No doubt the snowpack that has been laid down since the first day of spring will be welcome in late July. Right now, however, it’s definitely caused a few cancellations as some of our anglers think it’s too cold to fish. It is hard to argue with that. For sure these are some of the coldest water temperatures we have ever guided on! Yet, there has been good fishing without a lot of bugs yet.
No, we have not resorted to the use of indicators and nymphs…PLEASE! Spring angling is about finding a few fish “looking up.” It is about getting the rust out of your cast; reminding yourself that sometimes you need to mend downstream, not only upstream, in order to get the extended drift; and it is about making a slow, firm hook-set when a fish does happen to inhale your dry fly. You had better have just enough line slack to drift your bug just right but not too much line slack reducing your control and reaction time. Early spring fishing is about the joy of casting a single, buoyant big stonefly dry or mayfly pattern and observing the sights and sounds around you, the life that is teeming on the river and banks. So for me, it is not about hooking a bunch of whitefish or watching a bobber all day long… this is my philosophy.
Yes, there are those that want to fish with droppers off of large dries or indicators in nymph rigs. Many anglers coming from a tail-water expect their guides to produce lots of fish and have lots of action. So be it. I do respect their right to lose as many flies as possible on all the woody debris that is found on the Bitterroot River. With that said, yesterday was the first bright sunny day in three weeks after clouds and snow, and it fished tough. We found big fish tight to some cover and a few out in the open lanes. It turned into a good day despite the conditions.
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Jack C. Mauer has more than a thirty year investment in fishing, floating and wading the waters of western Montana. He is intimately acquainted with the surrounding fisheries and their corresponding ecologies. It is his passion and enthusiasm for the art of fly fishing, a respect and knowledge of trout habitat, and the ability to expertly instruct the technical aspects of fly fishing that clients appreciate as they return to western Montana and Wapiti Waters. Contact Jack at 800-254-5311.
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