I am off to Montana, big sky country. Lincoln, MT to be exact. With the help of all of you I am off to another year on the Blackfoot, although this year much more prepared. I am bringing my Classic Trout 8'6" 5WT along with the Echo Ion 4/5 and a brand-spankin' new spool of Rio Gold 5WT.
Here's to a great trip and thank you again for the warm welcome and all of the help you have provided me over the past couple of weeks. Hope to hook into some fun little trout and above all, find some solitude on the river.
Sheesh, Have I skipped out on this post, I apologize.
Well, the trip was nothing short of amazing. In the years past we have sunny skies day in and day out. This year was a little bit different, the skies were filled with dark clouds. I am sure this affected the fishing, although in my inexperience, I can't tell you in what way it did so. The trip was from August 25-Sept 1. I fished mostly hoppers and different colored/sized caddis. Had decent luck with the hoppers and caddis, although the stream was pretty low. I was staying in the town of Lincoln, in a cabin up through the cattle gates. We fished not far from our "home" for the week, being a hand built log cabin about 100 yards from the stream.
On the last day I had a real breakthrough. Something I had never seen before in my very short fly fishing career. I put about 3 hours into the same exact pool. This may not be a good habit, but on a stream where most of it is too low and picked over, I figured it was a great spot to finish the afternoon - not the mention the spot was absolutely beautiful with a tree forest on both sides of the bank with the sun far behind me, politely setting behind a snake in the river.
A few things I noticed and questions I have : On my first cast I thew a blue winged olive size 16 on a surface hit we noticed will walking up to the pool. from under I rocky ledge and into a sunny patch in the water I saw a beautiful cutthroat rise up and take the fly, I set the hook, had him for a second and then lost him. I'm not sure if it was my knot that was lacking or an over eager hook set. That happened to be my last 16, and for the rest of the afternoon I threw just about everything I had at them, size 14s and even completely different looking flies, each fly I thew got a rise at some point - although none of them really took the fly.
The entire time there was top water action, for just about the whole afternoon the surface had something happening every few minutes. I noticed a few flies floating by to I captured a few in my net to see what they were eating. I wish I still had the pictures as that would really help me out at this point. From what I recall, the one I caught was a grey colored caddis with a few little black spots on the wings..maybe spotted sedge? The other, being a grey colored mayfly, bigger than the caddis, maybe size 12 or so.
There was also one fly I saw, it looked pretty large and as it was flying over the water it would dip down to the surface and fly up, dip down the to surface and fly up. Almost skipping on the water each time rising up maybe half a foot before dipping back down. I was very curious as to what this was.
Montana is the type of place where everything feels right for some reason. The people treat you so kindly and there is such a natural feel to it all. Looking across the empty plains that eventually lead up to the foothills in all directions is so calming. Mind you, I have never experienced the 8 months of snow, I am only there for the sunny and warm part of the year. That said, MT is probably not all candies and nuts - although I'd sure like to think so.
---Pictures added on last page---
I cannot wait to go back,
I apologize for the long wait and the lack of pictures. If I make it back this year, I'll be sure to grab some good ones.
Seriously, that was a very good report, sounds like you ran into a pretty good Caddis hatch, congrats. At my age my eye sight isn't that great so I like to use a lot of dry/dropper combos, so the first fly is large enough for me to see and then the second fly a size/color to match the hatch. So maybe in your case, a size 14 Elk Hair Caddis (to be able to see) followed by a size 18 or maybe 16 depending on the size you spotted on the water.
If you make it back this year, give me a shout and I will send you a few Caddis patterns to try out.
Matthew, sounds like you had a nice trip. Your report momentarily put me back in summertime on the river...ahhh...
The bugs you saw sound like caddis...I never worry about it beyond that, I don't know the difference between a sedge and a brown caddisfly. Are there differences?
But there are Spruce Moths that time of the year on the Blackfoot, particularly in the forested areas. These are not aquatic insects, they burrow into spruce trees, killing the crowns, but trout love them! They are a moth, but look like a large, light colored caddis. You may have seen some of those.
The bugs bouncing off the water, up and down, are caddisflies. If you saw some that were pretty large, it could have been October caddis. They usually hatch later in September into October, but they are big, like hook size 6 big and orange to rusty red.
After everyone saying how I need to post pictures I started thinking to myself how do I not have any pictures?
It is kind of embarrassing to say this now, but I remember now that I do have pictures. I'll be adding them ASAP.
I really appreciate this community and how much you all have shared with me. The trout fly fishing scene down here in Southern ( coastal) California is slim to none, so all of you are really my only chance of learning and connecting. Thank you all for trying to clear up some of my questions. The weather was much cooler this year so I was thinking maybe it could have set off or even delayed certain hatches - again, this is only speculation as I am extremely green when it comes to these things.
Mcnerney, thank you so much for the offer. I would love to try out a few of your patterns.
Cab, I got that same advice from another guy ( Frank Selby) he said to skate a bigger size 12 r so drake across the water. Never got around to doing it, but there must be something to it if I have gotten the same advice from different sources.
Dean, I wish I could tell you if there was a difference between a brown and a sedge... One day 😉
Thank you again for all the help I hope that I'll be able to use the knowledge I accrue to teach my son or daughter or even just another eager soul looking to get in touch with nature the beauty of fly fishing.
P.S- it looks like I might have a trip coming up here in April or so to the golden trout wilderness. Wooohooo