Things are happening in the Flathead Valley. The West side of Glacier National Park is open, tourist are funneling in, and our local fisheries are a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the Montana summer!
There were rumors of the big river possibly starting to fish but after a few reports from local guides, a rumor was all it was. With our recent warmer than normal weather, and moisture moving into the valley, the river is back on the rise. The wait continues…
While the big river is still climbing in volume, a select few of our smaller rivers and creeks are looking better every day. Some of the best highlights from our guided trips this week have consisted of sneaking along banks and head hunting for quality trout that are slurping down mayflies. There are few things as fun as that and our clients have had a blast doing it. We have seen good fishing on both the dry and the nymph. The dry-dropper rig has been the most effective method to get into em’.
Green, grey, and chocolate colored drakes in sizes 10-14 have been very effective this week. Also smaller mayfly patterns in a variety of colors have also been used to fool trout. Foam bugs are still getting plenty of attention so don’t shy away from throwing standards such as chubby Chernobyl’s, Jakes Trigger bellies, Amy’s ants, and Terks Terantulas.
Under the bobber:
If you are having trouble getting trout to commit to the dry, the bobber set up is probably your best option. Use a variety of nymphs such as drake nymphs and stonefly nymphs. Specifically, pheasant tails, hares ears, micro mayflies in sizes 10-16 have worked well. The trick is to get them down to where they need to be. We have observed trout eating subsurface at a variety of depths in the water column. As my old man used to say, ”mind that bobber.” For people who didn’t grow up with a dad full of southern sayings, that means, keep a watchful eye on the bobber. Several of the nymph eats we have seen this week have been subtle and if you aren’t paying attention you will not even know you had a strike.
The streamer bite is probably good out there but with the amount of bug activity that we have seen this week on our smaller water, we have not been fishing them. Don’t let that deter you. Give it a try and let us know how you do.
Look out for reds and spawning fish:
We all like to catch fish, but we also need to protect them. Spring is spawning season for cutthroat. If you see trout making redds (spawning beds) or a large amount of trout grouped together in small water, don’t fish to them. We need those fish to be viable and reproduce the next generation. If you do come across this, enjoy the beauty of it and move on.
Stillwater fishing has been hit or miss this week but that is nothing new. For us, the bite has been more consistent in the afternoon. Water temps are continuing to rise with temperatures moving into the high 50’s and low 60’s which might explain the better afternoon fishing. Balanced leeches are still producing the best with a variety of colors eliciting strikes. We have also seen an increase in damsel and dragonflies buzzing around. Stripping or suspending the nymphal form of these bugs has been quite productive in certain lakes. Several people have reported decent terrestrial fishing on several local lakes so don’t shy away from fishing ants and beetle dry flies.
Enjoy it out there folks! Be well and if you have any comments or suggestions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.