Time for a timely flashback to the early summer days of Gortex, big water, and big brownies. Something about the scuzzy weather makes those toothy predators move around and hit the kill switch. I love it. When the fly gets engulfed not by a feisty 12" Rainbow but a hulking termanator Brown trout, your heart is liable to skip a beat. You'll feel it even through all the warm layers raingear, trust me. We are still a few weeks away from the final flush of autumn gold hitting the net with regularity, something I look forward to every season. You can always count on a Montana season starting and ending with a heart-pounding moment thanks to these stealthy killers.
Back to the present : Big high heat of mid-summer has us seeking shade these days. Kinda stomping on the trout bite. Add the ever-present smokey haze from area forest fires and you have the definition of Dog Days. We know its coming every year but it still comes as a shock, when the fish become sluggish, line-shy (you mean a Cutthroat can become line-shy??) and spooky to those casts that land in a heap. The promise of summer rain will keep us going though. No doubt about it there is something powerful about a summer cell building out in the Wilderness and hitting after dark, lightning and rain coming in sheets. Cooling down the river and heating up the bite. Keeping these fish happy. Maybe this weekend? Forecast looking more and more that way. Sunday is looking the wettest. And we are over due : By my observation is has been 28 days since we had meaningful precip. Too long, Momma Nature, too long.
The hoot owl restriction for our river have been lifted from Tucker Crossing to Missoula. The Blackfoot is open again as well and should stay open the rest of the year. The upper Bitterroot has been seeing most of our local pressure as it is holding cold and offering at least consistency. Much better for angling options than last season when the closure hit July 3rd and was from the confluence of the forks all the way down. West side of the state is holding strong, dodging bullets from fire and giving up some nice fish to those determined few. As far as the upper river and the WF last season our flows were awesome right up until the gates were closed Oct 1st. We have a touch more water than same time last season so we will see how long the tap stays open.