Weekend Warrior: Little Snow, Lots of Water

This week started warm and will end cold enough for a little snow. What does that mean for your fishing? Plenty of open water, with rivers bumping from rain and warm temps breaking up a significant amount of river ice shelves in some spots. The warm weather has made for flooding in Troy and Libby, and the Kootenai river is chugging brown and ugly up there. Around Missoula, our rivers aren’t too off color at all though there is surely some sediment running through to deal with. Deep and dirty is the trick in these cold temps and higher flows, so don’t forget the split shot and the monster stoneflies to get down to where the fish are. Red, pink, chartreuse, hot orange beads, in the darker water you’ll want to get the fish to see your rig.

This little beauty came to hand for Zach Orth in late December last season. Similar conditions are about in Missoula this weekend.

The forecast calls for temps right around freezing, a little snow, a little rain and a lot of overcast. That works out well for winter fishing, though a sunny day might help with keeping those fingers from going numb. Take your time, have a big breakfast and head out with a bomber deli sandwich in your pack- I’d suggest Tagliare just to class it up a bit, and try to fish in the warmest part of the day to find success. Look for slower water and solid seams to run your rig in and give it about ten more passes than you might a month ago. Vary the depth of your rig, and zen out on the bobber a bit. Embrace the worm. Love the midge. And come home happy and soggy. 

Welcome to your winter rig. Get it down and get it to the trout. I like to use a wire worm or a rubberlegs to get a smaller nymph into the zone, though you can run this on it’s own all day long in December. 
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