We just returned from another epic trip out in western Montana. Montana is without a doubt one of my favorite places on this earth and hopefully our future home in retirement. I want to start out by saying that my heart goes out to all of those in many western states suffering from what will likely be the worst summer of wildfires in history. Between the storm & flooding in the Gulf states, and the wildfires out west, this has been a rough summer for too many folks. It was often difficult to fully enjoy our vacation while watching the distant plumes of smoke rise from the mountains as we floated down river each day. Then, to return in the evenings to watch the TV headlines of Hurricane Harvey was harder still..... Having been a South Florida native and resident for 50 years, I have seen my share of hurricanes and how they change both landscapes and lives forever. My father and both sisters lost their homes completely in Hurricane Andrew. Until you have personally experienced a disaster on this scale, I don't think anyone can fully comprehend both the material and emotional devastation these folks are dealing with. Our thoughts and prayers are with them daily... The silver lining to this if any, is that I was very proud to see the fantastic job the firefighters and forestry people were doing to combat these fires while were were there. We saw hundreds of firefighters from many states in town helping to fight these fires. I believe that there were 17 different active fires within a hundred mile radius of Missoula when were there last week.... They asked folks driving by not to stop on the roads to watch or take pictures because it interferes with the ongoing fire operations and the efforts to keep the highways open for emergency vehicles. As a firefighter, I completely understand and respect what they were doing, so we only managed to get a couple of photos from the car as we drove through the Lolo Peak fire in the upper Bitterroot Valley of Montana very close to Missoula. Although we only had a day or two of clear "Big Sky" due to the smoke, we did have some epic fishing... The trout actually prefer the overcast, hazy conditions to eat dry flies, so we had some of the best dry fly fishing I have seen in many years on this trip. We fished so much different water, I can't remember all of it. But, our most consistent fishing was on the upper Clark Fork. We had steady fishing all day, every day with a nice combination of cutthroats, cutbows, rainbows, and browns. No monsters on this trip, but very solid fishing with chunky trout in the 14-20" range every day. Hoppers and tricos were the predominant bugs for this trip. A nice, fat, healthy cutthroat on the Clark Fork Clark Fork rainbow Double-header of rainbows Another chunky Clark Fork rainbow Brown on the north fork of the Blackfoot Really fat rainbow in the small water of Mission Creek up on the Flathead Indian reservation A good brown in Mission Creek Another good brown trout from the very far end of the upper Blackfoot. I really enjoy wading the small water as long as there are no bears. There were Grizzly tracks all over the banks here... Nice cutthroat from the lower Clark Fork Me with my very good friend and guide for many years, Nate McDonnough holding another solid brown from the lower Clark Fork. Also on the Clark Fork Lisa with a "bonus smallmouth" from the lower Clark Fork. We caught several this size on hoppers intended for trout. There were a welcome and fun surprise to the day's catch. This was also on the Eclipse day... We didn't get much of it as you can see... We had a couple of nervous moments fishing on Mission Creek which also happens to go through the National Bison range in Montana. They wander right up to you while you are wading the creek with no fear whatsoever.... It reminded me of my Cape buffalo hunt a little bit seeing a huge animal appear from the thick brush from out of nowhere. . You definitely don't want to hook one of these on your back cast...!