Nine Months of Dry Fly Fishing Starts Now!
Cold week or not, here in Missoula, our long dry fly season has officially kicked off! It’s been fun to watch our skwalla imitations get inhaled on woody banks where they were largely ignored a few weeks ago. It’s a special time of year not because we get to fish dry flies — we can do that successfully from mid-March through October — but because we get to fool fish with big dries for the first time all year. The angle of light is low, and large trout sit in spots they normally avoid in daylight hours.
It’s a coveted window of fishing on the Bitterroot and Clark Fork, for guides, clients, and local anglers alike. Our friends from Washington and Idaho are trailering boats over the pass, the college kids are skipping class and dusting off their gear, and the guide boats are out as well.
It’s all good, right?
Well, not really.
River Etiquette Do’s and Dont’s
There is a younger generation of guides out there that hasn’t quite learned how to share the resource respectfully with other boats and wade-fishermen. In the past week, we’ve seen some pretty dastardly moves, and have even had a local wade-angler contact us to share accounts of an unfortunate experience with us.
Some guides lack all confidence to catch fish behind other boats, and they will do anything they can to stay in front, even at the expense of etiquette.
HINT: If you wait for another boat to come within 50 yards of you, then pull up the anchor and push out in front, that’s called LOW-HOLING or RUBBER-NECKING, and it’s not cool.
* If you want to stay in the lead, get up earlier, and be to the boat launch before everyone else, push a mile downriver and start fishing.
* Try fishing somewhere other than the middle Bitterroot. We have 350 plus miles of floatable water.
* Regardless, show respect for other boats, whether they are guide boats or visitors from out of state.
* And above all, pay regard to wade-fisherman who only have a hole or three to fish, whereas boats have a ten-mile stretch.
Remember, we’re all on the river to get away from the BS-way people treat each other in the “real world” — let’s realize we’re all in this together, and get along while we enjoy this amazing time of year!