Water is nature's paint
It creates paint
It frees beauty
It is the heart of creativity, thought and strength in Humankind
Without it, the world would be reduced to a blank canvas.
-by Vefei, age 17, from www.voicesofyouth.org
Choose Orvis-endorsed lodging at Healing Waters on your fly-fishing trip to Montana. Our guides, housekeepers, chefs, groundskeepers, carpenters, waitstaff, as well as our guests, are here to celebrate life and not endure it. We are located in the Ruby Valley in Madison County, Montana. Madison County has 40,000 cows, 7,500 people, and no street lights. It also has a trout population that exceeds both the bovine and human population. We are surrounded by both mountains and trout along with a natural beauty reminding us that we are part of something greater than ourselves.
We actively support national, state, and our local Trout Unlimited. Trout Unlimited is the best organization in our state that speaks for trout and the waters they inhabit.
We have been awarded the Patriot Award from Project Healing Waters, an organization that uses fly fishing as a rehabilitative for disable veterans.
If we are going to go broke in business let's do it for all the right reasons: Let's overpay employees, give too much as opposed to too little. We strive to have the highest paid guides, chefs, housekeepers, waitstaff, and groundskeepers in our area. This year, we are donating trips to Trout Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Orange County Fly Fishers, and AIM Youth Mental Health in Monterey County, CA. We are regular and vigorous donors to Ruby Valley Habitat, Montana Land Reliance, and Twin Bridges High School Boosters Club. In short, Healing Waters Lodge is here to make a difference.
You give me good people that are hardworking, smart with a sense of integrity and I will show you joyful customers and a great fishing lodge.
-Mike Geary, Owner
Healing Waters Lodge and Lewis & Clark Expeditions
April: Our guides believe this is the best month for big fish on the Big Hole. Stoneflies and blue-winged olives offer dry-fly opportunities. The weather is defined by our emotionally turning our backs on winter and leaning into the sun.
May: We are finally getting some distance between us and winter. The rivers swell up, the grass greens, and the wind blows.
June: The best month for floating the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson, and Smith Rivers. The days are truly longer and winter is in the review mirror.
July: All the rivers are fishing and floating. The weather is warm with life gentle and easy. An occasional storm might intrude and you start think winter is coming.
August: This is the time of year we lean on the abundance of private water we fish at Healing Waters Lodge. We have miles and miles of leased streams and creeks, guaranteeing privacy along with good fishing. The nights are cooler reminding us that winter is coming.
September: The peak of tourism has passed. The colors grace the trees and the rivers are cool and pleasant. Montana is a movable feast this time of year. There might be a freak snow storm with winter 90 days away.
October: With less people and wonderful fishing, this is our favorite month at the lodge. Everything rides on the wind—fronts coming from the north or continued warm winds from the south providing warms days and excellent fishing. By the end of the month, winter has arrived.
When God created Montana, he had only one specie in mind —trout. Trout were placed in the water for their beauty and to test the wit of man. Trout thrive in Montana. Here at Healing Waters Lodge, we believe it is our job not to interfere with the Master Plan. We are all about trout.
The Big Hole River defines western fishing for us. The river gushes past canyon walls slip-sliding through the mountain meadows supporting trout at every bend. For the angler, you have opportunities to catch brook trout, rainbows, brown trout, cutthroat and arctic grayling. The river summons up caddis flies in May, salmon flies in June, PMD’s in July, tricos and spruce moths in August, hoppers in September and October Caddis in October. There isn’t a bad time to fish the Big Hole. Our guides at Healing Waters Lodge feel that for big trout April is the month. The following is a bastardization from Melville’s Moby Dick: Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off —then, I account it's high time to get to the Big Hole in Montana and start fishing as soon as I can.
The Beaverhead River produced some really big fish in 2019 and we are anticipating more big fish in 2020. The Beaverhead is a tailwater that historically has produced some of the largest trout in the state as well as the biggest fish per river mile. If you are in the mood for trout getting into the backing of your reel along with an ethereal rush of adrenaline coursing through your being plan on the Beaverhead for 2020.
