Monday, September 22, 2014

BRG Post and Streamer Thoughts

Bitterroot River Guides blog getting some new material up today, good stories and pictures from the past month or so of Montana trout fishing. Time flies when you are out on the water everyday, it can take awhile to get the pictures off the ol' camera and edited into flyfishing gold. Check it out here!

Bitterroot River Guides Post: Team Meadowburke

Streamer Thoughts:

Chris, Jed, and I are all major fans of throwing the big ugly bugs. This is not a secret and should surprise very few people.  Many a day I have to commit to flicking the dry flies with the thought of thundering streamer hits luring me back to the dark side. All it takes is one big subsurface fish to keep me throwing the junk and only one tiny little baby Cutthroat on a hopper to make me GO BACK to throwing the junk. Despite this blatant prejudice in favor of streamers there are some variables that complicate the decision somewhat. What Are They???

Fooled by the Bugger

Weather:  "Can't fish streamers today, too sunny". I have heard this sentiment many times on the river over the years and . . . . .. Well some hunches turn out to be largely true. Trout are definitely less inclined to chase / hunt / annihilate other fishes while x-rayed by direct sunlight. Not such great conditions for a predator fish to sneak up on unsuspecting prey, huh? This does not mean, however, that they will not chase the bugger at all. Patterns tied in subtler shades (brown, dark brown, brownish green, seafoam brown, Wood, Habenero, Pesto, and Hot Cucumber are good ones) can get the bright day bite where the flashy Krylex doesn't get a look. Sometimes backing off the flash is all it takes to convince the fish they are sneaky predators regardless of sunshine.

Season: While many streamer enthusiasts consider Fall to be the golden season for fishing the big bug it is hardly the exclusive season for the streamer. The Browns are definitely more active this time of year and have their feeding patterns set on 'kill' but what about the same fish two months ago? Is he just going to let that sculpin pattern limp feebly past his logjam unscathed? Probably not a chance under high heaven. And what about those voracious Rainbows in the riffle corners? Damm straight they are up there FEEDING and whether its a grasshopper or a sparkle minnow makes no difference. Strip strip strip BOOM!

Hatches: Far more important than time of year, in my experience, is the presence of some kind of heavy aquatic insect hatch. A great Spruce moth hatch, flotillas of Green Drakes, or active Goldenstones will attract the trouts attention so much that they will largely ignore even the best presented minnow pattern. Can't really blame the fish for this acute pea-brained decision: With so much helpless pasta n meatballs floating on the surface its not worth the effort to chase down and kill able-bodied fishes. While this happens infrequently it is not something for us dirt-dredgers to resent: Fishing dry flies to rising trout is what got us into flyfishing in the first place, dammit! Get rid of that yellow gummy and the fast sink line and go pick some heads out of a pod! Do it!

Fooled by the Dry


Friday, September 19, 2014

Autumn River Notes

Well its about gosh dang time: After a long hot summer the changing colors of the cottonwoods are finally marking the beginning of Autumn. Whats not to love about fly fishing in the fall? The changing colors , the cooler temperatures , fewer folks to share the river with, and plenty of big fish making the most of their last chance at easy pickins. Whether flicking dry flies during the wee morning hours or stripping the big silver foxes at dusk the trout fishing is as good as it gets. Warmer rivers like the Clark Fork really come into their own with active fish and strong hatches, while ice cold headwaters of the Bitterroot get a rest from boat traffic and the lower stretches come alive. Lots of days left before steelhead season drags us away from the trout water, just enough to find the fish of the year maybe?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day BBQ & Review

Fall is right around the corner in western MT. these days: Mornings are crisp enough to warrant the hoody and make the need for waders a real possibility. That means Labor Day BBQ and the end of summer, a chance to reminisce (briefly) on a summer worth of trout hunting and set the sights on the flyfishing bonanza that is Autumn.

Lots to look forward to in the closing season all around the state, like knock-down-drag-out streamer fishing on the Big Hole, pods of hungry Rainbows chugging BWO's on the Missouri, and explosive October Caddis eats on the Bitterroot. And you can't forget the two weeks of steelhead trips and hunting for elk around every mountain in the state. We have the recipe for another extremely busy month and its totally worth it: Gotta get as much outdoor time as possible before winter hits and its back to the great indoors and restocking the fly boxes for next year. Until then, wader-up and streamer on!

"in heaven there ain't no beer, gotta drink it here"