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Lewis & Clark County, Montana
Labor Day Weekend 2004

Missouri River, NE Helena

Lollie and Geoff and I were fly fishing the Missouri, up in Montana at a favorite spot I won’t say exactly where, but it’s several clicks down river from the dam. The area has high brush and I guess those are willows lining the river, some trees but it’s mostly flats that climb up into the surrounding mountains covered with pines. We've seen bear in that place before, but far off.

I'm a Texan, my buds are from Enid and Madill Oklahoma, but we fly up to Montana to fish almost every year. Great country, trout fishing is nothing like the bass fishing down here at Toledo Bend and Montana is more tranquil, less traveled.

This spot is fairly well concealed from being seen, once we were in the water and busy fishing. It was dawn coming up, Lollie and Geoff were about 70 yards downstream from me and I was busy casting when a rock, came flying and popped into the water about a couple of feet in front of me. So I yelled at those guys and told them to knock it off. But I don’t think they heard me and they were busy fishing from what I could tell.

It was getting lighter, sun coming up and all, I was not having much luck, and was thinking about changing my flies when dang if another rock didn’t come flying out of no where, splashing in front of me again. I saw this rock coming in, it weren’t from my buddies’ direction either. About that minute, the thought struck me I’d better look around to see who was screwing around with me and I saw this danged old bigfoot in a squattin’ position on the bank, not really hidden from view. Diggity dogs, I froze. I could muster no brain power and my knees turned to mush.

I heard about these things, old bigfoot and all; read about them in the newspapers, but never believed much of that stuff or was much interested in bigfoot to be honest. So now I’m thinking what should I do? The thing sat there on its haunches just a lookin’ at me, hell I didn’t know what to do, it was only about 150 feet from me. Not moving.

I just stood there in the water, shaking in my waders and stared back at the thing. He looked long and hard at me and I didn’t know if I was being sized up for his morning vittles or if he was just watching me fish, not that I’d caught anything you know?

I turned to see where my buddies were and they’d gone way the hell down river, no help at all. There I was, just me and the big fellow staring at each other, I didn’t even have a side arm with me. What a picture, I mean, you know you cant dream something like this up. Was he as scart as I was?

I figured if he was a gonna come after me he would of by now, I glanced at my watch, 5 minutes went by, then a few more minutes, he still sat there motionless and I was getting very antsy. What do you do, I felt caught between a rock and a hard spot.

Now you won’t believe what happens next, I decided to get out of the river on the opposite bank from the big foot by moving slowly, figuring to make a run for it to my buds. Safer in numbers was the best my brain could do to get me out of this predictament, seemed reasonable at the time.

As I began to make my move, this bigfoot thing stands up and takes a giant step into the river, oh God he’s coming after me and I’m going to die here in the river or as least have to change my shorts for sure. But I froze again in place and the thing stop too. Then it reached down and pulled up a big rock with one hand out of the river and heaved that sucker under hand at me, man, here comes this rock at me with perfect aim!!!!! I leaned out of the way raising my arms just in time to see it gather up another rock. My God, he’s going to stone me to death, my head went blank. You can’t imagine the thoughts I had, I didn’t know which way was up, boy howdy was I scared.

At this point I began to realize it was trying to scare me away for some reason. Because if he wanted to nail me, it sure could have! The rocks kept coming and I looked around once, turning to walk backwards and his arms was a waving around in the air wildly. The closer I got to the other side of the bank, the more the rocks came. I must be going in the wrong direction to please this thing. So I changed directions and headed down river in the middle of the river to my buddies, who were surely not going to believe this!

I kept going, half the time walking backwards to keep an eye on this humongous thing. I guess that was pleasin’ to him because as long as I went down stream, great, no rock throwing.
But as soon as I tried for the bank, the rocks came flying.

If you didn’t know what a great shot these bigfeets are at rock throwin, you know now, because he was dead-on accurate, usually just barely missin’ me each time and another thing, he didn’t select small pebbles to throw at me. These was huge rocks that made a giant impression on me. I’m thinking “okay, okay, I’m leaving.” But I didn’t know which way to go.

Finally the bigfoot went across the river, watching me with every step and into the willows along the opposite side the river. But I could at times see his head and shoulders above the willows. I didn’t know if it just wanted to get to the other side and was scart of me or if he was actually trying to move me out of the area.

There maybe was something in those willows he was after, I wasn’t going to go back to check!! Maybe there was family in those willows, I read somewhere, they sometimes are seen in families, is that true? Or maybe it had food or a cache of fish in there, I thought of a thousand things, but it all came back to the initial messages which was he didn't want me around on that side of the river.

I caught up with Lollie and Geoff, huffing and puffing and white as a sheet and they looked at me like I was suddenly off my rocker. My heart was pounding so hard I thought I was going to have a heart attack, I’m nearing sixty years old and believe me, I have retired from fishing in Montana.

We settled down on the bank and I told them what had happened, their jaws dropped. We poured some coffee from the thermos, talked a bit and decided the three of us best leave all together and fish somewheres else. In the end, we went back to the motel, to hell with fishing in Montana again.

With my sanity back now, I figure this guy was well over 7 feet tall, closer to 8 feet and nothing I cared to screw with. It was grayish across his back, to cream color and black hair on his chest and lower extremities. It had a man’s face, unshaven like, and long tangled hair everywhere, a crop of longest hair down its neck and in the whisker area. One thing I remember mostly, the intensity of the eyes, the strong head and barrel like chest. My regrets are many, I wished I had kept my wits about me and thrown a rock back at him. I wonder what he would have done if’n I had thrown rocks back at him? You ever heard of that?

Those things will get your attention dang quick!! Now that I’m interested, please sign me up for your newsletter, I want to know everything. I’m reading your website and wish I had known all this before and paid better attention, but it's hard to pay attention when your braindead.


Big John Henry Martin-Smith, South Texas