to the Clark Fork on Friday, leaving mid-day. The traffic was nuts, even at 1:30pm -- but man was it worth it. The Clark Fork Sand Flats campsite is just so beautiful. We go there around 6pm (normally it'd have been 4:30-5pm, the traffic was so bad) and hit the river before we even put gear in our campsite.
The campground permits car camping or a short walk-in to some amazing sites directly on the river. We took one of those, my buddy fished up stream and I walked down about .125 of a mi and then fished up. I caught one 10" planter looking, no poor colors but healthy. Took him on a #18 black beadheaded copperjohn under some brush on the side of the river right below one of the walk-in campsites.
My buddy hooked a fish he thinks was 14" or so but didn't land him, he said the fish shook his #16 or so sized flashback pheasant tail.
We set up camp in one of the river-side sites and wow was it beautiful! The river rushing past 10 ft from our fire pit. A quick dinner of hotdogs, beer and whiskey and we passed out.
The next morning we drove to the upstream end of the road next to the river and while some spots looked good, we didn't get the bug to stop there. We fished just upstream from the 2nd bridge along the road west of the 108. There were some wonderful spot for fish to hide and while I only caught one, working a deep seam with a bead headed flash back black AP. The fish really didn't seem to be biting, it was pretty damn hot and the water was a bit murky. I heard one fisherman tell of some recent storms higher up on the mountain. The water wasn't tea dark or anything -- but a bit less than the gin clear I have seen there often in the past.
Bait fishermen were a-plenty near the campsite and the main reason we moved farther along. My pal had one gut chuck a lure right into the riffle he was nymphing (not good form you hardware chuckers!) He also saw another bait guy fishing treble hooked red-dye salmon eggs rip the gills out of a 12" trout with his pliers, not knowing how to remove the hook. I guess if you are fishing trebles for river planted trout, you intend to eat it... We saw none of them down near the bridges. We saw a few other fly casters, none wading (we both were, and you needed to for some of the prime spots. No one else was having great luck either, it was guys with 1-2 fish or guys with none. No one having a banner day.