It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve seen a couple of chutes open at Holter Dam. Drove up today to watch the water pour over the top. I like it. Makes it feel like there actually is some runoff around. The river is currently holding steady in the upper 6000’s. It crossed the 7000CFS line for a day, but has dropped a little since them. We are heading into a warming trend, including a few days of 90 degrees in the forecast. If we’re going to see some kind of jump in the flows it may be in the next 10 days.
While not all would agree, I think the increase in flows has been good for the fishing. Caddis, BWO and now PMD’s are hatching along with some random Caddis and mayflies that are more localized. If the weather is right – and when it is you can feel the humidity – the bugs are out and the fish are looking for them. Don’t be afraid to blind fish a Caddis or Flying Ant pattern in these conditions. You ‘ll probably pick off those occasional rising fish, and also get a few that did not show themselves. I’d have some BWO and PMD cripples (Harrop, Nymen) on me, along with some smaller midge clusters, Corn Fed Caddis, Blooms Caddis, Bloom’s Ant, CFO Ant, Purple Haze/Craze and possibly a small hopper pattern. Yes, I said hopper. And an All Stages Cadddis to hang off the back of larger more buoyant patterns.
Streamer fishing has definitely picked up over the last week. It had nowhere to go but up, as we’ve had one of the tougher streamer-springs I’ve witnessed. You can hit them on a variety of patterns, and colored water coming in from our local tributaries only helps. Try white, flashy, muted, olive, black, Kreelex, bugger… you get the idea. As usual, we tend to use somewhat smaller flies than the SW crowd and their Galloupy 2 hookers. BUT, this is the time of year you might find one of those big nasties on the end of our line. Cheech’s Leech, the Sex Dungeon or a big old Dali Lama are pretty popular patterns right now. The river is not high enough to require a sink-tip, but it’s probably a good idea to at least have a poly-leader in the boat for those deeper banks.
Nymphing has been good to excellent since flows stabilized. And by excellent I mean excellent. Our guide staff – and their customers – are reporting some insane days. If you’re not getting them try something different. Different fly, side of the river, depth, water type, etc. They are eating.
Nymphing is most popular in the morning, then a switch to the dry at lunch. Both because you’ve probably caught enough under the bobber, and more fish are feeding in the afternoons right now. But not all.
GET READY FOR
A big jump in the amount of Caddis and PMD’s you see out there. The upcoming heat should kick off both of those hatches. Make sure and have patterns that imitate all stages for the PMD hatch – nymph, emerger, Dun and Spinner (usually Rusty). And you’ll want to have a variety of caddis patterns. Low-riders for the glassy stuff, and some old school fluffy high-riders for the faster riffles and banks. Ninth has several great looking new spent caddis patterns that we have been itching to try. They look good, and should be effective.
Hopefully the river doesn’t jump too big, too fast. If it does, it may squash 95% of the dry fly fishing no matter how big the hatch. You can always find a few in channels and backwaters, but once she passes the 8000CFS mark, it can be tough to find heads.
Most seem to be holding steady, but they should jump up in the next week as daytime highs reach 90 and nighttime lows stall in the upper 50’s. A few folks have been fishing the Dearborn and most reports have been good. Not bad, not great. Which is good. The scenery is spectacular and the flows make for an easy float right now. If I was thinking about it, I’d do it by this weekend.
Blackfoot is holding steady and is putting out some big fish in high water conditions (3000CFS). Streamers, slop-rigs, nymphing the slow insides and slough areas should produce. I expect to see it rise and get a little dirty next week.
Headhunters guide Max Mattioli shows off a nice Rainbow caught by Rob.