Bighorn River, Montana with Gwyn and Angie

12th -17th September 2013

After his three week crash course in fly-fishing Montana, it was time to bring Gwyn to the fly-fishing “Mecca” which is the Bighorn River. We picked up all the supplies we needed at Laurel, being especially careful to ensure the beer levels were up, as no alcohol is sold on the Crow Reservation where the river is located.

We ran errands while our friends set up their tent at the free camp ground at Afterbay. Having heard Gwyn reassure Angie that there were almost definitely no bears there, we thought we'd better not tell them who we encountered on the way to fill up the water tanks!

Once camp was set, we headed to the dam at Afterbay to introduce Gwyn to the river. It wasn't long before he hooked his first trout!

If you go down to fill your water today, beware of a big surprise!

Gwyn's first Bighorn trout

The competition

Next day Phil and Gwyn floated down the river from Afterbay Dam to Three-Mile Access in the canoe. At moments the trip was a little fraught due partly to Phil's inexperience of paddling and Gwyn being a relative novice to float fishing but they boys arrived back happy, having had lots of good hits.

Meanwhile the girls had a hot hike along the river bank but couldn't access far enough to be able to spot the canoe. Ice cream was definitely called for after a hot and humid afternoon. Unfortunately the heat was only a prelude to the heavy rain which started during the evening fish at the dam and lasted almost entirely through the next day.

Off to float the Bighorn. “You're supposed to be floating downstream boys!”

Bighorn landscape

The next day was spent almost entirely in the 22 foot confines of Harvey-the-RV watching the pouring rain threatening to swamp our friends' tent. We were impressed how Gwyn and Angie had selected almost the only spot in the camp ground which didn't turn into a lake but eventually Gwyn had to start drainage excavations around the tent to divert the flow of water. A brief break in the rain meant we could get some much needed fresh air and a short spell of fishing at the dam before having to retreat back indoors to watch a movie. We were surprised when our friends gamely disappeared off to their waterfront canvas property for the night, scrambling through the mud to get to bed. We left the door open just in case!

Next day it was Phil and Christine's turn to float the river and Gwyn and Angie took a trip in Harvey, with the shuttle delivery driver, to Three Mile Access, where they spent the day kindly renovating our mountain bikes and doing some fishing.

Meanwhile on the river things were going well. It always helped to catch the first fish straight away, took the pressure off the fisherman. We'd barely floated away from the dam when Phil landed his first fish. We also made a stop at the small stream, behind the first island on the river. Here Phil stealthily stalked the huge rainbows which were lurking and landed two whoppers!

Huge rainbow from the shallow stream

First Fish

The evening found us back below the dam where due to Gwyn's fishing success, we named his particular fishing location “Gwyn's spot”!

Next morning everything took a lot of drying out before we could pack up but it was time to start heading back towards Bozeman for our friends' return flight.

We made a stop on the Yellowstone River that night in a beautiful fishing access called “Grey Bear” about 50 miles from Bozeman. The fishing wasn't too spectacular but the thunder and hail storm which arrived just as we did was amazing.

Gwyn's Spot Bighorn River

Well it is a fishing access!

Gwyn and Angie's final day in the USA was spent in the traditional American passion of shopping. We headed back to Bozeman and while Harvey got some fresh oil, we explored the lively down town area and enjoyed a delicious lunch at the downtown food Co-op.

The afternoon took us to all the huge sporting goods superstores, mostly to check out the array of stuffed beasties on display. The girls visited the two large craft stores and there was a final visit to Walmart before we spent the night in their car park!

First thing next morning we dropped them off at the airport after a fun four weeks.

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