I hosted a group of friends and clients on a destination fly fishing trip at Crane Meadow Lodge (www.cranemeadow.addr.com) in Twin Bridges, MT last week. This is an annual trip for me and was our 14th year at the lodge. We fished the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Jefferson, Ruby and Madison Rivers in southwest Montana where we caught and released numerous brown and rainbow trout and some brookies during the week. We fished streamers and a variety of grasshopper dry fly patterns, often with a nymph dropper, on 4, 5 and 6-weight fly tackle. We also had some dry fly action with tricos and a few other bugs.
Dennis Kinley and Brad Barrett, from IN, David Morgan from Sarasota, FL and I met up in Bozeman on Saturday afternoon, 8/8 and made the 90-mile drive to the lodge in Twin Bridges. Mike Perez, from Sarasota, FL, met up with us at the lodge and Tim Siegel, from IN joined us later in the week.
David Morgan and I fished the Jefferson one day with guide Dan Allen and caught and released a few browns and rainbows and the Beaverhead another day with guide Tom Caffrey. The action on the Beaverhead was very good with some big browns, rainbows and a cutthroat caught and released that day. The cutthroat was a surprise since they’re not usually caught in that area. David also had a good day catching and releasing lots of brookies on the upper Big Hole with guide Matt.
I fished the Beaverhead with Mike Perez and guide Dave King and had a good day catching and releasing some big browns and rainbows. Brad Barrett also fished with Mike and Dave and had some good action a couple of days. Dennis Kinley and I fished a spot on the Beaverhead with guide Tom Caffrey another day and caught and released a few big browns. Tim Siegel came in later in the week and had some good action with guide Matt wading the Beaverhead and floating the Big Hole.
Just like fishing in many places around the world, there were a few great days and some slower ones, but the variety of fishing available is one of the best things about Crane Meadow Lodge. The fishing there is by either floating or wading and the weather and scenery are outstanding. Temperatures ranged from a very comfortable high 40’s in the morning to the mid 80’s in the afternoon with low humidity, a welcome relief from southwest Florida’s heat and humidity in August. In addition to beautiful valleys surrounded by rugged mountains, the wildlife is amazing! We saw whitetail and mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, hawks, eagles, ducks, geese and sand hill cranes and enjoyed some outstanding meals prepared by Chef Nick back at the lodge every evening.
Back in Sarasota, catch and release snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges and trout, blues and more on deep grass flats should be good options. Reds are schooling on flats of Sarasota Bay and there should still be some tarpon in the coastal gulf. You should also find tarpon in upper Charlotte Harbor and areas of Sarasota and Tampa Bay. Juvenile tarpon in canals and creeks or around bridges are also good options.
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
Email: [email protected]