Its been a tough last month if you have been chasing fish with a two-hander on the Missouri, but things seem to be turning on. The fish are a little grabbier and they’re eating with a bit more authority. At least some of the Brown Trout seem to be finishing up the spawn and are looking for a meal. We’re definitely catching more and bigger ones than a few weeks ago.
Still way too many bugs for really good swing fishing, and late fall BWO’s never seem to translate to great small soft hackle fishing. Hatches and opportunities for dry fly fishing have even prompted some anglers to stow the Spey rods and break out the dry fly sticks. Autumn BWO hatches typically finish around the 15th, but with the wacky year we’ve had… who knows? I do know that when the BWO’s stop, swinging streamers gets really good.
Water temperatures have dropped significantly, but fast water is still important to focus on. They’re in there. Use a Skagit head with medium deep tip (SA TC S1/S2 or iMOW 5×5) and your favorite streamer. You should find fish, and if you’re in the right spot at the right time you may catch a bunch
We’ve been doing well with drab medium sized streamers and buggers. Old school buggers (no bead), leech patterns, and the natural toned smaller rabbit/fox stuff have been best. You’ll get some on bigger flashier patterns, but not as many as you’d like.
If I was going gaudier I’d start with something “egg-sucking”. The Hot Head Leech is always one of my favorites this time of year. Flies with eyes on them catch weeds, so I’m avoiding them. I’d also concentrate the deepest and fastest flows out in the middle, and likely would go with a heavy full sink tip.
When fishing slower water and long glides, you can stick with the Skagit rig, but we often go to the SA Spey Lite Scandi line with an intermediate Sonar leader on the end (this is a really fun setup to cast). Smaller buggers, and the larger soft-hackles (Carey Special, Sparrow, etc.) are the go to patterns here. This is especially true when the lights go down. The fish may move into water that is too shallow to fish your Skagit tip (you could use a Skagit floating tip, but judging by our sales of that item, not many of you own one).
The entire river is in play, so go where you want. I like to fish not row, so I typically choose one of the shorter sections, but you may find complete solitude if you pick something longer. Just hit the “A” spots and buckets. 10-15 minutes in a spot is often all you really need. Don’t forget the time change! Start earlier than you want for those longer stretches.
Some Equipment Notes:
- We just received a small batch of the new OPST Micro Skagit Rods. Because of the limited availability and expected demand, we do not have any demos rigged. But we do trust Ed Ward (who designed them), and if you don’t like it you can return it. More about these on the blog tomorrow.
- I haven’t got them on the web store yet, but we also have the new RIO 3D MOW tips. These are triple density tips that will appeal to those who like big flies and deep Skagit presentations. Good for Walleye!
- Check out our awesome selection of Mclean Nets from New Zealand. We have several folding versions that stay out of your way while spey casting. Whitney and I have been using these this year, and they really are great solutions for two-handed fishing.
- Stream Cleats are a good idea especially if your fishing the canyon or below. Make sure and ask your buddy or guide before getting in the boat. We had some clients shop up last weekend with cleats and they brought their own mats for the boat, just in case. Smart fellas.
- Make sure and ask us for a swivel connector if you are rigging your rod with mono shooting line. Pretty much a must-have for mono.
- We still have a few Echo TR/Echo Ion/Airflo Scout combos that come with a $200 gift card! This great deal will end this weekend.