Hard to know how to describe the spring and associated fishing thus far in 2021. Generally, the month of April has been a bust. Most of the month has been well below normal temperatures with the occasional spike of very much above normal temperatures. Consistency of water temperatures has not existed and therefore the typically good dry fly fishing has not materialize. I’ve spoken with a few other professionals in the neighborhood and they all admit the same. Little to no real hatches of any magnitude. On a personal note, I can tell you that I’ve seen more baetis and March Browns on my house windows, than I’ve seen on any river. Such is the way of mother nature.
As we roll in to the month of May, the Mother’s Day Caddis should be the thing. In fact, we usually see them during the last week in April, but again with the water temperatures being low, the caddis have not yet popped. Unfortunately, they may do so during the pulse of high and off colored water we are currently facing. However, the cooler temperatures which we are suppose to see during the remainder of the week should help to drop and clear the Stillwater and Rock Creek systems. The Jelly is likely toast until July, but who really knows, all of this is a guess, hopefully an educated one. From now until mid-May, there should be the occasional window of fishing opportunity, but they will become fewer as time goes on. Get it when you can!
It’s October and I’m not sure how that happened. Time seems to be flying by, likely due to the outstanding weather we have experienced through September and now into nearly the middle of October. So many things to do and the days never seem sufficiently long. Ever since our Labor Day snow, it’s been sunny and warm and way dry. Thirty days and counting since our last precipitation.
These factors have produced the best fall colors we’ve had in many a year. It’s pretty amazing out there right now. I highly recommend capitalizing on the next week or so, because the inevitability of leaf drop is right around the corner. It’s a time of transition. Although we might try to stop or slow time’s progression, the labor is fruitless. And that’s the way it’s suppose to be. Appreciation what we have serves a broader application and so I’ve been doing my best to soak it up with a few clients and friends.
The goodbye portion of this ramble pertains to our friend Mr. Grasshopper. It’s been one hell of a hopper season, but unfortunately that is pretty much done. Over the last three weeks the hopper happenings have slowly faded and the baetis have begun to make their appearance. The Stillwater has had afternoon hatches of baetis most everyday. The unfortunate thing is that the bigger fish are not really looking at them. There are many rising fish, but the vast majority are dinks. With a lack of overcast or cloudy days, the bigger fish have not really made the commitment to the itty bitty flies. And the flies are itty bitty, size #18 and sparse ….. very technical. But …. the deep and dirty double nymph rigs have been been lethal and that is what the larger fish have been keyed in on. Oh, and one last thought on the Stillwater. It’s low and skinny and not at all easy to float. So heads up.
On the other side of the ledger, the hello portion of this discussion is related to the upcoming streamer action. Starting this weekend, the weather is supposed to markedly change to a much cooler pattern with clouds, rain, and snow. Sounds like streamer stripping weather to me. And yes, the browns and the brookies are lit up in their finest spawning colors with attitudes that reflect hormonal changes.
So there you have it folks. It’s fall. It’s beautiful. The fish are there and ready to rumble. We’ve only have a few more weeks of the really good stuff and then, it’s hunting season.
Hard to believe it’s been 19 years since the original September 11. Time slips away, but to many if not most of us, memory doesn’t. Some dates serve as milestones in our lives, this date is certainly one of those. Hard to shake and hard to forget the shock and disbelief as things were going down. In many ways, it was a time when our country actually got on the same page for about a year. Unfortunately, we seem to have reverted to our respective corners and focused on our individual “rights” and placed that ahead of the collective needs of “We the People….” Strange how it takes a kick in the butt to pull us together so that later we can fall apart.
So how about for at least today, we try to treat each other with the respect we all deserve ….. let’s just try it and see, what the hell do we have to lose?
And the fishing you ask? Well generally, it’s pretty damn good. Hoppers were the main course until our recent snow fall. The air temp last Saturday when I got off the river was 102 degrees in the shade. Yes, that’s mighty toasty. However, we woke to snow on the ground and a rousing temperature high of 45 degrees two days later. The water temps plummeted from 66 to 45 and of course that pretty much freaked out the fish for about two days. Although fishing post snow was not a hopper fest, the fish were eating nymphs dredged low and slow if you hit them on the nose. Pat’s stones and psycho princes were the ticket de jour.
Yesterday and today we are back on the temperature roller coaster. We’re gaining heat to the point that by Monday and Tues next week, we’ll likely to set all time temperature highs for the date. What’s a boy or girl to do? Well not sure what other are going to do, but I still have lots of hopper dry flies handy, and I fully intend to use them and go visit a recently met friend on that industrialized irrigation ditch which holds monsters. The last call for hoppers is fast approaching. If you got the need, you’d better get r done.
Next menu items will be baetis and streamers as we once again switch gears and transition into real fall. It’s a bitter sweet time of year. Hate to see summer go, but can’t wait for the glory of a Big Sky fall.