By Walt Gasson
Discover Southwest Montana with Four Rivers Fishing Company, a 50-year-old Montana institution that is renowned as the headquarters for phenomenal trout fishing. This is an authentic Montana-style fly shop run by two young and seasoned outfitters, Chris Knott and Seth McLean. From our very first meeting, I’ve been impressed with these two veteran outfitters. Chris and Seth are not just gear salesmen, they are people who know and care about their home waters and delight in teaching people to fish the heart of Southwest Montana. Four Rivers Fishing Company does indeed fish the heart of it all.
The Big Hole River is one of Montana’s truly great freestones. With more 85 miles of floatable and wadeable water, this river is considered by many anglers to be Montana’s best trout stream. The scenery here is spectacular as the river flows through three different valleys and one beautiful canyon.
The Beaverhead River is the local tailwater. It’s only 30 miles to the headwaters, but there are over 100 miles of floatable, wadeable and fishable water. The upper reaches are a classic tailwater fishery, with reliable aquatic insect hatches all season. While fish numbers drop in the middle and lower reaches, the average size of the fish is often larger than you might expect and fishing pressure declines as well. If one river in Southwest Montana calls for the experience of a guide, this is the one.
The Big Hole and the Beaverhead come together near Twin Bridges to form the Jefferson River. It runs northeast for 77 miles to Three Forks, where it joins the Madison and the Gallatin to form the Missouri. The Jefferson has low angling pressure, alluring trout water and an ever-growing population of rainbow trout. This is water best fished from a driftboat. Techniques vary with season and water temperature, however the folks at Four Rivers Fishing Company can help you crack the code.
The Ruby River is without a doubt one of the area’s most under-fished rivers. It’s very accommodating to the wading angler, and there’s more public access than you can possibly fish (thanks in large part to TU and local ranchers). A tailwater like the Beaverhead but smaller, it supports dense insect life and denser fish populations. The late summer and fall terrestrial fishing is remarkable here, as is the streamer fishing. The Ruby River is a consistent fish producer, even when other rivers are fishing slow.
All these waters and more are the heart and soul of the fabled Missouri headwaters. Chris and Seth know them like their own backyard. Fishing with Four Rivers Fishing Company in Twin Bridges, you can be assured that you will have a great time on the water. We’re grateful that they’re a TU Business member.
Four Rivers Fishing Company
Chris Knott and Seth McLean
Twin Bridges, MT 59754