It’s gonna be one of those weeks in Missoula — if you’re not watching the USGS Water Flow Gauges, you might get a cup full of bad river sauce. The warm weather, in other words, has bumped the flows and they’ll likely keep bumping, though not blow a gasket if the nighttime lows stay cold.
Can you find some fish locally? Dredge the deep seams with double nymph rigs until you’ve run through a dozen Pat’s and worms? Yes, you probably can.
And there there still a few fish in the eddies that will eat dry flies (March Browns and Skwallas) if you give them enough rotations in the foam. But it’s not going to be a very productive endeavor until later in the week when the temps drop and the clouds and rain come in.
We’re quickly sliding into what an old client of ours refers to as “locals’ fishing” — the fickle time of year when successful angling depends on flows, water temp, cloud coverage, lucky hats, etc. To put it bluntly: It’s day to day out there.
Except, of course, on the Missouri, where flows and water temps have remained consistent, and where we’ve had some excellent fishing. Yes, mostly underneath with nymphs. And yes, with a little windshield time to note. But the ‘bows we caught were more than worth the effort and ego-sacrifice. Some combination of scud/mayfly forage is all you need.
We’ll be keeping a weather eye open this week for drops in the flows near Missoula, but until everything’s on its way down, we’ll either be Missouri-ing, or hunting around upper Rock Creek for some dry fly action.