Hello friends. It's been a couple of weeks since the last lake report because I happened to be on vacation. And where did I go on vacation, you might ask? West Yellowstone, Montana! And what did I do on vacation? Let's just say there was some lake fishing involved.
It's mid-July and over the past two weeks we have shifted into a very summery weather pattern. This is a very interesting time to be a stillwater angler! Gone are the days of simplified fishing and predictable fly choices. The full suite of aquatic macroinvertebrate food sources is at play on most of the areas stillwaters - Chironomids, Callibaetis mayflies, multiple caddis species, damsel and dragonflies, and of course, leeches. In some areas, terrestrial insects such as flying ants are also added to the menu. Adding to that, the sun is high. Water is warming. What this means is that our angling opportunities are diverse, but also challenging!! Very fun times, indeed.
Over the past two weeks I was able to experience a variety of the local stillwater venues and fish during quite a range of combinations of weather, water, and insect activity. A couple of takeaways emerged that I wanted to share with you all. First, don't be afraid to fish your favorite stillwater or a brand new stillwater right now. Virtually everything is fishing, from the mid elevations all the way into the high alpine. Second, show up with a plan of attack, but DO NOT marry yourself to that plan if things don't seem to be working out how you expected. If you aren't seeing insect activity, fish activity, or both, you may be in the right place at the wrong time OR the wrong place at the right time. Don't be afraid to MOVE until you find the bugs and the fish. You may want to look either SHALLOWER or DEEPER than you've been fishing in the recent past. Fourth, don't be afraid to wait out some slow periods. The fish seem to be taking some siestas these days, but don't worry, their alarm clocks are set to coincide with the insect activity. And lastly, be prepared to fish a variety of hatches and hatch stages as well as impressionistic and attractor patterns. Count your successes not in the number if fish you fool, but in the puzzles you have solved and the unique mays you have fooled your quarry!