Sunday, September 27, 2015

September Halftime Report Brought To You By Simms!

" This Halftime report has been brought to you by Simms Fishing Products."

Not sure why but this little line has been ringing in my ears every day I'm out on the water these days. When I look at the radar map of dark green in the morning, then suit up with every piece of Simms gear I own to fight off that rain, there's no way not to be thankful for that classy layer of warmth and rain protection. Simms is the best and with new jackets and waders in preparation for Canada next month it's like Christmas came early. Big Thankyou to Simms every day for keeping us fly flickers happy and mostly dry on the scuzziest of scuzzy days! But I digress. . .

Waders, Pants, And Jackets Oh My. 

Fishing continues to be strong this fall on Missoula area rivers. Friends and clients alike have been enthused by the consistent dryfly and bugger action the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot have been producing of late. The overcast from this past week has been a blessing with consistent hatches of mohogs and the occasional Hecuba still hanging around. Sporadic BWO's have been spotted along with the last dregs of Tricos on some mornings. Still no October Caddis to speak of but their nymphs are staged and ready to go when the weather cools a little further.  If you just can't wait for those giant lumbering orange flies to get to hatching just start throwing their imitations now and start the hatch off early. Surprise those trout with their first fluttering orange mouthful of autumn!

Also heating up this fall is the always awesome Mighty Missouri River. We West Slopers don't get many chances to drive over the divide during a packed summer fishing schedule but this time of year brings a change. The BRG gets a slew of autumn guide clients searching for blanket BWO hatches on the winding flats of the lower Mo' along with a handful of layman's holidays getting to throw at those pods for ourselves. I always stop and see the helpful folks at Headhunters (Headhunters) for piles of sneaky dry flies to please those finicky fish. Sometimes the shade of greenish olive really does matter over there and I like having options popping out of my flybox. Cracking those pods is what its all about, bust out the smooth-shooting Winston and let it fly!

As for the aforementioned big bug / streamer / junk / brownie candy, what should you throw and when should you throw it? Well to put it in the most superstitious terms possible, it just depends on what you have the most confidence in. Confidence Is Key. I tie a ton of my own streamers and fish them through hell and high water with the smug confidence that all flytiers posses regarding their own bugs. These last few weeks, however, have seen me skip my personal tried (tied?) and true patterns in favor of the generic store bought goodies that got me into the streamer game in the first place. Flashy, sparkly, jet black bugger, and olive rabbit have been doing the business for me this past week and now that I BELIEVE in these flies again they will be getting the call out of the bullpen for the foreseeable future.

Streamer For The Win!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Clark Fork Weekend

The Ol' Clark Fork is coming back folks, it's coming back I say to all those anglers who will listen. The downturn in fishing quality following the Miltown dam removal is a quickly shrinking specter in the rearview mirror with ever increasing numbers of willing Rainbows occupying the Missoula town stretch. The blizzard PMD hatches of yesteryear might be a few seasons off yet but the overall fishing action is coming back around fast. Add to that lower numbers of anglers and guide boats than either the Blackfoot or Bitterroot and you have an excellent sneaky option for those rainy Griz Game mornings.

I got out on the Clark last week with clients and it fished so well I had to take some friends along for another dip. Guide by day, weekend warrior by night. The weather did what it could to keep us away with some rain & hail squalls that only the best gortex raingear could deal with. Despite these periods of hiding in the trees the fishing lived up to expectations with plenty of chunky rainbows swiping at flies and few hitting the net. A few beers with the brothers on a lonesome stretch of streamer water? This is what fall fishing is all about.

Rain? What Rain?

Buffalo Spirit w/ another nice Bow

Sunday, September 13, 2015

When The Browns Are Knocking.

Well well well. This is why I stick around after a long summer on the river and stay firmly seated in the rowers chair. Holy smokes people : You want to talk about a solid start to fall fishing. I had mentioned a certain reason why I love fishing this time of year in Bitterroot September Outlook: Its buttery golden brown colored, toothy, and very very randy. "Fuck Yeah Randy". I will be saying that mantra early and often if this last weeks low river Brown trout haul keeps coming. I mean sometimes the river god just smiles and there's a kyped out tank lurking under every single bush and tree. Seemingly anyway, sometimes you just have to believe that a trout is waiting in that shadow and BOOM. Blamo. Kill bubba kill. In between days like this and the ever-growing allure of lazy days floating the Clark Fork and I feel I will be a very busy fly-slinger this fall. Countdown til British Columbia and giant steelhead can wait another few weeks, I got brownies to catch!

Oh yeah, also caught a pike.

Pay no attention to the man behind the greenish brown trout

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bitterroot September Outlook

My last post was about tactics for surviving (SURVIVE!) the always  sometimes brutal stretch of mid August we've come to know and love: Not much hatching other than the seemingly ubiquitous hopper hatch and long, hot afternoons to keep them fishes down sulking. While the Tricos have kept the morning bite going it is certainly not my favorite part of the fishing calendar, staring at microscopic black parachutes in the wee morning hours waiting for a giant sipping to sip. Not my favorite medicine. Sip That Syrup.  But then it's over, as if a mirage, and the blistering August heat is a thing of the past.  The sweatshirts, waders, and the Ravalli county fair all signal the first cool mornings and the turning of seasons into my absolute favorite : Fall Fishing Is Here!!!!

Autumn has few detractors that I know of so this is mostly a bandwagon jumping rant with no hipster credit to be gleaned ("I was into fall fishing waayyyyyy before all these other people were"). However.  Brown trout blend in with the leaves changing colors and they look extra pretty. The Rainbows come out in the afternoons to eat flotillas of mayflies with cool composure. Eagles and Ospreys are seemingly in every tree from bend to bend. Add to that the swarming crowds of summer are long gone and their is something resembling SOLITUDE to found out on the river again. That is truly the best, the feeling of having a ten mile float of river to your lonesome self and pod after pod of risers to shoot at. Something close to Heaven.

But back to those Autumn Browns. ..

I Love Goooooooold!

Brown trout this time of year are as eager and willing to eat a fly as they will ever be. The ever elusive Salmo trutta takes a break from its reputation of being the picky eaters of the trout world and in indulge in a month-long spawning / killing spree that would have made even Luca Brasi jealous. Anything moving around their territory is fair game right now, the skated dry fly, the swung nymph , and the biggest thing living in your flybox are all dead to rights anywhere near them. Their extra splash of seasonal golden color matches the surroundings and makes for super cool pictures. It also adds to their growing nut-fire self confidence and makes them believe they are invisible. They are not. Not when they come charging out of woodpiles and ledges to crush any suspected would-be assailants. God I love these fish when they aren't finicky f@#$s.

This all means it is time to revel in the glory ride into the sunset that is Autumn flyfishing in Montana. The scenery, solitude, and dry fly bite gets as good as it ever will. The smart anglers and those just getting the last sunny day of indian summer will all be rewarded with the best season (in my opinion) that the river has to offer. Nothing left to say but "set the hook, fish awwwwn!" .

Chromer. Steelhead bae'.

Last Bow' of Summer.