Yes, you can catch fish in dirty water!
Wow, what a difference a week makes! The combination of hot weather and rain have totally blown out the major drainages in our area. The Yellowstone is running 3700 CFS (cubic feet per second) above average. The Clark’s Fork is 3000 above and the Stillwater is 500 above. Rock Creek and the West Rosebud are in better shape. Rock Creek is actually dropping due to the cool nights we’ve had the last few days. There is a little color to it, and wading is challenging, but it’s at least fishable. There are still some caddis around, but nymphing with big uglys is producing the best. Try a big prince nymph, size 12. Another great pattern that gets overlooked is the halfback nymph, also size 12 or even 10. Other nymphs to keep handy this time of year include girdle bugs, Montana stones and golden stones. Streamer fishing is producing as well, with black wooly buggers and yuk bugs leading the pack.
Lake fishing is turning on, but remember that the higher lakes are still frozen. Hogan, Luce and Newton in Wyoming are fishing well on bigger midge patterns. Usually, an Adams or similar dry will get eaten when fish are looking for midges on a lake. Sometimes skating it helps. Size 16 – 12 depending on the hatch. Any beadhead nymph dropped under an indicator will catch fish if you have the patience to wait and wait and wait….
Kory waist deep in mud.
The Stilly came up 200 cfs yesterday while Kory and I floated it. It’s come up from 250 to 700 cfs in a week. Mud, anyone? Kory caught fish using three red worms, two big split shot and TWO strike indicators. I’m not kidding. I tried to get him to use the nice bobber he found, but he used it as a hat pin instead.
Scotty got this nice brown in a dirty ‘Stone.
Rising and off color, the fish were hunkered down. Scott and Kat kept after it and caught some nice trout anyway. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Hard to complain about that. We had both caddis and March Browns, but no fish on them. Too dirty. Nymphed hard all day, tried the big stonefly patterns for dirty water, but the hare’s ear, copper john and prince did the best. Scotty’s brown ate a #16 copper john. Go figure.
Warming up on the Yellowstone
Caddis are hatching on both the Yellowstone and the Stillwater. The Stilly is too low for good floating, but wade fishing is great. Haven’t seen the blizzard caddis hatch yet, but bugs are out and fish are on them. The Yellowstone is in good shape for floating. Caddis are happening along with the March Browns. This is one of the few years we’ve seen caddis hatching in clear water on the Stone, a real treat! Expect to see the Stone get muddy any day with the rain and warmer weather this week.