Hawg Blawg

So it begins - March 1st in Montana! Posted on 1 Mar 18:59 , 0 comments

 

New season, new flies!  Lots of activity on the vise both with the tried/true and the fresh/new like the Flash Minnow. I cannot honestly say there has been a lot of fishing going on in 2017.  That is until last week when we celebrated my better halvs' birthday up on the Missouri River out of Craig.  She proceeded to find big rainbows such as the one above throughout the trip, typical.  The third strip of the season for me brought the below gorgeous big brown to hand up on the Missouri River. How about that? It ate one of the hot new colorways of the Smoke 'N Mirrors, the Half & Half. More on that soon, including a tying video. You can find that fly at Headhunters in Craig, along with many other excellent flies and oddities.  Orders are going out to many of our wonderful dealers, and we could not be happier about the new shops that are supporting local tying programs like ours. 

 

 

 

Montana Troutfitters in Bozeman and the Grizzly Hackle in Missoula will be carrying solid lineups in '17 and both shops also make sure to keep the fly tying contingent happy with classes and great material selections.  In fact, just a few weeks back Troutfitters had me in tying for a great crowd during their Saturday tying expos. And this coming Saturday, the Grizzly Hackle is hosting their 13th annual "Customer Appreciation Day," and I will be there tying along with teaching. We will have a few tying setups ready to go for those who would like to learn a new pattern and come away with a one of a kind goody. It is very exciting to be involved with such a great group of fly shops, and we are proud to offer American tied patterns for their customers. On another note, the snowpack levels in the surrounding ranges are looking pretty good, or at least not terrible. Certain ranges and regions are looking magnificent, such as the Upper Yellowstone, Snake and Wind/Big Horn drainages. Higher, cooler flows should keep the parasite at bay that shut down the 'Stone last year. It is possible that the fish in the Paradise Valley area will have less competition and therefore we may see an average size increase across the board for a few seasons. "The Valley of the Dead Whitefish" still has plenty of the sporty natives, don't you worry. Losing tens of thousands of them means that much less in the way for the remaining inhabitants and dinner.  The fishing over there in the spring is a true thing of beauty and is a freestone river at its finest.  If you find yourself in one of the "windows" where the weather and the water form a truce, hold on.  Many of the truly outrageous days on the water happen between now and June 1st.   Weather dependent.

We have a whole array of new flies coming out this spring, from a number of different sources. Smack between those two Missouri River dandies is a quick sneak peak at the Flash Minnow. This deadly little baitfish blends a proper jig hook, Clouser-style composition, the infamous Kreelex, and Dirty Water durability to create an extremely effective and very user friendly fly. There are multiple sizes, and many of you will find them in your local shop this spring and the smaller sizes however it is awesome in the larger sizes. Sticking to the easy casting, simple design, and deadly effective mantra, the Flash Minnow is good one to have in the repertoire no matter where you are at. 2017 is building to be a great season, and there is a whole megaload of media coming down the pipeline for the people to feast on. Including long overdue tying videos, proper fly action video work, and general angling content. The forecast has moisture moving in and out, and we are hoping to see the March Madness storms start to pile up snow in high country to keep everyone and everything happy this summer.  Hopefully we will see you around the shop!

 

-Dirty Water Dan


2016 Year End Look Back - Bring on the snow old man winter! Posted on 31 Dec 12:06 , 0 comments

Those looking for a white holiday season got their wish this year with Montana looking like the winter wonderland many of its residents cherish.  Anyone within the outdoor industry is calmly hoping for continued snowfall and stable temperatures. Both Big Sky and Bridger Bowl are looking great for the end of December, and we are just getting going.  After low water and increased pressure taxing our watersheds in '16, the more the merrier.  For anglers who like to throw big flies, we are really hoping for high water and the fat/happy fish that big flows lead to.  At DWFC, we have been finalizing new colorways for 2017 and are prepared to launch a variety of media and a number of new fly patterns within the next month.  We are also excited about a number of new dealers across the country to help get these patterns into your hands.  More to come on that as well!

