The above image shows Missouri River guide Eric Mondragon and clients shoving off into the wind at Wolf Creek on Sunday morning. We’ve had plenty of wind lately. Often from the north, which impacts everything from boat control and casting accuracy to hatches and angler comfort. Wind often indicates a change in the weather, and we’ve had that as well. Lots of changes and inconsistencies in our weather patterns this spring.
My first guiding job was in Ketchum, Id working for Todd Van Brammer at Sun Valley Outfitters. Todd often checked the weather (the newspaper and then The Weather Channel back then) and was looking and hoping for long periods of high pressure. “Inconsistent weather makes for inconsistent fishing” he would preach. He was right then, and still is.
We’ve had some great fishing this spring, but we’ve experienced some shockingly tough fishing as well. May is traditionally a great month on the Missouri River, and considered an “easy” time of year to put fish in the net, but that has not held true this year. Our weather patterns seem to be in a constant state of change, and – as my old boss taught me – so has the fishing. Hatches have not had a chance to settle in to a routine so the trout haven’t either.
Bottom line? It’s hard to expect consistently good fishing when the mercury and barometer are jumping all over the place.
According to the weather-man, things are about to change. Consistency seems to be headed our way. The forecast for the next 10+ days shows another day of windy conditions (today) followed by a solid week or more of partly cloudy conditions, highs in the 60’s slowly moving into the 70’s, and little to no wind by Missouri River standards.
No more big cold fronts and Pacific moisture, no more 80 degrees one day, 50 the next, no strong frontal systems. It looks like just what the dry fly angler needs. A week of winds less than 10mph, partial cloud cover and temperatures warm enough to trigger the bugs. And the wind-vane stays S and W where we want it. Flows are ideal right now – hovering just under 6000 CFS – and hopefully the stars will align and let us finish off this month strong. Water temps are approaching the mid 50’s which may trigger some of our June hatches a little early.
And I see some T-Storms mixed in as well, and I love seeing some boomers in the forecast. While I’m no fan of fishing in a lightning storm, I know I’ll see bugs on those days, including those insane micro-burst-hatches that often precede T-storms.
For those wanting to hit a freestone river, The Dearborn and Blackfoot should fall into nice fishing shape this week, and should benefit from the forecast. They both appear to be stabilizing and should drop and clear a bit if the forecast holds true. Those not-to-hot high temperatures and lack of significant rain are exactly what you want during runoff. Neither will be much of a wade fishing option this week – still to high – but should offer up some great float fishing.