Four Project Healing Waters Participants fished Montana’s legendary scenic Bighorn River May 30-June 3, 2017. Lodging, a cozy cabin complete with kitchen, was donated by Phil Morin, the owner of Cottonwood Camp. Bob Frey and Ron Young stayed with the participants, cooked the breakfasts, prepared lunches, and cooked two of the evening dinners. The Bighorn Trout Shop and Garrison Stoker Resort donated the other two delicious evening meals. Bob, Ron, Phil, and camp guide Brady guided the participants for three days drift boat fishing. A highlight of the trip was a visit to the Little Bighorn Battlefield on the way to the lodge.
Due to the regions’ above average snowpack, the river was (very!) high, running at 14,000 cubic feet/second (normal summer flows are 2500 cfs)! Despite the challenging conditions, everyone caught lots of big, strong, wild rainbows and browns. The “name of the game” was lots of weight (a minimum of two 3/0 split shot!) and strike indicators set ten feet up the leader. Needless to say, both casting and landing a fish on such rigs presented a bit of a challenge! Everyone had a bit of a difficulty initially casting these rigs, but they all soon proved to be equal to the task. By the end of the trip, the Bighorn fish truly feared them.
We would like to thank Phil, Brady, and the Fort Smith community for their generosity in making this outstanding event possible.
By Bob Frey, Volunteer Trip Leader