Big River Fishing Report
March 23, CFS 3700 @ Columbia Falls, water temps hovering around 40 degrees.
The sunny days have been more productive due to the warmer water temperatures bringing the bugs. Midges and small black winter stones are out in decent numbers. They can be seen crawling on the snowy banks and fluttering past on the water and in the air.
Worms, pheasant tails, and stonefly nymphs! Pink and red worms size #12-16 have been a great anchor fly, preferably a heavy one to get you down quickly. Switch up colors until you find the one they want to eat. Pheasant tails size #12-16 have been a great fly to hang off the back. Variants such as hare’s ears, black bodied bead heads, copper johns, have all produced, leading to the conclusion that size and body profile are king, and the fish are feeding opportunistically on it. If the worm isn’t producing, a girdle bug size #10-14 has been a great substitute. Again, heavy to get you down. On the days you do see noses coming up to eat midges, stones, or other emerging bugs, a size #16 goober midge hung off the back of a slightly larger parachute should be the ticket. Good, drag-free drifts will get it done.
Fish have been concentrated mainly in their winter holding water. Deep slow water with a bit of overhead current has been the target. Additionally, shelves leading into deep holding pools have been holding fish.They seem to be mainly stuck to the bottom, so deep nymphing rigs have been the ticket. Some fish are being caught swinging small streamers through these deep runs, again, low and slow.
Fishing should continue to get better and better until the inevitable blowout. More fish are going to be pushing into the system. They will start to spread out as water levels and temperatures rise. Larger stones, and march brown mayflies to come in the near future. Stay safe and tight lines!