River fry-feed­ers

And now for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent – Paul Richard­son catches Mon­tana rain­bows

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Be Inspired - To watch the film men­tioned in this fea­ture go to: www.red­ing­ton.com/ex­pe­ri­ence/videos# Sea­son 2: Episode 6 - MOVEMBER

WHEN most an­glers think of fry-feed­ing trout fren­zies, the sce­nar­ios and bat­tles that come to mind are around the shal­lows or struc­tures of our fa­mous large still­wa­ter fish­eries. And rightly so, this fish­ing can be high-oc­tane stuff - with in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing, hard-hit­ting eats fol­lowed by an equally impressive fight from th­ese preda­tors. How­ever, I think of some­thing slightly dif­fer­ent – wild fry-feed­ers on our rivers! As we en­ter the au­tum­nal sea­son, the in­sect life re­duces sig­nif­i­cantly and be­comes harder to pre­dict - mak­ing the search for ris­ing fish even more dif­fi­cult. As the fly-life seem­ingly dis­ap­pears, so to do the an­glers – but the fish re­main! With re­duced an­gling pres­sure and in­flux of fresh swim­ming food there is now no bet­ter time to se­cure that wild fish of a life­time. The USA seem to be way ahead of us Euro­peans on ‘streamer’ fish­ing for big trout in au­tumn (and early spring) on their vast net­work of rivers. They have it mas­tered, more so than ever be­fore with re­cent tackle ad­vance­ments in sin­gle-hand and two-hand trout­spey equip­ment. It is so pop­u­lar, be­cause it is so pro­duc­tive, when search­ing for that fish of a life­time on a river. Big fish, eat lit­tle fish – this mantra is the same on our rivers, as it is on our still­wa­ters. My most mem­o­rable ex­am­ple of this the­ory in ac­tion hap­pened while film­ing a short film on ‘Trout-Spey’ on the Mis­souri river, in Craig, Mon­tana. Un­for­tu­nately for me, the cam­eras were no longer rolling as the best of the day’s light had faded into dusk. De­spite this, my fish­ing buddy and I con­tin­ued our search for a specimen, wild trout on long-tailed lures through the fi­nal run. Sadly, he was search­ing the run ahead of me, which min­imised my chances. Ap­proach­ing the flat water at the tai­lout of the pool my buddy mo­men­tar­ily hooked and lost a fish that he cited as, “a good fish!” Work­ing our way through the run he shouted back to me “you’re go­ing to get a big one, I know it!” as he fished out the last piece of water and reeled in his line. No sooner were the words out his mouth, I felt the first hit on the fly, but noth­ing. Then sud­denly line was scream­ing off my reel as the fish headed im­me­di­ately down­stream try­ing to work its way around a bridge post. With plenty of side strain and the longer length Trout Spey rod bent to the bank, enough pres­sure was ap­plied to turn the fish. In turn­ing its di­rec­tion, the fish then headed off equally as quick up­stream - help­ing me gain some line back on my reel. Af­ter sev­eral min­utes of tug-of-war and con­stant head-shakes we got our first glimpse of the fish. Im­me­di­ately look­ing at one an­other we said noth­ing, as the bright pink stripe of 20-inches-plus rain­bow rolled at our feet. With shak­ing hands the fish slipped into our small net, with half of its body and tail spilling out over the bot­tom of the frame! We quickly taped the fish at 23 inches, which on th­ese river sys­tems, put this rain­bow in the 5-6lb class, be­fore it was quickly re­turned – with­out a pho­to­graph as it was by now to­tal dark­ness. A cam­erashy fish. Not that this mat­tered, as this fish will live long in both our mem­o­ries!

“Big fish, eat lit­tle fish – it’s the same on our rivers.”

A truly wild Mis­souri river rain­bow is worth the cost of the flight.

Ex­pect fe­ro­cious takes and pow­er­ful fights.

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