While this year’s runoff hasn’t yet (nor may it ever) turned that corner into full mud blow out, the rivers are bumping with the warmer nights and downright balmy days we’ve had this week. There are still fish to be had, and spots of every river that are experiencing great hatches and willing fish. But you gotta work for it. On the Bitterroot, the rising waters have taken the mornings out of the equation almost completely, with the fishing coming into shape as the waters warm up and the bugs start coming off. The lovely Amaletus (or Gray Drake) is popping up all about, with the hatches in the back sloughs finding some willing fish. Streamers are finding fish tight to the structure, and the nymph rig is the best bet for early morning eats. Dry fly fishing? It’s not exactly D.F.O. (Dry Fly Only) out there, but this weekend’s clouds will give you your best shot at it. On the Bitterroot the skwala has tapered off considerably, with more fish moving for size 10-12 Parachute Adams than a bulky stonefly pattern. Subsurface the hare’s ear variation of your choice is going to do work, and the dirty worm of course.
The Clark Fork has a lot of bugs. Skwalas, March Browns, Caddis, Drakes, you name it. But not a ton of action close to town. Stick with it and choose your water wisely. The Blackfoot has been fishing, and though it is bumping and grinding up a storm – there’s always the Clearwater if you’re headed in that direction.
|The rising waters found this smaller brown tight to the riprap, but still willing to grab a flashy streamer put in front of it.|
Wherever you decide to fish, bring the streamer box and be prepared for some dry spells. Bright and flashy got it done in the off color stuff for us, as well as yellow and black bugger variations. Tie a worm or a big stonefly off the back, tuck it back in the point of that eddy and twitch, dead drift, twitch…