Eye of the Guide


Tom Travis - Jul 16, 2012

Sysadmin Note
Part ten can be found here

July 2nd, in early July I spent several evenings on DePuy's Spring Creek in the company of the FAOL Editor Neil Travis. We have been fishing partners for years, and the purpose of this foray was to catch the PMD Spinner falls, which can be epic, however the wonderful thing about fly fishing for trout is that no two days are ever the same.

Even on those days where the weather is the same, there are so many variables that the angler is always challenged to solve the problem of what the trout are eating. The next few sections of this chronicle will relate the events of those evenings along the stream.

During the day on July 2nd, the PMD hatch began at 11:30 A.M. and continued to 2 P.M. for the next several days I was guiding an elderly angler who was 84 years young and who only fishes till 4 P.M. each day. This left me the evening hours to prospect and play on the waters of the spring creek, yes I know it is a tough job but some of us have to endure this hardship.

By 6 P.M. the issue of the spinner fall was still in doubt as the breezes of the evening had yet to subside and until that happens there would be no spinner fall on this evening.

I moved to the section of the stream just above the head of the house pond, as this was where I had agreed to meet Neil. He arrived shortly thereafter and got geared up. At 7 P.M. the winds began to drop and the spinners were soon up dancing, however the winds continued to come and go and the spinners would start and stop and start again depending on the strength of the breeze. Fortunately in July, Montana is blessed with long hours of daylight and true darkness doesn't appear until almost 10 P.M.

Neil had geared up with his favorite seven and half foot Lenard Bamboo and I with an eight and half foot Orvis PM, both rods took four weight lines and we were using nine foot leaders with 5x tippets. In the failing light of late evening we could have probably have got away with 4x tippets. We both selected PMD Parachute Spinners.

This particular spinner imitation was designed by my friend Lee Kinsey and featured in John Mingo's Fly Fishing the Montana Spring Creeks, published in 2009. It is an easy pattern to see on the water in low light conditions and has proven its worth time and time again.

Neil is right handed and I am a lefty so we often fish up a section side by side chatting about the trout, the casting and of course, fly patterns, however on this evening Neil had chosen to fish a section where the riffle flattened out into a glide and I had chosen to fish up the right hand (west) bank starting at the culvert. Finally at 8:15 P.M. the spinners began to fall on the water and soon every trout in that section of the creek was feeding like they hadn't ate anything in a week.

Until 9:45 P.M. the fishing was fast and furious with each of us hooking several trout and even managing to land a few. I thankfully had not worn my vest that evening, just sticking a couple of boxes of flies in a shirt pocket along with my camera and, of course, I was wearing my lanyard which had tippets, floatant and nippers attached. The west bank offered a great casting angle for a lefty, however the wading was touch and go as the water at times was deeper than my waders, furthermore the clay marl beds tight along the bank were slippery and twice I slid into deeper water.

If you are getting sleepy just ship a little 51 degree spring creek water over the top of your waders and it will perk you up immediately. By 9:55 P.M. both of us were out of the water and gearing down as the bats and nighthawks continued to feed, but the surface of the spring creek was once again smooth and calm giving no hint of the activity that had just transpired. Soon Neil headed for home and I took one last drive along the length of the creek. As I reached the top of the creek I paused to watch the creek slide and gurgled along, understanding that the promise of tomorrow lay hidden in water sliding beneath the star light of the night.

Sysadmin Note
Part twelve can be found here


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