Missoula Montana Fly Fishing Report- 37 Shades of Gray

Late-winter on the Missouri River

This is the Missoula, Montana fly fishing report for the past week:

Rock Creek- Its the usual lower creek drill right now; worms, p.t., pat’s in smaller sizes. Try an over-sized larva lace midge, too. Red and reddish-brown in size 14 can be killer this time of year.  The water looks great, and the word is that there is some fishing to be had.  The road is pretty brutal, so stay down low and be safe. You might find some midging fish. You might not. Look to the big, slow insides for the most cooperative fish.
Clark Fork-Its big and off-color. The best bet is go find a  nicely defined inside and show them a worm, prince, big zebra, pat’s.  You get the drift-fish the transition and hook a trout.  In this water color, I’d be relying heavily on the red SJ. Bobber color doesn’t seem to matter too much.
Small, slight black and brown buggers fished in the big swirls might get bit.
Bitterroot- It’s been on a heavy rise, what with the rain and snowmelt combined. I’d say it’s a good place to not go this week. Todays stream flow data looks like it has turned the corner, barely. Wait a few more days.
Missouri River- The flows are great for some early fishing. Pink amex in 14,16, 18, rainbow czech in 14,16, zebra in 18. %-6.5′ rig in the slow stuff will get it done.  Also try slender, small olive bugger. They do like the thin-mint this time of year, too.  A zebra dropper 2 feet under a dry will work on the margins.
   As for me, I’m getting my WYR Montana 406 Trout PBR oufit dry-cleaned so that I may make a proper appearance at the masturbatory fly fishing film tour. It’s sure to be a great time, much like my last trip to the proctologist. Flat-brims unite!


Ooooh, so wintery.

Well, we’ve been waiting and wiring and waiting for this weather to break. It snowed again last night and it all seems so endless.
Here’s a snowpack update: WOW! Snowpack S/W equivalency

and here are streamflows:


So, the best we can hope for is a quick, warm early-March spring and blow all of this low-level snow out. That, or we face another crappity-crap skwala event like last spring.

If I wanted to fish this week, I would go to upper Rock Creek, Warm Springs or the Missouri. I would bet that the same flies that you would use in January will work in February, and March.
One more thing.. where are the good waders?    The fly fishing season is just about to get cranked up here in Missoula, Montana.  I have spent a long winter in my pathetically messy and stinky fly-tying room, often looking longingly at my collection of broken gear. It seems I never have the time or memory to send broken rods or leaky waders back to the manufacturers for replacement. I mean, I never get to use this stuff anymore, anyway.  But alas,  last spring I did send a pair of Simms G3 boot foots back to Simms HQ and so began a long, long wait. After some time, I inquired as to the status of my waders and if the defectiveness would be cause for replacement.  If I sold my waders for that much coin, I too would be reluctant to warranty a defective product. But with some cajoling, Simms agreed to replace my waders! That, in and of itself, was a monumental victory.
   Wader season came and went. Then in August ( when you really don’t need waders), I called Simms  and was told that it would be late September before my waders would be available. In my mind it was at least getting cold enough to wear waders, not that I received my replacements from Simms in September. In the interim, I had ordered a pair of Orvis Encounters with the attached boot. I gotta say that the entire Orvis experience was a good one. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy their waders, ever.  In mid-October Simms shipped me a pair of waders, nearly 7 months after I had initially sent them my DEFECTIVE G3s. Now I don’t know how you all feel about customer service, but this experience and process sure was one one poor example. My saga with Simms isn’t unique, however.  Listen, if you’re going to sell $800 dollar waders you should probably take care of the folks that buy them.
   So, Patagonia fly fishing product development people, PLEASE make a boot foot wader. Orvis too, make your Silver Sonics with a boot foot. We would all buy a pair from you guys vs. the “other guys”.
   Remember this:
“Do you validate?” Epic.
Thank me later.