Weekend Warriors: Spread Out and Find Fish

Woo! Things are getting crowded on the weekends if you’re in the hot spots. If you want to be the thirtieth boat in Kona to Harpers then definitely do that this weekend, but if you want to catch some fish it is time to change up the game plan. Find some new water, and get after it. Fishing has been good to great everywhere, with the lower Clark Fork giving up big rainbows, the Bitterroot sending up clouds of PMDs, and the Blackfoot still seeing stoneflies of all different shapes and sizes. It’s late June, and that means the water is warming up enough to start seeing many more family floaters, tubers and all other manner of watercraft in the popular spots. A little drive to some less populated water has been the ticket for finding fish, and this weekend that move is going to come into play in a big way.

Court Hadden doesn’t get many chances to toss a bug once the season starts, but when he does he makes it happen. This gorgeous cutthroat made a big mistake when it ate his salmonfly dry.

What to expect wherever you go? Fish willing to eat a well-drifted dry. Fish in their summer spots. Fish on the dropper a couple of feet down. We’ll take ’em all. Having fished all three of the big rivers this week with clients, I can say with confidence that the fish are there and happy and you don’t have to work too hard for them. That said, the typical code cracking still has to happen. Depending on the river, that can include anything from larger attractor flies to the small emergers that get it done. If I had one river to fish this weekend, I would head to the Clark Fork where flows are starting to come into shape and the fish have adjusted to the bright sun of this week nicely. Good flows and lots of bugs on the Clark Fork, and if you keep out of the busy floats you’ll be successful. The bugs are varied from spot to spot, drakes here, goldens there, caddis, sallies, and PMDs, all on the menu and all being chomped. Find the right bug and you’ll find some big fish willing to come all the way up. Starting with a dry/dropper and then moving to single or double dries is the way to go. Pick your float wisely! And finally, the evening fishing is spectacular if you have the chance to hit it after work or a nice dinner before the river. Caddis, anyone? The Blackfoot and Bitterroot are also fishing great, but for the million and oneth time, spread out and fish some new water. You’ll be glad you did.

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