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  1. #51
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    Well, I am humbled by all the big big fish, and the great distances traveled to get them, already this year. As I posted in the old thread, I made my way to the lower Bitterroot (3.8 miles away) on Monday, and caught but one fish, a Northern Pikeminnow I was informed (I'd never seen one before). No monster, but it took at least a couple minutes to land.

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    I went out on Wednesday for a while, but the river was up a foot or more, and looked like raw sewage. I didn't even get a bump.
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  2. #52
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    Been hammerin the big girls.
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  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
    I went out on Wednesday for a while, but the river was up a foot or more, and looked like raw sewage. I didn't even get a bump.
    Know before you go.

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    https://waterdata.usgs.gov/mt/nwis/current?type=flow

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    I didn't expect to catch anything really, I knew the water would be up, it was more about being out of the house, and standing in the life stream.
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
    I didn't expect to catch anything really, I knew the water would be up, it was more about being out of the house, and standing in the life stream.
    Then its time to put away that sj bead worm and learn to throw this. Fish can't really see the color red in the mud but they can see this on a sunny day. Might as well add a new skill while you are standing in the life stream. Who knows, maybe you get blown up by a big ol bull trout. Use 2x tippet.

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    Last edited by neckdeep; 04-14-2023 at 11:58 AM.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpcm View Post

    As I get older I find myself less interested in spring skiing and more into the early fishing and biking . I appreciate the seasonality of life a lot more.
    Nice fish! I went the spring fishing direction about 8 years ago after a shoulder blowout and wondering why I was trying to milk out a late, maybe last dump of pow at the Bird in April. The slide continues today, in fact, I think I only own one pair of skis anymore and they are some Line Prophet dino's from about 2012. I was going to try to convince Bob we needed to bag fishing also, develop Boblandia into an all-inclusive destination resort where Roo's could set up a perma-broadcas/podcast studio. We'd just get a couple of 4x4, all-weather, all-terrain Rascal Scooters loaded with Go-Pros, where we could rummage far and wide around Boblandia creating hype about finding lost gold hoards left by Butch Cassidy, then hit the early bird special in Craig at Golden Corral and slurp down a couple of jen-u-wine Colorado Yellowjackets.

    But then he ups and buys a pimped out hardside...so I guess I'll fish summore.
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  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    Then its time to put away that sj bead worm and learn to throw this. Fish can't really see the color red in the mud but they can see this on a sunny day. Might as well add a new skill while you are standing in the life stream. Who knows, maybe you get blown up by a big ol bull trout. Use 2x tippet.

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    While I did fish with the worm with a Pat's rubber legs trailer on Wednesday, I ended the day with a wooly buggerish rubber legs streamer, and a Pat's trailer. The channel was so swollen and murky that it was hard to tell the difference between deep water and shallow. I like streamer fishing, as far as I've gone with it, and actually caught a very small bull trout last year on a black wooley my very first time stripping a streamer.

    I'm still just getting my feet wet in the various types of flyfishing skills, but I tend to get good at things I am "into", and I intend to log a lot of days this year.

    Isn't that a sculpzilla?
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
    The channel was so swollen and murky that it was hard to tell the difference between deep water and shallow.

    Isn't that a sculpzilla?
    It's a Coffey's sparkle minnow. Shops that carry Montana Fly Co. patterns may have them.

    Dont focus on deep water/channel during runoff. The thing about runoff is that while the river is getting bigger, the areas you target are getting much smaller. With the color in the water, fish will be comfortable sitting in relatively shallow water along the banks. Ignore the main current and all that fast shit and focus on the water along the bank like its a creek. Off-current banks, inside corner dropoffs, eddy lines, eddy tailouts and current breaking structure are your best bets. Check your streamflow graphs and target the backside of the curves. The bottom of the trough between major peaks can be money.

    For wade fishing the banks with nymphs during high water, high sticking is the most productive tactic for me, especially so when I am standing on the bank. Not much traditional casting; lots of poking, flipping, water hauls and half-assed roll casts. I prefer a single heavy nymph with no split shot so I can maintain feel to the fly and jig it along.

    https://guiderecommended.com/high-st...ess%20natural.
    Last edited by neckdeep; 04-15-2023 at 11:29 AM.

