Any successful fisherman can tell you that somedays the fish just aren’t having it. Unfortunately for us, on this particular outing, this was one of those days.  Whenever one of these unlucky days occurs, it can always be used as an opportunity to take in your surroundings and local eateries…since obviously you won’t be eating any fish.

Last Saturday afternoon, Will, Sam and I loaded our gear and made our way Northwest towards Helena, to Canyon Ferry Lake.  The afternoon was gorgeous and we had our favorite companion, Auggie dog, accompanying us for the ride.  Making our way through the small community of Townsend, we became wary of the clouds around us, fearing we would have to camp in the rain.  We caught a lucky break in this department, arriving to the lake with clear skies and a sinking sun, with the hope that we would be having fresh walleye filets for dinner.

This hope stayed strong with us briefly, but we soon came to realize that we might just be enjoying the scenery and each other’s company, rather than being engaged with fighting fish.  The rest of the evening involved a leisurely cruise around the lake, telling of stories, a few beers, and a general good time. If the fish aren’t biting in Montana, it’s not too hard to find a way to amuse yourself otherwise.  After collecting firewood for the night, we made our way back to camp and rode to the local “Silos Bar,” just a few hundred yards from banks of the lake.  Silos offers a nice view of the lake and surrounding mountains and is one of the best places around to grab some cheap drinks.

If you’re looking for more than a few drinks for the night, Silos might not be the place to settle down for dinner, unless of course, you are a frozen pizza fan. Since this wasn’t the case for us, we decided to ride a few miles further down the road to the “Bull Bar,” where arguably some of the best burgers for miles around may be found.  The Bull Bar has a welcoming staff, a local Montana vibe, and plenty of T.V.’s and good food to keep you content and full.

Wrapping up the night at the campsite with a few more stories, we settled into a cloudless sky and a wonderful glimpse of the arms of the Milky Way stretching out around us.  Sleeping soundly, we awoke the next morning for a nice walk around the lake and some glimpses at local fowl and even a sneaky red fox.  Deciding that we didn’t quite have the time for being skunked with the walleye fishing again, we executively chose to pack up and head back towards home, but not before stopping at a famous local breakfast joint for a giant breakfast burrito.  Wheat Montana Bakery and Deli is located in Three Forks Montana, right before I90 heads east towards Belgrade and Bozeman.  This local hotspot serves anything from hot coffee and smoothies to giant cinnamon rolls and stacked turkey sandwiches and is a great way to fill up before a drive home or as a stop between campsites and other adventures.

Despite the lack of fish, we all had a wonderful time enjoying the local scenery and exploring a part of Montana that many people seldom hear about.  Two days of good company, good weather, and good food really can’t be beaten. Fish or no fish.