The old joke about row vs. wade has become more popular again this past week with some fishermen friends of mind. It usually becomes evident every spring when the river comes in shape for wade fishermen and they anxiously await the day they can wade the river safely. When the river flows are 1,500 cfs or lower the pressure really begins on the Bitterroot River between the confluences of the East and West Forks down river. You begin to see more and more rafts and fishermen strung throughout the river so other fishermen will invade your secret fishing place. What happens when you come to the river and someone is fishing in the area that you planned to fish? Several things can happen but it is best if you approached the fisherman and asked if you could fish nearby either upriver of down river from him. He may indicate that he is proceeding to fish downstream so you might fish upstream and continue from there. Most fishermen are very happy to cooperate with others and in doing this it makes for a better fishing day for all.
Fishing has become quite good again despite sunny skies. Hot weather will continue to raise the water temperatures and increase activities for some mayfly and caddis species. The best fishing will be in the early morning hours and later evening hours when the sun no longer shines on the water surface. On bright sunny days fish spend a good amount of time hiding in shady areas to prevent being seen by predators like osprey. Night fishing becomes popular during July and August when the water cools and fish can spread out in the river. It might be pretty dark to the fisherman gut the fish have exceptional sight and can pick out a bug on the surface or floating downriver under the water. A very popular night fishing activity is using a small mouse pattern on the surface to attract larger brown trout to rise and take the fly (mouse).
The best fishing is where you can find it along the river including the East and West Forks. Most of the river is pretty good for fishing as the water continues to be high and the fish spread out. Skalkaho Creek is still running a little high but some pools are beginning to form that will hold a lot of fish temporarily.
Some of the surrounding lakes have also been good fishing. Another report from a lake fisherman is from Reservoir Lake. Reservoir Lake is in the Beaverhead Mountain Wilderness area where water surface temperatures are around 60 degrees on sunny days. This lake is known for brook trout that are mostly small. Fishing was good and many of these small fish made the frying pan. Brook Trout are very good eating especially if they are small.
Fly patterns that will work best during the warm evenings and mornings are pale morning duns, gray caddis and golden stone.