Weekend Warrior: Maybe One Size Smaller

Last weekend big fish moved on big meat in a big way. They might do the same this weekend if you’re in the right spot. Where is that right spot? Loose lips sink ships, they say… But look for warm water- spots where the fish can hang and find bugs or just a nice place to lurk. This is the time of year when wade fishing can be more productive than boat fishing, if you work it right. But floating from spot to spot is a heck of a way to get it done. Streamer fishing and nymphing are your best shots at finding fish, and luckily the winter weather keeps getting pushed back if you listen to the forecasts, so you might find some great fish still willing to eat. The bugs still around here and there are all down to the BWOs and midges, which mean small and smaller, and the dry fly bite might never happen. Choose your water wisely, and your focus spots as well. Get out there and get those last fall fish before the only technique is the pink worm and bugger setup. Don’t forget the smaller nymphs on a short leash- there are plenty of fish filling up on midges and blue wings, and you’re gonna get ’em. Where should you go? The lower Clark Fork is big right now. Like, bigger than you want to successfully catch fish. The upper might be great, but I haven’t heard anything from anyone headed that way. Rock Creek is fishing like it does this time of year, which means if you like nymhping you’ll find some small fish fast. The Blackfoot? Hmm… Cold. Too cold. Bitterroot? Now that’s more like it. The ‘root is the late fall river of choice, and there are going to be fish in the sneaky spots. Bring the meat and get them to move on the slow retrieve. I talk a lot about “summer water”. Don’t fish it. Look to the water you wouldn’t figure holds fish. It does. If you’re headed out this weekend, fish will be the icing on the cake. The real prize is seeing these rivers without another angler in sight.

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