Don't Overlook the Crayfish...
The Mother's Day Caddis hatch is on on the Lower Madison right now. Dry fly fishermen can rejoice! If you want to throw the dry all day you certainly can and you can probably do pretty well with it. The fish are feeding on top the best in the afternoons to evenings. Fish darker patterns, blacks and dark olives, in smaller sizes like a 16. A dry dropper rig will really work well. Put an emerger or a pupa behind a larger dry and see what happens.
We've heard a number of anglers this week in the shop that have been frustrated with the dry fly fishing. If you aren't on the front of the hatch or if it's a really bright day getting fish to eat on top can be a bit of a challenge. If they aren't eating on top, then switch it up.
Being willing to fish the indicator rig can make the difference between catching just a few fish and having a great day on the water. If the fish just don't want the dry, then go deep. On the Lower Madison in particular, one of the best flies you can use is a crayfish pattern. Tan and olive crays have just been killing it right now. The fishing has been just nuts. Ethan was down on the Lower recently and they caught most of their fish on the cray. Use the larger Cray as a point fly and hang a smaller caddis pupa, lil spanker or caddis pupa behind it. You won't be disappointed.
Intro to Fly Fishing Classes Start May 9
Have you ever wanted to learn to fly fish, but haven't gotten around to it yet? Our Intro to Fly Fishing Classes are starting next month on May 9th. This class is a great primer to fly fishing and will cover all the topics you need to get out on the water with confidence. The cost is $125 for the full day class and space is limited to 10 students. Some of the topics covered in the class include:
And a lot more.
We will be offering this class every second Saturday of the month through September. Stop in the shop or give us a call at 406-587-9111 for more info or to sign up.
Messed Up Browns and Hook Removal
Staff guide Ladd Hogue was fishing with his dad on the Big Hole a couple of weekends ago and happened to catch this strange brown. Pictures of similar fish have been circulating on the blog circuit and social media for a while earlier this year. While no one is absolutely certain what caused it there are a couple of good theories out there.
One of the more cogent one involves the fish being caught when it was young and careless hook removal damaged the jaw so much it was either ripped off or injured enough it fell off. Somehow the fish was able to survive without it’s top jaw.
Hook removal can make a huge impact on the survival rate of caught fish. You need to be able to take the hook out quickly and easily, and without tearing the jaw off the fish. One of the easiest ways you can do that is by simply pinching the barbs on your flies. This makes removing hooks so much easier.
Bring Your Gear Down Today
Our Gear Swap starts tomorrow morning at 8am! If you're planning on selling anything, you have to bring it down to the shop by 5:30 tonight. We can get you checked in and your items priced and ready to sell. Just a reminder... Items priced to sell will move, items priced at retail value will likely not sell. Keep that in mind when pricing your gear. If your items sell, you can either get a check for the sale price minus a 20% commission, or get 100% of the sale price in store credit.
This event is always pretty well atteneded, so if you're looking to get rid of any old gear or upgrade your equipment now is a perfect time!
See you tomorrow.
Mother's Day Caddis
Mother’s Day Caddis! They are starting to show up in pretty good numbers on the Lower and Upper Madison. This hatch is one of the first major dry fly events of the year and it is one of my personal favorites. With the Lower being so close to town it is easy to run over there after work or for a few hours and enjoy this great hatch.
It’s still the early part of the hatch, and it’s just going to get better as time goes on. Water temps are almost at 55 degrees coming out of Ennis Dam, which is pretty good for the bugs. Over the past few days we’ve been seeing a ton of caddis flying around and on the water, but not very many fish eating off the surface until around 5pm. As soon as that sun gets off the water the fish will start coming up more consistently.
Don't Miss The Gear Swap
Don't forget about the annual Gear Swap coming up this Saturday! If you've got stuff to sell or have been thinking about upgrading your fishing gear, this is a great chance to do it. Bring your old stuff down to the shop on Friday, the 24th from 9 to 5:30 to get it checked in and tagged. Saturday is the sale day. Items priced to sell will move, so be sure to mark your items cheap enough to sell.
Saturday there will be lots of good stuff to peruse and buy and we'll be open from 8 to 6pm. I would recommend getting there early to get the best stuff! If you've got any questions, call the shop at 406-587-9111 or stop by. See you on Saturday!
Book Your Trips Now
Fishing season is upon us! The shop is getting busier and we’re sending a lot of anglers and guides out on the water. The fishing is only going to get better and better from here on out. Our summer calendar is really starting to fill up as well.
If you’re planning a fishing trip out this way this year, you should book your trip now. Booking early will guarantee that you get the dates you want with the best guides we have available. Flights are cheaper earlier, hotels are easier to book, and if you get your dates set in stone early that gives you more time to tie the flies you need!
Upcoming Events: Gear Swap and Spey Clinic
Two events are coming up this week, and you don’t want to miss either one of them! The first one is our Annual Gear Swap next Saturday, April 25. This is a great chance to either sell or buy used fishing gear. You can bring your used stuff down to the shop on Friday the 24thand get it all checked in, then see if it sells on Saturday! You can either get a check for the sales price minus a 20% commission, or receive the full value in store credit.
If you’re in the market for fishing gear, you don’t want to miss it. The doors open at 8am and we’ll be open till 6pm. Come on down and check out what there is! Every year we end up with lots of cool stuff and you just never know what you might find.
Call the shop at 406-587-9111 or stop by for more information.
For a lot of us in Bozeman, the last thing you want to wake up to in the middle of April is six inches of snow on the ground. While the idea of a big powder dump excites probably more people in this town than it bums out, it is still a bit of a let down after some warmer days in the 60s and 70s.
But it still just April in Montana. We could legitimately continue to see weather like this for a couple more months. If you don’t like it, wait a few days and it will completely change again. That’s just spring in the mountains.
New Fly Tying Video: Caddis Soft Hackle
Peter and I have been working on a lot of different videos for our YouTube channel. The latest one is now live! Peter walks you through tying one of the most classic and effective flies out there, a soft hackle. This particular soft hackle is a really good one for caddis, especially the Mother's Day Caddis hatch (which should be here very soon!). The soft hackle is one of those flies you should always have with you in all kinds of colors and sizes.