The days are getting shorter and the turkeys are running scared, but there is still some great fishing going on around Missoula. With a good chunk of the locals busy hunting during their spare time, popular wading spots like Rock Creek and Fish Creek are solitary spaces these days. Just you, the BWOs, the midges, and the fish. And slush. Lots of 7-11 cherry slurpy-quality water coming down the pipe from the higher altitudes, which means picking a spot with some sun and open water is the key to finding a quality drift. Nothing better than tossing out your rig to watch it float by on a chunk of ice. This time of year can be frustrating like that, and the fishing sometimes comes into better shape when the ice solidifies into shelves a bit, but there is something to be said for tramping along the river when there’s no one about, and a cloudy day headhunting on the Clark Fork can be rewarding.
|Finding a slow edge after the riffles will help get you into fish this time of year. Zach Orth stays out of the water while nymphing Rock Creek.|
Sunny days aren’t the worst thing that can happen for your fishing in November, and waiting until the “heat” of the day has warmed the water up can get fish moving. That last bit of sun right before the canyon gets cold is when I’ve had some good luck with fish feeding on nymphs along the edges. Take some time and look for moving fish along the edges of currents, and vary your depth until you find a taker. Slow down your approach, find some good water and give it a few more casts than you would in the summer. They aren’t moving a mile to take a fly, and sometimes all it takes is one more cast until you’ve got that fish story for the family on turkey day.
|Frozen guides are a given this time of year. Some anglers pack a little bottle of WD-40 to keep them clear.|