I’m running out of novel ways to describe how good the fishing has been. Words like phenomenal, terrific, and world-class come to mind. The amount of rising fish some mornings and evenings is a spectacle you have to see for yourself. The PMD spinners are still the main event, but the Tricos should displace them as the headline attraction soon. With the weather finally rounding into mid-summertime form and active, surface-oriented fish, there’s no better time to fish the MO!
This time of year we here at the shop love to focus on dry fly fish as much as possible. There are fish up in pods in riffles with some lone operators tight to the banks and posted up in foam lines. We’re seeing (in order of importance) PMDs, caddis, Tricos, and the occasional ant. Reading each individual fish’s rise form and rhythm is critical this time of year. Swirling rise forms and protruding tails are an indication the fish is eating spinners or emergers just at the surface; a full mouth coming out of the water could mean a dun or a spinner. It seems more often than not the fish are chowing down on the smorgasbord of spinners on the surface, especially in the flatter water of the upper river. Down below Craig, blind fishing a caddis such as the Goddard or Corn Fed is sticking some nice fish off of shallow bank runs. The Tricos are here, kind of. They should get stronger as we settle into steady warm weather this week. Our flows are up a smidge to 6430 CFS, but that has not deterred the fish one bit. Some wading spots are off the board, but most are perfectly safe.
If you’re looking to do some nymphing, then the Mo’ is happy to oblige. Try tying on some Frenchies (these petits buggers are doing très bien, mes amis), Psycho Mays (think PMD), or, if you’re feeling bold, Two-bit Hookers. Throw your nymphs into fishy looking riffles, let ’em have a good drift, and see how that works out for you. If you’re looking to tempt a fish with a slightly different offering, there have been plenty of scuds scuttling about so try tying on a Tailwater Sowbug or a look alike. Keep in mind that a small #18 Green Machine in Black looks a heckuva lot like a drowned Trico spinner. Weeds have been mercifully held at bay by the cooler weather, so clean drifts are still the rule, not the exception.
We’ll see you out here at CrossCurrents Fly Shop in Craig, where the coffee is free, the shop talk is great banter, and the fly section is on point. 7 AM-7 PM every day of the week. See you on the water!
The Big Blackfoot is doing well at the moment. The water levels are great at 1260cfs at Bonner this morning -which is up a couple hundred above median flows. You’ll find fish looking up in the afternoons to some big bugs -Chubby’s, Golden Stones, PMX’s, hairwing stuff. Until then, either slow strip streamers in the deeper water or drop a Turd and a Prince, PT, Copper John 3′ to 5′ under a bobber. The flow is great for floating right now but if you don’t have a raft, the wade fishing is just fine and it will only get easier when as the river drops below a grand. (But we would rather have it stay up so pray for precip through the rest of the month and in August! The Big B sure could use a good water year for an entire season!)
We normally wouldn’t have any kind of report for the Smith this late in July but the great snow pack coupled with some awesome timely rains has kept it floatable! The flow this morning was over 300cfs which is just about ideal! If you have a hankering to float this river in the next few days, just contact FWP, sign up for a permit over the phone and go! You’ll have the river practically to yourself! Fish Chubbies with PT or Hare’s Ear Droppers. Simple stuff really. With the warm weather on tap, the fishing will drop off in the afternoons so just hit it hard until about 1 or 2pm and then enjoy the float. There is quite the algae bloom in sections of the river which is annoying but can actually help with slipping rafts over the shallow spots. The DNR is looking into this issue and we’ll let you know what they find out. It’s a multi-year study so they will have some prelim info later this year.