Our prime location, 40 minutes from Missoula, Montana allows a wide range of fly-fishing options and flexibility. This simply maximizes your chances of enjoying great, non-crowded fly fishing on your trip with a lot of very different, trout-rich water to see and fly fish with the help of experienced, professional Montana fly fishing guides.
April through October.
With advance notice, fly rods and reel will be provided at no charge and rental waders are available from fly-shops in Missoula.
Classic Western Montana fly fishing is sight casting dry flies to rising trout on a river float trip, usually from a McKenzie style drift boat or inflatable raft, depending on the river being fished. This is the enjoyable type of fly-fishing trip you will have the opportunity to experience here at our lodge. We also offer overnight river fly-fishing float trips through licensed Montana Outfitters. On top of that, you can experience some of Montana's finest wade fishing right out the back door fly fishing Rock Creek, a legendary blue ribbon trout stream.
There is a lot of great water to choose from including rivers, lakes and streams. Chasing the hatch usually means you get to dry-fly fish several entirely different Montana trout streams. The area where the lodge is located is referred to as the "4 Rivers area". This is because the confluence of Rock Creek, the Big Blackfoot River, and the Bitterroot River with the Clark Fork River are within a few miles of the lodge. This places four very different, excellent Montana trout rivers within easy access of Blue Damsel Lodge in addition to countless spring creeks & mountain lakes. You will find huge diversity of fly-fishing water when staying with us!
Montana has, by and large, beautiful summer weather. This is generally standard throughout the entire state, too. Generally, from July through September (summer in Montana), it tends to be dry throughout Montana, sunshine is the norm, with only a few days of clouds and light rain. Yet, despite the sunshine, temperatures are generally not too hot except during periods of heat waves.
In western Montana, look for typical summer days to run from the mid-70's to around 90, depending where in western Montana you are and at what elevation you find yourself.
Thunderstorms occur during the summer months; however, they aren't especially common. Generally, more thunderstorms occur in the eastern half of Montana than in the western half in the summer, although the mountains can have some fantastic lightning storms.
In the height of summer, the time difference between dawn to dusk can be as much as 17 hours. With plenty of daylight to work with, you could return from your guided fishing trip and walk down just in front of the lodge and wet your fly while dinner is being prepared.
Guests usually arrive in the afternoon and have the option to come out and bask in the environment that the lodge offers, or they choose to get a little taste of Missoula and all the great local Montana businesses that reside there; numerous breweries to name just one option. We provide transportation to and from the airport.
The night before each fishing day, usually at cocktail hour, we will announce breakfast time, your departure time, and plan for the day. These times don’t vary widely from day to day, but they do progress throughout the season. We will then wake you at your requested time, serve breakfast and drive you to meet your fishing guide. Your guide will transport you and your fishing companion to the put-in, get you rigged up-and you’re off. Your guide will have plenty of bottled water and sodas and will stop, set a table, and prepare a tasty, filling shore lunch. Your day on the river will average 8 - 9 hours. Your guide will have arranged a shuttle to have his vehicle waiting at your take out, and he will bring you back to the lodge or a prearranged meeting place in time for cocktail hour. We are usually able to keep to a pretty close schedule, but sometimes things change on the river and some guests come back early or choose to fish late. No worries. First, we plan the meal schedule around the fishing schedule and second, no one has gone hungry yet, regardless of when they show up.
After dinner will occasionally consist of a bonfire and some acoustic music; otherwise, the porch provides an amazing view and horseshoe pits always inspire good-fun.
The day of your departure will be scheduled depending upon the time your flight leaves.
Check-out of the rooms is 11am but you can feel free to enjoy all the amenities of the lodge until you need to leave to the airport.
Hiking, mountain bikng, self-guided wade fishihng, wildlife viewing, and photography. Located in the Lolo National Forest, many trail heads & primitive roads spring from Rock Creek road. The Sapphire Mountains and Garnett Mountains are your front and back yard and easily accessible from the lodge. Day hikes reward our guests with memories, stories, and the photos to back them.
Self-guided wade fishing is as easy as walking the 50 yards across the yard to Rock Creek. Horseshoes provide friendly competition. There are plenty of seating areas around the lodge with fantastic views all around. Fire pits are situated on the property also to provide some extra light, warmth, and set the mood for a night full of stories and fun.
The areas around Rock Creek provide more than ample entertainment, for anyone!
