Saturday, May 13, 2017

Blue Lining

Blue Lining


With the state of Montana going into full run-off mode this week I had the opportunity to go blue lining. I feel a great sense of excitement pulling out the map and looking for blue lines here in Montana, because you know if the water is moving it has trout in it. It also allows me to use some of my smaller weight rods that tend to get tucked into my closet for long periods of time with no use.

Wild Rainbow Trout 
The water is moving just fast enough right now to make approaching fish a little easier then normal on these small streams, so fish are much less spooky. The top water action was limited each time I went out this week so I stuck to my productive Tight-Line method of nymphing. 5x tippet and smaller anchor flies were the ticket because of how shallow most of these streams are. The fish weren't too picky, but the smaller stone fly nymph seemed to be the top choice along with some flashy #16 mayfly nymph's. I typically don't get into fly selection choices too much because I feel presentation is more important but a #16 Gold Lightning Bug nymph was killer on these ditches, if you haven't tried these out yet on smaller streams whip some up and give them a chance.

Take your time on these slow streams and fish every depth change for best results
I tend to slow myself down when fishing these smaller mountain streams. You really don't know how much productive water will be around the next bend so thoroughly fishing the water is important. Getting down to the bottom is also key, especially this time of year when the trout are just waking up from the long winter. Water temps are still pretty low and the added snowmelt helps keep them there for most of May.

Small Stream Surprises 
 One thing I've learned this week is there are some good fish to be had. Everyone's idea of a quality fish is different and mine is as well. I think a 16 inch fish in smaller mountain streams is a real gem and gets me just as excited as landing a 20 inch brown in a big river. I must of been getting lucky this week because I got a handful of fish in that range and a few hit the 18 inch mark. Battling an 18 inch fish in smaller water with 5x tippet is crazy fun and get's addicting. Add in the solitude and you can have yourself a really memorable day out there right now.....so don't let runoff fool you into thinking you have to fish stillwaters for the next few weeks....get out a map and do some exploring!

Red Spotted Gem In A Mountain Stream
Back The Brookie 
Freckles 
My biggest brown to date on this particular stream 
With all the craze for the grip and grins out there in our industry right now, I find myself wondering into the smaller waters more often. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy catching a big fish just like the next, but I won't let it consume me because there's more to Fly Fishing then just catching big fish. Anyone can go out there with a big meaty streamer and strip like mad until a big one takes, but it takes a lot more effort stalking smaller fish in uncharted waters and most times can be just as satisfying. So the next time your scrolling through Instagram and getting jealous of all the big fish people are holding, just remember a trophy trout is what you make of it, and there could be a small stream close by waiting to be explored. Tight Lines......

One of my favorite catches of the year 

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