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Smoking them out on the Big Hole

The last week has been very interesting for all the guides, including myself. The fish have still been active on trico’s, but the trico’s have changed colors….several times. The spruce moth is still fluttering around, but the fish are stung and are very wary of the moth patterns. The weather has been variable. It rained, sleeted, hailed and was 85 degrees…..yesterday. The fishing has had its ups and downs, but the clouds have rolled in consistently, bringing good fishing with them. The bugs we are using have been changing from one river mile to the next. The short list for my boat is the #10 tan hopper, #8 purple hopper, #12 purple haze, #16 green quill, and #20 spent trico, the long list costs money.

Today was a very different day. This morning the valley was filled with smoke from the lightning strikes yesterday, and subsequent fires that started in the afternoon. Southwest Montana is on fire. The visibility was very low and the stench was powerful. In the past I have seen smoke help the fishing when the weather has been hot and sunny, but not today. I had two great anglers, Palmer and John, and we fished every dry fly I had in my box. The trico worked early but tailed off with the wind around 11 am. From then on it was extremely difficult to get a fish up. Some of my secret spots produced fish, but not as well as they usually do. Later in the day, as we entered the canyon stretch the fishing picked up and we whacked a few nice browns on a green lightning bug to start; then moved on to the caddis and hoppers to finish the day off. The water was low, but the Sotar was not scared and we bumped and scraped our way through a very tough day with a few nice fish and an intact boat.

I am going to take tomorrow off and have a few beers. I might fish, I might not, but what I

will do is have Jimmy T songs stuck in my head…”I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain..” Good luck out there friends.


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