One visit to the Smith River in White Sulphur Springs, MT, and now I'm a stripper. Sure, I've kind of been a stripper all of my fishing life, but I've always stripped slowly. You know, to bring in line before a re-cast, or drag a dropper or make a dry fly strategically become nymphy. My first experience as a fast stripper was in Patagonia last winter when huge black streamers brought big rainbows out from the banks of the Rivadavia. I got another chance recently with the fine folks at Bar Z Riverside Ranch in White Sulphur Springs, where we shot an episode of Trout TV.
Bar Z owns an amazing eight miles of brown trout and brookie water that winds through their cattle-and-hay fields. The ranch has been in the family since 1881, and has been a working cattle ranch for 100 years. Dave Hanson, the youngest generation, took over the fishing part of the business in 1997 and has grown the outfit to attract guests from around the globe.
On my first day at Bar Z, we hay-whacked to the narrow river's ox-bows and side-armed upstream out over the bank to plunk streamers an inch off the bank. Our amazing guides Dave and Jared had me stripping as fast as I could downstream. They also taught me how to properly splash the streamer instead of place it quietly. That jolted the fish into action, and they bolted from their shadowy banks to crush the steamers as they flew by.I loved fishing with Dave and Jared because they truly love fishing. Jared kept jumping up and down every time I casted. He was just so excited for what might come out from the bank! At one point, I forced him to take the rod and get a couple whips in. Ummmm....yeah. He totally landed THE ONE on the first cast. Typical luck for me. So, check out the fish that I handed to Jared on a silver platter.All-in-all, it was an excellent trip, and one I plan to do again, very soon. And I encourage everyone else to check out Bar Z's website and book a few days. Oh, be sure to bring bug spray. There are so many mosquitoes out there you might want to put on the Deet with a crop duster. But it's not a deal breaker. This place is awesome. I posted some cool underwater video on the facebook page here: