Bird dogs Lily and Gracie
Montana has some of the finest wild upland bird hunting in the country. That said, having the right tool for the job will help improve your chances of knocking them down cleanly.
West of the divide Montana offers some extraordinary mountain grouse hunting. Mountain grouse consist of three species; blue, ruffed and spruce. All three species are found in high numbers especially in the northwest corner of the state.
Blue grouse are found in high elevations and in habitat that includes more open, park like areas of Douglas fir stands. Blues hold nicely for pointing dogs and are very user friendly for flushing dogs as well. Closer in size to a pheasant, these birds are big, strong, flyers and prefer to pump their wings a few times and then glide down the gradient making for some fantastic and challenging shooting.
Ruffed grouse, the king of the uplands, are also found in high numbers in the northwest part of the state. Ruffed much prefer secondary growth, creekbottoms, alder, and anywhere else that’s cool, dark, and not easily penetrated by a human. Ruffed are one of the most challenging upland birds to hit as they are extremely fast and seemingly fly through impossibly thick cover. However, it’s important to keep in mind ruffed grouse go down easily. One pellet can knock a ruffed to the ground so point and shoot, follow through, and often you’ll be surprised when your dog returns with a lovely prize.
Spruce grouse, while not exactly the strongest of fliers, are a lovely trophy and make a very handsome mount for the wall. Spruce grouse inhabit much thicker areas of spruce forsts and other evergreen species and generally stay in the same area. Sometimes making a good shot on a spruce grouse involves waiting until the bird has cleared the canopy since they often like to fly straight up.
Keep in mind the type of habitat each of these birds prefers and you will find more and ultimately have more success.
Fishing streamers is certainly one the most effective ways to catch big fish. The three patterns below will serve you well here in Montana.
One of my favorites and one of the most ubiquitous streamer across the country, the tung-head black wooly bugger is as down and dirty as they get. More big fish are caught across the state with a big, black bugger than perhaps any other pattern. Another important and effective pattern is the white, marabou muddler minnow. It looks great in the water and has especially good movement and lifelike qualities that drive big fish crazy. Finally, never leave home without an olive, conehead Zuddler. Basically a bunny strip variation, this pattern also moves well in the water, gets down fast, and pulls big fish from their hidey holes.
Try these three streames this season in Montana and catch more, big fish.
There are thousands of nymph patterns the world wide. But if you’re heading to Montana this season, the five listed below will surely help you catch more fish.
A size 14 bead-head hare’s ear is an absolute neccessity. Just as important is a size 14 beadhead pheasant tail. Also, never leave home without a size 12 beadhead copper John or a size 10 brown stonefly nymph. Finally, it’s always a good idea to have something small and a size 18 black, beadhead zebra nymph might just save the day on a few tailwaters.
If you’re headed to Montana during the month of July there are five must have dry flies.
The first is one of the most popular flies across the country and a size 14 parachute Adams will catch fish anywhere in the state. It’s also a good idea to have a size 16 tan, sparkle dun. Never leave home without a size 12 royal Wulff that will serve you well as a searching pattern or even as an indicator while fishing a dry fly and dropper nymph. Keeping in mind the huge hatches of caddis patterns during the month it’s absolutely necessary to have a tan, size 14 elk hair caddis. Finally, another important caddis pattern should be in your box. The Goddard caddis is very useful since it floats really well and is easy to see and a size 14 covers all major hatches across the state.
If you have these five dry flies in your box during the month of July in Montana, generally speaking you’ll always catch a few fish.
Book now and save on your 2010 trophy whitetail hunt. Join Linehan Outfitting Company for a hunt of a lifetime here in the northwest corner of Montana. Limited availability so contact us quickly and keep in mind non-resident license applications have to be processed by March 15.
Montana trophy whitetail