Stillwater River 05/13/19
With warm temperatures this week, flows have been on the climb. As often happens, caddis and rising/off color flows arrived at the same time. We’re at the point of the season were runoff is likely here to stay. If the lower river is off color, consider wade fishing the upper river above Absarokee which usually stays clearer longer. Also look to fish smaller tributaries. There has been some success on a size 14-16 green or olive pupa or emerger. March Browns have been coming off as well. Dry fly action is more active with cloud cover. If it’s bright and sunny, try fishing with a dropper nymph. A March Brown nymph dropped off of a Purple Haze or Parachute Adams will produce. Various baetis and caddis emergers trailed slightly below the surface should also take fish this time of year as well. The number one dry fly pattern for the March Brown hatch is the Trina’s Carnage Drake March Brown in size 14. A good dry fly tactic is to fish a tandem rig using a larger spotter dry fly along with a smaller dry fly trailer pattern. Otherwise, nymphing is always a good bet with standard Stillwater beadhead mayfly nymph patterns like a hare’s ear, pheasant tail, caddis green psycho prince, or red copper john. Also if there’s no surface action, a smaller size golden stone nymph will work too. In off color water, try nymphing with black, brown and coffee colored rubber leg patterns like girdle bugs and Pat’s rubber legs, as well as similar colored stonefly patterns along with a beadhead trailer fly like a prince nymph, hare’s ear, batman or pheasant tail. As flows climb and clarity worsens, a san juan worm, rubber leg, or black bugger fished on the edge is a good tactic. For streamers in off color water, use a color contrast of darker color patterns like black buggers or the Grinch either dead drifted or stripped. At some point the river is likely to run too high and off color and will be best to just stay away from it in those conditions and look for smaller tributaries, tailwaters and lakes.