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.