Into the Great Wide Open

“There’s an idea of the Plains as the middle of nowhere, something to be contemptuous of. But it’s really a heroic place”.

Ian Frazier


I spent a couple of afternoons sight fishing with dry flies out in the great wide open. Several nice trout were spotted and a few tricked in very shallow water. Both took me into my backing as all they could do was run far away. There was no depth to the side channel I was fishing so they couldn’t sound.

There is no place to hide out in the “wide open”. You can spot fish when the sun is out and of course they can spot you. You’ve got to go slow, stay low, keep your distance, use the angle of the sun to your advantage and keep your casts just above the water (side arm). Approaching feeders from behind is usually the best when possible but sometimes you just don’t have that option.

Pale Morning Duns (PMD’s) were the main hatch. There were also Yellow Sallies and a few Drakes and Caddis flies. Trout were caught on size 16 and 18 PMD’s.

Challenging angling in a very beautiful place.


very little snow on the peaks, rare for late june


side channel

side channel



fly of choice

clear trout








a rare calm moment on the plains



the drive home

4 thoughts on “Into the Great Wide Open

  1. Isn’t summer wonderful? I used to dread it, couldn’t wait for fall to come. Now I try to squeeze as much out of it as possible. It looks like you do likewise.

    Your cripples are fuzzier than mine. But, your fish are bigger too. Maybe I need to tie some fuzzies.

  2. Les; Thanks for comments on last 2 posts. Summer is wonderful and I do try and make the most of it when possible. Funny, even though I usually get out a lot at the end of it (summer) I always feel I didn’t get out enough! Like the long days.
    My cripples are usually tied less fuzzy than photo, more sparse. That one was quite beefy and more deer hair than usual….and chewed a bit. But it worked ok. That weekend also caught a nice fish in flat water on a light feathery cdc pmd with split tails.
    Hope you enjoy Spring Creek. The author writes elegantly…doesn’t try to blow you off the page like so much stuff today…also humble. Let me know what you think of it when done reading.
    This weekend will check your blog to see what you are up to.

  3. Bob, so you do use CDC too. Spring Creek was a really good read. I enjoy his writing style. Many subtle tips, food for angler thought. He seems to like the sparkle dun, another pattern that I’ve yet to tie.

    Fished the MO a couple of weeks ago. Fish were in great shape. Like you I had a couple run into the backing in nothing flat. Always makes me nervous when the fly line/backing knot goes bing, bing, bing through the rod guides.

  4. Hey Les: In the past I tied with CDC a lot and still have many leftovers in my fly boxes and use them from time to time on real flat slow water….esp if water seems clean; not filmy. They land so softly. I caught a fish on one today. But use polypro more.
    Glad you enjoyed the book! Yes, he fished the sparkle dun a lot.

    It is not often that trout go into the backing so it is a nice thrill when it happens. The Mo is a big river so there is always that possibility. To have it happen a couple of times in an outing is special like you did a few weeks ago.. Backing knot thru the rod guides is, yes, always a bit tense. The last fish who went into my backing turned and then came back at me and I instinctively started stripping but it wasn’t fly line it was backing, and my hand couldn’t get a grip….slack line for awhile…I got lucky and fished stayed on.
    I was out this weekend…with the heat fishing was tough…many fish down deep. Look forward to your next post

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