  9. #59
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    I appreciate the advice, we have a lot of snow to run off, so I'll have some time to experiment before the water levels ebb.

    I've tried high sticking before, but if I got any takes I couldn't tell.
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
    Well, I am humbled by all the big big fish, and the great distances traveled to get them, already this year. As I posted in the old thread, I made my way to the lower Bitterroot (3.8 miles away) on Monday, and caught but one fish, a Northern Pikeminnow I was informed (I'd never seen one before). No monster, but it took at least a couple minutes to land.

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    I went out on Wednesday for a while, but the river was up a foot or more, and looked like raw sewage. I didn't even get a bump.
    The good part - you were definitely on the bottom to attract a pikeminnow. And they will fight

  11. #61
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    Weekend started out cold and snowy, finished warm and sunny. Every ballon wielding (I thought that was just an Utah thing!) guide from Cheyenne to Bozeman descended on this same stretch of water…but so goes it this time of year, and we don’t mind a little
    Bumper boat. I’ll usually
    Pick up a few things from those guys every-time. Ditched the bobbers early for the meatstick and stuck a few nice ones.
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  12. #62
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    Met up with maggot StealYurFace today in the parking lot of his work. Drove a short distance to some incredible water that I had no idea was there. Got his Bronco stuck in the mud. Then got unstuck. Saw sandhill cranes. Saw a herd of buffalo. Windy AF and almost impossible to cast. I got skunked, but SyF caught several dinks. Did I mention it was windy AF ?

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    Any day fishing with friends is a good day.



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  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpcm View Post
    Weekend started out cold and snowy, finished warm and sunny. Every ballon wielding (I though that was just a Utah thing!) guide from Cheyenne to Bozeman descended on this same stretch of water…but so goes it this time of year. But sure stuck few nice ones in between.
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    I know that hot spring! Water slides prob weren’t open though!

    The bow looked liked it’s done it’s spawn deal and recovering nicely! Great fishes!

  14. #64
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    enjoyed it despite conditions. i'll tell them to turn the fans down next time you come around. hadn't felt gusts like those in a while.
    swing your fucking sword.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by neckdeep View Post
    Off-current banks, inside corner dropoffs, eddy lines, eddy tailouts and current breaking structure are your best bets.
    This. You can get very close to the fish. I like to use heavy streamers (cone or big tungsten bead plus lead wraps) and jig or jerk them through these spots. No fly line on the water if possible. You want the fly to sink fast so that you can stay in contact with it more easily while it's descending. If you can't feel the fly you will miss strikes. Pull your fly through one of the obvious spots a few times, then move on. In some spots you can literally jig it back and forth without casting because the fish won't be spooky. Mix up your retrieve style and direction until you figure out what will trigger a strike best. Jigging lets you cover water at multiple depths. Jerking creates more vibrations. Try both. Combine them. Unleash your inner bass fisherman.

    Another approach that works during runoff, especially if you're on fairly uniform water with no obvious soft spots, is making short upstreams casts from the bank and stripping your streamer back to you a few times. Make a couple casts to within a foot of the same bank you are standing on. Then make a couple casts one or two feet farther out. Then move upstream a few feet and repeat. Rod tip low and out over the water. I like short casts and just a few strips, because this keeps me in better contact with my fly, and it is easier to be accurate. You won't be seeing any strikes and this will result in fewer misses. Longer casts and more strips will introduce more slack. Fish will hug the banks in high water. You will literally catch them a couple inches into the river. Ignore the deluge in the middle of the river and fish the edge. I like to fish two flies like this. Smaller, lighter streamer 18" or so behind the bigger one. But if I'm casting close to lots of brush I'll stick to one fly because I know I'll fuck up fewer casts. If I'm afraid of fucking up my cast I don't cast close enough to the bank. Did I mention you want to be close to the bank?

    Also, when the water is full of crap AND it's sunny the fish have an even harder time seeing. A lot of those particles in the water reflect light. On these days I linger more in shady spots because they tend to be a little more productive.

