Fly fishing Big Spring Creek in Lewistown, Montana is one of those places that is hard to reach. It’s out there, not on the way to anything and you are likely to cross more than one world class fishery on your way. I was coming off a Missouri River fishing trip and happened to find myself in Great Falls, living in a van right in the middle of hunting season and a warm late October week so I jetted over to Lewistown. Initially, my plan was to chase mule deer and I found no shortage of opportunity there. Every piece of public land and block management I hiked had great numbers. I hadn’t seen the buck I wanted through so I headed to downtown for some gas and a day of fishing Big Spring Creek.
I’d heard plenty about the fishery and the clean water source and it didn’t disappoint. It meanders through the valley with deep, undercut banks that have a ton of potential for big browns. The first few fish I caught however were healthy rainbows in the 12-16 inch class. They fought hard and were fun fish, all caught on the nymph.
After a while of nymphing, I threw a white streamer and it just wasn’t happening. It seems like one of those fisheries that is either red hot or absolutely not on the streamer. I did move one brown about 19-20 inches but he was way late and slow on the attack. I think all of the fresh leaves passing through the water had an impact on the fishing. I was also fishing close to town at what is likely a more popular access site.
After spending a few hours on this fishery, I moved to a new hunting camp but am thinking about jumping back down on the water after a few days chasing deer on the mountain. There is a ton of great wade fishing water to explore on this awesome Montana trout fishery. The Judith River is also close and while it doesn’t seem like a robust trout fishery, it’d be fun to fish. Driving around this area, I’m realizing there are a ton of creeks, some interesting lakes and some really incredible far country and land to explore.