Fishing during Duck season on the Clarkfork in Missoula

Posted: Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Fishing during Duck season on the Clarkfork in Missoula Image


I Went down to the river to kill a couple hours  while my daughter was doing a 9-noon soccer practice yesterday.  Nice Sunday morning, cloudy and cool I thought the Blue Winged Olives would be on the water and the Trout might be looking up.  The access I went to is a State Park, with the main channel of the river about a half mike walk.  I put my waders on, grabbed my stuff and took off down the trail.  The trail had a big sign at the gate warned of a wounded bear in the area.  Wounded I thought huh?  Shot? hit by a car? and how badly would it be wounded to hang around the park.  While walking near the river in some particularly thick brush, I was thinking bears, when I caught the whiff of a Camel cigarette.   With all the No smoking rules it actually made me stop and make sure it was what I smelled, just then 4-5 quick shots were fired about 15 yards to my right from a 12 gauge.  I am not usually one to jump, but it scared the Sh*% out of me.  When I came out of the brush I could see a guy and his son standing behind a log in a great spot, ambushing ducks that were flying in a side channel.  I made eye contact and told them I was going to beat it out of there way and sorry for intruding on the hunt.  They were super pleasant and said no sweat, I made my way upstream to a spot I thought would have fish feeding but alas the sun was out and I was not seeing anything more than a sporadic rise just out of casting range.  I few more shots from the hunters that sent a shower of pellets into the middle of the river in front of me and I was ready to try a different spot, fall trout can be fairly spooky and a spray of shot seemed to stop the rises completely.

I crossed over a side channel in front of the hunters and moved down stream to get out the the way.  I caught a few decent fish down stream and then headed back to pick up my daughter.  I ran into the hunters in the parking area and visited with them for a minute.  They said they had a person get all pissed and turn around and leave when they saw them with hunting gear.

Hello, we all like to be on the river and hunting is not banned so I guess leaving was the option they had.   If they had any sense they would have realized the duck hunters were going home and the whole park, bear and all, could be theirs to enjoy joying the final days of fall.   The guys were being safe and I felt fine to be out fishing while they were hunting.  We have so few of these public places close to town its a bummer when conflicts arise that are completely unnecessary.   Looks like fall is here, maybe the BWO will be out in force next Sunday morning as well.