    Last thing: I strongly prefer fishing streamers in off-color water. But there have been spring days when I was getting skunked until I switched to a little midge or baetis nymph. I don't know how the trout see them, but they do. Fishing a size 20 through a giant, raging mud puddle sucks, but I'll still give that a whirl before I give up and go home.

    Edit to add: nice pics posted up there while I was typing this and putting my kids to bed.

  16. #66
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    This is all very helpful, I've been trying to be very academic about educating myself in flyfishing since picking it up, and have watched all the Orvis videos several times over., however every fisherman has insights, and sometimes things being rephrased through another's mind fills out the picture.
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
    This is all very helpful, I've been trying to be very academic about educating myself in flyfishing since picking it up, and have watched all the Orvis videos several times over., however every fisherman has insights, and sometimes things being rephrased through another's mind fills out the picture.
    You can also use a technique called walking the dog. If you are bobber fishing from the bank in high water and you are on a bank that drops into a few feet of colored water, you can just flip your bobber rig out a few feet from the bank and walk down the bank behind it a few yards and a rods length from the water. Set on everything. Works well with a big crawdad or Zirdlebug and a medium sized nymph hanging under that.

    Not that I’ve ever fished this way…
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  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post

    Not that I’ve ever fished this way…
    Of course not.....

    edit: It occurs to me that many of these things have crossed my purview previously, and I've tried many of these things a bit, but until I hook up doing them, I lack the confidence that what I'm doing will work, and so I haven't kept with it enough to succeed, yet. Along these lines was something an old timer said to one of these guys who was making a video, when asked what his favorite fly pattern was, his answer was "The one that I'm most confident in."
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
    I lack the confidence that what I'm doing will work, and so I haven't kept with it enough to succeed
    I feel this for sure. I recently returned to fly fishing after a long break. The casting came back quickly (not that I'm particularly good at it), but the confidence took more time, especially in water less like what I fished as a younger man in the Northeast. I still definitely feel much less confident on alpine lakes and especially fishing larger rivers. After some frustrating days early last spring I decided to seek out more familiar water. I spent some days fishing bass ponds and small creeks similar to what I grew up fishing. I immediately started catching way more fish, not so much because I knew exactly what to do, but because I was relaxed and observant instead of worrying about what I was doing wrong and second guessing myself. I also started realizing that some of the advice "experts" gave me years ago was flat out wrong. Well, they fancied themselves experts, but they are better described as "anglers who steeped themselves in tradition in order to free themselves from the burden of creativity." I listened to these people because I was young and they helped me out, but now I realize they were mediocre mentors. These were people who always had to have the perfect fly for that day's (alleged) hatch, but never really changed up there approach when their plan didn't work.

    It's clear to me now that contrary to what I was told long ago, a lot of what I learned fishing for bass on a spinning rod as a kid is highly relevant to fly fishing for trout: I created mental maps (which got better over time and adjusted for the seasons) of the waters that I fished. I learned what lures (type, size, color), retrieves and locations were likely to be productive depending on the season, weather and time of day. And I learned to decide when and how to switch between approaches when one wasn't working. It's the sort of shit you figure out when you're a kids who loves fishing and don't have grown ups around to tell you how you should be doing it. As a bonus, many of the ways I learned to retrieve jerk baits and soft plastics lures translate pretty much directly to fishing streamers (swinging streamers and stripping them back is just scratching the surface).

    Once I started approaching fly fishing this way I became obsessed. I also became much better at it. Puzzles are fun. The urge to solve them forces us to learn. Following a formula (how I was taught to fish for trout) is not nearly as fun or productive. The bugs often don't follow the hatch chart and the trout don't stay in the same places (contrary to what I was taught as a kid). It used to be that when trout were rising around me and I couldn't get them to eat I'd be frustrated. Now I fucking love it. It's a puzzle. And it's funny: human outsmarted by fish. Plus the fish and bugs are cool even if they won't eat my fucking fly.

