The second week of the D&H Montana fly fishing adventure was spent on the Ruby River. We had a variety of weather thrown at us. It was mostly sunny with cool mornings and warmer afternoons, but we also had a snow storm thrown in one day. The experience level of the group was all over the board. The guides did a great job and everyone caught fish. The anglers that were new to the sport had a crash course on how to be successful on some of the most beautiful waters the West has to offer.
It is safe to say that a double nymph rig using the famous Chilean Ninja Knot was the most used technique for the group. Some of the customers tried throwing streamers and found out how exciting a chase can be, but also that knowing how to cast comes in handy when you are targeting structure. I stuck with a Bead Head Rubber Leg Bugger with a trailer about one and a half feet behind. A small (size 12) Bead Head flashy Bugger or a large (size 10) flashy nymph worked well for the trailing fly. Our head guide, Juan David (J.D.) from Chile, let me use a nymph with a small marabou tail that worked. I will have to see if the shop can get something like this to stock.
For our streamer fishing, Juan David had us casting upstream and then stripping fast as the flies were traveling towards us. As the flies would pass the fish, the lead fly caught the attention of the fish and the trailing fly would be attacked. This worked quite well most of the times, but I think some of my best fish would slam the lead fly.
I think it is safe to say that the knowledge of the guides is what made the trip a success for many of the anglers.
One story that I want to share happened to me while I was standing along the Upper Ruby River (and I have witnesses!). I had my fly rod in my right hand and I thought the trailing streamer was caught on something so I was looking to my left. The rod was at a forty-five degree angle and the fly line was dropping to the water. I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye to the right and as I turned my head to look, a hawk flying low along the water shot under my fly rod between my legs and the fly line. WOW! We were all shocked. The hawk was about a foot or two away from me.
The day the snow storm hit we thought that we would visit the Winston Fly Rod factory but word in the valley was that it was a white out and the roads were covered in ice. We decided to head the other direction and head further up in the mountains. Jake (rancher owner) and Boone (guide) took our group in four wheel buggies. It was blowing snow and cold.
We were headed up a forest road and keeping our eyes open for game, but it was blowing hard and visibility was not great. Not far from us, we spooked a big bull elk and a cow. They tore through the woods and headed even higher. We also kicked up a group of about fifteen antelope at a fast run. After a cold mountain adventure we were met with homemade chili. The kitchen never let us down.
The next day we headed down in the valley to visit the Winston factory and by the time we made it back to the ranch it had warmed up enough to hit the stream.
I think everyone in our group paid attention to my Gear List and were prepared for whatever Montana had to throw at us.
Can’t wait for next year! -Mark
PS Our head guide, Juan David, will be at D&H Tuesday October 15th at 6pm to give a presentation on next year’s Montana trip and Chilean fishing.