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In Search of (Liquid) Water

by Phillip Dobson
(Butte, MT)

Fishable water!

Fishable water!

Happy winter everyone! This is definitely my favorite time of year despite the fishing difficulties.

I attempted a little fishing the other day before the Solstice. The temperature had come up more than sixty degrees in three days, so I was hopeful when I headed over to the Big Hole.

I can honestly say that I didn't expect THAT much ice. Most of the river was frozen completely across. The areas that weren't solid featured dangerous ice shelves over deep water. I did find an accessible area that I fished for an hour or so. It was beautifully peaceful out on the river. The water was clear and shallow, and I unfortunately didn't see any fish.

Notch Bottom seemed like the most promising access area as it tends to be a little warmer. Drifted snow ended those plans, however. After half an hour of digging the truck out, I called it quits.

Time to play the waiting game until conditions improve. In the meantime, I'm going to play in the mountains.

Comments for In Search of (Liquid) Water

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Dec 22, 2016
Fly tying weather
by: Les A.

Sometimes it is best just to stay home and tie flies. It has been nasty here too. I have been going through my flies, and I have way too many patterns! I am building up a supply of Utah Killer Bugs. Tom Davis in his Blog talks about different variations of the Utah Killer Bug, and I am going to tie up some of those variations. I am down to 2 egg flies and am continuing to work on some simple worm flies using Squirmito. I found last fall that it works better for me than chenille. My wiggler farm is sleeping for the winter. I doubt I will ever be just a one fly guy, but a less than 25 guy is a start.

Dec 23, 2016
One fly
by: Hoppy Dave (SD)

Forget the Squirmy, and forget the egg patterns, Les. Go "mop." You'll be down to one fly in your fly collection in no time at all.

You won't find any liquid water up in the mountains at this time of year, Phillip! :-) But "climb away" and soak up the spirit of the mountains. Just be sure to spend some time whipping out a few "mops" at the tying bench, tho, when you aren't in the throne room of the mountain gods.

Dec 23, 2016
One Fly?
by: Les A.

So Hoppy Dave, you really clean up on the trout with the mop fly? lol Speaking of trout and South Dakota, I caught my first trout on a fly when I was 7 years old in the Black Hills. I don't know what stream my uncle took us to fish. It began my love of trout. My dad was a walleye fanatic. I am not sure about the Mop fly. My go to fly has been the hare's ear up to this point. I don't think I could limit myself to just one fly. The Utah Killer bug has been working well too. I am seriously thinking of being a Keiryu fisherman and using only worms.


Dec 23, 2016
Powerful the dark side is.
by: Chris Stewart

I'll leave it to you to decide whether Yoda was talking about worms or mop flies.

Dec 24, 2016
Mop-Mop, Rag Mop
by: Hoppy Dave (SD)

We clean their clocks with "mops," Les! Ha!

Lots of nice trout in the waters of the Black Hills, and they are willing to play. Most of the time..... Great place to get hooked on trout! (Bad pun.)

Yoda was a purist, Chris. If it didn't float high and dry, then it was from the Dark Side. Ha!

Merry Christmas to all, and, to all, tight lines!

Dec 25, 2016
by: Phillip

I've definitely been tying flies. My trout boxes are filled up and the overflow boxes are, well, overflowing. Until I manage to lose a bunch of fishing flies, I'm spending my bench time studying Pryce-Tannatt's fly dressing manual. Now I can spend days tying without having to find a place in a box for a single finished fly! It's a new level of frustration and enjoyment.

As far as going outside is concerned, the ice here in Montana is ridiculously good right now. It's hard to complain about a lack of fishing when the waterfalls are the best I've seen in years.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

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