    Of course, once I started reading more books and talking to other anglers I realized that my "epiphany" was utterly unoriginal. It's the same shit everyone who falls in love with fly fishing goes through. It's a sport for puzzle lovers and solvers who can laugh at their own ineptitude. The streamer experts all talk about learning from the bass guys or are just bass guys on the side. And the next time I go to fish water that falls far enough outside my comfort zone I'm sure i will lose confidence, start second guessing myself, and get pissed off at the stupid fucking fish.

  20. #70
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    I appreciate the encouragement. I'm a puzzle solver myself, and have plenty of ineptitude to laugh at. For instance, today after finally getting my gear ready, pumping up my bike tires, and riding most of the way to the river, I realized I left my license at home. DOH! It's a place on the edge of town, and wardens were there a week ago when I was fishing, so I just went home. Maybe tomorrow.
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  21. #71
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    I rode my bike down to the river today and tried to apply the fine advice provided here regarding streamer fishing, and quickly became discouraged, assuming I was doing it all wrong because results did not ensue quickly enough for my limited attention span. So I switched to a Pat's rubberlegs and a worm with an indicator which yielded nothing, but I did discover by filling it with water, that I had a new large tear in one of my hip boots.

    I headed down the small channel of the Clark Fork where I started, toward the Bitteroot, and saw some small flies buzzing about, then saw some rises across the channel. So I back tracked to where I could cross. Before I got there though, two guys came walking up the channel dragging an aluminum boat, bouncing it of every rock along the shore. The rising fish had gone silent by the time I got there, probably deafened by the passing boat.

    I kept going to the Bitteroot, and after failing to elicit any action, I felt spent, so I sat on the bank at the point of the two channels, and pulled out a snack. Apparently the tortilla with sharp cheddar cheese sparked envy in a nearby trout fish who started feeding on the surface fifteen feet from me. I tried a dry fly which I was utterly unable to see. So, also unable to see what the fish was very insistently feeding on, I tried an emerger because someone once told me, that often when you can't see what surface bug they're feeding on, it's probably some sort of emerging nymph. I tied on some smaller tippets, put an indicator a foot or more above the fly, and got a take on the second cast, which lead to this triumphant, shitty, out of focus picture, of a pale, skinny rainbow. It really made my day!

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    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  22. #72
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    After a long day of not getting any strikes on nymphs and drys, I was heading back to the parking lot, when I heard a quiet voice in my mind saying, "Put on a white zonker, I've got something for you." Of course, I put on the zonker, and started pitching it into a pool, fed by several streamlets which drain from a wide flat shallows. This pool is over a hundred feet long, and runs rapidly along the high bank side, past a pile of three root-balls stacked up on each other, with two of the tree trunks half submerged pointing somewhat downstream at angles.

    So I threw the streamer across stream and let out some line so it would sink a little, so I could strip it upstream along one of the tree trunks, a couple feet out of the main current, where a seam parallels the three trunk. There really couldn't be much fishier looking water in a stream. Sure enough, a fish flashed at the zonker, but it did not hit it.

    It was exciting, and made me a believer in the zonker tossing, so I continued working up the pool, trying to get the streamer to imitate a baitfish flushed into the pool from one of the streamlets entering it. The leader I was using was three feet of 12lb. test Danielson monofilament (of which I inherited a bulk spool from somewhere), blood knotted to four feet of 25lb. test chameleon. At the head of the pool I tossed in between the two strongest of the feeding streamlets, and got a hard strike, to which I gave a reactive, grew-up-bass-fishing hook set, and now there is a big fish swimming around with my white zonker in his mouth. The twelve pound test broke right below the blood knot, leaving its remnants still coiled tightly around the end of the heavy chameleon.
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  23. #73
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    After a good day of fishing, having caught a couple rainbows (and losing another one), I fished the pool where the fish stole my zonker on Thursday, this time I fished a thin mint wooley bugger, got a strike in the same place, and the line did not break. My first biggish brown:



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    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. -אלוהים אדירים

  24. #74
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    Run off is over here, today 1.3” of rain.
    Harvest the ride.

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    Beautiful ^^^

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