Squeeky’s Top 5 Don’ts of July

Or should it be the bottom 5 don’ts of the month?

Your choice. I wrote a blog a few years back of the Top 10 Worst Fly Fishing Products and got a ton of flack about it. So if you are the squeemish type, stop reading now. You may exhibit these behaviors and be offended. So if you are that kind of light hearted happy go lucky type of feller…Click over to any feel good page of your choice NOW.

All honesty today on this portion of the Headhunters Blog. July wipes all of the candy coating off me. This is a tough river with tough fish and if you like to contend and want to get a ton 4 fish of fish to hand then you gotta be a player.

A disclaimer: For the squeemish…I’m not saying that it is not, meaning July, a time for everybody, because it is. A wonderful time to be here. But if you are gonna go out there and be a cowboy, you better wear your chaps brother. And be able to swing that lasso around magically.

Top 5 Don’ts of July

These are directed to the dry fly anglers in the audience…not nymphers. Nymphers Unite!

  1. Don’t drag the fly over the trouts head on the first cast. Don’t do it. The most common way to offend a fish, to let the trout know you are in the region, to piss off the fish, to insure that you may definitely not not catch that trout, to alert the enemy that you are about to attack, to not catch that fish you are casting at is to drag the freaking fly over his head on the first cast. That is how most anglers don’t catch rising fish. Period. Most anglers do this every time they approach a trout. This is just based on my 23 years as a fishing guide here, on this most dry fly fishy river in this state.
  2. Don’t tell me you are gonna buy a new fly line after your month long dream trip to Montana. Hey this is the show man. Get the new fly before you come out. The fly line is the vehicle that carries the fly to the desired target. It is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the equation. Bar none. Cleaning fly lines a few times throughout the day is a good idea too. The fly line is the vehicle that delivers the fly to the desired target. Don’t sell your self short with at bad fly line. Don’t be that guy. Don’t do it. Beg, borrow, cheat or steal one and you will be so happy. You like new tires on your car? You like new socks? You like new and clean fly lines. It is the vehicle that delivers the fly to the desired target.
  3. Don’t get mad when you miss fish. It happens. Batting .300 is a big deal when dry fly fishing. You don’t get them all. Don’t get mad. Get even.
  4. Don’t be a dick. Plenty of fish for everyone. I have seen some really good respect and truly genuine good behaviors this last couple of weeks. Nice work fisher fellers. It looks good out there. Give wade fishers room. Give boaters room. No need to crowd. Plenty of dicks in other sports. Let’s keep this one relatively dick free.
  5. Don’t throw the fly 12′-29′ above the trout and expect it to drift all the way to the trout. Nobody can drift it that far, consistently. Of course some fish are caught when we drift it through the fish we are targeting, and then continue downstream for another 47 1/5’…but that is not efficient. Throw at the fish, drift 3′-4′ and repeat. Not a new idea. Not my idea. Just the right idea. Target a trout and cast at him. Not above him. Cast at the trout. Not above him. Don’t do the alternative.
  6. Most fellers do not throw at the trout, ever. Gotta throw at the fish. Ever shoot a deer? Where did you aim. Ahhh, if you are dry fly fisher, you aimed 22′ away from the deer…and expected the bullet to be magical. And we all unfortunately know about the magic bullet theory. 


Do have fun.

Do enjoy the dry fly bite.

Do drink to your boys after the day.

Do get out early.

Do practice casting at home before your trip of a lifetime and enjoy your trip even more. This is the show, Don’t practice here, in the boat, between fish. Do practice casting. You will catch more fish. Those who cast better catch more fish.

Do use liberal amounts of sunscreen.

Do come back y’all.

Don’t complain. Nobody like a complainer.

Do enjoy the entirety of the day.

99 of 100 casts are some sort of slack line deal. Straight lines need not apply.

Do keep the trout int he water and not drop them in the boat. We are all offenders on this deal. Keep em wet this summer. We have really tried to not post fish outta the water photos this yer. We are on board with the keep em wet deal.

Do pay it forward. All the good stuff man. Enjoy the Missouri River.


And thanks for being cool.

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  • Great advice.
    #4: And if you are a real dick, the Fish Gods will show you no mercy.
    #3: Take heart in knowing that the trout miss as often, maybe more, as we do. User error almost always line control.

    One for the DFO anglers out there.
    Regarding nymphing, Gary LaFontaine quoted a friend of his who only fished dry flies:
    “Fishing nymphs is just like drinking prune juice, it works really well but why would you ever brag about the result.”

  • Robert Divine
    July 20, 2022 3:42 pm

    The clean your line item. I live in West Yellowstone. Fish the Madison almost everyday. Clean my line everyday before putting up my gear. Lines that float high cast better, pickup better, catch fish better. Prolong the life of your line? Maybe. Favorite conversation is the one where someone tells you how long they have had their Fly line. “I’ve had this 444 for six years”. Stupid. If you do any serious fishing you’ll go thru 2 in a summer. RIO towelette, Mucilin Silicone on the first 6 feet. Happy line.

  • David Frank Pac
    July 20, 2022 5:36 pm

    Love this Blog entry. Always worth repeating even for those that fish this river often!

  • All levels of angler skill and interest out there. Took me a while to figure out that not all can be really good nor do they want to be. Let’s all have fun here….. .

  • Love it and thank you

  • A headhunter to be sure…
    Cheers from Canada SOL

  • #5, ok so I have a steady riser holding to a tight lane. What is the ideal distance from the point it is taking flies to land the fly, 2 feet?

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