Last Saturday wast the 3rd Sat. in May, whihc means the opening of general season. This weekend usually comes and goes without too much fuss every year because of the fact that the majority of our rivers are open the entire year. Also, things are typically pretty crappy this time of year anyway because of the runoff situation. The Beaverhead is the exception to the rule.
The little tailwater below Clark Canyon, which used to be home to some of the highest trout numbers in the state, is a seasonla Mecca from anglers around the regions. License plates from MT, WY, UT, and Id are everywhere along that 7 or 8 miles of newly opened water. The crowds pack into every little hole between the Buffalo Bridge and the Dam. The fishing is typically pretty good, though the drought years have reduced numbers and average size quite a bit. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of fish and plenty of nice ones too, so the crowds continue to come.
This year saw me out on the water with some friends at midnight. We had the water to ourselves and the flows were very high, making midnight streamer fishing a bit tough. So, we retired at 1:30 and I headed back out at 4 am, expecting my friends to follow in short order. As I stood in the hole in the rain, waiting for it to be light enough to fish, they laid in their tents listening to the rain. They showed up around 6:30, after which time I had fended off several would be hole nabbers. The fishing was good, but smaller average size than I'm used to, on scuds, sowbugs and worms. The nice thing about the Beav early season is that the fish aren't picky yet and you can get away with fishing generic patterns on heavy tippets.
We floated from Buffalo to Henneberry later that day and picked up a few fish along the way, but it was not "off the hook."
Day too saw more earnest efforts by the dreaded hole nabbers and we gave in without much of a fight and opted for another float. Fishing was better on day two down lower on the river, but you really had to find some good structure that porvided a break from the heavy currents. Same gig as before, but more fish and some nice ones too.
I don't mind the crowds down there, but then I don't mind telling someone to get the hell out of my way either. Nothing says give me some room better than a sloppy roll cast over your neighbors' rig! Ettiquette lessons should be mandatory nowadays and the Beav would be a great place to start a pilot project. Hell, the regs are already confusing enough and non-residents can't float certain stretches on certain days (yet they don't get a discount on their fishing licenese), why not implement a mannner stamp program as well, for both residents and non-residents? Then maybe everyone could just get along. The most valuable lesson I learned from my ealry days at the Beaverhead was that this is not the place to go chill out on a log and enjoya day of solitude. No, this is combat fishing...western style...whihc is ok...you just have to know that that is what it is!