As we emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown the timing couldn’t be better as spring fishing is just starting to hit its stride.
Bumps and drops in flows along with plenty of color coming from the Little Prickly Pear and Dearborn have made things somewhat inconsistent for the past week or so but with the creeks on the drop for the moment and the anticipation of stable flows and water temps for the next while we should be in good shape for the weeks to come.
Per the norm for this time of year the numbers (both fish and boats) have been at Holter Dam. The dam to Wolf Creek run has been the most consistent. Wolf Creek to Craig has had its moments but has been hit or miss for sure. Traffic below Craig is sparse and almost non-existent below the Dearborn save a few of those streamer guys plying the mud for prowling giants.
Nymphing is without a doubt your best bet for numbers right now with all of the usual suspects in play. Point flies of choice in my boat have been Ninch’s Pill Popper, Caviar Scud, Pink Amex, Tan UV Czech, Firebead Steelie Worm and Rainbow Weight Fly. Trail with #16 Tailwater Sow, #18 PT Green Machine, #16 UV Yum Yum Scud Pink, #18 Olive Lightning Bug, #18 Olive S & M, #18 Black Zebra, Soft Hackle Sows, #16 Pink Ray, #18 Magic Fly BWO etc.
The fish are on the move and we’re typically finding them in medium depth, fast (ish) water. Start around 5’ bobber to bb and adjust accordingly. Most of the known hot spots are producing, at least in that dam zone. Follow the traffic flow, observe adequate social distance between boats (much much more than 6’ please) and please don’t anchor up in the middle of the run. If you’re not getting into fish take a look around you and see what’s going on. If others are hooking up and you aren’t watch what they’re doing, where they’re going etc and follow their lead. And those boats with the red and white stickers – those guys generally have a pretty good idea of what’s happening and the vast majority of them are happy to help. Whether you’re having trouble cracking the code or encountering more serious (non-fishing) issues, don’t be afraid to seek help from those with the red and white tags.
Dry fly opportunities are not abundant at this point though there have been BWO’s around. It’s a right time, right place situation so keep that dry fly rod rigged and ready for action. We’ve been doing well with Sprout Baetis, Olive Para Adams or Para BWO’s trailed with your emerger or cripple or choice. Midges are abundant though finding fish eating them has been a challenge. If you find a sipper or two try feeding them a Bucky’s midge cluster or Griffiths gnat. We’ve also had good luck with Black Midges and Black Sippers….all available now at Wolf Creek Angler.
The streamer game should be good right now. It isn’t great. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into it these past two weeks and have come away disappointed more often than not. A few flashes here and there and the occasional hook up but overall not what you’d expect. We did find some success yesterday with a couple of shallow water explosions right on the bank which makes it all worthwhile but it’s important to keep your expectations in check.
I’m not saying you can’t mix streamer fishing with nymphing or dry fly fishing but you can’t crack the streamer code when you’re chasing bobbers or head hunting. Get serious. Grab your streamer boxes and leave the rest behind. Change size, color, retrieve, target water and any combo of these variables often until you crack the code and keep your expectations in check.
The fishing forecast for this week looks good. We’ll see a storm system move through the area tomorrow afternoon into Wednesday bringing cooler temps and some precipitation in the form of rain and a rain/snow mix Wednesday.The weekend looks good with partly sunny conditions and temps in the low 60’s with a slight chance of rain each day.
We’ve got plenty of lodging available and we’re also continuing our spring guide trip special as well as our lodging and guide trip special. $400 Full day guide trips through the end of the month and get a second night of lodging on us when you book two days of guided fishing and a night’s lodging. Please note, due to the 14 day mandatory quarantine for out of state visitors at this time we can only offer our services to Montana residents and those who have met the 14 day quarantine requirements if traveling here from out of state or returning to Montana from out of state travels.
While we’re definitely happy to be back at it this new normal will definitely take some getting used to for all of us. We’re wearing masks in the shop and on the boat and we are encouraging our clients to do the same.We are frequently cleaning and disinfecting in the shop and if you’re fishing with us you can expect your guide’s boat and vehicle to be clean and disinfected prior to and following your trip. We are health screening all guides and employees daily and will not allow anyone to work if they are showing any symptoms of being sick. We’re also health screening clients and we ask that you please not come if you are showing any symptoms of being sick. This goes for lodging guests, fishing clients and everyone shopping with us.
We’re doing our best to adjust and to make the best of these bizarre times in which we’re living. We encourage you to do the same and remind you that there’s no better way to escape the madness, if only for a few hours, than being on moving water with a fly rod in hand.