Like the rest of America in 2016, Montana itself was faced with controversial instances especially when it came to water.  With the Yellowstone River parasite outbreak focusing the microscope, and the exposure of it being present nearly statewide has a lot of sportsmen paying more attention to conservation.  The mussels issue is a huge issue and could impact one of the states top resources in a big way.  These watersheds are not invincible, and neither are the laws that protect them. Users of public lands and waters along with anyone who cares at all about their local fisheries need be on high alert right now.  Even within the fly fishing industry, a typically conservation oriented community, there is division.  The two major brands most folks think of when "fly fishing" comes up couldn't be farther apart on conservation and what they stand for.  Be conscious of your choices!

Looking forward to next year, most folks would agree that a big snowpack would at least cool the fire and possibly allow conservation projects that are in the works right now to develop into place to help their cause.  Everyone can help by keeping an eye out for their local fisheries, and when using them, treat them with respect. These days it would seem that there are plenty of anglers who are not scared to overuse fisheries, using aggressive tactics to get their net wet and feed their followers.   For 2017, I am encouraging anglers to keep it simple out there.  Instead of two nymphs, fish the single. You'll be shocked at how much more "clean" things go when dealing with fish.  The fish will thank you!  Instead of two huge hooks in your next jointed streamer, try one sized for trout and get rid of the other. Your fishery will thank you!  

The brown trout above was my "fish of the year."  It wasn't the largest by any means, but this freestone thriller was an absolute specimen and was one of the hardest fighters that I have encountered.  It was on a wonderful, drizzly day with my better half and a couple infamous friends on one of the lesser fished and heavier irrigated rivers.  Best days ever.  Sadly, this river was less than 1% of these flows within a month of this day.  As great as 2016 was, 2017 is poised to be even better. With more eyes focus on them, our fisheries can be healthier this day next year than they are today.  

Thank you to everyone who supported Dirty Water Fly Company this year.  Without the dealers, friends, and allies this company would not be possible.  Cheers!

Happy New Year!

-Dirty Water Dan


Friday Fishing Recap & Outlook - Turkey Day and Variable Weather Posted on 25 Nov 13:16 , 0 comments

       No Black Friday schemes here, use what you have instead and reap the rewards there.  Thanksgiving started out with a fine cuttbow that chomped on the JJ Special Smoke 'n Mirrors to get the feeding started (See above).  Through out the days prior, the streamer bite on the Missouri was a little hot-cold, but when it was on you had better get your fly in the water.  The early morning bite was there but not the midmorning, and the afternoon bite was the strongest.  When the bite turned off, we ate bacon wrapped filets over eggs and tators before returning to the water. More mild weather coming this weekend, so look for the tailwaters to continue to be hot with the freestones turning on as well when the water temps rise a bit during the day.  The last few years we have seen our coldest weather right now.  Go figure.
       As anglers start to shift into winter fishing techniques, which vary in strangeness from nymphing, drinking, stripping, and even swinging, make sure you know the forage bases that are present 365.  Almost all species slow down during the winter, but some are more available than others.  Midges hatch every day, and sculpin eat midges every day.  That means sculpin are still on the radar, and one sculpin can go a long way with slowed metabolism.  Its a good time to get a big fish.  While the crawfish are not at their peak of activity for the year, they are territorial to the point of fighting.  What looks like a good place for one crawfish to burrow will also look good to others.  This can expose them to predators at any given moment.  In rivers and lakes where they are present, the crawfish that make it to winter will be large and imitating them can produce big results.
        Naomi fooled this golden chunk on the chocolate covered strawberry in roughly three feet of water, cashing in the fish of the day on Thanksgiving.   After the strike, the brown tailwalked a significant distance across the front of the boat.  She had lost a larger fish which did the same thing about a month ago, and she used that experience to get this one in the net.  Next week, cooler temps are supposedly setting in across Montana, only time will tell.  If you're thinking of a trip to the Missouri, make sure to stop at Headhunters in Craig for services and goods.  If you're going through Great Falls, check out North 40 and pick up on a few new streamer techniques from the wonderful, streamer-addicted staff there.  
         Fly tying is about to commence in a big way around here, with lessons and classes soon along with daily production towards the crop of 2017 beginning next week.  The holiday season is here, yet winter remains elusive.  So, get out and go fishing!
Dirty Water Dan

