Unlike most anglers, many of our guides revel in swollen rivers. Not high and muddy but bank full and green. In fact I would argue that the biggest trout in a river are more accessible in high water situations than they are in low clear conditions. This is counter intuitive to be sure, Common sense says that the lower the water – the more confined the fish – thus the more easily they are to locate and catch. Reallity is that when a river is low and clear the fish are spread accross the river, anywhere from bank to bank and, they are spooky. Running full, river trout are typically very site specific. In wandering rivers like the Clark Fork or Bitterroot they are congregated in sandbar drop offs and slick deep slow backwater channels. In boulder strewn rivers like the Blackfoot, they find refuge in the soft inside corners and long slow moving banks. In both instances trout will be aggressive and disregard shadows overhead and oars splashing around them. Green water is good!
I am not saying that we won’t catch any more large fish now that the rivers are clearing and dropping. But the days of easy targeting top end fish will continue to get more callenging with each inch of dropping water and visibility. Now is the time when hatches matter more and weather tends to effect catching the top end fish more severly.
Speaking of catching … I need to go pick up my clients and prove this theory wrong! Good luck out there.
Father and daughter get in on maybe the last day of easy big days... One of plenty-a-big bow eagerly awaiting our offerings on sand bar drop offs recently.
Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months and you almost forget what it’s like to feel a connection to the world of fishing. Though some may brave the winter months on the river, most, like me, switch gears and look to make memories in the mountains. Inside seams of winding rivers are replaced by arching turns in knee-deep power. But soon winter fades and the itch returns. We migrate back to our rivers and feverishly drift flies in front of early season trout that are anything but eager to eat our bugs. And then one day, long after your attention has waned, you see something that you’ve decided never existed in the first place. A 17-inch cutthroat explodes on your skwala and you customarily yank it from his grasp before he has a chance to close his mouth—it’ll take a few farmed fish to shake off the rust. But it’s these moments, these punctuation marks on the river, which tell the story of your day. Cold floats and hours of fish inactivity aren’t the memories you carry with you, it’s the brief glimpse into a primal connection with that single fish. The moment when the drift, the fly and the fish’s willingness all align and you connect with your quarry face to face. And then…you slip him back into the river. So, while you’re out this Spring, remember that what you’re really in search of are these ephemeral moments of connection. Enjoy them while they last.
Montana Trout Unlimited poster by Monte Dolak
Running a small retail shop requires making numerous decisions every day…What should our hours be? Should we expand our floorspace? Do we need to hire more help? But one of the toughest decisions we make is whether to donate to a cause. There are a ton of worthy causes, organizations, and people in need of cash; the problem, at least from a retailers viewpoint, is where to draw the line? If we donated to everyone who asked us to, we would be out of business…there are days when up to four different groups have asked for a donation to their cause. We really have no policy on donations…so typically what happens is someone walks into our shop and if they catch us on a good day, in the right mood and at the right time, they will most likely walk out the door with something….if they catch us on a bad day….well, you get the picture. It can be a bit overwhelming. This being said, it doesn’t matter what mood we are in when it comes to donating to Trout Unlimited. This organization is the backbone of healthy trout and that, frankly, is the foundation of our business.
Missoula’s West Slope chapter of Trout Unlimited did an outstanding job Saturday night putting on its annual banquet in Missoula. The tables at the Hilton were full and folks were opening up their wallets…..maybe the economy is improving?? Who knows? TU folks behind the scenes were definitely pleased, not only with the large turnout, but also with the amount of money many of the donated items were selling for. Blackfoot River Outfitters has always supported our local Trout Unlimited chapter and will continue to do so in the future. We applaud their endeavors in promoting clean water and healthy trout throughout western Montana. Giving away endless merchandise to a litany of causes can be frustrating from a business owner’s perspective, but Trout Unlimited – we got your back. Thanks for all your hard work!!