Missouri River Brown Trout

Looking very spring-like out there right now. Today we’re seeing near-ideal conditions: light, intermittent drizzle with no wind and steady cloud cover. It’s the kind of day all anglers yearn for. I am stuck here in the shop, but if you’re out there and want to trade places, please let me know. If you’re reading this and thinking that it may be too late, don’t fret. The weekend looks really fishy, with dark, cloudy weather days on tap for a while. Fishing has waxed and waned of late. It seemed to get better once the fish adjusted to the dirtier water that the major tries kicked in last weekend. If they kick in more sludge, it’ll slow down again. But for now, the streamer bite is good to very good, and the nymphing has stabilized. Oddly, not the number of heads up out there we usually see. There’s March Browns around, so perhaps that will get ‘em looking up again soon. At any rate, we are all amped here for the month of May, which is perhaps my personal favorite.

Nymphing: Oh, it’s a little of this and a little of that. The nymph bite right now can be simultaneously interesting and frustrating; have a few different plans in place. Listen to the fish. They’ll winnow out bugs they don’t want. A good starting place is a big bug (worm/sowbug) to a Baetis nymph. Start your depth around 5-6’ from your indicator to your B/BB shot. They’re moving around some down there right now, so stay experimental with your water types. I’ve seen bent rods everywhere from swirlies to slow wintery water. I personally look for slower water in the AM and periodically check hard line banks and swirlies as the day progresses. X factors subsurface right now include midge patterns and some larger pheasant tail stuff for the March Brown nymphs.

Dry flies: If you’re committing to dry flies, you have to really commit right now. At press time, rising fish were a little scarce, despite some good hatches. Baetis are daily and the March Browns are working their way into the mix. Afternoon and evening are your best friends right now. The most consistent window has been about a half hour before dark. Purple or Grey Adams or Para Wulffs are good searching patterns right now in sizes from #12-16. Target pickier fish with a Flash Cripple or Sprout Emerger in #16-18.

Streamers: Pretty good streamer reports coming in across my desk lately. The darker green water color hasn’t hurt the streamer bite in the way it often messes with the nymphing. Keep in mind: it’s low out there. No need to hit the bank if the bank is 12’’ deep. Target ledges and shelves, even if they’re mid-river. I really like the Flesh Eating Sculpin, Sparkle Minnow, or Sculpzilla.

Other bulletins: Bad weather keeps the crowds at bay a little bit, but we are approaching the busy season. Give people space and communicate with the boats around you. The shop here is rolling from 7:30-5 PM and 24 hours on the World Wide Web. We’ll see you out here with the usual mix of fly shop talk, black coffee, and top notch customer service.

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