September is here in the Flathead Valley and with it comes the dreaded end of summer. Kids go back to school, Labor Day shenanigans ensue, and the NFL dominates Sundays for the rest of the year. Wow has the Summer flown by!
To the fly-fisherman not all is lost. As the hot temperatures begin to fade, our trout become increasingly active and hungry. This in turn, leads to more fish being caught, and more good times to be had. Hold on to September as it may be your best chance to catch a hefty Westslope Cutthroat.
Our guides have seen less and less dry fly activity as the days get shorter. That’s not to say there isn’t any… Try fishing a small tan hopper in the morning followed by a smaller mayfly variation, such as an adam’s or a purple haze. Replace this mayfly with a small black ant pattern as the day heats up. Fishinging a double dry fly rig will increase your odds of fooling a trout. In addition, this style of rig can help identify what the trout might be keying in on. Constantly change flies to find what trout like the best.
If the double dry fly won’t work replace the back fly with a small weighted nymph about 3-4 feet away. Use this to target any trout that may be feeding sub-surface. Fishing a dropper off the back of a large dry fly is a go-to rig for us. Small pheasant tail, lightning bug, and copper john’s work well as droppers. Use the large dry fly as an indicator; if the small nymph is eaten the fly will dip beneath the surface, cue, The Hook Set!
It is important when fly fishing to be open to change. Changing weather and temperature means changing bugs and fishing styles. Re-rig until you have matched the hatch and don’t be afraid to try something out of the norm. They are fiesty Cutties after all.