Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 12.14.22

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Headhunters Fly Shop (December 10, 2022)

Deep(er) Thoughts on the Headhunter Fly Line

We wanted to design a line for us. For Headhunters.

A couple days ago we published the Headhunter Fly Line Review. As I thought about that blog, I recognized that I left out the Deeper Thoughts on how we felt about fly lines including what we truly wanted the line to behave like.

A fly line that Finished Strong

Finishes Strong. Some call this turning over well. That line really turns the fly over. When casting good streamer lines that is a component of design that I’m sure line manufacturers desire. A turnover that does not kick. That does not finish too strong.

A line that turns over well was a design component that we did not want to miss. And the reasoning behind this concept was our belief that the only time the caster can actually control the fly line is when you are tight. Without Slack. The only time.

You gotta be tight to place the line, the fly, on the desired target, every time.

After you pull a loop into the line on your forward cast, when it is flying through the air from aft to fore, you do not have control. You are not attached for that moment. It is flying, flinging, moving rapidly hopefully towards your target.

This is the point where many anglers give up and hope. They fling it at the rising trout area. Sometimes it lands in the correct spot, but it mostly does not. (See Guessing below)

You control the pulling movement forward, towards the target, aiming it at the rising trout, stopping the rod (a movement that many need to improve on, the actual stopping of the rod not parallel to the water, not decelerating) in the direction of the rising trout.

The next thing that happens is the line straightens in front of you. This moment, this nano-second, is the line finishing strong.

This moment is real, real important.

When the line is coming tight, straight, taut, the loop has unrolled, it is straightening out in front of you…once again for the second time during the fore-stroke, you have an opportunity to move the line, to place the fly where you intend.

And that is important when Headhunting, when casting at specific targets. The moment you come tight, the line straightens, you can move the line, the fly, wherever you want. An example is the reach mend or cast. That is a secondary movement beyond the cast. It is those movements, moving the line and fly, to a specific spot you intend. In shorts, ACCURACY. When you are tight on the line you can move it up, down, sideways, and so forth. You can move the line wherever you want to. Accurately.

After you come tight on the fore-cast you have over 1 second to make a change before the flies lands on the water. And that time is important for your perfect placement of the fly.

You choose where the fly is placed. You, the caster, gets to choose.

consequently a line that finishes strong is damn important for dry fly anglers.

And, the wind blows here. So coming tight, finishing strong, and controlling the outcome of the fly line and fly, is damn important for dry fly successes.

Known Outcomes are important in dry fly fishing. Since we, and you shouldn’t either unless you like to guess every cast as many do that do not have a high success percentage whilst targeting specific fish, do not condone shooting fly line during a dry fly cast, Known Outcomes are important. And casting a static amount of line, a line that finishes strong, was imperative for us when thinking about, designing, and testing the Headhunter Fly Line.

Simply put, if you cannot control the fly line, dictate where the fly is placed, then we have failed. We were determined to bring a fly line to market that you could control. And it must finish strong, for you to control the outcome of each and every cast.

A line that casts well in the wind

See above.

A line built for a Specific Use

There are lots of fly lines on the market. We chose not to make a fly line for all anglers. There are plenty of them out there. There are very good general use fly line options from many line producers.

A line for Headhunters, by Headhunters.

We are Headhunters. We are dry fly angles at heart. We wanted a dry fly specific fly line made for 30′-60′ casts in the wind.

You can buy very specific streamer lines with differing densities depending on water depths, sink rates, etc. A nymphing line is imperative for tossing heavily weighted nymph rigs.

We wanted a dry fly line for our specific needs. For your specific needs. For Headhunting.

Casting with purpose

This is a fly line that you cast with purpose. For those guys out there not headhunting, lobbing nymph rigs outside the boat, this is not for you.

When fishing for rising trout, you must cast with purpose. The goal is to catch the trout. To fool the fish. And lobbing casts, shotgunning, guessing casts at rising fish is not what we intend to do when Headhunting.

You don’t look at the deer, then close your eyes and guess your shot out there. Do yah? That is what many anglers do when casting at rising trout. They guess…

Many anglers like to guess every cast at rising fish. They pull in different amounts of line and start the cast with a different amount of line off the tip every cast. They shoot line every cast at rising trout. That is guessing the fly out there. Known Outcomes while casting with the Headhunter Fly Line. This line is for fella’s who exhibit this behavior. This line is designed to lift you up brotha. For you to break through.

So many anglers hope that the fly lands near the trout, and hope that the trout eats the fly…a day filled with hope. I like Hope. I hope the sun will shine. I hope I will win the Lotto. I hope the wind won’t blow too hard. I hope the chef does not overcook my steak. I do not integrate hope in my dry fly game. I dictate what happens. I cast with purpose.

