Report From Kris

July 14, 2012

Report From Kris

So it's been a while since I've sat down and hammered out a wrapup of fishing around the area and I figured it was time to start getting one of these out every week or so...

Fishing around Bozeman and the surrounding areas has been phenomenal these past few weeks, the big rivers are all cleared up and in good summer shape, some are lower than usual, but for the most part there's nothing to complain about fishing wise around our area of Montana. The Gallatin has been a dry fly mecca for the past week now, the Salmonflies have moved along and are no longer around, but the Goldenstone are still around and the fish are still looking up for bigger dries and eating white winged attractors with reckless abandon. Down lower on the Gallatin temps are getting warmer quicker and so by mid day the fishing is typically slowing down, but the stretches up towards the canyon and through Gallatin Canyon are better in the mid afternoon. Evening times though it's been caddis and lots of them, so make sure and have some caddis in your boxes. 

The Lower Madison is worth giving a rest now - temps are too warm for fishing, if you have any respect for the fishery it's time to give it a rest for a while, let the recreational fire starters hammer this for the rest of the summer, I personally won't fish it again until September most likely. But the Upper Madison has been good - Caddis, Caddis, more Caddis, Yellow Sallies, Goldenstones, and some PMD's, your nocturnal stones aren't really out yet per se, but you can still catch fish on Chubbies. Nymphing wise, it's a mixed bag, I'd try some smaller red and purple stuff (CJ's, Psycho Princes, the Purple Burger, the Garrett's Purple Death, and Bubble Back PMD's)

The Yellowstone right now is the place to be, the fishing has been hands down some of the best of the year for the past two weeks, and it hasn't showed many signs of letting up just yet either. The big bugs are well into the Park, like Black Canyon area, but the fish are still looking up and eating Goldestones like they are going out of style - Chubby time on the Yellowstone is fully underway, don't leave home without your Chubby... Speaking of Chubbies, we've found the ultimate in floatation for your Chubbycrafts - dry shake spray, the key is to pop in a bottle of dry shake powder first, then take the spray and give it one good shot, and that just locks the water out, you can't sink them after that. Check it out in my Product of the Week recommendation below.

As for everything else around the area, the Boulder is in great shape, guys are still floating it and probably will be for a little while still - it's not quite at the flow where you can wade across the river just yet, but another week or so and that shouldn't be a problem. The Stillwater is still fishing really well, should be an excellent dry fly season over there on that river, been talking to some guys wade fishing the Stilly and it has been en fuego, which shouldn't be a surprise - Yeager Bomb's and Hippie Stompers! The Shields has been fishing really well, starting to get some fish on hoppers down lower on it already, speaking of which, should be a dynamite early hopper season - thinking that by the end of July it will be going gangbusters everywhere - new pattern this year - the Mosh Pit Hopper, ridiculously good looking on the water, and already had fish snarfing it down.

The Bighorn has been fishing quite good - the Hopper bite below 3 Mile has been getting better with the warm dry weather, down below Bighorn down to Mallards is good on hoppers too. Nymphing on the upper 3 is good, the trico's are out a bit over there already too. Streamer fishing is marginal, starting to see a few weeds, but nothing worth getting worried about. PMD's and Sallies being found lower on the river, that will only get better over the next couple of weeks as well. The Missouri has been fishing it's brains out, when doesn't it really, if you enjoy technical dry fly fishing, it's good right now up there. PMD's and Caddis and Tricos starting to show up as well, it may seem early but they are up there! Bring your A game if you come, the dry fly fishing gets more technical as the summer goes along up here and it's not getting earlier in the season anytime soon. The Beaverhead has been fishing insanely good as well - tons of boats over there, but the fishing has been good from the Dam down - down lower the craneflies are out, so skating some stuff around way low could be productive - up higher it's PMD's, Sallies, Caddis, and lots of them. Fish are in good shape around the state right now, so you can't miss at this point, later there will likely be some rivers taking a hit like the Jeff and the Big Hole that are awfully low and hot already and it's not even the end of July yet... 

