Missouri River Brown Trout    Wow, is it really late August? Summer here in Craig is definitely winding down. Cool mornings and cloud cover are a nice harbinger of fall. The fishing on the MO remains solid, with this year being a good hopper year. The Trico spinner fall continues to happen, although the quality of the hatch varies upon the day’s weather. Some mornings are better for hunting pods than others. As a condolence, the afternoons have been full of fish looking up for hoppers, ants, and attractor dries. We’re catching big fish on bigger bugs, which is always a good time on the MO. Watching a fluffed-up #10 Chubby Chernobyl get crushed is a nice change of pace from a summer spent staring at #18-20 spinners. The fish have really benefitted from reasonable water temperatures and flows. They’re in great shape and are more than happy to introduce you to your backing.
     A few tips to get you started for an epic afternoon of hucking the hopper: 1. Not all hoppers are size #6-8. Some of my best days have come with smaller bugs, like a #14 Royal Chubby Chernobyl or even a #16 Pink Chubby. 2. The fish aren’t always uber-tight to the banks. They’re out in the current, which is the main ingredient to extra-special terrestrial success (say that 3 times fast). 3. If you’re fishing from a boat, lead the boat downstream by a good distance. It will get you more eats. I promise. 4. To catch fish on a hopper, you have to fish the hopper. This ain’t the kind of deal that you can roll for 20 minutes and then decide they aren’t eating. Give the hopper time to work its magic. You’ll be glad you did.
     If you want to nymph, know the weeds aren’t too too bad. Bounce a Zirdle off of shallow runs and hang on. I’d also mix in some Zebra Midges in #18-#20. Two Bit Hookers and Micro Mays still merit consideration as well. All of these smaller nymphs are fine fellows to pair with a hopper up top.
The weather is nice, the river is vacant, and the fish are eating. What more of an excuse do you need? See you on the water or here in Craig at the shop!

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