As of Cinco de Mayo, we’re entering what I like to call “Locals Fishing,” aka “Guides Get It Good.” This means that, for the most part, our area rivers will pulse up and down until the end of true runoff (likely late June). If you’re a townie, and lucky enough to catch the Blackfoot, Bitterroot, or upper Rock Creek on a steep three-day drop, you could have some of the best streamer, stonefly, or caddis fishing of the year. For visitors, however, it’s tough to know when that drop will occur–old night-time temps, in the mid-30s, will cork the runoff for a while—so feel free to give us a call anytime, and we’ll shoot straight.
Above all, it pays to be mobile this time of year. And versatile. Last week, we had four excellent days on four separate rivers, using distinctly different techniques each day: Deep nymphing on the Missouri (which will likely remain a stable option throughout the month); small dries and droppers on side-channels of the Bitterroot; big dries on the upper Clark; and streamers on the Big Hole.
Lastly, in the coming weeks, look for the evening caddis fishing to pick up. For the dry-fly-or-die crew, this is one of May’s saving graces. Even in the dirtiest water of the past week, we’ve seen fish rising on early Mother’s Day Caddis in the evenings. Watch for fish chasing emergers while the light falls, then, when the river is all shade, hunt the back eddies and slow grass banks for noses.