We have spent almost all our time this month guiding on the Missouri River. Run off started about mid May and then we had a few weeks of cool, rainy weather around Memorial Day weekend which has slowed down run off. So where are we standing right now? The Yellowstone is still high and unfishable, possibly a week out, but probably more. The Upper Madison is still fishable but high and off color. The lower Madison is fishing well, also high but has the most visibility. The Gallatin is not a option at this point, but clears up the quickest. It should be an option if things continue as they are.
The Missouri River is clear from top to bottom. The flows are about average at around 6k. Blue wing olives, PMD’s and Caddis are present up and down the river. The dry fly fishing has been sporadic, but will be unbelievable soon. The river is busy, as most guides are searching for the clear water. But plenty of wild trout are being caught. This is a pretty safe bet right now and we will be guiding up here for the next few weeks until we have more options locally. It won’t be long before all the rivers become great options.
Salmonflies are right around the corner. With our prolonged runoff and cooler water temps, things may take a bit longer than usual. Which is just fine, the longer they take the clearer the water will be. On the Madison and Yellowstone the Salmonflies usually start end of June, first of July. If it takes another week for them to show, it will be perfect.
Regards, Dane Huzarski
ALL ABOUT STRIKE INDICATORS
Love them or hate them, they do make a difference for the nymph fishermen. We all enjoy casting dry flies to eager trout, but as we all know trout only eat off the surface a fraction of the time.
This month’s three flies are centered on this month's hatches on the Missouri River. Right now we are witnessing the last of the BWO’s, the first of the PMD’s and a few caddis sprinkled in. PMD’s or pale morning duns will rule the river during the day and caddis will be featured in the evening hours.
The first fly for this month is the Redemption PMD nymph. I have only found this pattern in Craig, MT but believe it comes from one of the major manufacturers. It has a tungsten bead, sinks fast, represents the pattern well and is a very durable fly, which is why this fly made the list. The most important things to a guide are those three things, plus whether the trout like it, and they do.
The second pattern is a Mike Lawson’s PMD Cripple pattern. I am a big advocate of cripple patterns. Flies that represent both adults and emergers. Half in the water, half out. Who wouldn’t want an easy meal? Developed on the banks on the Henry’s Fork in Idaho, Lawson’s patterns continue to fool trout all over the West.
The third pattern is the Flambe Caddis. This is a great tailwater pattern for selective trout. With a CDC wing it floats well and the touch of red antron makes it easy to see. This is a low floater, so great on slow tailwaters, but would be tough to fish on rivers such as the upper Madison. I have been fishing this pattern for the past two years and it has worked well in the summer through the fall. I usually fish this pattern behind a bigger attractor so that you can see the fly better and detect those subtle strikes.
Note: Fly patterns, terms, concepts and fishing tips help develop your knowledge and ultimate success on the river. The information above is unique and provided specifically for Montana Trout Wranglers email subscribers.
Mike D. has been battling cancer for the past few years. Last year he never made it out of his house. This year he is back on the MO, chasing trout and hanging out with the guys. Once a guide on the Missouri, but forever a good guy. He loves throwing dries to picky Missouri River trout. It’s been a over a year since I have seen him. On a recent day off, we spent many hours looking for rising trout and catching up. Mike isn’t in great shape, but in good spirits. We found a few pods of rising fish, caught a few, had some laughs and enjoyed a day on the river. Mike is happy to still be around, I am happy that I could share a day on the river with him and hope that we can do it again soon.