Yes, I know …. I’ve been tardy, absent, a putz and I heard about it. It’s been a funky summer and my thoughts, observations or ramblings have been jelling. Our June floods created challenges (new channels, downed trees, the occasional house in the river) and provided a new river once the waters finally dropped in mid-July. It took awhile to decipher the changes and implication and I’m still trying to put things together, but here are a few observations….
Some days were pretty darn good with reasonable numbers and decent sized fish, but the hot sunny dog days, were slow and at times I had to wonder if the fish were still there. But fear not, apparently FWP has been running shocking/population surveys on the Stillwater and the initial reports indicate, that the overall fish population is unchanged. I’d love to see the data. A buddy who happen to be in the right place at the right time when the shocking crew floated through, said the fish were boiling in the largest holes as the electricity was applied. Well that’s hopeful news and I suspect that as goes the Stillwater, so goes Rock Creek and the Jellystone. Time shall tell.
Throughout the summer, I’ve been turning rocks as a means of informal survey to gauge the flood effect to the macroinvertebrates. My observations indicate that a lot if not most of the bugs got flushed downriver and may now reside in North Dakota. Darn few bugs on the river rocks did I see. Mostly caddis with some or occasional mayfly or stonefly nymphs seems to be the outcome. The summer dry fly fishing validated the theory. However, this fall, I’ve seen a variety of mayfly spinners on the water and I’ve also observed a few stonefly nymphs clinging to the shore rocks. Bottom line is that nature and her bugs will find a way, or as a good friend likes to say, “nature arbores a vacuum”. Truer words were never spoken.
And now it’s fall, that time of the year when even the locals can’t ignore the drop dead beauty of the area. Leaves are turning, brown trout are colored up and beginning to spawn, snow in the high country and the only thing wrong with this time of year, is that it is too damn short in duration. So to that end, I’m heading out the door and to the river. We are allotted only so many days and wasting even one is just wrong …. so …. waste not want not.