Over the last couple of weeks we have battled high temperatures, bright cloudless days, smoke from local fires, and, of course, low water conditions. I have been hoping that the temps would drop and bring rain to the valley and it looks like it is finally here. The temp today is a high of 54 degrees in Divided and they clouds have settled in, bringing light drizzles that should turn into T-storms this evening. The fish and the river have received a long awaited reprieve from this out-of-the-ordinary summer.
That being said, the fishing has been improving. The browns are putting on their sexy colors and beginning to chase streamers on a regular basis. The big fish have been on the hunt as well. Our good friend and guide, Mark Thompson, managed to catch a client the fish of a lifetime last week coming in at 27 inches and 13-15 pounds (no scale). We all know that these fish are in here but actually hooking and landing one is a miracle, so our hats are off to Mark. As for my fishing, it has been getting better each day. The days are shorter and the water is cooling. The drake and blue wing hatches have been starting up in the Maiden Rock canyon. The terrestrials have also been producing fish, ants, grasshoppers, beetles, etc. Personally I have been fishing buggers, black and yellow. My father always told me that if there is a fish out there that wont eat a black bugger then it isn’t worth catching. This advice has proven itself many times over this last week and my father would be proud. Size 6 and 8 have been the best, using little weight, and 2x tippet.
Here at the shop we have begun our fall special. Trips are discounted $50, and packages at the lodge have been discounted 25% for fall bookings. This time of the year is often the most under appreciated. The trees have begun to change colors in some of the higher reaches, the hunters have left the rivers and headed for the hills, and no drift boat on this planet could float the upper Big Hole. All of these factors limit the amount of pressure that these fish have been enduring over the last 3 months, making them more likely to make a poor choice and eat my fly. Lia has begun her second year of coaching the equestrian team at Western Montana University and will be giving riding lessons as long as the weather holds, so probably until December. If anyone is interested in learning to ride and/or fly fish GDO has got you covered. Good luck out there, and stay warm. Here are a few pics from the last couple of weeks including Lia and my trip to the San Juan for our second anniversary.