Fishing Report – Don’t be a Low-Holer!

By on Mar 21st, 2016   //   1 minute to read

Fishing Report Skwala hatch

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?

Skwala Fishing Report

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!

9 Comments to "Fishing Report – Don’t be a Low-Holer!"

  • Beer Me
    March 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Amen brother!

    1. Dan Mahoney
      March 22, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Cheers, beer me!

  • Ric Smith
    March 22, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Great post. Thanks. River behavior has truly gone downhill over the past several years. Say five. I am not in the industry and feel it is up to industry members to educate their peers. Thanks to this post

    1. Dan Mahoney
      March 22, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Thanks for the feedback Ric, I agree with you. Commercial users should lead by example.

      1. ric smith
        March 22, 2016 at 1:26 pm

        Agree 100%
        Not that private anglers are perfect either.


  • Rook E Innayetihat
    March 22, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Shut your high hole. I fish where i want.

    1. Dan Mahoney
      March 22, 2016 at 9:45 am

      OK Rook, see you out there!

  • Wade Fisherman
    March 22, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    “And above all, pay regard to wade-fisherman who only have a hole or three to fish, whereas boats have a ten-mile stretch.” Even a certain veteran guide of unnamed missoula fly shop will do anything to avoid this; i’ve been snaked by the same bro (not mentioning any names) so many freaking times it’s getting to be re god damn diculous. fishing the root, step out to let boat pass; guy catches fish that I was fishing to! and then has the balls to say “don’t tell me about etiquette” perhaps MFWP should make fisherman pay for an etiquette stamp

    1. Dan Mahoney
      March 31, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Wade Fisherman – Pretty sure I know who you are referring to. 🙂