The Smith River continues to be the most coveted river in Montana to fish and float. The experience of floating the Smith for five days and camping for four nights is a siren song for everyone that dreams of fly fishing in a remote part of the planet. The Smith River is a tribute to everything beautiful about Montana. We have a few spaces left on the Smith for 2020 but if you are earnest about going down the Smith River this is the time to book for 2021. We are the largest outfitter on the Smith River with 26 of the 73 launches. The demand for launches on the Smith are a good indicator of the quality of a Smith River experience.
The Madison River is a 50-mile riffle accelerating out of Yellowstone Park slicing its way through the Madison Valley. The river is host to fly fishing pilgrims from around the world who come to pay homage to one of the planets great streams. Anglers make every effort to bamboozle, inveigle, and outwit some of the classiest fish on earth. When you are fishing on the Madison you are breathing the rarified air of some very hallowed waters.
The Jefferson River, while some seem consider lost and old as it wanders into the Missouri River, is a river to paraphrase William Faulkner “that doesn’t endure but prevails.” Big trout reside in the Jefferson. Big trout that are circumspect, sly, and wary. Big trout that are by nature old, wise, and at times treacherous. The connection to a Jefferson River brown trout is hooking into something profound and of consequence.
The Ruby River is intimate stream that people walk and wade. This beautiful stream is a way from the maddening crowd where the world is reduced to an angler and rising trout. We lease parts of the Ruby where solitude is still and intrinsic part of fly fishing. You are more likely to share the river with an eagle, sandhill crane or whitetail deer than a fisherman. Fishing the Ruby is angling the way used to be. Private Water: We take considerable pride in working with local landowners in accessing some of the waters they have made available to Healing Waters Lodge. We are not going to label them or name them these are highly coveted streams, creeks, ponds, and lakes that we treasure. We believe our access to private water gives a competitive advantage with other lodges and outfitters. We have exclusive leases on miles of spring creeks and streams.
April-May: Cool mornings, can be warmer afternoons and cool evenings. You can expect snow, rain, wind, and warm days with lots of sunshine in southwest Montana.
June-July: Cool mornings, warm afternoons and evenings, cool after the sun goes down. Afternoon thunderstorms are possible so bring rain gear. Because it is Montana, the weather can change in 10 minutes, so bring layers.
August: Warm with the chance of a stray rain cloud or thunderstorm. Wet wading is the name of the game.
September-October: Drifting into cool mornings, warm afternoons, cool evenings and lots of sunshine in southwest Montana. October has a better chance for frosty mornings and perhaps a snowflake or two.
2020 Fly Fishing Season Rates Three Nights Lodging/Two Days Guided Fishing:
Also available are discounted group/exclusive use rates.
Please contact us for more information on rates and polices or for information on our customized lodging and fishing packages.
Included in your Healing Waters Lodge stay:
Gear Suggestions: Please let us know in advance if there is anything that you are going to need to borrow. If you have a lightweight rod such as a 4 or 5, and a medium-weight outfit such as a 6 and a heavier outfit such as a 7 or 8 weight, bring all three. You will probably only need the 7 or 8 if you are traveling to Montana in the fall when streamer fishing is a more regular part of our fishing experience.
Flies/Leaders: Flies are provided by Healing Waters Lodge as part of your package. However if you have some favorite patterns that you like to fish please feel free to bring them. We will fish a variety of leader lengths and weights. The guides will provide all the leaders and tippets you need as part of your Healing Waters Lodge fishing package.
Clothing: Weather in Montana is changeable in the early, middle, and late seasons. You can start the day in long underwear and end it in short sleeves. Come prepared for any type of weather. We suggest that you layer your clothing. A good set of top and bottom long underwear is advisable in the early and latter part of the season. You may want fleece pants under your waders. A turtleneck with a heavier shirt and then topped off with a fleece pullover works well. A good water/wind proof jacket is recommended both for rain and wind protection. Wet wading is usually possible from about mid June to mid September but have your waders along just in case. Of course, you should have good waders with rubber or felt-soled wading shoes or bootfoot waders with rubber or felt soles. Again, if you need to borrow waders and boots please notify us of the shoe size and your height, we will set aside a pair that will closely fit you. Some folks like fingerless gloves and some like to have a good set of full-fingered gloves just to put their hands in to warm up on colder days. A warm hat plus your normal fishing cap or hat is recommended. Polarized sunglasses are highly recommended.
