Summer Solstice: Paint it Black


As the summer solstice comes and goes, the days begin a slight but evident bend towards fall.  The days march downhill now, there are no two ways about it.  We’ve been getting busy sharing our rivers, our trout, and our love with others in the professional job dodge called “Guiding.”

And tonight I’ll be able to see my hand in front of me well into the tenth hour past noon.  I may be on a river or I may be near a slowly cooling grill, having just done its job.  But i’ll be around, as is the drill for summer, when the last blotch of color and contour drips fleeting from the canvas, and the night is painted black.

There has been a Salmonfly thing happening in hushed corners of the Big Blackfoot, and certain days, beckoned by a coin toss, bring hours long fits of giggly dry fly drifts finding dozens of toothy lips.  I like giggly dry fly drifts because the whole time you know its happening but might not in the same way tomorrow or in ten minutes.

Salmonfly season on the Blackfoot River. Missoula, MT. Fish It Missoula.

Salmonfly season is definitely still rollin’ up the Blackfoot right now. There’s a lot of bugs, and a lot of fish to eat them.”

This early summer dry fly season has been the real deal.  Three separate friends offered reports yesterday—“Dude, that was the best day of fly fishing for trout I’ve ever had in my life.”  Are all of us just getting better, is the fishing better, was yesterday just that good in particular? Yes is the answer.  There are Stoneflies and Mayflies and Drakes, oh my.  It is good to be here if you like these things.

Where should you go??  Anywhere with water and trout would be best.  Just show up with a handful of flies and watch the river unfold.  Don’t expect something but please be open to it.  That’s what we like to say.  Its going to go one of two ways I suppose.

Fish It Missoula. Fly Fishing on the Blackfoot River.

This rainbow didn’t hesitate to eat a size 6 (gigantic) chubby chernobyl.

It’s been going the better way for us lately but the other way is surely not bad, it’s just less preferable.  It is my experience that if you don’t go seize it, the thing could pass you by.  These summers don’t seem as long as they used to.

The tubers aren’t clogging things up yet, and inevitable smoke-haze afternoons are still a ways off.  Now is that time when all things are the happiest, look at it as Friday.

The whole “weekend” is ahead.  Soon Saturday will pass with the festivities of July, hopper fishing, and sweat-bead induced dips in the river.  Then the dry willow creak hum of August will arrive, and like Sunday, portend the ultimate extinction of summer, and “back to school.”  But do not be concerned with this, it is Friday and a whole weekend, a whole big blue summer awaits.  Go see it with your eyes, the shapes and sounds, before they paint it black.



Read more about Fishing the Bitteroot River, the Clark Fork River, Rock Creek, and western Montana Lakes.

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Matt Devlin Fish It Missoula BioMatt Devlin is a fishing guide in Missoula MT.  He enjoys dry flies, “floating with the bros”, attempting to get his labradoodle to chase tennis balls, and writing.


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