Old Missoula

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1891 Fishing Roundup (12-to-15-pounders frequently caught)

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The article below is taken from the Missoulian Sentinel Centennial Edition of July 27, 1960:


1891 Fishing Roundup Says Sport Good All Directions

A fishing roundup for the Missoula area in July of 1891 said, in part:

To the genuine fisherman the entire Bitter Root Valley is one vast fish pond. From above Grantsdale, 45 miles away, all the way down to the city, there is not a puddle or slough which is not a likely place. Grantsdale is reached by train, leaving here at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and getting there in time for supper. It is left in the morning and Missoula reached again about 11 o’clock, so that it affords an excellent place for a fish of one day or longer.

Plenty of Fish

The main river and the sloughs running through the meadows teem with fish, and the season opens in dead earnest in the middle of July, at which time 12 – 15 – pounders are frequently caught. Down through Stevensville, Victor and Corvallis it is the same story, the mouths of the various creeks affording particularly good spots.

The Lolo empties into the Bitter Root 12 miles south of the city at a spot easily reached by wagon or other vehicle, or by train, which leaves Missoula at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and returns at 11 o’clock the next day, giving ample opportunity for late and early fishing.

It is also a good spot to start for early in the morning with a rig and return at night. From the mouth of Lolo the fishing is good all the way up to Lolo Springs, 40 miles from Missoula and reached by stage and private conveyance. There are excellent hotel accommodations. The road up Lolo lies in several places up the bed of the creek and is not passable except in low water.

Camas Prairie, 14 miles to the east, up the Blackfoot Valley, is another good spot. It is reached by conveyance from here or from Bonner, and the fishing is unusually good, beginning a little earlier than up the Bitter Root and lasting longer. Gold Creek, just this side of Camas Prairie, is another famous spot on this route.

Scenery ‘Magnificent’

The train for the Coeur d’Alene branch leaves here at 7:30 in the morning and returns at 6:40 in the evening. All along this route the fishing is excellent and the scenery magnificent. The fishing is early and the fish seem to be less fastidious concerning the kind of fly used here than on any other route.

Along this route is Fish Creek, 40 miles away, and Trout Creek, 50 miles away. At the latter was caught by Mr. Maguire the fish which leads the race for the rod which G. N. Hartley will give to the man catching the biggest fish by July 1. The fish weighs 9 pounds 5 ounces.

Other Likely Spots

For an afternoon’s drive with fishing or for a day or half day’s walk, for those who like to combine pedestrianism with their piscatorial efforts, Grant Creek, four miles west; Pattee Canyon five or six miles south, and the familiar Rattlesnake just east of town, are about the thing. The fish in the latter place are small and it is a good place for ladies’ fishing parties, with a picnic thrown in.

Rattlesnake is so near town as to be rather too well patronized to suit the taste of the genuine sportsman, but the fish are there and if you can get a silent party, you can catch them. Grant Creek has furnished some notable catches, though so far this year nothing vey great has been accomplished.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 May 2016 01:42