As we enter into August’s fishing full swing, we often ask ourselves the pressing question: “Should I twitch this fly, or not?”
Spruce moths, nocturnal stones, hoppers, crane flies, terrestrials, upcoming Hecubas, mice, rainbow trout fry, etc. All of these food items are prevalent this time of year and move quite a bit on and in the water column. A properly twitched fly can often mean the difference between a few fish and a lot of fish.
*If fish are eating spent flies like Tricos, a dead-drifted presentation is usually best. But it doesn’t pay to generalize. For instance, I’ve watched a 12-year-old angler wake a hopper over an uber-selective two-foot Trico-sipping brown trout on the Bitterroot–the fish walloped the fly with rage!
*A light twitch is usually best. Watch actual bugs like dying spruce moths kick on the water and try to mimic their slight movements with your flies. The exception: egg-laying caddis and crane flies. There are times when you can’t move these fast, or frantically, enough. If a fish hammers your pink strike-indicator on the mend, it’s probably safe to tie on a pink Gould’s Western Lady and let her rock.
*A twitch at the right time triggers; a twitch at the wrong time is a turn-off. Gary LaFontaine’s book THE DRY FLY details his underwater studies of trout in which he observes that if a fish is already rising to a presented fly, a twitch often spooks the fish. Then again, if a trout sees a large food item “escaping” its feeding lie, said fish is likely to pounce. Experiment, experiment. And get yourself a mask and snorkel.
*Keep your dry flies dry. Flies twitch better when they’re riding high. I like to grease my leader all the way to the tippet knot.
Blackfoot River Fishing Report:
Spruce moths seemed to have waned, but a few very hot days ramped these bugs up again and we saw a very strong “event” on the lower river two days ago. Hoppers, especially on the lower river, are starting to come into play. The early (EARLY) game with nocturnal stones is still the safest play but the afternoons are viable as well. Try a bee?
Clark Fork River Fishing Report:
In the right spots, the river above town is coupling very good spruce moth fishing with strong hopper fishing. If you’re wondering how successful the Milltown Dam removal was, look no further than the stretches just upstream from the Blackfoot confluence–they’re loaded with solid rainbows. Below town, big stones rule in the morning, and Tricos are right around the corner. Until the Tricos take over and the hoppers really start to swing, think: riffles, riffles, riffles.
Bitterroot River Fishing Report:
The upper river and West Fork are offering quantity, while the river from Hamilton down has been producing fewer but much larger trout. There’s a bit of a “bug vaccuum” on the Root right now as we wait for Tricos and Hecubas to pop, so don’t be afraid to try a dropper. Even a sunk hopper?
Wade Fishing Report:
Some of our best fishing can be found on our feeder streams right now. Get your Montana atlas and explore the upper reaches of these gems. Or give us a call and we’ll set you up with our fantastic wade-fishing specialist.