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Warm winter has fly-fishers out in force
By Matt Elwell
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Anglers fishing on the Gallatin River in February Anglers fishing on the Gallatin River in February


BOZEMAN - A string of warm days in January and February are bringing anglers out for a banner year of winter fly-fishing.

“It's not typical that we have this kind of weather, but when we do I think a lot of people are looking to take advantage of it,” said Dane Huzarski, a fishing outfitter in Gallatin County. He says that he has already started getting some calls about early-season trips. “I've been fielding some inquiries and have booked a few trips for the next week.”

It isn't just the guides who are seeing the difference. Fly shops are getting slammed by fishermen looking to get some gear as well. River's Edge West near Four Corners is getting customers not only looking for flies, but other gear as well. “You find out real quickly in the winter if your waders are leaking or not” said Jack Weis of River's Edge.

Typically, the dry flies are not the big draw this time of year, but plenty of people are catching some nice fish on top of the water. The best course is still nymph fishing though. “Midge Larva, Black Wire Midge, and the Pink Pierre has been an excellent fly,” Weis advised.

And the nice weather means more people hitting the water. The big difference between this year and last year is the number of days. “The weather has cooperated, and it is pleasant to be out there,” said Weis.

People are already getting a head start on buying drift boats as well. Robert Eddins, who owns RO Drift Boats, told us he's been pleasantly surprised with the year so far. “We've noticed almost a false spring. Everybody is coming and getting their boats ready,” Eddins said. “We've had record numbers of people coming out and buying both new and used. This weather does wonders for the boat business.”

With such an early start, there are plenty of people worried about the impact warm weather now could have on the late-summer. But most guides aren't ready to worry quite yet. “The snow pack is still hovering right around 100%, and the rain that we have had in the last few weeks has increased the moisture that we have, so we are not in dire straits yet,” said Huzarski. “We usually pick up our best snow pack in the mountains during March, April, and May."
 

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mid sixties here in southern oregon the last couple days, as great as it is to have this perfect weather all I can do is worry about our summer runs and fire season. we have had some crazy rain this year but its only for a couple days and then gets really dry for quite a while...
 

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I want to say that the winter here is great but we have seen so little rain or snow in the last three years that it is starting to get down right dry and very boring.

I moved from Michigan to this dreadful place and now I'm begging for somewhere wet and cold. I know I'm a sick person but steelhead just don't like dry and hot.

KC
 

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Yeah, I agree. As I sit here in the ferry lineup in tswassen my face I burning and I can hardly see my phone. To top that, the mountains should be thinking of downhill biking soon unless things change. I can forsee very little future for our salmon streams if this continues. Not much for snow packs me thinks. They have also shut the Grouse Grind down due to poor conditions. Kinda sad for us fishers
 

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This my fishing camp on the Miramichi in New Brunswick. The river is in the background behind the six foot snow drift. The cold and snow back east here is the most in living memory. We ought to have some spring runoff. :eek:
 
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