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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Lateral view of a Male Baetidae (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #308 in Washington
This dun emerged from a mature nymph on my desk. Unfortunately its wings didn't perfectly dry out.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 12:25 pm EDT
I am a long time bass tournament angler and thought I had better learn this too. I started last week, have more flies than I know how to use and a simple rod and reel combo to start out with. If I know me I will take it backpacking and destroy a really good one!

I fished the yellowstone a week ago, no luck, but fun. Had so much fun I am going back Aug 12th! Any Montana anglers here what to help a new guy out!?

Joe
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 1:06 pm EDT
I'm not from Montana, but have a few suggestions. Try to find a stream that's not heavily fished, with a reasonably good population of trout and be very slow, stealthy and observant as you fish it. A local fly shop may be able to help you find the right stream to start off on. Fish that haven't been fished over a lot are less critical of fly patterns and drift. If you can avoid spooking them, they'll often take any reasonably well presented fly. Work a short line and avoid drag with dry flies. A good basic book on flyfishing will give you lots of ideas. I like Gary Borger's Presentation. but there are many others. It sounds like you are a natural for flyfishing. You may find it hard to pick up any other rod once you get into it.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 3:39 pm EDT
I've never fished Montana unfortunately, but I can offer some uninformed suggestions. The Yellowstone is a pretty popular fishery, one of many in that area known for frequently selective trout. It's also hard to fish that kind of big water because it's hard to predict where the fish are if they're not rising. You might have more luck if you try some little ~20-foot-wide tributaries rather than (or in addition to) the main river.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 3:44 pm EDT
Thanks guys, all I know is that it is fun, and I am learning about a new fish! Had know idea so much went into it, have read about everything I can get my hands on through inter library loan, books from libraries all over the country, so I have soaked up a lot. Do you find trout, like bass though dont read the books and magazines and therefore are not always where they are "supposed to be"? LOL.

I agree, the yellowstone does seem big to start on, but what I had at the time, going back the 12th of Aug, will fish inside the park, and have got a line on some private waters with very no picky cut throat!
Ericd
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Ericd on Jul 31, 2009July 31st, 2009, 4:00 pm EDT
"You may find it hard to pick up any other rod once you get into it."

I don't know how to do the fancy quotes, sorry.
This has been true for me. Although, I still really enjoy fishing the species that I fished with a spinning rod. Bass are sooo easy, but so much fun on a fly. I learn a lot about casting and retreive fly fishing for bass on lakes and streams and that knowledge translates well to the trout water. A lot of trout guys in my region quit trout in the hot weather and wait for it to cool a bit while they concentrate on smallmouth. I am doing that as well, but you know the trout streams have much less pressure...
eric

I have a friend in Big Sky and I got into fly fishing at the same time my son was born, so I'm still waiting to try Montana.
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 1, 2009August 1st, 2009, 3:13 am EDT
Joe, we wish we could join you. :) Let us know how it goes.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Aug 1, 2009August 1st, 2009, 3:26 am EDT
Bass, easy?! Maybe in some places, for some folks, but I have chased Largemouth and small all over, and nothing will ramp up the pressure and make a fish not bite like a 2K entry fee, tons of money on gas and boat, plus trying to locate them on a big body of water like Grand Lake of the CHerokee's, or something in the Ozarks. Just like many fly guys, I have sat and tried everything in the box on a fish I could see and simply wished for a spear, lol.

All I know is I am a all or nothing kinda guy, so I will let you know how it goes after the 12th. Have been following stream reports, and hoppers I guess are doing well. As I had limited help on fly buying, I will post pics soon of the stuff I got, and hope to get some feed back. I got a box from a pawn store a buddy owns, and got a wide variety not knowing what everything was, good news is I dont need any right away, until I get to the store, just dont tell the wife!
Aaron7_8
Aaron7_8's profile picture
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Aaron7_8 on Aug 3, 2009August 3rd, 2009, 1:21 pm EDT
A great no fail fly in the summer is any fly that resembles a grasshopper if you like dry flies. I got a chance to fish in the park a couple times last year and it was different from the local streams I fish but very cool to fish fifty yards from grazing bison. The classic hares ear, pheasant tails, prince nymphs and such are always winners in my opinion. The advice of asking a local fly shop is always good advice when hitting a new area they will tell you what flies worked yesterday and will sell you those.
Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Aug 4, 2009August 4th, 2009, 3:02 pm EDT
Thanks Helena, will give it a go, I got a ton of flies, pleanty of hoppers, and a lot of things that I am not sure what they are supposed to mimic! But looking forward to having fun, Going to stop in at a place called Anglers West, and see what they say, I have got to know them and think they are good people!
Ericd
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Ericd on Aug 5, 2009August 5th, 2009, 4:52 pm EDT
I didn't mean to undermine your Bass hobby, Joe. The Bass that I've caught are nowhere near tournament water and willing to eat anything. The trout I fish are from higher pressure water. I have yet to try to catch trout on leftover bacon from breakfast, though.
Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Aug 6, 2009August 6th, 2009, 6:08 am EDT
In the land of 1000 lakes can help but think that they would be some unpressured bass! I might have to find them places!
Ericd
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Ericd on Aug 6, 2009August 6th, 2009, 2:21 pm EDT
I'd elaborate on said waters, but this isn't the right forum. It's closer to 12,000 lakes, but who's counting?
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Aug 6, 2009August 6th, 2009, 8:54 pm EDT
It's closer to 12,000 lakes, but who's counting?


