Part 2 – Fishing in the Dark – When Is It Really Dark?

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

Being a natural morning person I have focused my efforts for fishing in the dawn sequence. I have fished a handful of times after sunset and the patterns seem too roughly parallel to those seen during sunrise fishing but are obviously reversed.

You may be wondering how can you tell where you are and what you are doing? Good questions. First, be sure to wear a head lamp. I like to wear mine a little lower on my head so my hat sits just above the head lamp. This prevents the hat rim from blocking the light. I prefer a head lamp that turns on with a red light when you first turn it on (most do this anyway, if they have this feature). The red light it reduces the loss of night vision and you can see well enough to change flies or net a fish.

It is best to turn off your head lamp before you reach your fishing destination. This allows your eyes to adjust to the dark and prevents spooking larger fish which are highly sensitive to light and sound. As your eyes adjust to the dark you will be pleasantly surprised how much you can see after 10-15 minutes in the dark. Wade slowly feeling with your feet for obstructions below and do not transfer your weight to your next step until you are sure you will have firm footing. Large submerged rocks can be a real challenge if they are within reach of your next step.

If you have fished the water in the light, you will have a rough estimate of the distance across the river. Use your rod to measure out the number of line increments that will reach the other side of the river. Alternatively, you can deliberately stick your fly on the other shore. If you are lucky and get it off, you can count the number of strips to retrieve your fly.

Continue reading → Part 2 – Fishing in the Dark – When Is It Really Dark?

You Shoulda Been Here in June – SW Montana 2021

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

There is a common saying in the angling world: “You Should Have Been Here Yesterday”. The implication is that had you been fishing here yesterday, the catching would have been good, but not so much today. Well SW Montana has been unexpectedly a bit like that in 2021. The Western drought has received a lot of attention in the media and deservedly so. It is turning out to be an exceptionally dry year. And that has had both positive and will have negative impacts on angling here in SW Montana. From my perspective as a local angler here in Bozeman, Montana March through June 2021 has actually been a period of exceptional fishing on several counts. Spring warmed up a bit early in March awakening rivers from their winter slumber. April and May remained relatively mild and the rivers showed off excellent midge, caddis and streamer fishing well into early May. For the most part flows were normal for spring time.  More importantly, springtime is usually uncrowded as not too many visiting anglers are around.

Things started to get a bit different as the end of May rolled around. Runoff got off to a slow start and although the big rivers indeed got bigger and dirtier it didn’t really last long nor did they generate anywhere near their normal volume. Some rivers like the Beaverhead and Ruby, buffered by reservoirs never really experienced any high, dirty water. The Yellowstone, Madison and Big Hole provided seasonably excellent conditions for the annual Salmon Fly hatch with lower water that wasn’t pushing into the bankside willows. Small headwater streams like the Upper Ruby came into shape by mid-June, where typically it was the July 4th weekend before they would be fishable. Insect hatches that typically occurred when flow and clarity conditions were marginal were now occurring in lower, crystal clear waters. The other positive in June was nighttime air temperatures. March through June, night time air temperatures in the high plains can fall below freezing, but typically are in the 40s and low 50s. These temperatures bode well for trout streams as they cool considerably overnight.

Continue reading → You Shoulda Been Here in June – SW Montana 2021

Cycles of the Stream: Late Summer Trout

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

It’s August 27th as I type this…but it could just as easily be September 14th…or July 10th. It’s a hot day, and as I gather my fly gear and consider the fly I’ll tie on first, I’m tempted to say, “This is still the middle of summer. It’s hot. I need sunscreen, I need an ice-cold water bottle…summertime.”

Ahhh, but it’s not, and the trout know it. Days are detectably shorter, nights are longer. Water levels have consistently dropped and water temperature has already begun to do the same. The bugs know it too, and their autumn behavior has already kicked in. Nymphs and terrestrials are far larger than they were six weeks ago, and hatches are of the late season variety. Browns get ready for their big square dance, and in anadromous water, finned behemoths return from the sea. Shadows lengthen; even the sun’s declination is lower in the sky.

The telltale signs of “end of days” are evident to anyone and anything that cares…and trout care very much.

Continue reading → Cycles of the Stream: Late Summer Trout