Technique Tuesday - Be creative! Posted on 22 Nov 07:00 , 0 comments

photos by Andrew Von Lossow, @avl206

       Fly tying offers endless variation for the angler, with material availability at an all time high and tons of media to help someone learn.  What cannot be mimicked by new materials and flashy media productions is trial and error.  When I was a little scrapper, years before going fishing actually happened, my grandfather taught me, "how to tie flies."  The patterns he liked to tie and use were the ones my great grandfather tied and used for the bass of Wisconsin and the trout of Montana. (seen above) During holiday trips, it was ceremony for us to stumble down into the dank and dark basement where the shop was in my grandparents house in Minnesota.  Out came the film canisters, coffee cans, and endless envelopes containing all the feathers, furs, and random other scrap that eventually turned into a fly.  A fly that caught a fish.  We also built and painted bass plugs, which were fun to paint but fairly primitive compared to a well tied fly.  A couple generations apart, it still seemed like creativity had spiked to all time highs for both of us.

       Nearly a decade later, as my mind was engulfed in fly fishing, my Dad and I started visiting local fly shops in the Seattle area.  When tying came up, I had this all-in-one tying kit thing and I was bound and determined to use it.  Early on, we had been taken in by Rob and the crew Orvis store out in the trendy east side neighborhood Bellevue.  To try trout fishing the streams of the Cascade Mountains, Rob recommended tying up elk hair caddis.  Without really asking how to do it, we purchased the materials needed to fill the recipe.  Home we went.  I went to town on the elk hair caddis, however I did not understand any of the concepts or how to properly utilize the materials.  The results were very successful[ going off their knack for 4-7" rainbow trout.  They looked nothing like an elk hair caddis, and more like a spent caddis one might find on the Missouri River that had been hit by a passerby vehicle and dumped onto your windshield.  Nonetheless, we captured.  On flies that I had tied.  From there it snowballed; foam, beads, cones, superglue, and lots of hooks.  

       Many more seasons later, I am continuing on where my great grandfather left off.  My own flies now have over a decade of experience, and they even have their very own retirement post.  One of the main attributes to fly fishing and fly tying in particular, is that you can do whatever you want with whatever you want.  Success dependent.  For new anglers, or anglers who are "set in their ways," try getting creative and learn a method by going through the motions yourself rather than a book or youtube video.  Great anglers, no matter level of experience, are those refuse to give in and are always keeping an eye out for a new hint or clue towards what is actually going on below the waters surface.  No one really knows whats going on down there, so it is best to entertain that creative side of your mind and see just what might catch a fish.

Back to the basics, people!

-Dirty Water Dan


Friday Fishing Recap and Outlook - Here comes the holidays... Posted on 18 Nov 19:07 , 0 comments

       The aforementioned precipitation materialized in the form of scattered rain and snow showers across the north Rockies over the last week.  While the big time holidays are on approach, many folks in these regions see stormy weather patterns above normal holidays.  It amounted to up to a foot of snow in certain alpine regions, and great fishing weather region wide.  Tuesday and Wednesday found us on the the Missouri River between Wolf Creek and Cascade for a classic R & D session.  Let me tell you, it was great.  We fished three flies on three rods and did not change for those two days.  Two tried and true, and one new colorway way that turned out to be an all-star.  Tuesday proved to offer great fish, a hawg lost, and interesting new angle when dealing with free flowing weeds.  The highlights were the wonderful Naomi catching her largest brown to date.  The big hen ambushed the brown/pink, aka chocolate covered strawberry Smoke 'N Mirrors on the drop.  This was a classic mid river eat that leaves everyone in shock at first, leading into a battle royale.  After a number of powerful runs and plenty of bulldawging, up into the net came 20"+ of thick cut pork chop brown trout.  They fight hard here, especially the big ones.  See below.

        Seeing as there was no official Technique Tuesday post, it is only right that a great technique was made more clear while fishing Tuesday.  The river has a perfect amount of weeds flowing down.  Often when there is light weed flow, the Missouri can really fish well with crawdads and sculpin patterns.  Using a variety of ambush point in the river, trout in 3+lb category will rip your arm off if you can get it in front of them.  Twice during our fishing, I had picked up a few weeds on my infinity sink tip knot or surgeons knot during the retrieve, and within a split second a large trout attacked my offering that was following the weeds clumped onto the knots.  The second time I was ready, and was able to put the largest brown of the day in the net after a half dozen catapulting jumps across the river.  That specimen can be seen below.  When dealing with free flowing weeds, make a sure to have at least two hang up points above your fly and it will pay off.  

