The Great Tube Hatch


As summer wears on in earnest, the air and water temperatures approach each other and Missoulians get hot.  What do Missoulians do when they get hot?  Well they pile into the rivers by the truck-full and plant their asses in large black tire inner tubes of course.

The art of drifting lazily down-river half hammered is no new concept.  It can be traced to the Nile river where the first boat hulls were designed and mead was the drink of choice.

These days it has “evolved” into a full on summer sport, a tube and a cold one the only entry fee.  Sometimes when multiple tubes are not available, those exceedingly proficient at this sport have been known to co-inhabit!  This is no easy feat, and will become more clearly illustrated later (I won’t talk about it anymore as the picture does that for me).

All hogwash aside, this hatch of rubber is a wonderful and brilliant thing to witness.  And fishing amidst one of these hatches so thick it may blot out the sun, does something to the angler.  Reminds he or she what it is to have a good old time.  Huck Finn would choose a languid float on a tube over an overly complicated drift boat if confronted with the quandary, he would perhaps dunk a worm off a piece of freshly cut cane, you know, to pass the time.  And aren’t we all really just passing the time?

At the height of the hatch you can catch it just right, and witness giant stoneflies tumbling in the current and clinging to errant PBRs dead-drifting down stream.  These “lost soldiers” should be immediately rowed towards, even if you miss a good bank.  They should be netted fashionably and drunk on the spot, even shot-gunned.

One of the best places to catch the hatch is below the Johnsrud river access on the recreation corridor.  And word to the wise; the fish don’t mind a bit, just check out the Cut-Bow Cortney landed during last Sunday’s hatch.  See ya’ll out there.

****Spoiler alert—Our very own Bryce Mclean is embarking on a whirlwind quest to fish eight of the finest Montana trout rivers in eight days.  We expect a full report.****


Enjoy this blog? Please leave comments in the Facebook commenting box below and be sure to click the +1 button.   Be sure to visit our Make it Missoula fishing page.  And Check out Matt and Bryce’s other blogs: The Year of the Twomper Trout,  The Advent of Stone Flies,  Missouri River Fishing–Trout Mecca of Montana and  Fly Fishing Season is When?

If you enjoy western Montana lakes and rivers, you might also enjoy our page on Missoula kayaking and rafting.


Photos of Missoula Fly Fishing Experts Matt Devlin and Bryce McLeanBryce McLean:  (Right) I was born and raised in Montana, and have been fly fishing here for almost 20 years.  I first learned to fish on the Missouri River, but when I was 10 my family moved to the Bitterroot Valley. I have been fishing the Bitterroot River ever since.  This will be my second season guiding the Missoula area rivers, which I consider to be some of the best trout fisheries on planet earth. Matt Devlin:  (Left) Matt is originally from Annapolis, Maryland and learned to fool trout on the technical waters of the Gunpowder River.  He has fished in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Main,e, Michigan, Indiana, North and South Carolina, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Idaho and Montana.  He thinks about flies and fishing a whole lot.