Full On Fall

Yes indeed it is and officially so starting tomorrow Saturday, September 22.  The foliage shows it as do the brown trout.  Reds and oranges and yellows in the aspen and cottonwood bottoms serve as the backdrop.  Brown trout dressed in their finest deep chocolate attire, accented by white and black fins frolic near beds of gravel and long tail-out pools.  It’s that time of the year.  The light is angled, casting long shadows pointing northward even during the height of the midday sun.  Mornings are all about polar fleece and afternoons are ripe for shorts and a light shirt.  Layering is never more important than it is now.  It’s a funky, demanding, and oh so fleeting time.  Long story short …. it’s been killer and is getting better daily.

Although the streamer fishing has of course been best during periods of dark skies and limited sun, the nymphing during those blue bird gorgeous fall afternoons has been mighty fine as well…. strangely fine in fact.  Dry flies have been pretty much a non-player even though there is a bunch of baetis on the water in the late afternoons.  It’s only a matter of time until the fish start looking up, there is simply too much food going by not to take advantage of those calories.  And speaking of dry flies which the fish don’t give a ripe about, I’ve been shocked at the numbers of big stoneflies I’ve seen on the water and there is still a pile of little caddis in the bushes.  And, then there are the October caddis, size huge, which are often seen flying over the river, but alas, the fish still apparently prefer their meals served subsurface and thus, the dries have been rather limited in their appeal.

Bottom line is that the fishing is good and getting better.   If you have the need for big, nasty, browns and rainbows, you had best get your fix now, because ….. the seasons are changing and will continue to do so for the next month or so and then …… get out your snow shovels.  The inevitable is out there and headed right towards the 406.  I really don’t care to think about that right now, I’m headed out the door.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fall-ish?

Boy howdy have we been having some interesting weather.  Montana, especially that portion of the Big Sky that lies east of the continental divide,is know for variable, extreme and erratic weather.  We sure have had those experiences in spades this last week or so.  After an extended period of mid-90’s to sustained daytime temps way above 100, these last 4 or 5 days have been the polar opposite.  Yesterday the temps topped out 60 degrees and the day before, with rain, clouds, and wind, produced high temps of low 50’s with a notable wind chill factor.  And if that sounds like I’m whining, let me assure you, I am not.  It has been a welcome change and the implications for the fishing have been outstanding.

Early mornings, have been all about chucking streamers.  Even when we were wrapped in the heat and smoke filled skies of last week, low light conditions definitely have had the browns on the prowl.  During the last couple of days, the low light conditions have produced unbelievable streamer strip’n over the course of the entire day.  Yesterday was absolutely off the charts.  During times of brighter sunshine, the fish have shown interest in the typical dry dropper combinations.  However, during some of those absolutely nasty hot days, when you suddenly understand what it’s like to be micro-waved, the only consistent producer has been double nymph down low, deep, and slow.  In other words, it takes a village of flies to consistency hook and catch the little devils.

And where do we go from here?  The weather guessers suggest that a change is on the horizon, …… (are you ready for this) …… to more fall like than summer like conditions.  Well what you know bout that?  I’m not really over the whole summer thing yet.  I’d like to make summer last as long as possible, but if fall is on the way ….. no complaints in this quarter.  And now the weird stuff…… it’s already starting to happen.  When you gander in the underbrush or look closely at the clumps of willow, aspen or cottonwood, you can see a color change taking place.  It’s subtle at this point, but unmistakable.  Yesterday creeping around the Rock Creek bottoms, I was surprised at the pinks and oranges beginning to shown in the choke cherries.  So like it or not, prepared for it or not, either physically or mentally, the fall change appears to be headed directly at us.  Suck it up buttercup!  I intend to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jacob and a streamer stripped brownie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Byron in his favorite side channel.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August Check In and Update

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mike subduing another whopper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tell me that doesn’t look like a good time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Harry with a nice brownie trout

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gerard sticking another

Yes,I know, it’s been awhile.  Time flies when you’re having fun and we certainly have had that going for us.  Generally, the fishing has been good and on some days like yesterday with the clouds and rain, very good indeed.

 

Frankly, there has been very little consistency in what the fish have been eating.  Some days it’s dries and some days not so much.  The bread and butter, go-to flies have most certainly been nymphs with a larger stone fly followed by small bead headed whatever getting the job done on most days.  Yesterday it was about stripp’n streamers off the banks.  So if there is a take home message, it’s that you should take everything that you think might work and chuck it at Mr. Trout.

 

As evidenced by the hydro-graphs, the rivers and cricks continue to run above normal or average discharge for this time of year.  I’m headed to Rock Cr as soon as I take care of this little bloggy update because, driving over it this morning, it appears that today is the first day a person could actually wade across the darn thing.  That’s a good thing.  And although the wading hazards are decreasing, the new thing in the hood is all the downed trees resulting from last weeks hellaceous hail and wind storms.  In places on the Stillwater where I was wade fishing my client yesterday, it literally looks like a bomb went off and took out over half the cottonwoods.  Trees with three and four foot diameters have been snapped and redistributed across the landscape.  Pretty fierce stuff.  In addition to all the new debris on the land, there are significant amounts of large trees, tops and branches in the Stillwater.  Some the best holes are now not available to the float fisher persons, so if you want to catch those fish, best get on your feet to do it.  The entire event is simply a reminder of the dynamic and ever changing ways of this still untamed world.  Really kinda of cool if you think about it.  And if you don’t like what you see, wait a little time and it most likely will change again.

 

As we move into the later portions of the summer with the accompanying temperatures, the bug life is starting to change.  The golden stones are still out there, but the PMD’s are fading fast although there are a few spinners in the early morning.  The numbers of caddis on the rivers and along the brush, bushes and trees is mind boggling, but the fish seem not to care, even a little.  I am beginning to see Trico’s in the morning although I’ve not seen any fish on them.  Soon they should become an early morning staple.  And low and behold are you ready for this…… hoppers.  I can actually say that I’m seeing a butt load in the grasses but as of yet, nothing in the drink.  So if the hoppers begin to commit suicide and jump in the river or the fish start tracking them down on the banks, things should get entertaining …. stay tuned.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment