Farewell, in a Way (We’ve Moved)

May 11th, 2015 | Posted by: BigCutty

Fishing ReportsHere at Sweetwater Fly Shop, we’ve got a fancy new website that we’re very proud of. In order to consolidate our efforts and make things more efficient, we’re now posting our fishing reports for the Yellowstone River, the Paradise Valley spring creeks, and southwestern Montana directly to our website, instead of on this blog page. To see our most recent fishing reports, look under the “Fly Fishing in Montana” tab at the top of the new web page (or click here to go there directly). Please bookmark our site for future reference. Thanks!

Not Runoff Yet

May 3rd, 2015 | Posted by: BigCutty

Baby GongaYes, the Yellowstone River is flowing quite a bit higher than is normal for this date. And yes, it has a good deal of color to the water. But it has “plateaued” somewhat over the last couple of days and the clarity has improved to the point where you could catch fish right now. Bigger, dark-colored streamers and nymphs would be my recommendation if you do go out. Strip a black or dark olive streamer right off the bank. Or dead-drift a brown, black, or olive Bugger or Rubberlegs. There are still some caddis coming off, so a Hotwire Caddis or a Super Pupa would be a good dropper. Again, the slower water near the bank is going to be the place to drift your flies. It’ll be a good workout for the rower to keep the boat slowed down, but you might be surprised at your success. It’s probably a little too colored up for great dry fly action, but do keep an eye out for risers in the eddies and slack water.  Whether you’re wading or floating, please be careful at these flows; the water’s really moving and a mistake could be tragic.

The Paradise Valley spring creeks continue to fish well. There are still some baetis hatching in the early afternoons, as well as midges early in the morning. There’s been decent dry fly action when the wind hasn’t been blowing too hard. When the sun’s on the water, try sight nymphing to spotted fish. It’s a good deal more exciting than blind casting nymphs under an indicator. Fish with a buddy and take turns casting and watching the fish for an eat. Trust me, it’s a lot of fun.

Read it Here First!

April 22nd, 2015 | Posted by: BigCutty
FFIP_work_Page_01Here at Sweetwater Fly Shop, we’ve been working rather feverishly to complete “Fly Fishing in Paradise,” our informative little booklet on all things related to fly fishing in our area. It’s got a bit of everything, from articles on fishing the Yellowstone River and the Paradise Valley spring creeks, to fishing, fish handling, and photography tips, to restaurant suggestions. If you’re headed our way this summer (or sooner), give it a read. Just click on the cover photo to the left to download a .pdf version. Prefer a printed copy? Email us with your address and we’ll get one in the mail as soon as they arrive (sometime next week).
Did we leave anything out? Let us know in an email. If we like your suggestion, we’ll update the online version and send you a dozen pretty good flies. What a deal!

Dun Leave Home Without It

March 27th, 2015 | Posted by: BigCutty

First, a short up-to-date report. Clarity on the Yellowstone River remains good; there’s a bit of color but plenty of visibility. Yesterday’s fishing was excellent with all sorts of nymphs. The big winner was a blue (go figure) soft-hackled Copper John. If you’re choosing a day based on the W (you know, the breeze), you might want to go on Sunday, or head up relatively high in the Paradise Valley on Saturday. Things tend to be calmer up there.

We’re still waiting for the blue-winged olive (baetis) mayfly hatch to really take off, both on the Paradise Valley spring creeks and the Yellowstone River. Folks have been seeing the bugs, and some fish up on them, but the large numbers haven’t shown up yet. As we move towards April, the hatch should really get going. If you’re headed out for some fishing, particularly on a cloudy day, you’ll want to be prepared with some baetis patterns. We’ve already written about nymphs and emergers, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention patterns that imitate the dun stage of the bug. The dun is the iconic stage of the mayfly, the winged adult that rides briefly on the surface of the water before flying off to live its short lifespan, if a hungry trout doesn’t slurp it down first. On the Yellowstone, you can often do quite well with that old favorite, the Parachute Adams (in about a size 18). But you might do even better with a more realistic pattern. And on the spring creeks, going with a true-to-life dun imitation can be critical to your success.

CDC Biot DunRene Harrop’s CDC Biot Dun is one of our true favorites. It has an excellent profile and the darker-colored CDC wing is relatively easy to see on the water. The biot body has a nice segmented look. Dust it with a powdered floatant such as Frog’s Fanny, or squirt it with some Dry Magic (don’t use paste floatants on CDC). Pick out a rising fish, get a drag-free presentation, and there’s a good chance your fly will disappear in a rise ring. Try starting with a size 18 and move down to a 20 if you’re not having success.

Here’s a tying video for this excellent pattern, if you’d like to tie some up on your own. Or, of course, you could just stop by Sweetwater Fly Shop and pick up some from our extensive spring creek fly bins.