Articles and Stories by Montana Trout Scout



I fished Rock Creek down by the football field today. Got skunked. Nothing, no nada. Not even a bite, not a nibble, nobody home. I gave it my best mojo, too. Nothing doing. Guess what? I worked on my left- handed casting. I practiced throwing the fly up under brush on the bank. Tried hard to get my fly down behind every likely rock. All in all, a nice hour spent on the stream.


This is the time of year when I get all excited about the fishing season. For the last few years, it’s been happening by now. March browns, baetis, caddis and early stone flies. Sometimes the stones are crawling all over what’s left of the winter snow. Not this year, it seems. We’re a bit behind.


For the last few years, the global warming thing has had me worried. It’s given me good fishing throughout the winter months. I’ve had some great days skiing in the morning and fishing in the afternoon. Not so much, this year. It’s been cold. And wet. And windy. Windy. Windy. Could it be that this is what fishing in spring is really like around here? Hmmmmm.


Looking back on my first few years fly fishing in these parts, I remember getting snowed on, rained on, hailed on, etc. I remember building campfires at lunch- time in the lee of down trees to get warm enough to make it through the afternoon. A wee touch of the Bushmills helped a lot.


Then came the time that Kory and I floated the Stilly with clients in April. We wet waded. In April. The fishing was good, droppers, just like in July. We even went swimming. That was the first year ever that the Yellowstone closed to fishing in the afternoon. We lost some of July and most of August to high water temps. Ebb and flow.


We only have 30 years of snow pack information. Some of our stream flow statistics go back 70 years. Thirty years ago, I was disco dancing in Oklahoma City. I actually owned a pair of candy apple red platform shoes. Wore an “ankh” around my neck. Ebb and flow. Wouldn’t be caught dead dressed like that now, even though the chicks would really dig it . . .


The folks that settled this country didn’t have any daily weather report.  No average temperature, stream flow, snow pack, or economic indicator to dictate how they met their day. When you look at what our statistics are based on today, you get a sense of how fleeting statistics really are. All we have, at most, are facts gathered during one person’s lifetime. 70 years maximum.


Stop listening. Go fishing. It won’t suck unless you decide it does. Regardless of what the evening news (or my fishing report) says.




May Fly Box


I expect the Mother’s Day caddis hatch to actually happen around Mother’s Day, for a change. I also expect the bulk of the March Browns to happen at that same time. If you’re fishing caddis imitations over an obvious caddis hatch and not catching, look closely at the feeding fish. If March Browns come off at the same time as the caddis, fish will almost always choose the March Browns. This can be hard to detect, as the caddis will outnumber the March Browns ten to one. Go figure. Must be tasty little buggers.


Brownish-gray parachutes, size 12 (March Browns)


Olive parachutes and sparkle duns, size 16 (Baetis)


Elk hair Caddis, black or tan, size 16


Assorted soft hackles


Bead head hare’s ears and pheasant tails for droppers, size 16


When the water gets dirty, try girdle bugs and Bitch Creek nymphs, size 8










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