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So, you want to get away from it all for a while this summer and catch some fish where it’s quiet? Check out the horseback trip to Sunburst Lake, arranged by Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters and Guides. Sunburst is a 145 acre lake nestled in a huge bowl on the west side of the Bob Marshall.

Glaciers on the surrounding mountains continually melt into cascading waterfalls, which drop hundreds of feet to replenish the lake’s ultra clear water. It’s worth it to come here for the scenery, but the good part is, Sunburst is teeming with cutthroat trout that average two pounds. Four to five pounders are not uncommon. And, yes, they will take flies notably Royal Coachman, Royal Wulff, hopper imitations and others.

Tackle for this trip should be lightweight and compact an Orvis four piece, eight foot rod, for example, with an interchangeable spool reel. Bring a floating and sinking tip line. The cuts here rise readily to dry flies early and late in the day, but during the middle of the day they retreat to deeper water where streamers fished on sinking line are the ticket.

Only about five percent of the shoreline is accessible for bank fishing, and wading around the lake would prove difficult because depth increases rather quickly in many areas. The outfitter packs in a raft, but a better solution might be to bring your own tube float and fins. Just pack it neatly and in as small a space as possible.

The fishing here remains good all summer and into early fall, when the "Bob" takes on the beauty of autumn. Trips of any length are available for $135 per day per person. Just bring your fishing gear, a sleeping bag and personal items. The food, camp, horses and equipment are all included in the fee. I personally recommend at least a four day trip because it is a bit of a haul back into Sunburst (a three hour drive and four hour horseback ride). If you grow tired of the lake fishing during that time, there are numerous small streams in the area full of native cutthroats. Details: Colin or Stella Hislop (*). The Colin’s, incidentally, also arrange float trips on the Flathead River and trips to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation for trophy rainbows. Tony Mandile.

If your idea of getting away from it all does not include camping out, the K Bar L Ranch (*) setup may be more to your liking. The K Bar L is situated at the confluence of the North and the South Forks of the Sun River on the eastern boundary of the Bob Marshall.

The K Bar L has been family operated for three generations, and it has a reputation for offering comfort and personal attention. The real attraction here is the fishing, however. The two forks of the Sun River meet right at the ranch and offer mile after mile of fishing for cutthroats, rainbows, rainbow/cutthroat hybrids and Eastern brook trout. Fish in the 10 to 16 inch range are common, and some run as large as 20 inches.

K Bar L guests can walk to either river from the ranch, but most fisherman explore further afield on horseback. Each guest is assigned a horse for the duration of his or her stay, and many riding trails offer almost unlimited fishing opportunities within the Bob Marshall.

Both rivers are of modest size, and can be well fished with a 5 to 6 weight fly rod. The fish are not usually selective, and fly fishermen will do well with a variety of standard dry fly patterns such as Adams, Humpy and Royal Wullf, or general nymph patterns such as the Hare’s Ear, Muskrat and Casual Dress. Due to heavy snow runoff, fly fishing does not usually begin to be effective until about the first week of July.

Guests stay in log cabins. Homecooked meals are served in the main lodge. Each cabin is heated by a small wood burning stove, and has running water available at an outside faucet. Centrally located buildings provide heated showers and toilet facilities.

The owners take pride in their fine stable of well mannered horses, and anglers with no previous riding experience need have no hesitancy in taking to the trail. Novice riders are given instruction, and guides accompany each party along the trail.

Visits here cost $85 to $100 per day, depending on length of stay. And that includes general guiding service, all meals, lodging and your own horse. – Dave Engerbretson.

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