Blue Damsel Lodge for Spring Skwala Hatch – Steve Hollensed Trip

| March 6, 2012


Captain Steve Hollensed
Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide
FFF Master Certified Casting Instructor

I still have a few slots open for the trip to the Blue Damsel Lodge for the Spring Skwala hatch. Everything looks to be setting up as perfect as last year.

Keith Radabaugh of the Blue Damsel lodge reports…”Everything is on track for just the right amount of prerunoff increased flow and a good skwala hatch”.

John Herzer of Blackfoot River Outfitters reports…”This winter has been generally mild with more sun than normal. Snow pack is around average for this time of year but the low elevation snow pack that potentially effects spring fishing is minimal. That bodes well for the skwala season. Likely low clear water and folks are already seeing plenty of skwala nymphs along the banks. Things are shaping up perfectly for a great spring season.”

The Skwala hatch is THE time for big fish on dry flies in Montana. In fact, this year’s Orvis Guide Rendezvous is scheduled for Missoula, April 13-15. Is this coincidence? Absolutely not.

Looking for something different in your fly fishing next year? Something located in the US without international travel concerns?

How about an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge with an impeccable reputation located right in the middle of Montana’s fabled trout country?

How about going during a pre-runoff period before snowmelt stains and swells the rivers and before crowds begin to pressure fish?

How about going during a time when big stoneflies and big mayflies will be hatching and producing exciting dry fly fishing?

Then come with me on a return trip to Blue Damsel Lodge near Missoula, Montana on April 9-13, 2012.


The timing, location and lodge combine to make this a very special trip.

Located right in the heart of some of the best trout country anywhere, the Blue Damsel Lodge has easy access to the Bitterroot, Blackfoot, and Clark’s Fork Rivers. The lodge is located on Rock Creek, another legendary river.

The best fish of the year are usually caught during this time…this is big fish time in Montana. The water is pre-runoff; clear with easy wading and floating. The rivers will be uncrowded and unpressured. This is also the combined peak for the Skwala (big stoneflies), gray drakes (big mayflies) hatches as well as caddis hatches . Dry fly fishing is the expectation with 4x to 1x tippet.

Of course, these are wild fish in wild habitats…mostly bows, westslope cutts, and browns, but also cutt-bows, bulls, and brookies.


The Blue Damsel Lodge has been described as “both elegant and comfortable, western and luxurious”. It is composed of a three story structure plus one stand alone cabin. It was built by a dedicated craftsman and his artist wife; requiring over three years to complete. The lodge is replete with wildlife artistry that is an integral part of the lodge.

The main level contains a gourmet kitchen, bar, dinning room, and sitting area warmed by a majestic fireplace. All the comforts of home, including wireless internet, are available at the lodge.

Outside the lodge you will find decks, a mudroom, an Orvis Pro Shop, horse shoe pit, fire pits, hiking trails, grills, and a casting pond!

Breakfast and dinner schedules are coordinated with the fishing. The meals are gourmet cuisine prepared by chefs. Appetizers are served at cocktail hour after the fishing.


The travel part is easy. The Missoula Airport is serviced by American, Delta, and United. Once at the airport, courteous, professional drivers will take you to the lodge (about 45 minutes). These same drivers will also drive you to and from the fishing each day and back to the airport.


Normal temperatures for this time are about 30 degrees for a low and about 55 degrees for a high. (source: Yes it can be cold, but this trip is for the more serious fly angler looking for excellent fishing with luxury lodging. In all probability, the mornings will be cold but midday and afternoons should be very comfortable.


Price is $2500 per person. Trip is limited to the first 10 people.
Price Includes:
4 night stay at the lodge and 3 days of fishing.
Ground transportation from Missoula , Montana
Transportation to the fishing destinations
Guided float or wade fishing thru licensed Montana Outfitter
First class accommodations at the Blue Damsel Lodge
Hearty lodge breakfasts & gourmet dinners
Hot shore lunches or special pack lunches
Cocktail hour, appetizers, and refreshments at the lodge
Daily maid service
Casting and fishing instruction by licensed guides
Full use of our grounds and facilities

Not included in the price is airfare to Missoula, fishing licenses, pro shop purchases, unusual long distance, special drinks, applicable Montana accommodations tax and any staff and guide gratuities you feel appropriate.

As your host, I will assist you in every detail – before, during, and after the trip to ensure that your fly fishing experience is the best that it can be.


For more information, feel free to contact me or Keith Radabaugh at the lodge directly. Keith can be reached at 866.875.9909 or 406.825.3077. Also visit

Also, feel free to call and speak with the head guide John Herzer, of Blackfoot River Outfitters at 406.542.7411.

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Category: Destination Fly Fishing

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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