The Flathead River is fishing good but it has not been consistent throughout the day. If the trout are feeding, you can’t ask for better fishing with lots of dry fly eats and some really nice fish making their way into the net. However, if the trout aren’t on the feed, you can be left shaking your head and wondering about your sanity. Flows are low for this time of year (10,800 CFS) but there is still plenty of good holding water for trout. Over the past week we have had a consistent hatch of smallish (size 12-16) tan or light colored mayflies around mid day to early afternoon. West Slope Cutthroat trout love them! Look for shallow riffles, inside corners, foam lines, and side channels for feeding trout. Dry flies working for some of our guides are light colored mayflies, midges, golden stones, stimulators, and Amy’s ant. Dropper rigs are working too, with mayfly nymphs, and midges being used the most. It doesn’t matter if the fishing is hot or cold, you can’t help be have good time on this magnificent river.
There is a lot of fun to be had fishing on our local creeks and small rivers. The forks of the Flathead River are fishing well with anglers seeing nice trout sipping mayflies, midges and other naturals. Water is still big in both the middle and the north forks of the Flathead River so make sure you are with someone who is capable behind the oars or it could ruin your day or even worse. If being on foot is your preferred method, find a local creek. Water levels are dropping quickly, revealing holding water that was inaccessible earlier in the year. Look for pocket water, riffle drops, and pools and you should find fish. Don’t get too complicated with your set up. Keep your leader short and your flies floating on top. If fishing gets a little tough, throw a pheasant tail or copper John dropper below a foam or bushy dry fly and you should be able to elicit a strike. Most of the spring time spawning trout should be finishing up their merrymaking but still be on the look out for redds (spawning beds) and as always, if you see spawning trout, please move on to ensure that we have a great fishery in the future.
Get out and fish your local stillwater! I visited a lake last week known for Grayling and I was pleasantly surprised at how good the fishing was. Cutthroat trout and Grayling were cruising between 5-7ft in depth and feeding consistently on a variety of flies. Scuds and freshwater shrimp patterns in white, cream, and orange, as well as balanced leeches were “the ticket to ride.” Water temperatures are perfect for bug activity and the fish are taking advantage of the ample food.
Bass fishing should only be getting better as the summer progresses. Get those poppers out and cast to structure early in the morning or late in the evening. If you are out mid day, look for any shaded area or rocky outcroppings. If the top water bite is off, go subsurface with various buggers, intruders, or clousers. Hold on to your rods, these fish can be aggressive!
As always, if you want more up to date info about what is happening on our local fisheries around the Flathead Valley call or email us at Wild Montana Anglers or stop into Lary’s Fly and Supply at 604 Nucleus avenue in beautiful Columbia Falls, Montana. Be safe and have good one out there folks! -Mark