Weekend Warriors: Sun and Dropping Water

The Blackfoot river is dropping like a rock, with levels predicted to hit 800cfs by next week. This is not an ideal situation, but we’ve been here before. With water temps rising and the rivers dropping, fishing ethics are going to play a major part in keeping the Blackfoot what we all know and love. Now is the time for barbless hooks, keeping fish nice and wet and quick releases. If you’re a guide and fishing the bobber and the worm this time of year, have some self respect and some care for the fish and switch your clients to the dry. The fish counts will surely go down, but they will learn a lot more about why we fly fish and the few they get will be well earned. That about wraps up this weeks sermon, but after a float on a popular stretch of the river seeing double boats with bobbers on while the fish were happily snacking on a well-drifted dry I felt it had to be said.

He might not be the biggest, but he may be the brightest. Shiny-sided rainbow in the net on the Blackfoot.

What are they eating out there? PMDs. Lots of ’em are available to trout this time of year, and the right water is perfect for fishing the small stuff. Riffles with long tailout pools are good. Golden stones? Sure, they’re seeing some of them though the hatch has not fully come into play. It will. A great prospecting fly and an all day option. Caddis. They are there and getting munched. Hoppers? The short answer is yes. Early but always an option for a hungry trout. Without a doubt the Blackfoot is seeing a ton of traffic on the weekends, and it will be tough fishing in the popular spots. It is hot and the fish haven’t fully adjusted to it. Lots of long periods without a strike when boats are fishing the same waters and sun is in play, so finding a spot that isn’t crowded is going to be your best move this weekend. If you are hitting the popular spots, remember etiquette wins the day. A smile goes a long way. Give people room, and remember it is not just about the fish you catch. Leaving some behind is just fine. Maybe skip the Blackfoot and get out on the very good creeks we have available to us? Keep cool with a wet wading trip up Rock Creek or Fish Creek, and you’ll find hungry fish and a break from the fast pace of the weekend scene on our popular rivers. The Clark Fork is a great option for early and late floats, but I’d skip the middle of the day if I were you. Two words: Tubes and Heat. Both make fishing a little tougher on the Clark Fork in high summer. Bitterroot? Yep. Get above the crowds and find some cold water and you’ll be happy. Fishing season is here for real, and all options are on the table.

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