I’ve not been to diligent about keeping up with fishing stuff but I’ll try to recap the latest from this part of the world without inducing the need for a nap. First, the weather. Northwest Montana which is one of the few areas of the rockies that is currently not actually dry as a Cheeto or in danger of spontaneously combusting finally hit a hot stretch. Up until yesterday we were roasting along with everyone else with temps in the low 90′s for about the last week or so. Thankfully, and I say this with some trepidation as we have had no shortage of precipitation so far this summer, we got a good shot of rain to provide some relief from the heat. The heat also gave the rivers and streams a chance to get down to where fishing is ready to go with the caveat that it seems to be keeping hatches kind of funky. But the overall prognosis is that it’s “game on”.
Backtracking a few days. We took a pre fourth of July trip down into the southwest part of the state. Brown Town. Unlike the Flathead drainage where the apparent mandate by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks region one appears to be invasive lake trout eating everything in the watershed is ok but be damned if we will have any brown trout around. Seems like browns get along with rainbows and cutthroat pretty well everywhere else, they just don’t pay their way around here I guess? Better money in the lake trout fishery? Money talks, science walks. Anyway, central and southwestern Montana is a totally different world right now. Roughly speaking, below I-90 and MT 200 it’s dry, very dry. There is water though and Montana fly fishing is on, go now! Grasshopper season is coming fast. Where we were in the Bighole/Clark fork areas the caddis were coming off in blizzards at times, mixed in were PMD’s and little stoneflies. Fish were eating heartily and a couple nights we fished with a near full moon overhead and fish boiling at our feet, good times.
Back in northwest Montana things are looking up but still a fair amount of water but it should come on fast now barring any long-term deluges (none in the NOAA forecast). Work is cutting into the fishing time this summer (cutting into everything for that matter) but should taper off by ‘hopper time. I do have a couple long weekends coming and we’ll likely pack our rods and go south, away from high water, biased fisheries, reluctant bugs and tourists. Back to Brown Town, equal opportunity for fish and fisherman alike.