Depending on your stream or lake of choice, it is likely you will encounter free flowing weeds at some point during the season. This means that the many inhabitants of the weed beds are now exposed to predators.  Millions of crawfish, minnows, and other snacks have been robbed of their homes by cooling water temperatures causing the aquatic vegetation to began dormancy.  Let the frenzy begin.  Paired with a lower sunshine angle, this means game on for big fish.  Leave your tag a little long on your tippet knot to give your fly a weed-free retrieve for just a bit longer than normal and the rewards will be yours.

Signing off-

Dirty Water Dan


Friday Fishing Recap and Report - Veteran's Day 2016 Posted on 11 Nov 13:41 , 0 comments

       Veteran's Day this year is reminder of what a our nation needs to be keep in mind following an incredibly controversial election.  Trust in the three branches of government, show optimism, and focus on your life and job.  That is what my grandfather fought three wars for and subsequently spent the rest of his life fighting off the health repercussions.  Fishing across the board has been stellar regardless of the constant presence of the big fireball for the last three weeks.  Word on the weather front has clouds, and dare we say precip, arriving at week's end.   Locals are hoping for a dose of storms to rumble through, bringing clouds as seen in the image above.  Three eagles perched in crispy pine skeletons above Hebgen Lake, with mysterious cloud ceilings hanging about.  No coincidence we encountered big trout,  including a 5+ lb male brown that charged the Smoke 'N Mirrors JJ with a JAWS-like wake from ten feet away.  Upon a fantastic stripset by my gorgeous partner in crime, Naomi, he gave three catapulting leaps and a lengthy tail walk right towards the boat.   He finished us off by executing a perfect hook-spit right in our face.  Very exciting.  Jumping tarpo-bronsons. 
       For anglers heading out this weekend, the sun doesn't rise nearly as high this time of the year and consequently fish will still rise and will absolutely hammer a streamer.   Your doesn't fly doesn't necessarily need to be smaller, but your tackle needs to be adapted for softer delivery and less line spook.  There have been plenty of disappointing days with ideal conditions, but most big fish I have caught have been when the sun is present.  Spend the first and last hours light fishing shallow edges, and should you see a downward trend in activity, move to deeper edges, current seams, and the core part of bigger runs.  Longer sinking lines are a requirement for proper delivery, something 24' or longer that can be easily casted a good distance and left to sink depending on depth/current are an absolute requirement.  For ideal sink rate, make sure to keep the line strait with a hint of slack off of the rod tip during the sinking period.  This allows the line to sink efficiently through the water column, and if a fish eats on the drop you have a decent chance at sticking that fish.  Whereas a mend or any additional slack farther out will guarantee a miss and the angler probably won't even have known it happened.  Anytime I see "nymph mends" going on from other anglers, it always scares me.  Tight fly lines hook big fish better.
       It is important to focus on our local fisheries, communities, and other natural resources during times of political turmoil.  And to go fishing.  This Montana steelhead took our minds of the banter by going off the charts, as if she was one of many angry liberals seen and heard on social media.  She suuked down a 99cent Lingerie Worm on a fast edge before giving us a piece of her mind.  Many Americans may feel like that rainbow trout after the last week.  I do not think anyone feels like the angler.  Let us continue as a country that has been around a few years, please.
       Get out and enjoy what has been fought for by our people,
Dirty Water Dan

Technique Tuesday - Three guarantees for better fishing! Posted on 8 Nov 18:46 , 0 comments

