We arrived in Bozeman to snow on the ground and about high twenty temps. We hit the road heading west and the snow picked up a bit on our drive towards our cabin along the Big Hole River.
The first day we waited for the temps to warm up a bit before we hit the water. This is called gentleman fishing: sleeping in, having a warm breakfast and then getting to the stream at the warmest part of the day. We walked through some pasture land and came upon a side channel of the Big Hole. With all of the research I had done on flies, my fly boxes were packed with a wide variety to choose from. I thought, why not throw the D&H Bugger for my first fly of the Montana trip. If the smallmouth of Kentucky and Ohio like it, the trout of Montana might share their enthusiasm for the pattern. On my second cast I had a nice follow, but no take. I think I hesitated on my strip and the pause threw the fish off the hunt. It is just like having a bonefish turn away from your fly if you don’t strip just the correct way. I worked my way through an area where the beavers had been busy. Lots of structure to target! I picked the best looking tiny back eddy behind a log jam and lobbed the Bead Head Rubber Leg Brown Bugger in a small piece of quiet water just behind the fast current and BAMM the fight was on. Nice fat brown gave me a big fight in some smallish water. I contined up the bank targeting more structure and the browns liked the Bugger. Never changed the fly or my Rio Big Nasty 10lb bass leader all day. This is the exact same rig and fly on my T&T #6 I have fished around Cincinnati all summer for smallies.