Horseback Riding and Pack Trips
With advance notice, we can help you arrange, through licensed Montana Outfitters, just about any such activity you want, from a one hour horseback ride along Rock Creek to overnight pack trips. If you are interested in overnight float fishing trips, see our "Fishing" page and the link to Blackfoot River Outfitters. Every autumn, we have clients stay with us a few nights who have booked big game or wingshooting trips elsewhere and want to add our awesome accommodations, service and fly fishing for a great combo trip.
Five signature golf courses are located in our area. With a little work on our part, we can probably get you a tee time on anyone of them.
Shotgunning and Wingshooting
Although our part of the state is better known for trout fishing and big game hunting, if you want to burn some gun powder, that can be arranged. We recommend a combo trip that combines wingshooting at one of several Orvis-Endorsed sister lodges with some spectacular fall trout fishing at the Blue Damsel.
Several whitewater river runs in the area, including the Alberton Gorge, will please the white water enthusiast. These ½ day or full day trips can easily be arranged.
Driving Tours and Sightseeing
Day trips to Garnett ghost town, the quaintly refurbished mining town of Philipsburg, and or historical sites on the “crik” can be arranged. This combines some great scenery with shopping and a historical perspective of our area. Panning for sapphires includes guarantees of success and panning for gold & fools gold can be a lot of fun as well.
Missoula, Montana Day Trips
Top destinations in Missoula include a tour of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's headquarters & museum and the Smoke jumper center. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has just moved into their new building & the smoke jumper center gives the visitor a perspective on the whole process as well as the role of these brave souls in fighting wild fires in the west.
Missoula, Montana Shopping and Day Trips
The Missoula downtown area is a shopper’s delight that goes way beyond what one would expect from a town of 50,000. A morning of shopping can be topped of with an afternoon spent relaxing & revitalizing at the spa.
Other Combo Trips
If you are planning a longer trip, remember, when you come to the Blue Damsel, you are close to Yellowstone Park, Glacier National Park & the equally great trout fishing of the Missouri drainage. Contact the lodge if you have any questions about a multi destination trip.
Your "mansion in the wilderness", is a three-story log lodge structure and one separate cabin, The Lewis & Clark cabin. The first & third levels of the lodge contain the 6 bedrooms, and sitting rooms. TV is available in the Pro Shop downstairs and wireless internet access is accessible from common areas of the lodge. The second (main) level of the lodge has the gourmet kitchen, bar, dining room & sitting area with wood-burning fire place.
You will enjoy sleeping to the peaceful sounds of Rock Creek flowing through the Welcome Creek Wilderness. The bedrooms are clean and comfortable & all uniquely set up to accommodate couples, singles, or double occupancy "fishing buddies". With 7 bedrooms, we can physically accommodate 14 guests but we limit occupancy to 10 guests. In that configuration, we simply optimize space and privacy and you are assured of a private bathroom. With a small party, you are assured of this optimum occupancy. With a group size of 10 guests, you have the lodge exclusively. If your group is larger than 10, depending on the make up of that group, we can accommodate a total of either 12 or 14 and we will be happy to discuss the layout necessary to accommodate your larger group. Three bedrooms have fireplaces and 4 have Jacuzzi tubs. Keith will be glad to help you select the bedroom configurations that best suits your group.
Appropriately, all of our Montana fly-fishing waters contain only wild fish. You will fish for native westslope cutthroat as well as wild rainbow trout, brown trout, and in some of the smaller streams, brook trout that were introduced generations ago. (Native bull trout are protected and are not targeted, but are sometimes incidentally caught.)
Six species of salmonids thrive in our western Montana trout streams. Of these, 4 are called trout; rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout, although the brook trout, like the bull trout, is actually a char. Of these "trout", only the westslope cutthroat is a native trout. All rainbow, brown and brook trout in our rivers and streams are wild, since no stocking of moving water has been permitted for over 3 decades, but they were originally introduced. The other two salmonids are both native. The bull trout is the inland brother of the Dolly Varden, and the other native is the mountain white fish.
Dry-flies are the most commonly used lures in these waters.
If you don't have all your gear, we can arrange wader rental for you at a shop in town and you are welcome to use our loaner rods & reels, or Orvis demo rods. Just let us know in advance and we'll take care of it. If you don't have the strongly recommended first layers, rain gear, or sunglasses & want to get them here, the fly shops we work with are well equipped and competitively priced.
For a full list of questions, visit the FAQs page on our website.