     This weeks topics transcends tactical methods and goes back to the roots for most anglers.  It is utterly important to be an optimistic angler, regardless of the current outcome and conditions.  Nothing catches more fish than a fly in the water presented in the best manner that the angler is capable.  A common term would be a "confidence fly," which is a great sublet of the big picture.  Fish bite more at times than others, to what extent is difficult to truly pinpoint.  No matter the status of the bite, you are likely in a beautiful place spending time outside.  (See above)  So be focused on your prize, and optimistic on your next cast because you have to no reason to be otherwise!  
        Showing up prepared typically sees better results.  Pair a prepared angler with an optimistic mindset and you have one fishy person.  This means food, apparel, and tackle has been contemplated and is present prior to the entering the ring.  To this point, an angler can do no more.  Much more season anglers can easily be out-fished by a lesser seasoned angler who is keeping their eye on the prize.  Fly in the water is a good place to start.  
       The third and final stone being turned this Tuesday goes back to karma.  Fish gods.  Juju.  Whatever you want to call it.  The two beautiful Missouri River brown trout were caught yesterday by the lovely Naomi Pardee.  One clearly more slender and having spawned, one thick and clean yet to have spawned.  Spawning is over months, not just a week in October.  Whatever fishery you are on, minus hatchery programs, is depending on wild fish reproducing effectively for it to remain a fishery in the future.   Around southwest Montana, it has become a "thing" to target giant wild trout during their spawning runs.  Fishing in the fall means the brown trout WILL BE SPAWNING in their respected spots.  Most rivers, that is the same spot it has been for many seasons.  Rather than risk messing with wild fish reproduction, consider steering clear all together and fishing places where they are definitely NOT SPAWNING.  Lakes, ponds, mainstem rivers... To name a few.
       Fishing is a blood sport no matter how you shake.  Fish caught and released will die because of it.  Beyond pinched barbs and proper handling, allowing them the best chance to reproduce successfully is an even better way of preserving fisheries.  We have recently seen stretches of river that were once closed to protect fish spawning opened up.  That doesn't mean it is a great idea to swing minnows across the shallows.  That big hen?  Her eggs broke on that epic hookset, bro.  That hookjawed male?  He clouded up the river after that sweet tarpon-like headshake.   
       Keeping hooks away from the horny fish will do amazing things for your karma!
At least it can't hurt.  Show up with your ducks in a row next time you go fishing with a positive outlook and you will reap the rewards with a wet net!
Hard strikes please,
Dirty Water Dan

Friday Fishing Recap and Outlook - 11/4/2016 - Sunshine and strong trout Posted on 4 Nov 11:01 , 0 comments

Our beautiful overcast, gloomy, and wet weather has subsided and now is trending to sunshine and a little breezy.  It was a good run, nearly six weeks, of favorable fall fishing weather.  Fear not however, a tactical adjustment on the anglers end can quickly change the balance.  Today is Friday, and this would be a great weekend to get out and fish one of the local lakes.  Earlier this week, we fished a couple rivers which were both fair fishing with spawning being a real factor.  We also got out on a few lakes, which were providing great action on the big fly.  Lake fish are well shouldered, angry, and typically go berserk after a whole summer getting big and strong.  Many anglers hit the rivers above the lakes, so typically the lakes themselves are empty.   Dry fly enthusiast' should keep an eye on the tailwaters, such as the Beaverhead or the Missouri.  Fish are rising to blue winged olives in a variety of sizes on a daily basis on these rivers.  Sometimes a bunch of fish rising, sometimes not.  Long leaders, and take your time on these fish.  Overall, November is a fun month and as soon December rolls in, November is truly missed.

Lines.

Above you see four streamer rods, rigged with a floating line, intermediate (Airflo 40+ 7 wt minus 1' for better turnover on a Winston bllx 790 - A+++ setup), and two streamer max shorts (160 grain on 6 wt Echo Ion, 200 grain on 8 wt Sage DS2).  And little a four weight for the risers.  This time of the year can mean both fishing very shallow and down deep.  This might even occur on the exact same stretch of river.  With the sun up, get out there early and stay out late.  That will see the most fish up on the shallow edges.  Enter the Airflo 40+ Intermediate.  Having the "barely sink" allows you to make anchored casts/loads better and keep the stripping tight instead of jumping rope.  The slack from jumping rope can crush your dreams when Walter eats.  

Hold on...Smoke N' Mirrors #4 - Tim McCraw

 At left: Big fish in lakes pull down. Over thirty feet from that rod tip to the fly, and that is after already stripping in 30+'. HAWT.

At right: The EXACT Smoke N' Mirrors #4 dressed like Tim McGraw that caught the beast, which is retired on the fly post. Brown boots, white tee, and blue jeans.  AKA Tim McCraw.  That fly had a career season in 2016. Click to find in the store. 

