PMDs, Sallies, and Trout Lips

Sorry, you probably wanted a picture of a big trout or PMDs marching downstream. I could post one, but I couldn’t resist this scenery shot. The Crow Indian Reservation is a beautiful part of the world, especially when we’ve had enough moisture to keep the countryside green. You’d better look quickly, though. Summer temperatures in the upper 80s are turning our green grass brown.

The Fourth of July brought outstanding dry fly fishing to the upper 20 miles of river below Afterbay Dam. Anglers caught fish on PMDs and Yellow Sallies throughout the day, but cloudy weather in mid-afternoon really got things going. As long as water flows stay at this level, we should continue to enjoy good dry fly fishing. For the most part, I’m not seeing pods of consistently rising fish; however, if you spot the odd riseform, pull over and be patient. You’ll usually discover there’s more than one fish in the vicinity, and they’re willing to eat a dry fly if properly presented. Yesterday, the magic setup was a #16 Stimulator up—this was the Sally imitation—and a #16 PMD Parachute at the end. We took more fish on the Parachute, but the Stimulator caught its share. We stuck with 5X TroutHunter fluorocarbon tippet. This stuff is amazingly strong.

Nymph fishing continues to be good, with the tan Soft Hackle Sow Bug really turning on. Trout eat it for either a sowbg, PMD nymph, or Yellow Sally (stonefly) nymph. Whatever they think it is, they hit it with gusto.

Yesterday, the Billings Gazette posted an article entitled “High water hurting fly fishing industry.” It was all about how severe the economic impact has been on lodges and shops across the state because of the record-high flows. However, the article did contain some positive information courtesy of our friend, Doug Haacke. After lamenting the dismal effect on business throughout the state, Doug said, “The irony? The fishing on the Bighorn is excellent, even with the high water. That’s the sad part about this whole thing; it’s fishing great and it’s an easy river to float even at 15,000 (cubic feet per second).”

Don’t forget, currently water flows are at 8,500 cfs. Keep your fingers crossed. We’re hoping they don’t have to bring the water back up.