Dan Greer holding his 33-inch steelhead
If you look outside long enough and you don’t look at your calendar you will undoubtedly think that spring has certainly sprung, even though we are only in the middle of February. The signs of spring time weather are everywhere. Devin Huntley recently sent me a text of a North American Racer Snake that he spotted last weekend while he was looking for antler sheds about 1300 feet off the floor of Blue Mountain near Missoula. Instead of a steady stream of ice fishing reports all of a sudden the open water and river fishing reports are beginning to come in from all over the state.
Closer to Missoula my friend the Mountain Man, John Perry has been taking advantage of the weather fishing Rock Creek and he sent me this report, “Try Rock Creek. With air temps in the 40′s and low 50′s Rock Creek has been producing good amounts of midge activity in the mid-to upper sections over the past couple of weeks. The best time to fish Rock Creek is usually between 11 am and 3 pm daily”. Some areas have been better than others according to Perry who is an outfitter through his company John Perry Fly Fishing, “Several of my Rock Creek buddies have been nailing nice cuts, rainbows and browns up to 15 inches using dry midge patterns size 18-22. The lower to mid-parts of Rock Creek are producing larger fish up to 17 inches using small streamers and a very slow retrieve. For those of you who are nymph fisherman, Pat’s rubber legs size 10-14 have been working in some of the deeper runs”. He also reports that the Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers are still a little high but those conditions could change for the better soon.
If you want to try the Missouri River below Holter Dam to Craig, then here is how Perry recommends fishing that stretch, “Wade fisherman using small pink to bright pink nymphs size 16-20; gray and pink sow bugs; zebra midges size 18-22; fire bead pinkolicious size 16-20; gray and off tan scuds size 14-18; Adjust bobber, weight, and flies according to speed and depth of water. Many fish are being caught in the 2-4 foot depth too”! If you prefer to fish streamers the action will be slower but fish can still be caught,’ Anglers are having success with small white streamers-from dull to bright white. Light tan and brown streamers are working as well. Cast with a swing and a very slow and short retrieve. Best area seems to be between the Wolf Creek Bridge and 2 miles up to Holter dam”, he said The Missouri River by Wolf Creek is just below 5000 cubic feet per second. Finally Perry cautions that windy conditions may occur– so it may be better to pick a spot and do some wade fishing especially with the numbers of fish per mile on upper sections of the Missouri River.
Dan Greer from Florence is steelhead fishing this week in Idaho. On Monday I received a picture courtesy of his friend Scott Arnold, of a beautiful 33 inch bright female that Greer caught on the South Fork on the Clearwater River. Greer is drifting egg sacks on the bottom through the holes where the fish normally hold up. Greer also reports that the river is dropping and the water is clearing up so it should be a good week if the weather holds. *See Greer’s steelhead pictured above*
(Written by the Captain)