Now’s The Time!

Just a short amendment to yesterday’s post. Reports from yesterday were of great fishing. Stellar. Nymphs and streamers. Saturday’s predicted high is 56 (if a bit breezy), so you won’t even have to freeze your fingertips. Clarity was an issue in some sections of the river, so you might need to search a little for clear water, depending on the precipitation between now and then.

Baetis have started popping on the Paradise Valley spring creeks, though sporadically at this point. Look for the hatch to heat up over the coming days.

What are you waiting for?

A Little of Everything

Yeah, the weather’s a little lousy this week. For fishing, if not for catching. But it’s worth bundling up and getting out for a couple of hours. The Yellowstone River is waking up from its mid-winter slumber. Reports have been good lately, if not lights out. The usual nymph rigs have been netting fish. Larger stonefly nymphs, the typical droppers. Don’t be afraid to go small with your dropper. Zebra midges and small pheasant tails, which we usually associate with spring creek fishing, can be effective on the river as well. Midges have been out in the warmer afternoons. Look for heads coming up in the eddies and foam holes. The baetis (blue-winged olive) mayflies should be coming soon; we haven’t heard of them being seen in abundance, but be ready with some small Parachute Adams or the like. Streamers have been picking up fish, especially in the afternoons. Try dead-drifting a Zonker under an indicator. Or strip a Conehead Sparkle Minnow or a Beldar Rubber Legs. The trout usually prefer a slower strip this time of year. But if you’re not catching fish, switch it up (retrieve, pattern, color….).

There are plenty of fish in the spring creeks right now, as well. Most of the damage has been done with nymphs and small streamers. Again, we’re still waiting for reports of a prolific baetis hatch. But you should be prepared, especially in the early afternoon on warmer, cloudy days. Stop by Sweetwater Fly Shop and pick up some Sprout Baetis, CDC Biot Duns, or your favorite BWO patterns. Try a short dropper to an unweighted nymph early in the hatch (try dusting it with Frog’s Fanny so it floats in the surface film), then switch to a dun/emerger combo as things progress. The rainbows will be spawning soon, so stay away from areas of cleared gravel. It’s not sporting to rip fish off of their redds! And wading through the redds destroys the newly laid eggs. So just remember to keep an eye out, especially in the shallower riffles.

Got Midges?

With the warm weather we’re having this week, it’s time to start looking for fish eating midges on top. Keep an eye open for heads coming up in eddies and in the slack water behind rocks. Midge dries we like include the Sprout Midge (emerger), Micro Midge (adult), and Griffith’s Gnat (midge cluster). All are rather tiny, so you’ll have to go down to a 5X or 6X tippet. If you’re having trouble seeing your fly in the foam, try tying on a larger, more visible dry fly, then tie on your midge as a dropper. Set the hook on any swirls near your “indicator” fly. Do it gently, so as not to spook the rising fish if one hasn’t taken your fly. Haven’t heard of any baetis yet on the spring creeks, but the time is nearing. Rod fees are only $40 until April 15th. Take advantage of this nice weather!

Reminder: The new fishing license year has started. Be sure to stop in to Sweetwater Fly Shop and get your new 2014 license before you head out to the river or creek!

Fly Fishing Film Tour

Got cabin fever? Been too long since you fished? At least you can watch others fish in exotic locations. The Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming to Livingston! It’ll be at the Shane Center (415 E. Lewis) on Thursday, March 20th, at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:00). The show is hosted by the Joe Brooks chapter of Trout Unlimited and is their major fund raiser for the year. There’ll be great raffle items and a silent auction with all kinds of goodies from local merchants. Come early, grab a beer and bid on some items. Get your discounted tickets early here at Sweetwater Fly Shop. Don’t miss it; it’s going to be great fun!

Not Too Bad

Right now, there’s just a breeze here at the shop. And it’s already in the mid-40s. Perfect Winter fishing weather. I’m not saying it’ll stay that way all day. The temperature’s supposed to drop and the wind could come up. So you might want to get out relatively early today. Fish while you’re able! With the warm weather we’ve been having, you should be able to find some open water on the Yellowstone River to drift your nymphs or streamers through. And the spring creeks are another great option right now. I’ll be in the shop all day; stop by and gear up, or to let me know how you did.

p.s. Since I wrote the above about an hour ago, it’s started snowing and we’re getting some gusts. Bummer! But it you’re hardy….

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