Solo day today. Well, I guess not totally solo. Boh, my 7 year old black lab, wants to fish today too. I can’t be fishing the spring creeks every day this winter on my shop salary, so today we have to find some open water. I was hoping the warm sunny day would help our case, but most of the valley is still pretty slushy today. Driving North towards Livingston to a spot we call Poor Man’s, looking for warmer water.
You ever have those times when you are fishing and know you should probably change flies, but you’re too lazy? When that voice in the back of your head (Brewer) is saying it should have worked by now and you should stop being dumb and switch it up. And each unsuccessful drift you want to change more, but by now your fingers are too cold to be messing around with knots… it’s one of those days. And I’m fishing the same run where I had hooked one of my best browns this year. And Nothing. Something is wrong. But I still don’t change flies.
I keep moving and manage a couple whitefish. Looking upstream, I can see the sun setting over the valley in the distance. It may be warm now, but as soon as the sun goes behind the mountains it starts to get cold fast. Boh and I decide that the next run ahead is too far, and we’d waste more time getting up there. We would have more time fishing if we just worked our way back towards the car. So we keep fishing.
As I’m walking my bobber rig downstream, I start to notice more adult midges flying around the surface. Finally some bug activity. I am working a hotspot stonefly nymph with a small CDC pheasant tail behind, a few feet under an indicator. The bugs are moving, but where are the trout?
I decide to succumb to the voice in the back of my head, to change something up, but doing so in a way without switching my flies out. Instead I just change how my flies are fishing. Thinking of pulsing midges coming to the surface to hatch, I lead my bobber with my rod tip and sort of twitch my rig through the drift. Trying to give my flies a little bit more life than your average “dead drift”. A healthy rainbow immediately responds with a few leaps and a nice fight. And then another rainbow a few drifts later. Wow, good thing we didn’t change flies, huh Boh?
A wise Montana Guide once told me “People out here worry way too much about Dead Drifting.” He’s right. And if you’ve ever spent some time watching bugs you will notice they bounce around a lot. And sometimes it feels like trout really key in on the small, sudden up and down movements. This seemed to be the case tonight at least.1