With snow in the forecast and the holiday season upon us, one can’t help but to begin anxiously awaiting the return of sunny days on the water. The boats are winterized and gear is half-heartedly packed away until next spring, and the waiting game begins. Winter’s arrival has been a bit teasing so far this year, but is sure to come in full-force without fail.
Every year the rumblings of Skwala season begin in early spring. Angler’s ears hear small mentions of the elusive bugs around town, and perk up at every mention. Without fail, everyone is so excited about the idea of big bugs after a long winter that the talks start well before the stoneflies actually make an appearance. Still, the idea of watching a trout that wintered well come to the surface to feast on a Skwala is enough to make any angler throw on some extra layers and head to the river. It’s an experience in itself to see the vampire-like fisherman making their way to the water to break out of their winter trance.
Sunshine filled days and warming temperatures are what we all have our eyes on come spring. It can be a finnicky hatch to predict, as Montana weather toys with the idea of spring, and sometimes jumps right back into winter. The hatch begins when the water temperatures reach mid-forties and as the bugs emerge so do Missoula anglers. In some ways the trout in the spring and the angler are very similar, and both eagerly await the return of the early season stoneflies. This time of year can produce some of the best shots at typically picky large trout who forgo their hard earned skepticism and eat willingly on the surface.
If you’re interested in joining in on the springtime adventure we’d be happy to help you plan your Missoula fly fishing trip! Springtime weather is always difficult to predict, but the flexible angler can enjoy ample opportunities. For now, I’ll embrace the beauty of winter and the holiday season.