Posted on July 04 2016
It's July now and - - - - -
There is no doubt about it the fishing has changed. The iso hatch has been meager at best and the summer sulfurs (at least up river ) have failed to hatch in numbers sufficient to get the "big boys" feeding. I fished three places between Deposit and Hancock and never saw a drift boat. Parking lots are almost empty and in many places there isn't an angler in sight.
Why? The number of big fish feeding on top has dwindled to a precious few. I fished from one-o'clock until dark without throwing at an 18 inch class fish. That said, a Troutfitter regular, warming up for his trip to the Missouri, hooked and landed a nice 18 inch rainbow just upstream from me. It's not that there isn't good fishing. I had a good day catching fish. It's just that almost all of them were two year olds (now 12.5 to 14 inches). Just before dark a nice 16 inch brown ate my pink lady and was the "fish of the day" in a runaway.
I did catch the 13.5 inch brook trout again (for the third time) in a pool above Deposit. The poor fish has never seen a fly it didn't like. Am going to try a Scarlet Ibis or a Paramachene Belle on it the next time. I'm also bringing along a tube of Neosporin to disinfect it's wounds
If you're not in Montana, the pace has slowed, the flies are smaller, the hatches are sparser, the feeding fish are fussier about what they eat and most of the fish you catch won't be as large. Change your equipment to fit the game. Fish a lighter rod, use longer, lighter leaders (six or seven x tippets) and treat that 14 incher with respect. Above all, remember that on most days you will get a shot or two at a big one and with you lighter equipment, you'll have your hands full.