Well, it finally happened. The Flathead River is blown. After a stellar spring of big fish, bobbers waking upstream with fish attached, and some great dry fly days, the high mountain snow is finally making its way down into the river. At last check the river soared to 32,100 CFS. All good things must come to an end but the Flathead River will be back to all of her glory soon.
Until then, explore the stillwater (lake) options surrounding the valley. What’s not to love about fishing stillwaters? They offer exciting fishing and a great opportunity to up your bragging rights on the number of species you have caught. You can target the usual suspects like cutthroat and rainbow trout but if you wanted to spice it up a bit, you can also get after some warm water species including perch, crappy, sunfish, and large and small mouth bass. How many of you can say you have caught these in the valley? I can’t, but let’s just keep that between us. You don’t need to buy any extra gear to target these species either. Shorten your leaders to make them a little stronger to deal with these stouter, toothier fish, and you’ll be practically putting them into the net already.
Similar to our rivers and creeks, stillwaters are located in gorgeous areas but most importantly, they are home to larger-than-average size fish. That is due to their increased amount of food availability. The amount of food in our lakes makes our rivers look as scarce as the milk and bread isles at a grocery store during a hurricane. Lakes are food factories! Water temperatures in most lakes are well into the 50-degree range by now with a few of the smaller lakes reading low 60’s at the water’s surface. Chironamids, callibaetis, leeches, scuds, and shrimp are all out in good numbers and with a little inspection of the water’s edge or surface you should be able to match the hatch accordingly.
If you need any help finding that perfect fly for your local stillwater or you are curious about stillwater setups and techniques, we are always happy to help! Just give us a call or stop by Lary’s Fly and Supply for all the relevant beta.