 

 

During the day, the streamer bite is often amazing this time of the year but you need to be thinking about larger rivers and lakes where you can fish water in the 4-10' range.  The Airflo Streamer max short is the go to line here, and is also the line of choice when the wind blows.  Be sure to line down with this line and disregard the line weight rating.  It is a mini shooting head that is an absolute weapon, and the 200 grain that is rated for a 6wt line confidently loads up every eight weight I have ever tried in on.  The 160 and 200 grain versions are the ultimate in streamer lines for six and seven weight rods.  They are deadly for single hand spey techniques, and blow through the wind with a big fly in tow like nothing else on the market.  Not the quietest entrance for glassy water situations, however a longer leader goes a long way.  Remember to keep the blue head part of the line either in the rod or right off the tip prior to launch.  Take it back low, and aim high on the delivery.  If you are new to this line, or shooting heads, make sure to cast without the fly for a few minutes until you get a feel for giving yourself plenty of clearance. This is not your favorite dry fly line for elk hair caddis on the Gallatin.  

Very rarely, in small water conditions, will the floating line come into play with the streamer.  Too much slack.  Nothing loses big ones like slack.   Period.  Maybe setting the hook with the rod.  Tough to say.   In the photo above, a six pound, lake dwelling, Tim McCraw eating brute of trout had just completed sixty foot depth charge after annihilating the brown/white/blue crawdad suggesting version of the Smoke N' Mirrors.  Scott absolutely crushed it in the line control department as the rod taco-d over again and again.  The hawg ate the fly on the third strip, cartwheeled once in a big commotion and dove for the safety of the depths.  Magic.

McCraw.

The above fish was also caught in stillwater on the Tim McCraw #4.  Also fought very hard.  Before this year is over, try a new place that has alway been tempting but that you never actually followed through with.  Let us know how it goes.

New spots take belief and persistence.  

Good luck,

-Dirty Water Dan


Technique Tuesday - Broaden size range in your streamers for all season success! Posted on 1 Nov 08:30 , 0 comments

Mo-Bow, big fly longer leader.

First of all, Happy November!  This is one of the best fishing months of the year up here in Montana.  It is glory's last shot before winter water temps set in, trout metabolism slows, and the sun stays up very little.  Fishing is still great in the winter, but fly tying becomes more rhythmic with darkness increasing daily.  At Dirty Water, the goal is to bring many more folks into fishing via fly tying by offering a welcoming place for all to gather in a learning environment.  Simple and informative concepts that everyone can understand and apply to their time fishing and tying means more enjoyment and awareness of our fisheries.  Every Tuesday, a new technique or concept will be delved into somehow related to tying and fishing.  This weeks topic helped land the pig rainbow above just last week on the fabled, and heavily pressured Missouri River in middle Montana.  

For the maiden -"#techniquetuesday"- post, this topic encompasses both the construction and the presentation attributes of the flies your using.  Trout anglers are used to this, they vary the size of dry fly or nymph depending on hatches and use tippet size accordingly.  However, streamers seem to have a more generic approach in most anglers mindset with minimal adjustment throughout the season.  Your favorite patterns are often tied in different sizes, and if they are not, do it yourself!  The image below shows a size run of C.R.E.A.M. Smoke 'N Mirrors.  

Size run

The five different sizes represent casting with 4-10+ wieght rods, and can tackle nearly every species out there.  The clouser minnow along with the Lefty's Deceiver are a couple of narrow profiled baitfish patterns that certainly can be tweaked to suit nearly all conditions.   Chasing big trout around the west typically would mean using the three sizes on the left; #4, #2, and #1.  For low water work, the #4 can be fished shallow and deep depending on locale with a softer entrance when needed. It is tied sparsely making it an excellent size for smaller rivers when stealth is important, yet a broad profile is still the desired to match the forage base.  It is also a great choice for those who like to use two hands (350 grains+)  On the other hand, high water season means fishing the larger rivers from the boat.  Anglers can really churn up big fish and also put a ton of pressure on your hook/fly.  The force of the boat moving downstream along with the trout typically attacking and taking the fly the opposite direction means more difficulty in securing a solid hook up. Enter the #1.  More hook gap and shank length, plus a more stout profile for the fish to find in the fray.  Overall, the #2 is great all day, every day.  Anglers venturing into warmer or saltier water will find the #1 to be well suited for ultra light fishing, however the #1/0 and #3/0 will be needed for bigger game.  Beyond fly size, it is important to match leader setups to your desired fly size and presentation.  See below.

tackle.

