The rivers are high and most of the guide boats are over Rodgers Pass on the Mo, but the weather this week has been good to us. Three days on the drop for the Bitterroot and the Blackfoot, and though they might be high and mighty right now the visibility has come right into that sweet spot for streamer fishing. Rowing these rivers when they are high isn’t for the meek of heart, and safety is going to have to take precedence over your fishing choices this weekend, but there are a lot more options on the table this weekend than we’ve had in the past week. You could strike gold out there. Lake fishing of all sorts is treating anglers well. Big rainbows, lots of bass action, things are good if you’re hitting the still waters. Lakes and ponds take a different set of skills, and maneuvering the boat traffic and finding a good spot is usually harder than finding the fish. Your best bet is to plan ahead and if you’ve found some fish, stay there a while. Could be a good option for those who don’t want to get too involved with a heavy row on the rivers. But lets talk rivers. It’s what we’re good at.
|If you let Zach row, he’ll put you on fish. Like the one that was hiding in the foam back there.
Lets talk rivers. If you’re on foot, you’ll want to look for those soft waters, side channels and edges where fish are going to hang to avoid the bigger push of water. Same goes for those in a boat, but you need to add in that danger factor and act accordingly. Rivers are moving fast out there, and proper scouting of obstacles are essential. Talk to your fly shop guys! Talk to your shuttle bros!
Flies. Everybody wants to know the secret fly this time of year, or every time of year really. But in big off color water there often isn’t one simple answer. I like dark and natural colored flies, but the next guy will tell you chartreuse and pink are the way to go. Go with your gut, but remember that fish live in the water 365 days a year, and they are very good at seeing food in all conditions. Dry flies? Maybe. Look for hatches and you might find some takers in slow stuff, but for the most part those tandem nymph rigs are going to find more fish. The hatch may be long gone, but there are always times in spring when a skwala makes a great lead bug. March browns, BWOs, caddis,your dry fly fishing in the high stuff is really up to what you see on the water if you see anything at all, but these drops usually see some good bug activity and fish will be looking for them. Nymphing will get your flies where the fish are really hanging out, and you’ll want to get those nymph rigs down deep and drop shot rigging is a good option for getting bugs down fast and not hanging up on the bottom. I like it this time of year for prospecting those nymphs. Wire worms, rubberlegs, and other heavy flies that get your rig down fast and keep it in the drift longer are the best way to go. Pair them with a slimmer mayfly on top and you’ll find success.
Streamers are what most anglers are all about this time of year. Should you be throwing the meat to those hungry browns? Yes, yes you should. Big meat? If that’s your thing. Little morsels? Sure, if that’s your thing. Hit the Blackfoot and crank a few at the willows. You’ll find ’em. Rock Creek, the ‘Root, and the Blackfoot would top my list of close stuff to fish, but as always spring runoff conditions require hard rowing and careful planning. And steady feet when you’re wading.
This weekend there are lots of good options out there for those who are willing to also chance a skunking or two, but it can be worth it for the chance to tie into the biggest fish of your season and the big fish are certainly looking to take advantage of these conditions to tie on the feed bag. Get after it.