Been a great few days of fishing here in Central Montana lots of people out all over drowning some bugs, and in my case watching some beautiful Westslope Cutthroats rise on some large, leggy foam flies. Check the On the Road Report for more on that. For the time being we’ll talk some more local water. The MO has below Holter has been sitting steady in the mid to low 4K range and with the combination of steady water and steady weather fishing has been great! Lots of reports of podded up fish from the Dam to Wolf Creek and down to Craig during those days the wind holds off. Nymphs and streamers have been bringing fish to the net from the Dam all the way through the canyon into the flats. Typical early spring fare for all the feeding fish out there, humble fly suggestions below. Lots of folks strapping on the wading boots this weekend and hitting up some of the more popular access spots along the MO as well as load of trucks parked at the boat ramps. With that in mind, it’s this time of year that we’re kicking off cabin fever is the same time those big, beefy, beautiful Missouri River Rainbows are heading up to their respective spawning grounds and creating the next generation of fish. WATCH WHERE YOU WADE & WHERE YOU DROP YOUR ANCHORS! Witnessed a few folks trample across a very obvious egg pile the other day, slightly disappointing. Ignorance is no excuse. If you’re still not familiar with what a redd looks like check out our blog from last year HERE and get with the program. Next time I won’t be so polite….you know who you are!
Streamers: Sparkle Minnows, Kreelex, Skiddish Smolt, Flash Fry, Polar Minnow, Krystal Buggers & MT Mouthwash
Nymphs: FB Rays, Rainbow Czechs, Pink Amex, Orange Scuds, Love Bugs, Bruised BWO, Flashback PTs
Dries: Midge Clusters, Mighty Midge, Hanging Midge, Griffiths Gnat. If you can barely see it, it’ll probably work.
And Now for something completely different! Been a busy week at both shops with things coming together for the opening of our Craig store which is scheduled to open by the end of the week. Shuttles, flies, fishing licenses, cold beverages and the ice cream cooler is back to being fully stocked too! Swing on by and check out the new artwork from Ed Anderson (pictured left) that’ll be gracing the walls of the shop this summer. We’ve got some pretty cool prints as well as an autographed brown trout panel coming in at a whopping 2’x8′.
Things took an interesting turn this weekend when the shop Head-Honcho Strainer’s appendix started acting a fool and was forcibly removed from his gut via the fineDocs at St. Pete’s. Big guy is making a full recovery and we expect to see him back in the shop by the end of the week. Might be a while until he’s able to guide but in the meantime I’m sure he’ll settle for being rowed down the river. If you’re curious as to what a fly shop owner and guide looks on morphine, look no further.
On the Road Report: I hit the road this weekend in search of some larger bugs that were rumored to be coming off on some easily accessible freestone a quick drive west. I was not disappointed. After an hour and half of The Band’s Last Waltz (best live recording ever) I pulled up to the bridge where some very eager floaters were running shuttle and waders were gearing up to take a walk. Not to my surprise the first access was covered with license plates from CA to WA and even one adventurous soul from PA making the pilgrimage to pre runoff, big bug dry fly fishing the drainage is known for. I’m not one to fish around a bunch of strangers or in a crowd so i head downstream along the access road in search of a less crowded put in. A few miles and once moose standoff later I was wadering up and slapping on the felt soles. Not many of the big guys flying around but the fish were looking. After one failed attempt to put steel to flesh, a few profane outbursts and some deep breaths I was back at it. Next cast, BOOM! It’s game on. Their’s still nothing like a good fish slamming a big dry fly. Well worth the drive for a handful of greedy fish and a few awesome beers from the local brewery. Get out there people, Montana is a big state with loads of options, pull out the map, find a stream and hit the road.