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