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Five Rivers Lodge, Montana 09-12-1997

"What I thought I saw must have been due to dehydration. An apparition brought on by too much exposure to this hot Montana sun. I would swear I saw a fish rise and inspect something that had drifted by its lie at river's edge. I was on a very small little spring creek... a creek so small I could almost jump across it at many places. The water was crystal clear and flowing silently over a bed of sandy silt and ancient rock. To find a fish in this small a stream was, of course, not unusual, but it was the apparent size of the fish that taxed my imagination. What I saw was as long as my forearm - granted I'm not a big man, but my forearm is 18" and this fish was bigger than that.

I stared at the spot a long time, hoping for a repeat performance that would either confirm my sighting, or dispel my perceptual ravings. Nothing, no rise, no shadows, nothing to help explain what I thought I had seen. If there was a fish, it was tight to the bank, under the overhanging vegetation, just waiting, as was I, for the next bug to float by.

As my patience quickly drained away, I tied on a small hopper, climbed quietly down the bank, and stripped line off my reel. I trailed line downstream measuring the distance, then turned and, with heart pounding, made two false casts, trying to quickly measure both distance and trajectory. The fly landed upstream of my spot, but noisily and too far to the right. I didn't dare cast again, so I waited for the hopper to drift past the "fish."

What happened next was what can only be described as one of those moments that you know you will remember forever. The kind of angling moment that fly fishermen in their eighties recount and we all take for mere exaggerations brought on by time and the kindness of memory.

From under the moss came a brown trout of such dimensions that my heart literally raced to keep up with my eyes. Huge, thick, relaxed and confident, the big brown inhaled a half-cup of water, leaving a blank sheen on the surface where my fly had been. I reflexively raised my rod tip - I was much too addled at this point for conscious thought - and the handle came firm at about mid arc.

The huge fish raced upstream, making a long slashing run, then stopped and rooted his nose on the bottom; he then turned to the stream's bank, seeking a hiding spot in the thick moss. I pulled hard on the rod, and slowly coaxed him from the weeds, wishing I had used a 4x instead of 5x tippet. He turned and headed downstream directly at me. I backed out of the stream and, using his momentum, landed him half-submerged onto a little, shallow, sandy bar. The big fish didn't move - he was gigantic, 23" and broad. His gill plates continued to suck in water, but his tail was too shallow to get any purchase for escape. I quickly measured him and turned him around to point his head upstream. I didn't want to let him go - I knew this was a moment you would be hardpressed to ever repeat. But the big brown flapped his tail twice and settled the issue. I stood there in that spot beside a clear, little spring creek on a hot September day, under a blue Montana sky, and shook my head at the wonder of it all"

I'm often asked where I would go if I had a few days or even a week to trout fish. Where would be the best water, the most water, the biggest fish, the fewest people. Well, this year I found the answer.

In the southwestern corner of Montana, lies a valley surrounded by the high peaks of the Beaverhead National Forest and the Ruby Mountains. Within minutes driving time of this valley, lies many of the top blue ribbon trout streams in America. The Ruby, the Upper and Lower Beaverhead, the Big Hole, the Jefferson, as well as numerous spring creeks and private ponds find a home here.

The magnificent Five Rivers Lodge is nestled among the rolling hills of this gorgeous valley and is situated for best access to these superb trout streams. The Five Rivers Lodge has all the amenities you would expect from a first class operation. Your meals will be taken, at your convenience, in a spacious dining room that boasts a magnificent view of the "Big Sky" country. The meals are superb (best described as healthy gourmet); they rival anything I have had at any other lodge ever. All the guides are very experienced, friendly, and quite skilled at finding fish and helping their clients catch them. Along with wonderful accommodations, the Five Rivers Lodge has everything in place to comfortably and successfully fish a wide variety of Montana's least crowded waters. A bit more about the fishing: The lodge has access to four miles of a spring creek, four and one-half miles of the Lower Beaverhead, and several private ponds. All these private waters are within ten minutes of the lodge. It is not uncommon to hook 8-10 fish over 20" per day on the spring creek. Many of the fish spotted are 24"-26". To insure continued quality fishing, the spring creek and Lower Beaverhead are each divided into seven sections. Two anglers may fish each section only once every seven days.

Five Rivers Lodge's private ponds are home to very large, feisty rainbows, ranging from 3-6 pounds. Fifteen to twenty fish days per angler are common with many days in the thirty plus category recorded.

Five Rivers Lodge also has private access to four and one-half miles of the Ruby River. This may be one of the best small river fisheries for wading in Montana. Rod fees on the spring creek, the Lower Beaverhead, the private ponds, and the Ruby River are $50 per day per person. (Fees are passed directly to the ranch owners.) The lodge also has exclusive access to six and one-half miles of the Big Hole, and five miles of the middle section of the Upper Beaverhead. In addition to these private waters, the Big Hole, the Upper Beaverhead, and the Jefferson rivers are all within fifteen to thirty minutes of the lodge.

You could basically fish your brains out every day, all summer and still not cover the available water. Many returning fisherman who have fished all over the world, including Alaska and New Zealand, rate the Five Rivers Lodge as the finest of them all. The lodging, food, atmosphere, and hospitality are second to none. The fishing is the best you will find in Montana and some of the best available in the world today.

Written by Scott Heywood



P.O. Box 845 • Sheridan, Wyoming 82801 • (P) 800-211-8530 • (F) 307-672-3920
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