As for stuff that might not be red hot a the moment, the Jefferson might be one we'd skip, unless you want to float it up higher early in the morning and get off by the afternoon - temps are getting quite hot into the lower 70's by the afternoons and the water flows are dropping low as well - FWP has issued some reminders that they may close the river if it gets 70 degrees or better for 3 days in a row or flows drop below 600CFS at Twin - that's all in the interest of a healthy fishery, so with all of the other options, why add the extra stress to the trout they don't need. The Big Hole is getting low, but the fishing hasn't suffered any, in fact it's not too low to float, you can get rubber around on it fairly easily. The Spruce moths are just getting going over there, mostly up higher with the heat they are out early. PMD's coming off, but guys are whacking 'em on Purple Hazes and our favorite is the Purple Para Wulff, that thing kicks ass and takes names on the Big Hole and a lot of other rivers. 

The Spring Creeks are fishing well and for anyone who just likes to shell out some $100 bills, then you can get on the creeks now as they aren't overly booked and the story is that the PMD hatches aren't quite as gang busters as they were a week or two ago, but they are still going good and that also means it's a bit easier to get fish to come up and eat your bug when there aren't as many naturals on the water. Caddis are out early and late, Sulphurs are beginning to show up later in the day too - and the best news, the weed beds are disgustingly bad yet either... If you're having a slow day and you can't quite figure out the puzzle - try the little micro zonkers and the new mini minnows at the shop, they wreck when nothing else is going on...

Yellowstone Park is about to get gang busters, the Northeast Corner is the place to be - skip the West End at this point in time, who cares about some warm water and small marginal fishing at this point in the season, it's time to be over on Slough, Soda Butte and the Lamar - the Drakes are just getting going, PMD's are excellent, some Sallies are out, fish will eat a Chubby up here as well, but I personally like the Para Wulff's for the Grey Drakes, they just do a great job of mimicking those bigger duns. Try a few of the drake crawler nymphs up here too, that pattern is highly underrated but is highly fishy.

Bottom line, temps outside might be hot, but the fishing has been good, you just need to go early or late if you want to be more comfortable. Don't forget that the coolest water temps are found first thing in the morning and the fish aren't stupid, they will feed the best in the mornings a lot of the time when it gets hot, so don't be afraid to get that coffee on early and get to the water before the rest of the crowds...

Fly of the Week - Double Dutch Bug

This week we've got a new little bug that we've been having a lot of fun fishing already, and we're sure is going to slay fish throughout the summer months, the Double Dutch in Tan. This is a hybrid hopper/stonefly pattern that rides nice and low in the water, but stays visible and gets snarfed. We took them on the Lower Yellowstone the other day and the fish were eating it like they had never seen something so tasty. The top is foam, the bottom is dubbing, and it sits nice and low in the water with just enough buggy profile and rubberlegs to get their attention. Try a few in your box this summer.

Shop Product of the Week - Shimazaki Dry Shake Spray

So how can you tell that shop employees have too much time on their hands? Well this concoction that we've come up with could be that evidence... So admittedly this was hatched on the river during the Salmonfly hatch and has since become my new favorite way to get big foam flies and small little bugs to sit up on top of the water like nothing else I've used. And no it's not lighter fluid and mucilin, that trick is old. This trick works better and doesn't require you to carry around lighter fluid in a fishing pack which just sounds stupid when you say it out loud... Take any dry fly powder (Loon's Blue Ribbon or Top Ride, Frogs Fanny, Shimazaki Dry Shake) and put the fly in it, give it a good shaking, and then lightly shake off any of the really big crystals you may have on the fly. Next take your Shimazaki Dry Shake Spray and shoot it with 1-2 shots. Fish, and repeat only after you catch 4 or 5 fish... otherwise it will float nearly forever... 

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