Onward We Go

Well, it’s darn near August and likely time for a quick update on the happenings around the neighborhood.

Guess what? It’s hot and dry and it’s gonna stay that way for the foreseeable future. The Hootie Owl fishing constraints that I suggested in the last post have come to fruition. All fishing on the Stillwater and Jellystone Rivers must cease at or before 2 pm. The same can be said for most of the larger trout waters located principally in southwestern Montana. And if you’re smart and care about the health of our trout, you will self-impose the same restrictions on non-Hoot Owled bodies of water such as the Rock Creek and other smaller cricks. It’s been one hell of a summer and from the looks of things, It’s not likely to change so we must adjust our behaviors and DO THE RIGHT THING!

Thus, if you’re going to fish for our spotted friends….. It’s early to bed, early to rise, start fishing at dawn and don’t make up lies.

Most of the folks with whom I have been spending time are here to fish. They’re not here to sight see, or do the all night bar hop, nor attempting to be a weekend motorcycle tuff guy. They are here to fish and thus we have been on the river near the crack of dawn most mornings. And the fishing and catching you ask? PDG (pretty damn good). A variety of bugs, streamers and techniques depending on the specific condition, has produced mighty fine fishing and catching. But to be honest, the caliber of the fisher folk does make a difference, like a really huge difference. I’ve been blessed as of late. Hope that continues.

And now our Public Service Announcement: Take care of the fish! So far they are looking good, fat, healthy, and darn spunky, let’s keep them that way. I suggest you eliminate the grip and grin and if you need a picture, keep them in the water. Minimize the time the fish is held or unhooked. Yea, I know you gotta do what ya gotta do to release them, but time out of the drink does matter.

Be nice to others! It’s been busy out there and on some days, like real busy. The pandemic has driven folks to the out of doors and I can’t blame them for that, but we all need to help some of the newbies, they need it. The river is dropping quickly and that will serve to thin the masses, I hope.

ps …. all picture from here on out will be pulled from the RFO vault. No fish were or will be harmed in the making of this bloggie thing.

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Late June Update

News Flash: Run-off is over. And while that may sound like good news for the immediate here and now, it foretells of pending low and warm water for the remainder of the year. The month of June has been most interesting. Two episodes of much hotter (all time record breaking) heat waves which resulted in extreme snow melt from the high country. If you look at the mountains and plateaus of the Beartooths, it quickly becomes evident that the white stuff is pretty much gone. Further evidence you ask? Well the Robertson Draw fire and the extreme fire behavior should be sufficient to make the point. I spent a large portion of my ill spent youth chasing fire across the Beartooth and Pryor Mountains, and I’ve never seen the likes of what we witnessed last Tuesday evening. Flames lengths of 200 feet or more ripping across the east face of Line Creek Plateau and eventually Mount Maurice should serves as an absolute wake up/early warning. And it’s only mid-June. Saddle up kids, it’s gonna be a summer, possibly another 1988 or worse. Only time will tell and pray for rain. But all in not gloom and doom.

Given the above information, what does it mean for the average Joe fisher-folk? As you may be aware, MFWP is already talking about restrictions. It likely won’t happen until mid to late July, but if we stay the course of our current weather pattern, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will happen. Thus, fishing will evolve into an early morning endeavor. Hoot Owl restriction typically kick in at 2 pm. And remember what I’ve said before, 70 degree water temperature quickly becomes lethal to trout, we need to stop at 68 degrees and give the fish a break. One other thought …. buy a thermometer and use it. And though, I’ve never extolled these thoughts this early in the season, this year is gonna be weird and maybe it’s the new normal (man I hate that term).

One last thought …. hoppers! If you don’t have them, get them, you are going to need them. As hopper-iferous as last summer was, I think it will pale in comparison to what this year is going to be like. I’m seeing bizillions at my house. All sizes. All colors. They are ravenous and growing fast.

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Well it finally happened. The mother’s Day Caddis popped and produced three good to very good days of fishing dries to rising fish. Initially the fish were rather stupid and would eat any decently presented caddis floating in their sight window. By the third day, the fish were so stuffed full of bugs and persnickety, they only seemed interested in pupa caught in the surface tension. Think LaFontaine sparkle pupa which I unfortunately did not have in my possession. It took some serious bank sitting and observations to figure that one out, but what a lovely way to spend an afternoon or three.

And now, that’s done and the water is coming up fast. The Stillwater has gained a foot, Rock Creek has gained almost that much and the Clark’s Fork is up three feet. Can you say mud? Sure, I knew you could. Thus we are entering into the waiting game portion of the season. Not anything we can do to influence the run off, it happens every year, so sit back and enjoy, it cleans out the rivers and carves the hiddy holes we’ll be fishing for the remainder of the year.

Given what I see for snow sitting in the high country, I believe that the last of June or the first of July, as usual, will be the timeframe for reacquainting ourselves with the area streams and rivers and their inhabitants. Time to tend that garden, tie those flies, get your “got to do’s” done.

One of the dumb ones, fish I mean
Another dumb one, the fish I mean, I’m talking about the fish

Stay tuned to this station, as thing progress or opportunities arise, I’ll spill the beans.

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