We are in the midst of an unseasonable heat wave. Temps approaching 100 or more for a week+ are forecast with no end in sight. Water temps are climbing around the state and hoot-owl fishing restrictions are starting. The fishing has been good just about everywhere despite the hot weather. That will likely change in the next couple weeks as the afternoon water temps start to send the fish off the banks for thermal refuge in the deeper faster runs.

We are lucky here on the Flathead drainage to have ice cold water pouring out of a massive reservoir. Water temps are definitely a big part of the fishing condition equation. Fishing pressure is another. With hoot owl restrictions in place on the rivers south of here, the Flathead is likely going to get more congested with boats. It’s already busy out there. That being said, the Flathead is still providing decent action on dry flies. Lots of guide boats out there but the majority of the trips are beginners just out to learn and they aren’t really beating up on the fish much. Smaller foam flies and little mayfly patterns are catching fish. Terrestrial fishing will start soon with all this heat. Come get some ants and hoppers before they sell out. Also, bring some light beers and a swim suit if you’re heading out in the next few days…  Be respectful of the fish in these hot conditions. Limit handling fish and keep them in the water for a quick release.

Remember to be mindful of boat ramp etiquette and low-hole rules of the road. Get your boat on/off the trailer quickly and beat feet out of the ramp so others can use it. If you are tailgating another boat on the river and make a pass, you should forfeit the next run. Don’t low hole, give space when you can. If you have a jet boat or power boat, go somewhere else than the upper Flathead. There are lots of rafts, drift boats, and all sorts of floaty devices trying to enjoy a peaceful float. Have some class and take your speed racer to the lake or the lower river. Summer time is no time for ripping around on the upper Flathead.

Jason Lanier
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