Call nowBook now

Montana’s Winter : Blackfoot River

I like the Blackfoot River the most and the least.  The latter is not her fault. Quiet winter weekday hikes remind me to favor her more.

I wince when the summer waves of boats are aggressively mining her generous naive small fish population while inebriated tubers treat here like a free for all water park.

I wish she had to fight less. But those battles are part of her identity and have brought many allies to her charge to remain a river that groans to stay wild.

Aerial Photo Blackfoot River Winter

Deep Blue Veins of the Blackfoot River

Her pure veins hold strong populations of the native bull trout and west slope cutthroats.  The big ones get smart quickly as the water drops in the summer and turn over the task of eating poorly presented flies to the juvenile members of the species.

She smiles and winks when breaks in the fishing storm deliver rugged beauty dripping solitude. The quiet days of  fleeing opportunities to tangle with our largest wild trout are some of my favorite of the season.

Round Up Boat Ramp Blackfoot River Montana

Vacant Boat Ramp, Blackfoot River Montana

It is a river I watch at a distance, waiting for a private showing. I like her best when she is relaxed and loose with her gifts.

I prefer a quiet picnic over standing in line for an amusement park ride.

Boat Ramp Sign Blackfoot River Montana

Snowed in Boat Ramp – Corrick’s River Bend

Like water and weather the herd angler’s focus ebbs and flows unpredictably, so fishing windows are always opening and shutting.

Overlook Blackfoot River

High Pines and Blackfoot Blue

I understand the comfortable love of the Blackfoot river. The moth abhors leaving his favorite lumen, so the gentleness of the the Blackfoot can hold an angler tight.

She lacks the wicked streak that can snarl from some of our other Missoula rivers.

The Blackfoot River is utterly friendly.

Red Rocks Pool near Missoula

Reflections and Quiet, Red Rocks Middle Blackfoot

Much like the easy natured family dog who tolerates the most wicked of children pulling on ears so the Blackfoot lays by the fire and slinks off when the most aggressive offenders charge in.

High Pines on the Banks of the Blackfoot

Sun Peaking into the Blackfoot Valley

I like to drive the Blackfoot Recreation corridor road in the winter. The road is much like the river. Sometimes it is busy with the steady push of hunting rigs, logging trucks, and snowmobiles. Others days it is a slow crawl in four wheel drive cutting fresh tracks and listening to the crack and flow of winter’s continuous battle of ending movement while life fights to stay animated.

Photo Joe Cummings Camera Missoula fishing guides

Parking at Whitaker Bridge

These winter drives remind me again that looking around at anything other than a fly floating merely on the surface has great value.

Blackfoot River near Potomac Montana

Horseshoe Bend Blackfoot River

So the Blackfoot becomes a conversation with her having her own voice if you choose to listen.

Round up fishing Access Blackfoot River

Roundup Boat Launch

The Blackfoot river is a great companion to share a meal with. So I take lunch breaks in her silence when she is relaxed .

Neither of us talk much.

She is friendly, always friendly.

Whitaker Bridge, Blackfoot River near Missoula Montana

Whitaker Bridge, Blackfoot River Montana

This photo essay was created by Joe Cummings, Bio – Missoula Fly Fishing Guides, Owner Missoula River Lodge.