I’m crazy about CDC, and it’s kind of a weird material to be enamored with since it comes from a duck’s ass and all. But I love it for lots of applications, most importantly, realistic wings that hold a dry fly right in the film where fish are most likely to take a swipe at it. This pattern from “The Feather Bender” is a great traditional-style green drake from across the pond that will surely take fish on the rivers of western Montana. Lots of green drake patterns these days are flashy and loud, and I get the sentiment of the tyer: A big mayfly is the prefect chance to show off a little. But the reality is these bugs are often in the ugly slow water, where silt-bottoms allow their nymphs to get chunky and hatch. The bugs aren’t so much flashy as they are bland. But fish love them, and I have a feeling some of these would do nicely in your box this season. It’s a chance to use some of that lovely CDC you’ve got, and your custom dubbing blend you know you want to bust out.
Here we go! The 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour is headed back to Missoula for two showings on January 28th. This annual event is a great time to break the cabin fever and get some fish porn in. Second to none, the Missoula show’s crowd is always as entertaining as the films themselves. Loud and lubricated by one too many beers, you’re likely to hear more fish story bullshit in one night than the rest of the year combined. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Get your tickets at the local shops, or directly from the source here. I’ll bet you a beer you’ll see more buffs, nano puffs, and scruffs than ever in the Wilma on this night! Get your tickets soon, they tend to sell out quick.
There is a little known side to fly fishing that rarely gets the kind of attention it deserves. I’m talking about the competition side, where nymphing is king and anglers count fish by the dozens in rapid succession. Some of the best anglers in the world are in the european competition scene, and the scene drives the development of new techniques and equipment in ways the average angler rarely sees. Thanks to Devin Olsen and Lance Egan, who have a collective 20 years representing Fly Fishing Team USA, those techniques are brought to the screen in one of the best fly fishing videos I’ve watched this year. If you’re a wade angler that simply wants to up your fish count, then Modern Nymphing is for you. If you’re an expert that is ready to step up to long leaders and bang out thirty fish days in water you usually skip over, then Modern Nymphing is for you. If you’ve got an itch for a well produced fishing movie, then Modern Nymphing is for you. Watch the trailer and check it out for yourself. Modern Nymphing is available on demand from Vimeo, or get a hard copy sent straight to your mailbox at tacticalflyfisher.com
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is always working to protect our right to access our public lands and waters. And with their latest campaign they’re hoping to keep our waterways safer from motorized boat traffic. After an extensive study last season, they’ve released their findings with their Quiet Waters Initiative. You can read their report here, and submit your comments to Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the link above.
It’s “bugger and worm” season right now in western Montana, but soon enough as the shelf ice settles in and we see some sunny winter days it will be midge time, and what better than finding a fish willing to grab on to a little fly in the winter? With light tippets and small flies some of those little fish that seem to be the most eager in the winter can be a whole lot of fun. And this Dark Knight Riser is a great midge pattern to tie up for those times, though it works throughout the year as well. Midges don’t have to be particularly fancy, but a few thoughtful ties in the midge box will soon become your favorites. Give this one a shot when you’re in the mood for the small stuff.
Tying season is well upon us these days, with the most recent blast of arctic air creating enough ice to throw the fishing off for a bit until it settles in. That floating near-ice stuff is the worst, and it always guarantees the air temp is well below your guides freezing up point. So, inside with the vise we go. While a lot of my stonefly nymph selection these days is covered by the old rubberlegs, I still like to get fancy on a few stonefly nymphs and in the right situation the slimmer, more detailed flies are going to get it done. This offering from Weston Thier over at Montana Troutfitters in Bozeman is a lot of fun. A great variation on a golden stone to try while the rivers freeze up.
The Mo is a great winter fishery, and if you’re into getting that swing with a spey or switch rod there might not be a better spot to do it in Western Montana. Great little peek into the Headhunter’s winter mode.