18 Jun 2020
June 18, 2020
Here on the Mo’ we are proud to report that bugs are hatching, fish are looking up, and dry fly season is in full swing. Consistent cloud cover and mild to absent winds have made for ideal conditions for spotting—and casting to—rising trout. Despite the rain, flows are hovering nicely around 7K (7170 CFS currently). Tributaries remain clear and any stretch of the river is a solid bet. If you’re not already out here, we’ll see you soon.
Dry flies– Precision casting is the name of the game. We like the trusty Hi-Vis PMD Spinner and the Zelon Cripple. Use a long leader (10’ and longer) for the best results. Caddis are hither and thither depending on the day. When you see ‘em, throw ‘em. The Corn Fed Caddis is our gold standard with a nice CDC body and a super natural color blend. Look for soft banks and flats during breaks in the wind.
Nymphing– When fish aren’t rising, nymphing will still get you into consistent fish. Sowbugs, scuds, and wire worms are an obvious for higher, swifter water, but PMD nymphs are a great second bug on any deep nymphing rig. Start your rigs around 7’ and target inside bends. Remember, that water is ripping downstream at these flows. Use lots of weight to get your bugs into the zone. Bigger sowbugs in a #12 are a great first fly or as a second fly behind a wire worm. Though worms will work year round, they really shine in high water. For mayfly patterns, PMD Split Case, Frenchies, and Gold Lightning Bugs will check the box and get it done. We like PMD Nymphs in #14-18 depending on the depth and time of day.
Streamers– Streamers remain a viable option and can be a welcome interlude if you get tired of catching rising fish on dries (Why would you, though?). Carry an arsenal of colors and silhouettes (purple/white, olive, black, yellow, articulated, etc.). Streamer fishing, like many pursuits, is largely a confidence game. Find a pattern that works and COMMIT. Vary your retrieve, too. Two-hundred casts without a fish is nothing to be ashamed of if your 201st lands in the jaws of a cantankerous brown.
DEARBORN RIVER: Flows are still minimal, though bumped a bit by rain. Call the shop to get up-to-date info if you’re thinking about floating.
SMITH RIVER: Stoneflies are hatching with some regularity, but stained water means the standard high-flow freestone patterns are the way to go on the Smith (the Rubber Leg Nymph, the Worm, and Streamers). Employ beefy tippet (1X-2X) and 1” indicators to handle the current and those inevitable snags. You can make sure you get the right flies for what’s happening by ordering one of our custom Smith River Fly Assortments that we put together for your trip!
BLACKFOOT RIVER: Still a whitewater trip. Hold off on the ‘foot for fishing until later this month.
SMALL STREAMS: Barring more rain, small streams throughout Montana will be a fantastic option if you’re looking for a hike and solitude, or some hungry fish with low IQ ready to pounce a Chubby Chernobyl. Get out and explore. Carry bear spray, too.
We’re here every day of the week from 7-7 with the latest intel, bad fly-fishing jokes, and free coffee in the shop. See you out here!