Mahoganies are making a consistent appearance on the Bitterroot, with their timing depending on the air temperature each day. Hecubas are on the menu as well, with it taking few adults to get the trout keyed into them. Due to their size, Hecuba nymphs will cause trout to swim quite a ways. Tricos continue to hatch as well, however the timing of the spinner fall varies. In the last week spinner fall can vary from ten in the morning to as late as four in the afternoon. Pods of rising trout are showing up in the flats, but most of the larger fish are setting up in zones that collect spent spinners across complex currents. To have a chance at sticking the adult class risers on rhythm a reach cast must be part of your arsenal. Any drag on the fly once it hits the water, ensures a snubbing by the trout keyed in on tricos. Once the larger mahoganies and hecubas show up in the afternoon, a dragging fly is not as much of an issue. Some of the pods are more cooperative than others, however most lately are not durable. Once you stick a good one, be prepared to move to the next pod. Pay careful attention to the rise form as well, and the trout will give you clues as to which stage of the life cycle they are honed in on. Crashing rises indicate emergers and cripples caught in the film, trout cruising in a wider lane often are hitting duns before they take off, and the head, dorsal, tip of the tail rise is often focused on spinners. Watch the fish working for a while before throwing to them, and your observations should reward you with a bent fly rod.
Clark Fork streamer fishing above town is becoming more consistent, with territorial aggression playing a bigger factor than predation strikes. By experimenting with retrieves you should find an angle from the bank and speed they prefer. Larger, brightly colored spun deer hair head streamers with neutral buoyancy on sink tips were the ticket today. If you get a blank stare from zones you know hold browns, cycle your program until you crack the code. Most eats were fully committed, and often the strikes came between strips. Nocturnal stones are still a play as well with the dry dropper game offering another option. Between Missoula and the Gorge is a mayfly game, with fishing results being incredibly varied. Be prepared for results ranging between high fives to head scratchers. That section lately feels like a roll of the dice. Below the Gorge is steady, the dry dropper still the top producing rig.
Blackfoot anglers were happy with their results last week. On colder mornings, opportunistic feeding takes place before any hatches show up. Streamers and worm droppers keep anglers entertained until bugs begin moving. Fall days on the Blackfoot are special, with the scenery a spectacular bonus.