With the flurries slowly drifting about and life in Missoula moving a little slower than usual this morning, it seems like a fitting time to look back on this season’s ebbs and flows.
Our spring season started off with a bang in mid-March with stable water conditions and sub-surface opportunities abound. Sticking with the historical trend, we saw some of our largest fish of the year make mistakes in these early season dates. The skwalas arrived in force in late March and early April and the fish were keyed in on the dries. Our April was certainly unique this year and cold temperatures, and even snow storms, kept our water in shape but made for less than ideal conditions for a handful of days.
Cold temperatures and a booming late snowpack allowed our local water to stay in shape through the first week of May. This late timeline allowed the skwala hatch to progress down to the lower Clark Fork, where the habitat allows for a 10x factor hatch. Our Missoula dry fly fishing in late April and early May was memorable to say the least.
We shifted over to the Missouri in late April with some great longtime guests, and moved all trips once our local water went out of shape in May. The word I would use to describe the Missouri for us over the past few years would be consistent. If you are interested in numerous opportunities to land fish above 17 inches, please reach out for more information on our tailwater program. In May and early June the Missouri is a great fit for new or novice anglers, and those with more experience can enjoy stripping streamers in the canyon as well.
A calm May had us forgetting about the April snowstorms, but June arrived and proved to rival the volatility of our springtime weather. Heavy rains compounded with the late season snowpack caused rivers all over Montana to rise. We were fortunate here in Missoula to not have any significant flooding, and operated in a high water program with a combination of the Missouri, Rock Creek, and the Bitteroot or Blackfoot when a solid call until late June.
High water June rolled over into July and we were fortunate to have great opportunities throughout the drainage for the entire month. Stable conditions remained and it seemed like most days you just couldn’t make a bad fishing call.
As things warmed up in August we shifted to a more hopper and terrestrial focused program. Thankfully we were spared from any major impacts due to fire season, however we were certainly hit with sweltering heat that seemed like it may never relent. Smoke from the west coast proved to be an unlikely friend, and in early September we traded a week of smokey days for cooler tempeartures and our rivers were able to drop back into the lower temps we all like to see.
Mid-September and October were filled with the usual and faithful fall lineup of tricos, mahoganies, and October caddis. A warm fall kept hopper fishing in the rotation as well, and also provided a great food source for the trout before winter.
Every season in unique, however Montana’s everchanging weather in 2022 certainly kept us on our toes and make us extremely thankful for a veteran guide crew that is able to collaborate and navigate the conditions, whatever they may be.