Hooray for climate change! As I write this, fish are still being caught on dries on Missoula area rivers. Baetis are a daily occurrence on the Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Clark Fork. October caddis are gone, but the midges are out. Think about starting late and fishing until dark. If you're a waterfowl geek, take along a shotgun and drill a duck or two. If you want to tug a wet fly, look to Rock Creek. The browns are horned up and looking to attack! There is basically no traffic, so you should feel free to take your time and pick each run apart. It looks like the weather is going to hold for another day or two, so get out there and catch a trout on a dry fly. Also, if you want to nail a pike pike on a fly, then this is a good time. Big northerns get greedy this time of year, and if you know where one lives you can catch him.
The outlook for the winter is either optimistic or dreadful, depending on which source you choose to consult. The Farmer's Almanac says that things will be warmer, milder and drier than normal. NOAA says that we will be wetter and milder than normal. Whatever the case, the rivers are brutally low and we will need a significant amount of snowpack to rebound. When I look at the flows on the Blackfoot and Bitterroot in particular, I am shocked to see how little effect closing all of the irrigation ditches had on volume. They are still very low, and at these levels brutal cold and anchor ice would be highly detrimental. Hopefully this rainy cycle will continue a few more days. I noticed yesterday that the Jocko was very swollen and very muddy. Good news! However, both weather forecasting sources agree that the summer of 2016 could very well be hotter and drier than normal. That's great news if you're a locust or a Syrian refugee, bad news if you're a trout or penguin. It is what it is...