Spruce Moths, PMD’s, and Tricos: Dry or Die!
Update, Aug. 10 2018: The report from below is still holding true. The tricos are coming off between 10 AM – noon, but sporadic in where they are hatching. Spruce moths are still hatching well. Fish are a little pickier to eat them..if you have false eats change your size or color. We are still seeing mayflies starting once the temperatures warm up. If your reading this, and you have been in the outdoors in Montana in the last 5 days, you know that it is hot. Water temperatures are good below the Wise River, all the way to Melrose. But, once again, please monitor conditions and take care of the abundance of healthy trout we are seeing this year!
We are over the hump of our 2018 season and August is shaping up to be the best dry fly fishing we have experienced all year. The hatches are overlapping which is bringing those big fish to the surface. The spruce moth hatch is different than most of our other hatches because they are actually a terrestrial, and don’t spend any of their life cycles in the river (except when they are in a trouts belly!). These moths like hot, dry weather and even a bit of wind helps to push them out of the trees. This hatch is well represented by #12-#16 caddis patterns, small PMX patterns, and little stimulators. The spruce moths will keep coming out of the hills until the first rain cools the forest down, then the bulk of the hatch will disappear. The PMD’s have been coming out around 1030 in the morning in sizes ranging from a #14 to #18. We have been catching them on purple haze, true PMD’s, and cripples in the morning through the afternoon. The trico’s are out, but we have not had any reason to fish them. As I guide I only fish trico’s when I have to, or if a client is particularly interested in torturing his guide…
The water level is dropping and putting a hard boat in above Melrose is not advised. The noise from the rocks is making it difficult to sneak on the big fish eating dries in 6 inches of water. Wade fishing is also a good option if you don’t mind walking on the ice like, bowling ball shaped rocks of the canyon.
This is probably one of the best times to be a dry fly fisherman. The bugs are here, the fish are looking up, and the river is at a very manageable level. Please remember that the water is still very warm. Don’t play the fish to death, use a rubber net, and get them off the hook and back into the river as fast as possible. Good luck and tight lines. -Craig and Lia Jones