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Montana Brown TroutRisers, gulpers, sippers: all terms affectionately used by fly rodders to describe surface feeding trout. Casting to and hooking fish on dry flies is undoubtedly one of the most satisfying ways of catching fish. Some anglers will do nothing but fish a dry fly and often refer to themselves as “purists”. I, on the other hand, am anything but one of these “purists”. I will often use whatever method of fly fishing is required to get the job done. Hell, I’ll even troll a leech behind my float tube if that’s what it takes. Strangely though many times this past season I found myself tying on a dry fly, often at the expense of more productive methods. It started late last winter when a friend and I were out fishing a nearby tailwater. It was a cool morning and nymphing brought a few trout to hand. About mid-day as things started to warm up the fish started to look up. A midge hatch was underway and fish were steadily rising at the tail of a small island. I stepped up to cast my nymph rig and my buddy yells, “what the hell are you doing, there are fish rising!” I realized my error and tied on a small parachute trailed by an even smaller midge cluster. We spent the next few hours shaking off the winter by feeding hot bows and browns midge dries. I ended up fishing dries as much as possible right through the fall. I caught fish on top during numerous hatches from adult damsels to tiny #22 tricos. The most memorable days were more hunting than fishing. I’d patrol rivers looking for rising fish. Stalking picky fish in shallow water and executing drag free drifts was educational and rewarding fly fishing. Not to mention the difficulties of trying to land 20”+ trout after hooking them on tiny flies. I’m pretty sure the next time I fish for trout I’ll be tying on a #6 tungsten cone head. But I’ll be keeping my eye out for those subtle sippers tight to the bank.