Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Although it takes many forms in different parts of the country, in our western states, particularly the rocky mountain states, runoff is a time of great anxiety and anticipation. Like the earth revolving around the sun, runoff is predictable. It is going to happen every year. The anxiety associated with runoff has much to do with taking advantage of usually excellent pre-runoff fishing in our larger rivers. Pre-runoff is that agonizingly unpredictable time between too cold and nasty and just warm enough to turn things on. As our rivers begin to come out of their winter doldrums, they are low, they are cold and the weather can be nasty, wet and windy. Yet in early March through April things do change. As the days lengthen, the temperatures slowly rise. A few warm days and any remaining lowland snow melts away muddying up the river for a few days, but adding little to the overall flows. As the river clears and warms, the fishing is good if you can find yourself on the river with decently calm weather. By the time late April comes around, the rivers have crept up from their lethargic winter flows to more normal levels. Hatches of midges, caddis and mayflies become more regular. At home, the grass is greening, the perennials sprouting and the fruit trees are budding. Spring is here and runoff can’t be far away.

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Day Trips

day trip 1- day trips start before first light
Day Trips Start Before First Light

Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Since I actually don’t live on a river anymore (I did live on a lake on the Coosa River in Alabama for 12 years), I can’t pop down to the stream for an hour or so in the morning or evening. I’ve got to make a day trip to go fishing. When relatives or visitors come for a week or two, we’ll make an overnight somewhere to save the hassle of a day trip and get more hours on our favorite waters. But by and large, most of my fishing from March through November is just a long string of day trips to my favorite rivers. Day trips don’t require a lot of planning or preparation. Indeed, different rivers or lakes, different seasons and weather may require some adjustments in fly boxes, fly rods, and clothing, but over the course of the season, these adjustments are made much like the audible in football. Wake up, survey the situation, make a decision on the destination, and grab the right gear and go.

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