Thursday, November 14, 2013

End of the 2013 Season

What a great end to a wonderful season, 2013 was a stellar year on the Missouri River. The season started in March, with a very strong start, Dry Fly fishing with Midges, and today November 14th, the Midges are hatching just as strong , if not stronger than they were in March.

We were fortunate this past Spring having low, clear water, which enabled great fishing with Midges, Baetis, and Skwala Stoneflies. Some years on the Missouri the water is high and dirty, limiting the dry fly opportunities, this past Spring was a real exception. April fishing was spectacular and just got better and better once the warmer days of May arrived, bringing super hatches of Caddis, March Browns, Baetis, and Midges. I had some afternoons in May that I will never forget, fishing for just a few hours wade fishing in water that was not more than a few inches deep and hooking very large Rainbows and Browns that would explode out of the shallows with the speed and power similar to Bonefish racing off a shallow flat.
June fishing was the Zenith of the 2013 season, the incredible hatches of Pale Morning Duns, Caddis, Baetis, Brown Drakes, Yellow Sally's, Golden Stones and Midges, fishing was as good as Trout fishing can get, period. The one draw back to having such low water is that wade fishermen were all over the upper river, when I say all over, I mean in every spot that they could get to, they were there, in droves. This is mainly in the upper river, the lower river does not have the access that the upper river has. The lower river had different problems, fly fishing guides using motor boats. After 30 years guiding on the Missouri, I have to say, that for years, the Fly Fishermen on the Missouri have been trying to eliminate the use of  Motors from the Dam to Cascade. It is very disappointing to see Fly Fishing guides who now out number the spin fishermen using motors on the lower river. From Cascade North, or down stream , this is where the motors should be used, not Cascade up-stream, or South, this is in complete conflict with the Natural flow of drift boat fishermen floating down stream to the town of Cascade. For now, there are no takeouts below the town of Cascade until the boat ramp at the town of Ulm. This gives 15 miles of water for the motor guides to fish, there is no reason why, they are going going upstream to conflict with the drift boat fishermen. OK, got that out there, so the few who do use motors and conflict with the drift boat fishermen, my sediments are not alone, all the drift boat fishermen feel the same way, go below Cascade and everyone will be grateful!
The month of July we saw the water levels drop, on a year were we already had very low water. The water was just too low, the dry fly fishing was difficult, from the river being choked with weeds, and the amount of fishermen from the month of June. It was a shame, the hatches were as good as it gets, but the pods that we are use to seeing in July, just were not there. In July, we had amazing hatches of Trico's, Caddis, and PMD's . The Trico pods that we are use to seeing, absent, July fishing was not up to Par until at the end of the month when the water once again come up to a level where the fish felt more comfortable.

August was better fishing, there were a few pods eating Tricos, in spots, but not everywhere, fishing was not as good as it could have been, one really had to search for rising trout. Usually, in August we are saved by two things, Hoppers, and Trico's. We had the Trico's , but , not the huge pods, we did not have good numbers of hoppers. But, in August, this is a month where large Brown trout are caught on hoppers, this year was not an exception, large Trout, but not the numbers.
September fishing was quite good, we always see the return of the Grey Baetis ( pseudos) and the fish have Trico's and  Baetis, some hoppers, and the constant Caddis. Nymph fishing is usually very strong in September, so, the hopper - dropper rigs worked fairly constantly. Water levels were better and looking back at July, the water levels were just disappointing.
October is maybe the best fishing month on the river for pods of rising trout. In October we always get some cold storms from the North come through, and this really turns the fish on, at times, just a feeding frenzy where the Trout just want to feed and it seems like nothing will stop them, not a large fly or even a bad cast.
The main hatches, Baetis and Caddis, the hatches of Baetis are impressive, at times the river surface is covered with the small Grey and Olive colored bugs.

 Most years this starts just after our first storm, and continues through most years until Mid - November, or until the weather really gets ugly, sometime in November. I worked quite a bit this past month and most of October the fishing was excellent. I was impressed just how strong the fish were feeding, most times if the angler made a bad cast , lining the trout, the fish would just bulge, then continue feeding. The weather is cool for most of the month, but we do get many warm days, but it seems like on those cold days, the fishing is even better.

In October, fish will eat a streamer, nymph, or dry fly, take your pick, they all work. Most of my clients prefer to fish Dry Fly, but, if you want a huge trout, the streamer is the way to go.
This season started with great Midge fishing, and ends again with great Midge fishing. I was out yesterday walking near the river with my black lab Pearl looking for Pheasants, the amount of midges were so thick that even wearing my buff, I was bothered by the small black buzzing bugs. Fish were rising, not in large pods , but were still feeding on top. What a great season, 2013 was a very special year!