Wisconsin has more, anyway, so it's not really something to brag about. ;)
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Troutnut
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Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Aug 6, 2009August 6th, 2009, 9:00 pm EDT
Joe, have you thought about fly fishing for bass? I know speed is pretty essential for tournament anglers, and under certain conditions bass can be caught faster on the fly than with spinning gear. For me, that situation is when I'm floating a smallmouth river and they're hitting topwater. The advantage of fly fishing is that you can put the fly where you want it, fish it there, then in about 2 seconds pick it up and launch it back out to the next prime spot... you don't have to spend a few seconds reeling it back in over less-promising water. It's very efficient and hard for a spin-fisherman to keep up. I know tournament anglers have their own bag of tricks in that regard, but it's something to think about.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Ericd
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Ericd on Aug 7, 2009August 7th, 2009, 12:33 pm EDT
"Wisconsin has more, anyway, so it's not really something to brag about. ;)"

Badgers don't swim with the trout, do they?
Sekoutdoors
NE Montana

Posts: 12
Sekoutdoors on Aug 8, 2009August 8th, 2009, 5:21 am EDT
I have thought about it, especially in the morning hours. I would have to know the water pretty good to lay down some proven providers for a fly rod at this point, but it is something I have considered as I get and got into this. I am all about competitive edge!
As my time to fish Yellowstone park and surrounding areas gets closer (tuesday) I am getting even more excited!
Does rain or cold fronts turn off trout like they can bass? I am curious about that and cannot find information, so what is your all's opinion on the matter? Also, what are some must have basics for the fly box?
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Aug 8, 2009August 8th, 2009, 7:06 am EDT
I don't have much more than anecdotal experience, but Jason may know about scientific studies. What I have seen is that a cloudy drizzly day can find many more bugs on the water, some say, because they have a hard time getting into the air. More bugs often means more active fish. I've had some great days fishing in the rain. And stained water can help hide you and make the fish bolder. We already have a thread on top fiies, I think. I'll search for it and bump it up.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Troutnut
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Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2758
Troutnut on Aug 9, 2009August 9th, 2009, 9:03 am EDT
Does rain or cold fronts turn off trout like they can bass? I am curious about that and cannot find information, so what is your all's opinion on the matter?


I think some of those same effects can definitely come into play, but the relationship can be pretty complicated. Like Louis said, a wet day can mean that hatching bugs take longer to dry their wings and take off, giving trout better surface-feeding opportunities and making them more active, or at least more visible. Some other insects prefer foul weather for emergence, which again can spur trout activity.

Also, during the hot months of summer, a cold front could lower water temperatures back into the comfort zone for trout, improving the fishing dramatically. (Same goes for the coolest part of the day, by the way.)

Despite these exceptions and counter-examples, I've always felt more optimistic about trout fishing under the same kinds of weather conditions that are good for bass (very stable weather, or with the barometer falling). The effect probably isn't as strong as it is with bass, because trout probably need to eat more regularly. Most trout eat mostly small invertebrates, meaning they need more prey to fill up than a bass that eats a bluegill. Also, in streams they're constantly swimming and usually can't just go sit in a quiet corner and digest.

I don't have much more than anecdotal experience, but Jason may know about scientific studies.


I haven't run across any, though I haven't searched for that in detail. In general, it's amazing how little attention has been paid by scientists to the kinds of things fly fisherman would think we're studying. This one of them. Another one scientists haven't really looked at is the way fish can be selective about some tiny thing like a Trico and ignore everything else that comes by.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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