Small Flies, Big Fish
It’s been a hot week for the Flathead Valley. We’ve seen 90 degree days on multiple occasions. Fishing remains good with the majority of trout being caught on the surface. We have found this to be the most effective way to target these trout. Get ready for lots of dry-fly fishing in the coming months.
Lucky for us, our fishery is slightly different than most in Montana. The Flathead River is a freestone river fed from glacial ice melt. This is opposed to a tailwater- fed from a dam; or, your typical freestone river, not fed from a glacier. This gives us a slight advantage as the summer goes on. When other rivers in Montana begin to heat up, the fishing slows down with it. Lucky for us we don’t have that issue. Our river stays much colder much longer than others.
What does this mean? Well, it means we have a slower start to the summer. Our runoff takes a bit longer and water stays colder. We are blessed with better fishing, and more active trout for the duration of the summer.
Fishing is still great. The best time to hit the water would be in the middle of the afternoon. This is when we catch the majority of our fish. Sunny skies and clear water. The cutthroat have no problem seeing those small dry flies we know they love. Small Mayflies such as a pmd, parachute adams, or purple haze have produced the most fish. This isn’t to say we have stopped fishing the larger dry flies. We still do, but with a little less success. Not every trout is hungry for a T-bone steak. Remember, everyone has room for dessert.
To my nymphing friends, do not worry. Dropping a small nymph off the back of a chubby chernobyl, or other large dry, this will surely fool some trout into the net. Try dropping a small pheasant tail, hare’s ear, or lightning bug off the back of these dries to entice a strike. Size 16 should do the trick; drop these nymphs 2-3 feet off the back of your dry.
The main stem of the flathead River is looking better everyday. If flows continue to drop the way they have, look for stellar dry fly fishing to continue. The main stem is at 9400 CFS, this makes it much more accessible to the wade fisherman. Good luck out there and stay cool. Sunscreen and bear spray are essential.
Happy fishing from Wild Montana Anglers!