Missoula rivers are somewhat locked-up in ice. Look toward the warmer end of the week and you should find a little local fishing.
This doesn’t happen in Hawaii.
I did see a great fly fishing post from a guide pal over on the Missouri River. He had some big smiles from his anglers who were holding some fine looking trout. I would bet that anything pink or zebra-midgey would get the job done over there. As usual, look for the SLOW winter water. The same holds true for the other area rivers. There is some open water on the Clark Fork and Bitterroot, but I’d bet that the Blackfoot and Rock Creek are locked up tight. P.T.s, midges and San Juans will take a few fish, but the only thing that could be more dreadful than nymphing in warm weather is nymphing in cold weather. If you want to watch a bobber, go drill a hole in the ice and stare at it until it goes down.
I had a great conversation with an outfitter buddy about boats. We both found ourselves in brand-spankin’ new Boulder skiffs last season. This followed several seasons rowing boats that I would describe as “iron-ore freighter-esque”. Thankfully, Boulder Boat Works began manufacturing a skiff that is as rowable and durable as their famed low-pro drift boat. I’m always excited to get back at it, but the pain and discomfort associated with my previous battle-barge left me feeling nervous about whatever long term damage I might be inflicting upon myself. This is the first year in a few that I’m excited to jump back in a boat. In fact, I’m so happy about the Boulder Skiff that I sat in it last night and imagined all of the flawlessly accurate casts I would be witnessing this season. That’s not really true; I just cleaned out some of the tippet, leaves and broken dreams from last season. So, if you want a drift boat give Boulder Boat Works a good look. www.boulderboatworks.com
The snowpack looks about right to support a good water year. Although it has been fairly dry for the last couple of weeks, our heaviest snows typically occur in February and March.
As many of you know, I’ve been a Sage fly rod fan for a long time. I love ’em! But faced with a last minute trip to Belize I didn’t have time to secure a decent 9 weight rod. I had a few broken rods around, but there simply wasn’t time to get one ordered and delivered. Oh yeah, and there were very few available because nobody went to work for the last 2 years. Anyway, I called the gang at the Kingfisher and they had a couple of options that they were willing to sell me. I ran down to the shop and fiddled around with a Sage. Then I grabbed the TFO Mangrove. It felt more balanced and more responsive than the Sage. So I bought that TFO; the first TFO I had purchased in 20 years. I must say that it was a great rod for the bones and jacks. I suspect that that rod in a 6 would be a killer streamer rod. If you’re in the market for a good salt rod that doesn’t break the bank, this might be a good option.