Getting into the late Summer season we start to see less crowds on the river, big fish, and my favorite small mayfly's tricos, psuedos, and baetis. It has been an absolutely incredible season on Montana's waters with great fishing, great people, and great times. It's easy to let it all fly by in a blur but towards the end of the season when i get a day off it's nice to reflect on what i've seen/learned this year.
A couple note of things i found to be beneficial this year:
1. loop knots.
They are awesome. Allow your fly to sink faster, move freely, and absorb big head shakes while playing fish. Not just for streamers either they work great on nymphs and dries also.
2. Tungsten flies
gets your fly down into the strike zone quicker in the fast water and allows you to use less split shot.
3. Leader sizing
Go big if you can. I tie a lot of big flies on 0X, 1X, and 2X with a smaller 3X or 4X dropper. Even in gin clear Madison water the fish are not that leader shy.
The longer your leader the longer drag free drift you'll get so dont be afraid to throw a 12' leader on your dry fly rig. Switch up length and size a lot for different areas of deeper or shallower water. Fish a short stout leader in shallow water. Fish a long thin leader in a deep water scenario and lengthen your leader to indicator distance to get down to the fish near the bottom if your nymphing.
4. Blood Knots
learn em, use em, they won't let you down. Much cleaner and stronger than other line to line connections
5. Get behind the mud plugs on the Yellowstone
dirty water can ruin your day but if you can get on the tail end of it those fish will be ravenous aftert a day or two of living in the dark water. Some of my best days on the stone this year where fishing in 1'-2' of visibility.
Just a few random tips that helped me out in a tough spot this year. Stay positive and be smarter than the fish!
This very well might have been the best summer of fishing in Montana i've seen in the last ten years. For all the worry of low snowpack and warm water threats we had in the spring we really lucked out with plenty of cool weather, great hatches, and happy trout. Thanks for the great times on the water and hopefully many more to come!