Binoculars and a swimsuit.
Advanced Shipments: We gladly receive shipments of guest luggage and fly-fishing gear in advance of their arrival and stay at the lodge. Nothing worse than being on a fly-fishing vacation without your gear!
Pets: Healing Waters Lodge can offer pet boarding referrals to our guests traveling with their pets while staying at the lodge.
Wireless Internet Access: Healing Waters Lodge has wireless internet in every guest room and throughout the facility.
Smoking Policy: Healing Waters Lodge is a non-smoking facility and smoking is not permitted indoors or in any lodge vehicle. If you do smoke, we ask that you do so outside and away from doorways, windows, and non-smoking guests and staff.
Special Health/Physical Accommodations Requests: Guests are asked to communicate any health or physical needs or restrictions prior to arrival so that we can make preparations and accommodate those needs, such as as ground-floor room, walk-in showers; special food requests, allergies and restrictions; float/wade preferences on the water; special equipment needs, etc.
Sightseeing: 90 minutes from west entrance of Yellowstone National Park; 60 minutes from Bannack State Park; 40 minutes from Lewis & Clark Caverns; 20 minutes from historical towns of Nevada City and Virginia City.
Hiking, Birding, Artistic Endeavors: Seven mountain ranges surround the Ruby River Valley: the Tobacco Root, the Highlands, the McCartney, the Pioneer, the Ruby, the Gravely, and the Snowcrest Mountains.
Healing Waters Lodge is located in the heart of the Ruby Valley on 20 acres with a large pond, cottonwoods, and beautiful views in every direction.
Guest Rooms: Eight of nine guest rooms have two queen-sized beds, private bathroom, and porch/patio. The ninth guest room includes a king-sized bed, private bath, and covered patio. Accommodate 18 guests.
Fly Shop: Stocked with loaner equipment for guest use at no charge; items for sale such as clothing, shoes, hats, books, and mugs.
Fly Fishing Guide Service: Door-to-door for lodge guests.
Laundry Room: We provide personalized laundry service for our guests.
Outdoor Hot Tub: Guests enjoy relaxing after a day of fishing in the outdoor hot tub with a view the Ruby Mountain range.
Dining Hall: Guests enjoy appetizers and complimentary beer and wine each evening in the sun porch room. The dining hall overlooks the trout pond. Our large, professional kitchen accommodates our chefs and kitchen staff in preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Exercise Room: Includes electric elliptical, lifting bench, and workout station.
Casting Pond: About an acre in size, the pond has brown and rainbow trout for our guests to practice their casting skills.
“Laughter is brightest where the food is best.” -Irish proverb
The dining hall at Healing Waters Lodge seats over 20 people with the goal of setting a table that is sumptuous, fills the eye, and enhances life through taste and creativity. We purchase fresh ingredients, focusing on health and taste. Our chefs believe good food starts with great product and their skill is teasing flavor out with their own creativity.
We purchase bison tenderloins and pheasant-cognac sausages from South Dakota. We always have a fresh supply of rosemary, basil, thyme, mint, and dill circulating through the kitchen. Breads are always being baked in our ovens along with scones, panettone, and Portuguese tarts (pateis de nata). Fresh fruits add color and beauty and enhance every meal with their simplicity and taste. We handle every dietary restriction with unbridled joy and enthusiasm.
“Give me a bowl of wine, in this I bury all unkindness.” -Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Our wines are selected with the customer in mind. We have malbecs from Argentina, New Zealand and white wines along with a stable of California wines that affirm the palate and say, “Yes.” to life.