Friday, June 11, 2010

Travel: Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest

Each spring as soon as the roads in the BNF are passable we head to one of the many tributaries of the Big Hole to fish...at least that is Plan A. Many times, especially early on high water cancels the fishing and forces us to switch to Plan B...basically this involves nothing more complicated than taking a hike...poking around would be another way of putting it.

As this photo shows the ongoing pine beetle infestation is taking a terrible toll. One that will change the look of the forest for many decades...way more than we have left. With no end in sight and essentially no way of stopping it until it runs its course...however long that is...many millions acres forest stands to be lost. Aside from the obvious loss scenery-wise a wildland fire starting at the wrong time and place...well, it could really be something. 

I can't tell you how many trout have grabbed our flies in this little crick over the many years we've known it but...a bunch doesn't begin to tell the tale. Even with it raging as we found early this spring still all it usually takes is a couple swings of a soft hackle or a few drifts of whatever dry happens to suit our fancy at the moment.

Once runoff ends Annie can easily hop across this crick just about anywhere. Even shakers have no problem finding a narrow enough spot to step across. Like the one pictured above it too holds more trout than you can shake the proverbial stick...brook, rainbow, rainbow/cutthroat hybrids and even the occasional pure strain cutthroat...at least that's how we call 'em...biologists of course disagree...but hell, if it quacks like a duck...

Twin Lakes in the west Big Hole is among the prettiest lakes around. Although from our point of view one of the lousiest fishin' holes around. I think I might have once had a tug but then again that could be just an old man's vivid imagination. I know for sure have never landed a single trout here...supposed to hold the remnants of a native strain of lake trout and rainbow but like I said can't prove it by me.

The BDNF is so huge it boggles the mind...something like 3.5 million acres. A few days ago we drove 3 hours on the highway to Wade Lake, down below Ennis not far from the 3-Dollar Bridge and just a hop skip and jump from Yellowstone National Park..yep, you guessed it still in the BDNF.

This time around Plan A was to celebrate our Anniversary...29, maybe 39 years but who's counting...In case you wondered the celebration came off without a hitch, while Plan B the fishing...well there wasn't much fishing. But we did get to poke around for a few days in one of the niftiest corners the forest and one thing not lacking was the wildflower viewing...Although due to the weird spring we've been enduring peak wildflower season is still a week or so away...anyway twas a fun time enjoyed by all, ugly dogs included.

This is Wade's sister Cliff Lake just over the hill. Both are part of the so-called Chain of Lakes which includes Elk, Hidden, Goose, Otter and Smith. Unlike most other "chains" these are not anyway connected and a far hike indeed should you want to go end to end...But all are scenic, essentially un-developed, feature some the bluest water on the planet with white sand shallows, and pretty good fishing (bring a boat)...I know better but for reasons I still don't understand failed to act...geezer thinking strikes again...ahhgg 

Good bourbon, good wine, good steaks, great company, like I said, all in all a pretty damn nifty way to celebrate don't you agree...

This guy "did" think to bring a boat...

Three Dollar Bridge on the upper Madison River...
Mama moose and baby just above our campground within sight Wade Lake...

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