And here comes the water...
The long cool spring appears to be over. Area rivers have been running below historical averages all spring. The fishing has been stellar by all accounts, unfortunately I've only taken advantage a few times. We had more snow last week, then rain and saw a small bump in flows late last week but then leveled off.
Saturday was overcast and high 60s all day, I knew it was the last best day of fishing for awhile. But I was tangled up tearing off an old porch roof! As if that just could not have waited... Sunday the mercury climbed to the mid-70s, yesterday it was 78 in Missoula with overnight lows forecast to remain in the 40s for the rest of the week.
I was walking down the street yesterday and saw a friend at the stop sign, we called out the window, "ya get out this weekend?"
"It was the last chance."
"Maybe today still...Clark Fork?"
I shrugged and continued back work. But the seed was planted. I split work at 4, grabbed my stuff and dogs and headed to the closest access to my house. I had about 2 hours to be back home. The Clark Fork was clearly on the rise, off-color and too fast for much fishing. But the Bitterroot side of Kelly Island (where the two rivers meet on the South edge of town) was much nicer. The water was barely tea-stained and easily waded. It was sunny and warm and just lovely to be standing in the river. I tossed a caddis and PT soft hackle dropper over a nice little shelf. Easy fishing that lets the mind clear and wander...my medicine. I felt a couple taps at the soft hackle on the swing portion of my drift and saw no rises. Switched the dry for a small muddler and continued to swing slowly. I gave it a couple strips and a sharp tug and a nice little brownie full of fight left the water a few times before I released him. One last fish before the run-off season.
The charts were showing consistent upward trends since Sunday, and today they are steep.
Here comes run-off season! I'll sneak a day or two in to try to hit the Salmonfly hatch at Rock Creek next time the flow stabilizes for a day or two. But for the most part, the next month is painful; beautiful sunny days and warm evenings that last past 9pm and no option to fish. That old roof on the house is calling to be torn off next...that'll keep me busy for little while I wait it out to fish again.