Picture of the Day: High-Water Special

Written by: Brandon Bodecker

Bridger and Big Trout

Twelve-year-old Bridger put aside his preference for dry flies and worked a deep
nymph rig on the Missouri to great effect.

photo courtesy Brandon Bodecker

Our excessive snowpack and torrential rains of May and early June have led to some challenging times for anglers and outfitters alike in Montana. I am usually guiding on the Smith River this time of year and don’t get to spend a lot of time with my family, so when my 12-year-old son Bridger said, “Hey dad, how bout we go fishing?” I couldn’t say no.

Over the last few years, Bridger has become a bit of a dry-fly snob, which I had to explain to him was not going to cut it on this fishing trip. I told him that if we were going to catch fish, we were going to have to go deep––“and by deep I mean twelve feet down.” He said “okay” and off we went to the mighty Missouri.

The sun was shining for the first time in what seemed like forever, and it looked like one of those days that felt like it was going to be a special one, regardless of how the fish treated us. When we got to the river, I decided to rig up my 10-foot five-weight Helios, hoping that the extra length would help Bridger both in casting a heavy rig––double split shot to a beaded San Juan worm to another beaded San Juan––as well as give him some extra length for mending. This call on the rod, along with Bridger’s perseverance resulted in an epic day on the Mo.

We landed many beautiful rainbows during the course of the day, and finished up with the slab 23-inch rainbow in the photo above. I think his smile tells it all.

Brandon Boedecker is the owner of PRO Outfitters in Helena, Montana.

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