Slinging (streamers) in the Rain

Long time Big Hole Lodge guide, Allen Baker, and I fished together the year before I started guiding in 2006 and it is still the best day of fishing I've ever had on the Big Hole.  We caught six fish over 18" and one 23", in addition to a load of average sized trout.  We haven't been able to fish together much since, and we jumped on the opportunity Tuesday.

It is a sin to leave a seat in the boat open, especially in a valley where log cabin has waders hanging on the porch and a fly rod behind the door.  So we invited Allen's neighbor and friend, Ward, for a day in the intermittent rain on the upper river.

We fished for two hours without a bump, prompting Ward to ask,  "How have we not seen a fish with two guides in the boat?"

There were caddis in the back-eddies and golden stones in the willow, air, and on the boat, but not a fish could be seen feeding on top.

We stuck to the naval assault with massive streamers and yuk-bugs, and when that proved ineffective we tried smaller streamers and trailer nymphs.  Suffice it to say, by evening we'd tried everything and had only caught a handful of small fish each.

Allen caught the fish of the day, about a 14" brownie on a streamer.

When we arrived home and opened the computer, the problem became clear.  The river had been swiftly rising and cooling all day.  Fish do not respond well to abrupt change, and with storm system after storm system bouncing the barometric pressure around, the fish were hunkered down waiting for stability.

At least that's as good of an excuse I as I can come up with!