Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Signs of Spring

As much a sign of spring around this house as Skwala's and BWO's.
It's hard to write about spring when we didn't have much of a winter.  A transition wasn't clear, but it is still appreciated, and as the tailwaters drop for (too) early irrigation demands, the freestones suspend at the perfect level until the begin their spring swelling.  My friend Scott always speaks to the connection of baseball and fly fishing, and as a life-long lover of both I definitely think of the beginning of both seasons being conjoined.  My fishing doesn't stop in the colder months, but the first pitch of the season certainly tells my brain that it's time.

Editors Note: I started this post the other day and it snowed all day today.  It kind of took away the fun of writing some more about spring, even though its going to be back by the weekend.  Whatever, Montana.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Technique Tuesday: Early Season Stones


Skwalas, the stonefly that gets everyone out of their winter funk, wrapping foamy bugs, and remembering that after a long, cold winter there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Although their the size of a small hopper, and most the patterns we fish could be just a dark hopper pattern, the behavior of fish in March and April is quite a bit different than in July and August.  Here are few tips to help you make the best out of throwing the first big bugs of the season.

Fish Slow:  It's was to tie on a Chubby and pretend like it's August and fish outside seams and hard edges all day when you're fishing.  While fun to pretend that summer is here, it doesn't do much in the realm of "actually catching them".  Every spring I am amazed at how slow of water fish will sit in, and shallow for that matter.  Think about water that is warm, has good cover, and will not force a trout to waste precious early season energy.

Fish Downstream:  This is actually a do-all-the-time thing(at least for fishing dries out of a drift boat), but is particularly important this time of year.   When the rivers are still fairly low, and the fish aren't 100% convinced that they should be saying big food, the last thing that they want to see is a leader.   When you combine this with fishing slower water (which allows for more time to look at your junk) it is really important to chuck it in front of the boat.

Watch for the slurp:  Slow water, slow takes.  Sure, occasionally you get the fish that body slams the fly with it's face, but most of them are going to sip it like it's a may fly.  This can take some getting used to, and when you're not expecting it a  subtle take can easily be missed.  Yesterday we had several fish that neither Seth nor I (over 25 years combined guiding experience) were confident were even fish until we pulled the trigger.