Regional streams and rivers remain uncharacteristically high …. successful fly fishing is still pretty much a float and stop game. And although the wading is “iffy” to down right dangerous, over all fishing is pretty darn good. It’s even better for fisher-folks with skills.
As of late, the Stillwater has been in full blown dry fly mode. When the fish are actively surface feeding, they seem to prefer the afternoon hatch of #16 chocolate caddis. There are still some fish gobbling PMD’s earlier in the day, but frankly the PMD’s are headed out the door. And of course, there are those great big golden stoneflies. I’ve been seeing a random few adults cruising across the river, but the majority of the fish have been keyed on nymphs which are currently migrating toward hatching structure along the river banks. Pockets, eddies, and deep troughs along the bank have been the ticket for some time now. Fish must tuck into a current break of some sort since the current speeds are mighty high for this time of the year. Holding waters come and go quickly, fishing up front and not dragging your gear behind is essential. And you’d better be able to mend that line now, not later. When conditions have allowed, the streamer fishing has been freek’n outstanding.
And now one of our Public Service Announcements. If you want to fish in a rubber regatta, you should focus on floating the upper river. Our seasonal friends and neighbors from Missoula to Ennis to the Boze-zone have migrated eastward, reportedly in search of less crowded waters. Which we used to have. It’s unfortunate but part of the new reality of summers on our larger rivers. So, I’ve been modifying my game plan to avoid the mongrel hordes. Modification of start times and river segments can make the difference. I generally really like people, but I damn sure don’t want to see a a village when I’m fishing and I’d like you to enjoy a real Montana experience
. Just be aware, smart, and respectful and all will work out, that goes for me as well.