Missouri River Brown Drakes

Not Like Clockwork

We’re pretty damn lucky to live and fish on the Missouri River. Most of our hatches are like clockwork, and are of long enough duration that you don’t have to “chase” them. If you’re a dry fly angler, it would be hard to argue that there is someplace better when it comes to fish, hatches and bugs. They are consistent. Most of them.

Consistent hatches make for spoiled anglers. And we are that.

I’ve been chasing Drakes my whole adult life in Idaho and Montana. It’s the one hatch that seems to stay in my blood. Probably because it’s never a guarantee. Even if the weather, water temp, air temp, CFS, lunar phase, photoperiod, personal hygiene and Karma are all in order, it still may not happen.

Like last night. I had the chance to spend the evening chasing Drakes with Cascade trout bum John Heckert and legendary Montana guide Tony V(aleriano).

Chasing. That would be the right term.

Despite good reports from the night before, nice weather and all that great Karma packed into one boat, it did not happen. There were a few bugs, but just a dash here and there.

While there were fish up rising, they weren’t eating the Drake. Probably emerging caddis (yuck!). And I wasn’t going to cut off a Drake for a caddis. That’s not why I came.

I will concede that it was not perfect. Everything was, except the air temperature (a little cool) and most likely my hygiene and karma.

It’s good that there are guesswork hatches like this. You can do all the research you want, but that won’t help. You have to go to know. It involves some hard work, effort and failure to get to that big dividend at the end, and keeps us both excited and humble.

Tony Valeriano Montana

Tony Valeriano booming out a cast at a lone riser.

Missouri River Trout Bum

John Heckert checking his rig.

Missouri River Brown Drakes

Brown Drake.

Cascade Montana fly shop

But it was a beautiful evening.

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