In the image above, you will see three sizes of Maxima, three sizes of Smoke N' Mirrors, and a couple FLASH! minnows. (More on those little guys soon) This ensemble, plus a few surgeons knots represents the spectrum of flies and leaders needed to tackle all the seasons in the Rockies.  Fall river conditions are lowish and clear with fish having seen a plethora of flies for last two hundred days.  It is not just the flies, but also lines, leaders, bobbers, and bad casting that spooks fish. Getting the big fly to land near the target without the sink tip entering the water column at break neck pace is EXTREMELY important.  Standard streamer protocol would have a total of 4-5' combining 20lb and 12lb as a base leader.  From the time the water rises in the early spring to when it drops in late summer, this is all you need.  For deeper, faster sinking presentations, and angler may add a few more feet to 12lb to allow to penetrate the water column.

To increase your odds of picking up a fall trophy, add 3-4' of 8lb to soften your delivery and give your streamer room to work without sending that hawg swimming in the opposite direction because two hundred grains of plastic just made an emergency landing overhead.  The rainbow above pounced a JJ Smoke N Mirrors on the fourth strip in less than 12" of water.  It ripped off a 90' run to the other side of the river once hooked, which it likely would have done without the fly had the leader not been lengthened.  It takes a lot for me to say this, but do not be scared to lighten up on your tippet when throwing the big fly this fall and you may see a few more hawgs than in the past.  Remember, 8lb maxima is tough stuff when thinking about the underwater world.  Just keep the fly out of the bleachers and you shouldn't have any issue wetting your net.

Finish strong this season,

Dan


Friday Fishing Recap and Outlook - 10/28/2016 - Football season. Posted on 28 Oct 12:11 , 0 comments

As the maiden entry to the "Dirty Water Flow" blog, the territory is a bit unfamiliar however the content is excellent.  Fishing reports and fly tying stuff today.  Fall came to Montana in mid-September, and for the most part it has been excellent conditions for local and traveling anglers.  We have seen the camo-dawning crowd move to the fields, hills, and swamps, leaving the big rivers wide open. Plus, keeping the bobber off is easy this time of the year with the streamer bite offering shots at large trout and the blue wing olives hatching to keep your eyes squinting for noses and tiny dries.  Earlier this week, the Missouri provided fantastic streamer annihilation along with big trout sipping dries through out the day.  Fly of the trip - Smoke N Mirrors - #4 JJ Special.  See below.  

 Smoke N Mirrors JJ strikes hard on shallow water bronsons!

The north rockies are a great spot to fish this time of the year, and I would suggest the big rivers and even lakes as a place to start.  Conditions dependent of course, as the fall wind can be brutal.  Think light spey rods when it is blowing.  Haven't done it? Then this would be the time.  In Wyoming, the North Platte drainage is legendary for its fall fishing, giant orange browns, and equally colorful weather. Anglers down in Idaho have a myriad of options, and many folks have the South Fork of the Snake on their mind if they aren't lost in thought about steelhead. Montana rivers rebounded from a straining, warm summer with above average river conditions currently found on the Madison, Missouri, Big Hole, and Yellowstone Rivers.  Check out our dealers page to find a local source of info for a fall trip.

Dirty Dumb Bells

Above, you can see the eyes that your streamers deserve.  Dirty Dumbbell eyes are anodized brass eyes that offer an irresistible look to eye of the fish and angler alike. Durability is fantastic, and they keep looking great all day long.  In combination with the matching cones, there is a wide variety of different weight schemes that can be conjured to fit a specific bill.  They can be purchased on the site as singles, in 6/12/&24 packs, and in bulk.  In stock, ready to ship.  Best in the business.  

Wrapping up the inaugural post with a few more words of advice for fall fishing.  Do no under estimate stealth when regarding your leaders and presentation this time of the year, these trout have seen it all and it especially important to go undetected as they have heightened senses.  And not just for dry flies.  For instance, try adding a couple feet of 8-10lb maxima to your standard 12-15lb streamer leader.  The fly will land smoother and prevent line spooking your next trophy.  This is NOT high water, make an entrance, and hold on fishing.  It IS however the kind of fishing that can result in the fish of your life with a little timing and attention to detail on presentation.  Lastly, give the spawning fish a break by keeping out of the smaller waters where they are momentarily trapped and also off of the shallow shoals where they do their thing.  Put in a bit more time and find a big brown that wont lose its ability to make sweet love and grow its family tree.  Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should.  The rainbows are genuinely angry this time of the year too, and will earn respect as streamer eaters in between the jumbo browns.

Firm strips and hard strikes,

-Dirty Water Dan