We consciously chose to make this fly line for those who dictate outcomes. A line that casts with purpose.

For those who choose to catch more dry fly trout. This line is made for you to move to the next level. If you mail it in, guess every cast, shoot line at rising trout, drop your rod tip on the fore-cast, and decelerate…this line is made to break the mold and allow you to improve.

Because if you do the above, you will not progress. You will not get better. The Headhunter Fly Line is a line that can help you move forward. To leave those bad habits and unimpressive results behind you.

You have to participate with the Headhunter Fly Line. And that was important to us. A line not for beginners. There are other lines out there for that specific skill set.

So as I have outlined here, we thought about it. We wanted a line that you could, and would, and should cast with purpose.

User Friendly

If it is not user friendly, we have failed. We integrated an easy to understand color scheme. The Lime Green portion means you are in the Performance Area. The Casting Zone. The fly line casts the best when you are in that zone. Easy. If the Blue Sky Camo is inside the rod tip, there may not be enough line out to load the rod properly. Easy. Lime Green means go ahead and cast. Blue Sky Camo means you have pulled too much line inside the rod tip.

Also included in this thought process was a running line that does not tangle as often. A larger diameter running line keeps the tangles to a minimum.

Deep(er) Thoughts about the HH Fly Line

Remember this line is made for a specific use. It is made for technical dry fly casts in the normal distance range of 25′-60′. This is not made for short casts. It is not made for extra long booming blind casts with grasshoppers. The Headhunter Dry Fly Line is made for accurate, casts at distance, with common environmental distractions that this fly line overcomes with ease.

We were quite aware of the beliefs above. We wanted to stay true to the cause. To the design. To the dry fly line. To Headhunters.

And what we got, from RIO of Idaho Falls, was exactly what we set out to do. The Headhunter Dry Fly Line.

Gallatin River Fishing Report via Bozeman Fly Supply (December 13, 2022)

Well, it looks like winter is here to stay but that just means the rivers will be less busy! The Gallatin River is fishing well right now, but be careful on and around shelf ice! In the lower stretches of the river around Axtell and Cameron Bridge, target deeper slower runs and buckets as well as definitive seams. If you like to fish up in the canyon and closer to Big Sky, fish the same water but put most of your energy into the deep pockets. For your point flies try stoneflies like Pats Rubber Legs, and Deep Cleaners, or a leech pattern like a Wooly Bugger. For your dropper patterns focus on small mayfly species and midges. Zebra midges, Quilldigons, and Hares Ears in 16-22 are some of our favorites in the winter on the Gallatin. Worms and eggs can also be a very good option. If you find one fish, keep fishing that area, as fish tends to pod up in the winter! On the right day fish can be willing to move for stripped streamers so that can make for a very fun day on the river as well. Try Mini Dungeons and sculpting patterns. Fish that are looking up on overcast days will be looking for baetis, mice, and midges.

Suggested Fly Patterns

  • Dry-Fly

    Adams (14-22), Purple Haze (16-20), Sparkle Dun (16-22), Elk Hair Caddis (14-18), Griffith’s Gnat (16-20), Buzzball (16-18), Extended Body BWO (16-22) Pip Squeak Baby Mouse (6)

  • Stream

    Woolly Bugger Olive/Black (6-12), Sculpzilla Tan/Black/Olive (4-8), Beldar Brown/Black/Olive (6-8), GD P/Jig Streamer (10), Zirdle Bug Tan/ Orange/ Olive (6-12), Urchin Bugger (4), Dungeon Black/ White/ Brown/ (2), Mini Dungeon Purple/ Natural/ White (6)

  • nymph

    Perdigon (14-18), Pat’s Rubber Legs (8-12), Hell Razor Leech (12), Hare’s Ear (16-20), Black Blowtorch (12-18), Juju Baetis (18-20), Zebra Midge Black / Red/ Purple (16-22), Worms, Eggs, Mops

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (December 9, 2022)

Church Slough- 5-6′ of good ice, nice pike on tip-ups being caught, also look for crappie/bass along weed edges late evening. Try Northland drill minnows or cubby jigs.
♦️ Smith Lake – lots of small pike on dead bait. Also look for big perch 3 to 5 feet of water with small tungsten jigs.  Check regulations on perch.
♦️ Island Lake- a lot of perch 7-11”, few pike 5-6”. Good ice with slush and snow.
♦️ Lower Thompson-Froze-Not Safe ⚠️
♦️ Little McGregor- 4-6” of ice, lots of small perch, few rainbows and brookies.
♦️ Lower Stillwater- 6-8” ice, good perch north end or by bar. Also pike and lake trout.
♦️ Murphy Lake- 4-6” of ice, lots of perch 6-10”, a few bass.
♦️ Flathead River- still some white fish in river, also try lower and near sportsman bridge. Be sure to check regulations on the river.

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