STREAMING CLEAR AND FRESH FROM SNOW-CAPPED PEAKS
A professionally prepared Water Rights Report on by WGM Group of Missoula, MT reports that there are 13 water right claim numbers filed with the Department of Natural Resources with the earliest priority date being 1903. The ranch also has shares from Ward Irrigation District. A copy of the report is available upon request.
Much of the ranch stewardship is done from groundwater wells with production ranging for 7 gpm to 35 gpm. Stock and Fish and Wildlife uses are also filed.
Domestic wells provide potable water for each of the residential improvements. Other wells are located on the ranch and serve to irrigate lawn areas and provide stock water in selected pastures.
The interior of the ranch is riparian in nature and has Vole Creek running through the ranch as well as a large pond and a smaller pond east of the ranch house. Stock has access to water year around. All irrigation related equipment is included in the sale.
The Bitterroot River
The crystal-clear trout water of the Bitterroot River flows like life’s blood through the high mountain valley that shares its name. What the river may lack in whitewater thrills it makes up for in scenic beauty.
The river finds its beginnings in two small mountain canyons – the East Fork and the West Fork. Both forks offer good wading and casting challenges with lots of boulder, natural structures and pools. South of the small western community of Darby, the two forks merge together and become the main river. The river is one of only 5 in the nation which flows north and offers recreation and wildlife habitat for over 50 miles before flowing into the Clark Fork.
Unlike many waters in the Pacific Northwest, the Bitterroot River is fishable year around. The general trout season runs from mid-May into the fall, but the river is also open to fishing in the winter and spring for whitefish and catch-and-release on trout. Fish are primarily rainbows and cutthroat with an average size of 12 to 14 inches. Recent regulations are making it more ordinary to catch trout over 16 inches to 20 inches. Some brook trout are also present. Deep holes hold large brown trout. Access is very easy with developed parking areas along the river corridor for float fisherman and wade casting.
River flows are strong on the Bitterroot River with snow pack melt from Painted Rocks Reservoir being released into the river to maintain instream flows in warmer weather. This was a huge accomplishment of local sportsman, The Bitterroot Chapter of Trout Unlimited , Department of Natural Resources, and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.
Top dry fly patterns include mayflies, caddis, stoneflies, humpies, salmon flies, drakes, and many of the popular attractor patterns. The local fly shops offer local specialties such as Purple Haze and others.
The beauty of the Bitterroot River will remain in the memory long after the fishing is done. Winding through narrow canyons past Indian petroglyphs under the watchful eye of towering Trapper Peak and Como Peaks, the river offers an escape from human noise and the tasks for life. Whitetail deer, beaver, otters, moose, ducks and geese, and more surprises await the ones who ventures there.
Nearby Mountain Lakes and Creeks
A short distance from Hamilton, are many high mountain lakes with hiking trails. Check out Camas Lake, Canyon Lake, and Fuse Lakes for trout fishing and grayling. Small streams and creeks are also within a very short distance from local towns. Skalkaho Creek, Tin Cup Creek, Blodgett Creek, Mill Creek, and others all offer casting opportunities for small trout and day hiking - some with waterfalls. If one were to begin today and fish all the waters available in the Bitterroot Valley, it would take a lifetime!
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