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>Prospecting for Trout, Tactic’s ( Part 4 )

January 16, 2011


Big Blackfoot River
After fishing a couple of seasons in and around Missoula Montana , I felt like I was getting a pretty good idea
about fly selection for the many and varied types of waters that were found in this part of Western Montana.There were times when it was neccesary to “match the hatch”, but , many other times , one needed to “prospect” with searching patterns. My preference has always been to try and fish with dry flies when ever possible, so, I became very familiar with high floating dry flies. The patterns back in the late 1970’s that seem to be the most productive were; Humpy’s, Royal Wullfs, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis , and Trudes. I was just learning how to tie flies, and was tying some flies, but it was hard to make a fly that looked as nice as the flies being tied by the ladies of Dan Bailey’s fly shop in Livingston MT.
My casting by this time was getting strong and accurate, I could present a fly where I wanted, this seemed to be one the most important developments in my fishing. But also, on different rivers I was learning where the fish would hold and feed, this is what one needs to learn in order to be successful  when fishing new waters. Lefty Kreh’s book help with the development of my casting, but, to be a good caster does not make a good fishermen, this takes time on the water to find what flies work best, and where the trout hold.
One of the best “tips” I ever received from another angler, came right in the middle of Missoula on the Clark Fork River, at that time , in front of the Red Lion Hotel where the Rattlesnake Creek enters. There were usually a few fishermen, fishing the run closest to shore down stream  from the creek in the “Springtime” before runoff.  I’d frequent the spot since I lived close, it was a place I could fish , and walk home , it was easy. Some days there were so many people fishing , there was no more room, on those days I’d just watch the other anglers. One day, I arrived and there were no other anglers, I was moving quickly to get in the best spot just below the entrance of the creek, when I heard a voice say , ” Hey, come here, I want to talk with you”. At first I thought, wow, how rude is this guy? Then he said, “I’ve seen you down here quite a bit, I think I can help you”. I recognized him, he was one of the really good anglers who always was catching trout. So, I backed out and met the well clad angler face to face. This guy had the best of everything, Rod, Reel, Waders, Vest, Hat, Sunglasses, everything was top of the line. He was a few years older, not a collage kid like me, he had money, and had been fishing for sometime, I’d seen him before , he was talented. ” Sorry” he said, “I’m not trying to get in front of you, it’s just that I see alot of you guys making the same mistake”, really, I asked  whats that? “Well”, said  ( Mr Fancy Pants), “You and most of the other anglers , just wade right into the river,” yea, so ? I asked, Then he added, ” Trout like to live and feed in shallow water, your walking right through fish in order to fish water with less trout”. ” Let me show you ” he said. Standing on shore , the experienced angler made a perfect cast upstream  in water that was around a foot in depth, first cast , with a small brown stonefly dry, he connected with a sixteen inch rainbow that came flying backwards towards the two of us, landing near our feet. We both laughed as the rainbow screamed off to deeper water, and then became “unbuttoned”. Wow, their really in the shallows, “yes” he said , “always fish the shallows before you enter into a stream”. This guy was smiling from the excitement from the jumping Rainbow earlier, I saw this man in an entirely different light than I had pictured him Pryor. I thanked him for taking the time to  demonstrate his point, he said, ” somebody showed me, now it is your turn to show somebody else”. There was no way either of us could know that in less than ten years, I’d be guiding anglers 240 days a year , and always telling them to fish the shallow water  first.
(Part 5 tomorrow) Follow along @ (DALY BLOG)
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