The MRE: Montana

Trout Really Eat It Up

After two years of enjoying Texas trout fishing, Carol and I have moved north. She retired from the Air Force in August (I retired 10 years ago), and we have settled on the Gallatin River, just outside Bozeman Montana. OK, keep the moans of condolence to a minimum.

The big brown spawn is over, and the browns are on their redds, but the rainbows are hovering below the redds, feeding on eggs. There is still great fishing here, and the uncrowded rivers are REALLY empty with the elk and deer seasons in full swing.

I read about the "MRE" nymph (named for the military "Meal-Ready-to-Eat" rations) in Fly-Tyer magazine, and it has become my Number 1 producer here in Montana waters. The recipe follows:

Hook: #16 scud, preferably with upturned eye, and a 3/32 gold bead

Thread: #6 or 8 black

Body: A single biot from a mottled turkey wing, started half way round the bend of the hook

Wing: Short and sparse white calf's hair or light elk hair, (12 to 15 hairs) tied in no longer than the start of the bend

Thorax: Single strand of peacock herl, wound over calf hair tie-in

Collar: Orange thread, 4 or 5 wraps, (plus 3 or 4 turns of whip finish) ahead of peacock herl, extending just up onto the gold bead

This little emerger is easy to tie, and really has outfished my pheasant tails, princes, and gold-ribbed hareís ears wherever I've fished it. In fast water, I'll rig it as a dropper behind a bead head wooly bugger.

Iím trying #32 midges for the winter spring creek fishing now, but thatís another story.

Tight lines all around.


Dave Elliott