Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dog Days

Yesterday I stood on the banks of Montana's Boulder River at 8-Mile Bridge. Next to me was a Californian who I'd just met that morning. He being the friend of a cousin, I was to take him fishing. These types of favors seem to get called in with some frequency when you live in Montana.

He and his wife were good company. He could cast, his ability to read water was first rate, his drifts were drag-free and his fly boxes were well stocked. The only problem was that he was dead set on fishing dries with his Orvis bamboo rod. Nothing but dries, all day. The trout were not rising. Not to terrestrials, not to attractors, not to anything. Meanwhile I was mopping up his backwater with an articulated olive mess connected to a 200-grain sink tip. After the 4th or 5th heavy brown came to hand within sight of him, I started feeling a little guilty. I switched to dry flies thinking that I could help him get it figured out - I didn't catch another fish, but misery loves company.

Maybe it's just me, but the dry fly bite has been pretty slow of late. The few hopper eats I've had over the past couple of weeks have been rather small fish. It's August in Montana during a good water year, you'd think the surface action would be exceptional. I'm blaming it on a myriad of factors: the hot weather and relentless sunshine, the tapering off of hatches, the unusually high rivers... or perhaps it is just me.


  1. We've had good to great hopper fishing on the Yellowstone for the past couple of weeks. Some days better than others, but getting good fish to eat foam most every day. But it does require covering a lot of miles by boat to get the fish... wade anglers are having a much tougher time finding fish willing to eat hoppers... pretty spotty. Also key to not be fishing anyone's backwater... guessing you might have been doing so on the Boulder considering the limited public access.

  2. We had 8-mile to ourselves early in the morning - I think. One other truck at the parking area, but never saw anyone else. When we went down to Big Rock there were a few other anglers ahead of us. Based on the boot prints along the river, that immediate area has been pounded. It's definitely tough to compete with the numbers racked up by float fishermen pounding miles of riverbank with hoppers.

  3. On more that a couple of occaions I've been volunteered by family members usually, to take someone fly fishing that I've never met before.
    inevitability the person has never had any kind of a rod in their hand but they did see, "A river runs through it" once and really like the idea of fishing just like Brad Pit! I start out by recommending golf! LOL!!

  4. Kevin - Imagine guiding for a living, and having "never evers" in your boat day in and day out! Fortunately the fellow that I recently fished with was a very proficient angler.

  5. I sometimes wonder if I could guide by not sure I could put up with some of the people.