Welcome to the month of September, we’ve been waiting for you. Thankfully, the uber hot temperatures have left us and it’s feeling like …. well September. Cool in the morning and pretty warm in the afternoons, or as I like to think about it, polar tech in the morning and shorts by the afternoon. Hints of yellow, red, and orange leaves are beginning to show and it’s only going to be better from here until the inevitability of the white stuff.
And speaking of which, the snow we received last week in the high country was absolutely stunning and muchly appreciated. In fact, the unanticipated but serious moisture which we received two weeks ago was just what the doctor order. That 2 inches of rain added 2 weeks of floating on the Stillwater, but that influence is gone now and the river has dropped so much this week (currently <400 CFS) that it is currently not floatable. Doing a little investigative work, it appears that the water coming from the West Rosebud and Mystic Lake has pretty much been turned off (200 CFS to 30 CFS currently). Not sure why or how long that will last, but it has had a profound influence on the River Stillwater.
So what’s a fisher to do? Easy answer …. go somewhere else and do a little exploration. If there is anything we have in spades around these parts, it’s smaller wadable creeks and streams all of which contain fish…. little gems all around.
And the fishing/catching you ask? The honest answer is that it depends on the day and the fishers. Generally, things are getting better to much better and the crowds are pretty much gone. Most, if not all the out-of-area outfitters/guides from Livingston, Bozeman and Missoula have left which is good for both the fish and the fishing as well as my mental health. It’s been back to normal, just you and me and the river, no one else around, as it should be.
And the catching? We’ve been picking up more respectable fish as of late, resulting from stripping the big and ugly stuff. The other day, the morning session was nothing short of great. The gentleman with whom I was spending the day damn near lost his mind on all the fish that hit the streamers, good times. Once the sun punches through the smoke, it’s been strictly a nymph game which eventually evolves into a dry/dropper or hopper/dropper affair by the afternoon. Thus you gotta stay nimble and observant. As we move further into fall, it will soon be baetis time, so I guess the bottom line is …. bring a diversity of bugs, cause ya just never know what might be happening.
We have about 6, maybe 8 weeks left to the fishing season, I’ll be out there till the bitter end. It should be easy to recognize me, I’ll be the guy with the big grin on my face and happy clients in the boat. One last thought. The fish. Above all else take care of the fish, they are still vulnerable to over use, over photography, and over handling. I’ve been pinching the barbs on all my flies, I suggest you do the same. Treat them well and they shall do the same for us.