To those of you who plan on getting out on the water this weekend, October 22/23:
Bozeman, Ennis and Livingston all look to be a high around 60 under partly cloudy skies. A bit more wind in Livingston, tapering down into Sunday.
- DRY FLY: This weather could mean some blue wing olive hatches will materialize. If we get just enough cloud cover, the bugs will come off. If we get really lucky and the wind stays down, these mayflies will collect on the surface and trout will key in on them. For me, I will only throw a dry fly this time of year if I see rising fish. It’s tough to fish one blind just hoping for the best. Parachute style beatis would be my first pick. For tricky fish, try an emerger type pattern like a smokejumper or sprout beatis.
- STREAMERS: So, this is what everyone seems to be talking about these days… “Where’s all the big browns at?” Well, in the river is my usual answer. If you are going to streamer fish, you must understand this is a quality over quantity game. You might not catch as many, but those you do catch are usually quite large.
- I like a dead drifted streamer with a twitchy mend to give your fly some movement. Or a swung fly with a shakey rod tip movement. Mess around with it until you find a presentation that works.
- Change color often. There are plenty of “rules of thumb” out there for this, but my best advice to switch colors regularly if you are not having success.
Cover the water thoroughly, but KEEP MOVING. So many times I see people beating the water to death making the same cast over and over again. If there is a big predator brown trout in the run, they will either eat it or they won’t. Try to make every cast different. Depth, color of fly, retrieve technique and then move on to fresh water.
- NYMPHING: Still the go to way to fish if quantity is your main priority. In the fall I like to change it up a bit by dead drifting a zonker or wooly bugger under the indicator, and have a smaller fly trailing the streamer, such as a BWO nymph or red copper john. It’s a great way to hunt for a big fish, but keep your numbers up by having that small nymph trailer. Sort of the best of both worlds.
So, If I were headed out this weekend (which I am after work) I would double check the weather and flows, and fish accordingly. If it’s a cloudy calm day, I’m head hunting. Anything else will find me dead drifting a streamer. Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone, and everything in between should be good to go, maybe just a touch of green on the Gallatin. Green is good.