I did not fish since this was my first time in a Thrill Seeker IK that was loaded down with my gear.
We had several really good fly fishermen along and they fished but only caught a few.
We had serious rain the rig day and night before launch that brought the river up to a really nice level to float. But it was pretty murky. I won't say muddy but visibility in the water was measured in inches. So, my take is the trout could not see the dry flies we had unless it hit them just right.. The rain was coming in spots then it would be some time of beautiful blue with clouds sky then back to rain burst. For sure bring good warm clothes as well as sun type and be ready to change. Several nights and mornings were right down cold and extra layers felt good.
we ran into a few commercial fishing trips. Man, they are plush with big time camp setups and a fishing guide in each boat. We talked to a few of them and they said they caught a few but not what they usually caught.
That last 12 miles was reasonably clear weather and water but none of our folks fished that day. The day started out just cloudy and we hit the river early as we were in lower rattlesnake and one fishing group passed us but we soon caught up and passed them as they were fishing that last rocky section. Looked like the commercials had a private take out at the bridge at the 5 mile from the end bridge. That last 5 miles had a lot of logs in the water but looked to me to be a good to go fishing section but we saw no one fishing it.
Bottom line we had some rain each day or night which gave us excellent floating for the rafts but murky water for the fisherman. Like I said we got short rain sections followed by beautiful cloud spotted blue skies. Awesome scenery even in the rain showers. I will go back if we can score more permits. We hit the water levels just right according to the lady doing the take out permit info at the take out ramps. She allowed the week before the Smith was low and not many boaters.
Hard to believe the scenery is so good. A mini Middle Fork of the Salmon in many ways. One heck of a fine river to introduce someone to western river running as well. Montana State Parks and wildlife has done a wonderful job of management of this river as there are many private buildings to deal with. The private buildings tho did not take away from the feeling of being in the wilderness but did show up here and there.
Sure glad we got lucky with the permit as one of the group said this river was a "major bucket list rated river to run" right up there with the classic runs like the Middle Fork just not as wild.