What Did He Say? How To Read A Fishing Report
This time of year, if you’re not fishing, you’re probably reading about fishing. I’m sure by now you’ve seen our River Reports, that we try to post weekly so that we all stay updated on what is happening on the Stillwater, Yellowstone and Boulder River. But maybe you’re not sure how to read a fishing report, including ours. If you don’t know some of the terminologies we use, let us help you clear that up so you know what to expect and how to prepare for your next outing.
Read our tips for reading a fishing report, and give us a call if you still have questions.
Learn How To Read A Fishing Report Like A Pro
If you’ve come ready to learn a few insights on how to read a fishing report, you’ve come to the right place. Here we give you a few tips we’ve learned along the way, and we hope to help you get out on the water feeling confident and safe.
Trust But Verify
The great thing about the internet is that it means more eyes and more reports on the water. The first thing we’ve learned while reading other fishing reports is to take them with a grain of salt. Make sure you check the date the report was made because fishing conditions can change drastically in a day, depending on the weather. If it’s been a week since you’ve read the last report, conditions have already changed.
Our advice to trust the report but then verify it. Try to check other reports and see if the information matches up or get out there yourself and scope out your favorite river.
Call Your Favorite Fly Shop
Call us at the Stillwater Anglers Fly Shop or, if you have another favorite guide or shop, ask them. Fly shops and seasoned guides are excellent sources of information. They’ll be glad you asked and eager to share their favorite spots. All of us guides are fly fishing junkies, which means we are constantly out on the water. Plus we have anglers who constantly keep us updated on what’s happening on your favorite rivers.
Our River Reports give you a brief overview of what river conditions, and often gives you our advice on what flies to use.
Research The Terms
If you’re struggling with how to read a fishing report, it might be time to catch up on your fishing terminology. Here are a few terms we’ve found in our recent River Reports that might be confusing.
Feeder Tributaries – A tributary is a stream or river feeding into a larger stream or a lake.
Off-Color Water – Off-color water refers to water that is affected by run-offs or wind. Typically if water is dark brown, the river is not fishable and you should find another spot.
Sipping Feeding Fish – A sipping fish refers to fish that come to the surface of the water and appear to “sip” the surface. They are looking for insects that are floating on top of the river.
Turbid Water – The turbidity of the water is a measure of the relative clarity of a liquid. High turbidity means that the water is running much browner and is much less clear than you’d want.
Beadhead Trailer Fly – Beadhead flies are a type of nymph flies. They are weighted and have a flashy bead on the front, hence the name.
Short Dropper – A short dropper rig usually refers to a dry fly of some kind with a short length of tippet tied to it with another fly attached (typically a nymph or larva imitation).
If you have more questions about some of the verbiage we use here, give us a call! We would love to talk about fly fishing with you. Better yet, stop by the shop. We can show you all of the different flies we have and get you hooked up with any gear you’re missing.
Keep Your Eye on The Weather
Like we said earlier, the weather has a huge impact on the condition of each river and stream. After a big rain or windy day, check your River Reports. If the weather is too hot, fish might be sluggish and hiding in fear of shadows. A slight rain might help kickstart the best fishing of your life.
There you have it. Your go-to guide for how to read a fishing report. Even seasoned anglers might not be familiar with everything they read, and we hope this guide helped you feel confident understanding what’s happening on the water. We think it’s important to check on not only what’s happening with the fish, but also to check the condition of the river. Whether it’s windy, raining, bright and sunny, and everything in between, Stillwater Anglers has the tools you need to help you with all of the info you to be prepared.
Still have questions? Give us a call at (406) 322 – 4977. We’d be happy to tell you the latest updates and help you make your next Montana fly fishing adventure a great one.