Cold, cold and more cold means ice pack is beginning to form in earnest on western Montana’s lakes and ponds. A quick stop at any of the big outdoor retailers will find them in full swing on the ice fishing crowds with fluorescent hot eggs as far as the eye can see lining the aisles. If you’re a weekend warrior die-hard fly angler, now is the time to take a cue from the bait boys- hot beads, worms and anything that will entice a fish to move is the name of the game for the weekend. There is still lots of open river water in the area. The upper Clark Fork has some great stuff going, and Rock Creek is always a good option. The weatherman says it’s supposed to hit the 30s this weekend, and after this brief cold snap that will feel almost like summer. Layer up and get down. Like down to the bottom with a couple of double-beaded worms. That’ll stick ’em. Nymphing is the name of the game for the most part this weekend, though if you’re Forrest Gump-like lucky you may find some fish willing to take a midge if the conditions are right. For the most part you’ll have better luck bobber dogging the slow stuff with rigs that get seen and eaten: rubberlegs and worms, eggs and worms, worms and worms… You get the idea. If you just can’t bring yourself to fish the worm and you’re still standing in the river when it’s 30 degrees out and the ski hill is open then try some midge patterns down deep, just don’t forget the hot bead. What worked last winter? Go with that. That’ll work.
|What’s missing from this picture? Snow and ice, that’s it. Lots more ice this weekend if you’re headed to the river.
Get used to it, and learn to love the hot beaded bullshit.