Salmonchanted Evening

The Big Hole River is the first choice of any Butte-area angler, with its wide variety of hatches and hungry trout. Just 30 minutes south of Butte on I-15, there is a chance at rainbows, browns, cutthroat, brook trout, whitefish, and grayling. Summer fishing is highlighted with the start of salmon flies in the beginning of June, with Golden Stones quick to follow. Terrestrials are abundant throughout the summer and a great choice for topwater action. Nymphing can always be good with a variety of flies like pheasant tails, princes, stonefly nymphs, and caddis pupa. Keep your eyes open for a variety of mayfly and caddis hatches as well. Tricos and spruce moths are the highlight to the end of summer. The spruce moth can be imitated with a light-tan colored elk-hair caddis in a size #10, #12, or #14. The Big Hole can also produce a lot of fish on many different streamers. The sculpzilla is a very effective streamer that is articulated and has new colors for 2008.

The “Spillway” can be an enjoyable fishery and it is only 20 minutes west of Butte on Interstate 90. This is the start of the Clark Fork River and is located right at the Warm Springs exit. The draw to the spillway is the chance to catch huge rainbows and browns. It is typical tailwater fishing here with small nymphs, such as pheasant tails, scuds, and midges. There is occasional topwater action with a variety of attractor patterns, and at the end of July it offers great hopper fishing.

Georgetown Lake is about 45 minutes west of Butte on I-90. The biggest hatch on the lake takes place around the Fourth of July when the damsel nymphs start to swim to the shore. Any damsel nymph can be fished with great success during this period. The damsel adult can be fished as well, doing best in the morning and evenings. The damsel is followed by a huge caddis that is a size #6 or #8. Fish a large Goddard caddis or attractor pattern well into the evening during this hatch. Skate them across the surface and hold on. Throughout the summer you can also try chronomids, leeches, and buggers. Rainbows are the primary fish caught, but there is a chance for brookies and browns.

Mike Marcum owns the StoneFly Fly Shop in Butte, which has up-to-date information and a large fly selection. 406-494-0707;