Lots of water moving around out there right now. The rivers were all dropping for a while but it looks like they are headed back up with the rain. Hard to say exactly when things will come into shape. Once the rain clears out we’ll start our downward trend again. Not far now… Meanwhile we’re still doing some still water fishing on a variety of local lakes. Bass, Pike, Greyling, rainbows and cutthroat are what we’ve been after. The low level trout lakes are still fishing good with the cool weather. Tactics vary from lake to lake so having a variety of techniques at the ready will help solve the puzzle. Slow trolling in a tube with a leech and #14/16 calibeatis soft hackle on a type 3 full sink is one way. 14-16ft deep slip bobber rigs with balanced leeches, cironomids, and soft hackle jigs is another. Some lakes still have fish cruising the shores and feeding in shallower water. A shallow bobber rig with a little hot bead may, or fire bead sow bug and #16 jig p-tail will get those guys sometimes. Carpenter ants are around and we’ve had a few fish eat small foam flies with droppers as well. Calibeatis might pop off in the afternoon so have a few #16 mayfly patterns in case the event materializes.
The bass action has been productive and fun lately too. Small crawdad jigs twitched off the back of poppers and jiggy rubber buggers slow stripped/jigged with an intermediate tip off the beds will get attention. Look for structure and rock out croppings in 10ft-ish of depth. Occasional popper eats mid day and more activity on the surface in the evenings. This is all based on the warmer days we’ve had so it will likely be a different deal now that it’s cold and rainy. It’s supposed to warm back up later in the week so…
Bigfork Harbor has some lakers in. Flashy white streamers are always a good bet. They are also in close and not too deep so a type six and some flashy streamers from a power boat is a worthy option around the delta and the state park. If you can’t get them on the big lake or if it’s windy, head into the harbor and you can usually catch a few.
The Missouri looks to be stair stepping up in flows. She is on her way upwards of 10k and maybe beyond. Not so good for the dry fly bite. Nymphing can get a bit slower too as the fish displace and fall into new lies while flows tick up. Once it gets steady it should be biz as usual for the nymphs. Tailwater sows, pill poppers, green machines, and whatever p-tail variation you want to try in a #16 & #18 should do. Flows are up so wire worms and other annelid variations in a variety of colors are something you’ll want to have on at least one rod. Zurdle bugs, and crawdad patterns are also good lead flies during the higher flows. Lengthen those leaders and add some lead, looks like it will be bobber fishing for a while over there.
The Thompson River has been on a hard drop for over a week and a good wade fishing option. Keep an eye on the graph, if it doesn’t get a substantial spike in flows from this rain it will continue to provide a good option for the DIY wade fisherman.