Mainstem Flathead should be good fishing, according to Smalley’s research

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Gotta be honest. My first version of this week’s column was a “whine-fest” about writing a hot weather story so early in July.

Especially after what I would term a “challenging” spring season.

Too many fishing trips were postponed or canceled due to unstable weather or high winds.

I’m hoping that the still above-average river flows will moderate the recent high air temperatures, so we don’t face stream closures.

For an up-to-date report on the mainstem Flathead River I called Lakestream Fly Shop (862-1298) in Whitefish and talked with Jonson England.

“The Flathead River is looking good right now and post runoff fishing is generally pretty good,” said England. “Now’s the time to put away your nymph boxes and fish dry flies. Both big dries and small dries will produce fish.”

For big dry flies, England recommended Chubby Chernobyls, Golden Stones, Amy’s Ant, and the venerable Yellow Stimulator.

Smaller fly picks include PMDs, Purple Haze and Green Drakes.

England indicated you can expect some hits during even the hottest part of the day.

And regarding crowds on the water, England told me, “You can always find a place on the river to get away. And that works both ways, so be sure to give other anglers plenty of room.”

Boat ramp congestion is becoming an irritating problem at many sites.

“Set your boat up before you back to the ramp,” advised England, “Then get in and out as quickly as possible, and patiently wait your turn.”

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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