Chasing the hatch
Been chasing the caddis hatch around a lot lately and the best piece of advise i have is to get upstream of the bugs to find the best dry fly action. The Mother's Day caddis hatch is so prolific the fish strap on the feed bag and rise in a frenzy. I watched a rainbow on the lower the other day rise 5 times in a row propelling his whole body out of the water and snatched caddis literally out of the thin air. With this many naturals on the water and in the air it can be puzzling how they can be eating with reckless abandon all around your fly taking no interest in your pattern. I had this issue the other day and finally switched to a olive body pattern with a dark wing and then it was game on. I have also had great success fishing more emergers and short leashed pupas behind the dry.
Catch and release
Explaining fly fishing and the practice of catch and release to those who don't fish is kind of like trying to show your parents how to use an iPhone. Often you may hear upon return from a fly fishing trip "where are all the fish?" I usually answer slightly confused "well they're in the river" before it occurs to me that most people see fishing as a way of harvesting food and don't understand why you'd go fishing just to let them all go.
Blue Wing Olives
Been on the water the last two days fishing and guiding to find more good trout but i've also witnessed some incredible baetis hatches. It has been just an incredible spring of fishing in Montana but the dry fly hatches have been selective...untill now. It seems with the bad weather comes the bad weather bugs aka Blue Wing Olives aka BWO aka Baetis. They are an awesome insect that is often the first big hatch of mayflies that we see here in Montana's springtime. There have been some good hatches of them all over the last few weeks really but yesterday was the first day i found trout just smashing bugs on the surface with reckless abandon.
Been taking out a few trips this last week with teenagers and their folks who have come to Bozeman to take a look at MSU campus and decided to do a day of fishing as well. It's no question that Montana's world class trout fishing, skiing, hiking, camping, biking, etc. is the drawing force for most young minds to decide to attend college here. I feel kinda spoiled having grown up here and having such amazing access to endless rivers and fly fishing was just a part of life. It didn't really dawn on me untill i started guiding and working in the fly shop that people from all over the world travel to Montana to experience the beauty that we savor basically in our backyard. Now it has become an incredibly rewarding experience for me, as a fishing guide, to share that with anglers from out of town.
Every once in a while a product comes along that is so well thought out and simple it stands far above the rest. For us that is the new fly boxes from Tacky Fly Fishing. Their whole thing is that your fly box is such an important piece of your fishing equipment why settle for a cheap plastic and foam box that will fall apart after one season or god forbid leak and rust your hooks? Whether you invest hard earned money into buying flies or precious time tying your own it is a terrible thing to see them destroyed by the elements.
Research and Development
Had to run a few errands yesterday morning like get a box of custom tied meaty pike flies mailed out to my buddy in South Dakota. Finally got all the loose ends tied up and whip finished so i busted to the river to test out a bunch of streamer patterns i've been working on all winter. The 30 MPH winds kept most of the fishing access sites pretty void of anglers and full of fresh air. As long as i'm not rowing i really dont care what the wind does anymore. I grabbed my 8wt. and a box of flies and headed out to walk wade with my favorite fishing buddy Trutta the black lab.
Bozeman Anglers and Scientific Anglers
Aside from this morning the weather has been fantastic and so has the fishing. Yesterday was around 70 degrees and sunny and today the spring wind and rain smacked us around. Whatever the clouds and cool temperatures usually bring out the BWOs. We are starting to see more fish up on top going after the baetis and midges. We've seen a few skwallas and march browns but nothing really targeting them on the surface yet.
Been guiding a number of days the last few weeks and it has been such a positive start to the season. Lot's of good days of awesome fishing and happy clients who after a number of years rowing them down rivers feel more like friends than customers. This is one of my favorite parts of working in this industry and really what makes it all work for me since when it comes down to it we are all here to enjoy fly fishing. Being able to share your passion with others who see and understand the beauty of the sport is the most rewarding aspect of our work. Sorry to get all sappy on you but it is just such a cool thing to be a part of and i'm so stoked to see what the upcoming season brings. "They can't all be great days but if you can get more great than bad days on the water you're doing good" an old veteran guide once told me.
The Fishing has been just killer this week and while the indicator rig may be putting crazy numbers of fish in the net the streamer bite has been picking up as well. I've been having better luck with fish committing on the smaller sized patterns but getting a few chases on the big articluated ones.
Since the weather has been so fantastic lately i've been in plenty of fishing on my own and also picked up a few guide trips. When people ask me what the best time of year to fish in Montana is i usually tell them the spring time. Problem is most springtime trips in Montana along with awesome fishing tend to harbor the occasional snow storm. Not this year however it has been so nice and warm we've been trying to take advantage of the comfortable weather and live on the river.