Well, we got some rain. Enough to bump the Bitterroot and Clark Fork, and even the Blackfoot saw some upward movement over the past few days. Has that put the fishing off? Maybe in some spots. In others, things are good. We’ve seen fish caught on dries down on the lower Clark Fork and big fish chomping streamers on the Blackfoot and though the rivers might be moving upward with this latest weather the fishing has been steady enough to stick around town if you’re so inclined. How’s the Mo? Real good. Weather is calling for more rain here and there, but hey it’s spring. If you’re going to get wet anywhere, the Mo might be your best bet with the annual Craig Caddis Fest going on.
The Craig Caddis fest is a town-wide celebration of all things fly fishing. Weird, right? I mean, I thought there were so many other things to do in Craig. Nope. Just fly fishing. And they do it right, as we all know. What is in store for you over the pass this weekend? Well, for starters there’s the Sage On The Water 2016 Tour. A whole VW bus worth of rods for you to take out on the water free of charge. Got your eye on a high end stick? Why not see how it fares with a nice reach cast to some picky risers? Then there’s the BBQ the boys at the Headhunters will be slinging all weekend long. Yum. Get off the river and chomp down in your waders. Want to improve your dry fly game? Mark Raisler will be giving a presentation on the water for the dry-or-die heads. Streamer junkies can rejoice with Zach Dalton’s streamer presentation. Will there be more good stuff? Yes, there is. Parades, BBQ contests, arts and crafts, fun from all over come to Craig. Good stuff if you’re over that way.
Lets talk fishing though, since you’re here for that these days. It’s opening weekend, so be prepared for crowds and lots of folks who haven’t been out there all year thus far. Where to go? Well, with rising waters you’re going to want to look for those spots that aren’t as effected by bumps as the others. Did someone say lakes and ponds? Yep, those work. Waters where the bump doesn’t throw fishing off are a well kept secret around these parts, but the guys down at the fly shop will help you out. Have I mentioned that resource before? USE IT. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, they love to help and have the skinny on the deep stuff. The word on everyone’s tongues these days are the appearance of salmonflies on the lower reaches of Rock Creek, but this cold weather is going to slow that down. Underneath is the game plan almost everywhere you go, so be prepared with the right bugs and don’t get hyper focused on that one spot because chances are there will be a truck waiting for you where you like to park. Salmonflies do that to folks. Find some new spots and you’ll find fish. Be prepared to switch tactics and take the time to scout out your floats and wade spots for safety’s sake.
If I had to choose one spot to be this weekend, my money would still be on the Blackfoot. I just can’t get enough of it this time of year, and the fishing in off color water is always good enough to keep me hoping and tossing the streamers at the banks. Rock Creek would be a fun choice for the wade angler, though I’d get there early and hit the spots that are less obvious if you want to have it to yourself. Even then, share the water and be aware that the first four or five or twelve miles of that river are going to be brimming over with anglers. It’s opener, you know. All the booger eaters will come out to play, and that means hitting the popular spots is going to be a dumb move. Go find that water that has been closed all winter and looking so, so good. I’m not telling you where, but thats the spot. And bring your spring flies: BWOs, a few caddis, and some general attractors. The meat box. And some stonefly nymphs and worms. And a big old smile cause you’re fishing.