Fishing Report 5-19-20

Fishing Report 5-19-20

Did I hear you say the “Big Bugs” were out? – the crazy eyed fisherman knocking on my car window.

Big water:

She is big! Flowing at 31,500 CFS, it’s going to be a little while until this beloved river is going to be fishable. If you do get out there, be careful. There are substantial logs and trees making their way down the river. Make sure you or the person you are with are competent boaters. 

Small Water:

With Region 1’s opening weekend behind us, all of our local small waters without special regulations are fully open to the public. Some are fishing pretty well. Others are not but will get better as our runoff subsides. We are seeing an increase in big stoneflies (Big Bugs) making their way through certain drainages and the fish are keying in on the big bugs. Fishing the big bugs are a hoot! Throw technical fishing out the window and get down and dirty with big flies, short leaders, and smacking flies on the water. When the big bugs are present, try shortening your leader to around 4-6 ft. Tie on a large stonefly pattern and let your fly hit the water with gusto. Fish are looking up for these notoriously bad flyers and by slapping the water you will help get the trout’s attention. Don’t be afraid to drop a large stonefly nymph off the back of your dry. This week, the nymph has been producing better than the big dry but as trout see more and more stoneflies hitting the water, they should be keying in on the dry more. Big bugs are not the only flies trout are eating at the moment. Drakes, caddis, worms, and several different types of mayflies have also been observed flying around on our smaller waters this week. 

Target slower water. Our smaller water is raging in some drainages. Look for seam lines, slower water moving along the banks, eddies, and any area where the water is slower than the mainstream current. Wade with caution as well. The currents can be deceptively quick and forceful. Use a wading staff or cross with a buddy. Safety first, fishing second.

Dries:

Winged True Salmon Flys, Sofa Pillows, Water wWlkers, Super Gee Salmon Fly, Rogue River Salmon Fly and other large black and orange dry flies should be used if you find yourself in an area where Salmon flies are present. If the water you are fishing doesn’t have the big bugs then be sure to carry other dry fly patterns such as parachute mayfly patterns, elk hair caddis, caddis X, flying ants, stimulators and other bright bushy flies.

Under the bobber:

Not much has changed in this department. Some flies to consider having in your box are Pat’s rubber legs, Kaufman stones, 20 inchers, caddis pupas, frenchies, copper Johns, two bit hookers, micro mayfly, split back mayfly, and other mayfly nymphs. 

Streamers:

If you are tired of throwing big dries or the nymphs game doesn’t do it for ya, throw the streamer. Trout are on the feed and they aren’t going to pass up the opportunity to eat a streamer if presented correctly. Don’t expect it to be lights out fishing but most people who throw streamers are accustomed to quality over quantity anyways. With our water still high and off colored in a lot of areas, use a sink tip that sinks to the depth of water you are trying to target with your streamer. Bright colors that contrast the darker water color seem to be the most productive. 

Stillwater:

Trout:

Stillwater fishing hasn’t had much of a change from last week, so I will keep last weeks comments up. There have been varying reports as to how good the stillwater trout fishing has been this week. For some, the fishing has been pretty damn good, others, not so much. Not much has changed in the food department. The patterns we have been using for the past two weeks are still working. However, the trout appear to be cruising at different depths throughout the day. Adjust the level at which yourbalanced leeches (size 10-16), chironomids (size 10-16), and scud patterns (size 12-16) are dangling below your bobber. Once you find the level that the trout are cruising, get your patterns down to that depth and let them soak. Stripping balanced leeches and streamers has also brought trout to hand. No stripping technique has out fished any other so change up your cadence till you find the strip the trout like. Hold on to your rods though. Some of the bites have been down right vicious, with the trout conveniently setting the hook themselves as they cruise right through your fly on the way to their next meal.  

Bass:

Bass fishing is warming up daily. Anglers have reported bass moving into shallower water and striking aggressively. The reason they are in shallow water is because they are getting ready to spawn. Some people frown on this behavior but other embrace it. The choice is yours. Try streamers in whites, chartreuse, olives, and blacks.  

Enjoy it out there folks! Be well and if you have any comments or suggestions feel free to contact me at mark@wildmontanaanglers.com.