Fly Fishing Glacier National Park


If there ever was a place where catching fish just didn’t matter…Glacier National Park is it! Just recently my wife Vickie and I did a serious loop of the United States; 7,131 miles in total from southern Indiana to Oregon, Washington and back. We hooked up with the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark in Missouri and over the next couple of weeks the trails intertwined as we moved across Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and then on into Oregon, Astoria to be exact.

It was an eye opening trip as each mile we would think about the folks who traversed our great country; Lewis and Clark (The Corp of Discovery) and the thousands that walked, rode and suffered their way across to Oregon via the Oregon Trail. At times we were literally standing in wagon ruts and on spots that The Corps had graced. If you haven’t made this journey then you owe it to yourself…you won’t ever forget it.
Fly Fishing Glacier National Park - Bowman LakeAlong the way I did fish some in Nebraska as I tried my luck at several of The Sandhill lakes along the way. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a success as my timing was not the best. However, the lakes and the scenery were exceptional. I also tried a day float down the North Platte River in Casper (where I lived my first 6 years of teaching). The North Platte was flowing at 4,000 cfs and besides the upbeat enthusiasm of the local fly shop…I am not sure there was going to be too many trout caught at such high flow rates.

After circling Olympic National Park we headed back east and in fact, dead-headed for Glacier and the ‘road to the sun’. If you haven’t ever driven the road over the top at Logan Pass, you must! It will be one experience that you simply can’t ever forget. Just the fact that they put a road where they did…and did so from 1911 to 1932, makes it even more mind shattering. Honestly, if there was one item on my list that I hadn’t yet done….and knew what the road was…this would be it.

We stayed in Glacier three days and on my second day I arose early, 4:15am early and left camp (it was 36 degrees). I headed north up the Camas Road, left the park and followed the outer road north to Polebridge, Montana where I was again entered back into the park. The next 6 miles was a one-way gravel, jarring, road that led me to Bowman Lake. It was there that nirvana took over…as I pulled in and in the pre-morning light pumped up my float tube, I couldn’t get my eyes off the view in front of me. “I get to fish this place…today, with no one else around?” Yep…that was indeed the case.

Now…don’t watch the video looking for a highlight reel of catches. I caught and landed two lake trout. And, I was damn proud of those two fish. There wasn’t a breath on the water and once the sun rose over the 8,000 foot peaks to my east, the sun bore straight down through the incredibly clear glacial water…and that put the trout down, way down.

Do, watch this video and just enjoy the scenery of one of our own incredible national parks. As I have already said, I spent the morning pinching myself and frankly didn’t pay much attention to the fly that was on the end of my fly line. If you ever get the chance to go…please pack your fly rod and float tube…you can thank me afterward.

One more note, I decided not to fish the streams in Glacier; very simple…the idea of meeting a grizzly head on in a confined area was just not worth it to me. OK, you can call me whatever you want to…but I have seen a griz up close and personal and frankly I don’t want to surprise a sow and cub or a hungry, attitudinal boar. My morning, in my float tube, kicking around Bowman Lake…well, it was perfect!

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