The run off this season is finally started. Waters are rising and it is unknown how long the waters will be higher. There is a lot of snow pack still in the mountains this season. The good news is that fishing in July, August and September will be great. If we can link in some grass hoppers this season, it will be a season you do not want to miss. The majority of big stone flies will be hatching out this season during high water, so they will have high success rate of replenishing their species and the fish will benefit from lack of fishing pressure. Hatches of all insects is going to be epic, so try not to miss this season. It is going to be very short. 4 months and ticking down as of now.
We should not have any late season water issues this season in the Bighorn Mountains, so plan on fishing as much as you can in late summer. As always each year, high water means great fishing in the lakes and reservoirs while the rivers and creeks are unfishable. So get out and get some practice before the great fishing gets rolling. You don’t want to wait any longer to get out and have some summer fun. With out any practice you will likely miss out on the first few days of your summer getting back up to speed. Be prepared and get some practice in, you will thank me later. The fish are always ready to teach you the lesson of you are out of practice. Be honest with at least yourself. You definitely need the practice. Why do you think guides are so good at everything fly fishing? It is because they are practicing all year round, so when you show up, they don’t look bad in front of you.
The down side is that early season fishing will be high and difficult. High and difficult make you a better fisherman weather you want to be or not. As long as you are safe about wading, the fishing is actually easier than you think. The fish are on the edges in the back eddies. You figure out the rest. Talk to you local shops and use the obvious choices for flies. Heavy, bright and big. Works great every year before the fish start inspecting the fly before eating the fly.
The good news about high water is that the Bighorn Mountains will have easier fishing earlier than most other areas. If people are smart, they will get some early fishing in around the Bighorn Mountains in the creeks and lakes to get some practice in before the prime time season of August and September. The low level lakes are ready for you to get back in top fishing form. The fish are hitting faster and softer than ever, so get prepared!
The famous rivers are going to be high for a long time to come, so don’t be surprised when you get out west in June and early July. I see this behavior every year. The Bighorn river is running at 8500 cfs as of a few days ago, and will likely not come down until at least late July or maybe late August this season. Other big rivers will be similar through out the west. 2014 will be a great water year, but it will also be more difficult for the average to beginner fisherman to have a lot of success in June and early July. This does not mean you should not fish, just the opposite. You should fish more, much more and enjoy every second of it regardless of how many fish you catch.
That said, the waters in the Bighorn Mountains are going to be great for learning and practicing fast water conditions this season when the big rivers are too high and difficult for most fly fisherman. I recommend you don’t waste your money or time floating down a big river nymphing and dragging a bobber like the thousands of other drones that will be there. You would catch fish using float trip nymphing techniques, but you will not be getting much better as a fly fisherman. Break free from the monotony and get fishing in the mountains, you will love the space, the air and most of all the freedom of mountain fishing. Smaller fish yes, but more fun and more skill development than you can wave a stick at.
See you soon and have FUN, the real reason we all fly fish.