Clark Fork River February 16/17, 2010

I had the itch to go fishing and the winter has not been kind to the west side of the Rocky Mountains so there is very little snow, with virtually no snow nor ice down at the river.
The flow of the Clark Fork River near St. Regis, Montana had been steady at around 2250 cfs, with just a slight rise over a one week period and the water temperature had gone up from 41 degrees to 43 degrees.

I arrived on Monday afternoon, February 15 and got my gear cleaned up and ready to go fishing the next morning.

I fished from the confluence of the St. Regis River down to the boat launch. It was overcast and cool, but with little or no wind, and only a few showers every now and then. For reasons I can not figure, there were virtually no insect hatches that day, something that I had expected, at least a heavy midge hatch, but even that did not happen. Fishing was slow. I ended the day with only 6 fish on and I got 3 to the net, loosing the others before they got to the boat. The Rainbows I caught were in the 15 to 16 inch range and were very good fighters, each one full of energy and they really did not want to come to the boat.

The next day I decided to drive up to the Sloway launch area and drift down to St. Regis. There was a heavy fog hanging over the area but not down to the ground, and later on the sun even came out. I thought it was going to be a good day as I had two fish on within 100 feet of where we put in. Then it died. I tried everything I could, mostly nymphing with some dry fly/dropper casting in the afternoon. Nothing happened. I got down to the confluence of the St. Regis/Clark Fork again and I managed to hook up on to 4 more fish, getting three to the boat and netted. The two best were a 17 inch male Rainbow that was already getting very dark, like spawning colors, and a fat 16 inch female that was heavy with eggs.

The only fly that all the fish wanted both days was either a red or a pink San Juan Worm variation. They ignored all other flies offered.

For whatever reason, the fish just were not feeding. I guess that is fishing. It was earlier than I usually go to Montana for fishing, but I am not sorry I went. I love going to Montana and I really did enjoy myself, it felt great to be out on the river and looking at that beautiful country.

I will return in a month or so, when the activity picks up a bit.

Here is a link to my Photobucket slideshow

Larry ---sagefisher---