So it begins - March 1st in Montana!

So it begins - March 1st in Montana!


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


  • Can you use Smoke and Mirrors or Little Smokey in smaller rivers/streams like the North or South Boulder Rivers near Cardwell, Montana? I use a 6.5 or 7’ rod with 4 and 5 wt line.

    Thanks, Joel D

    Joel A Degenstein on

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