It was on the suggestion of a friend years ago that we first fished the West Fork of the Bitterroot near Darby, Montana. On that mid-July day, as I played yet another 16+ inch rainbow that devoured my Orange Stimulator, I was hooked. A tail-water, the West Fork flows from the Painted Rocks Reservoir for more than fifteen miles before joining the East Fork to form the Bitterroot River. This mountain stream’s origin can be found near the height of land on the Montana/Idaho border in the Bitterroot Mountain Range. Here the small stream churns through a mix of forest and ranch lands before flowing into Painted Rocks Reservoir. While small cutthroat, rainbows, and brook trout live in the stream above the reservoir, larger cutthroat, rainbows, and some big brown trout can be found below the dam downstream to the main stem.