Spring fly fishing in Western Montana lends itself to capitalizing on some of the best fishing of the year, compressed into small windows of time. Hatches are intense, flows fluctuate, and big trout feed; in keeping with their ever increasing metabolism as the water temperatures rise from their frigid wintry depths. The key to spring fishing around Missoula is a thorough understanding of the entire set of river systems, and how to cycle through them effectively. Knowing what set of conditions is conducive to success can make the difference between mediocrity or needing to ice an elbow at night because it is sore from fighting fish.
With the changing weather of spring in the Rockies, rivers rise and fall quite frequently. The fluctuating weather certainly comes with its advantages. One advantage of this is our spring trout don’t get stale very often. As trout switch position in the river with the changing flows, it shuffles the deck and hits the reset button on trout that may have previously become wary. Higher flows also give trout less time to examine an incoming meal. With less time, older fish often throw caution to the wind, and we put some of our biggest fish of the entire season in the net in March and April.
Hatches in the spring can be incredible. Blanket Blue Wing Olives, March Browns, and Mother’s Day Caddis arrive with the warming temperatures. Capnias, Nemouras, as well as skittering and fluttering Skwalas all add to the lengthy list of trout food items on the menu. Eddies that are vacant in the morning can become unending merry-go-rounds of fish in the afternoon. Long dry fly slicks with heads up on rhythm are a common sight, and spots that won’t exist come August load up with heavy trout looking to escape the flows of the main river. Twitching a big foam Skwala along the flooded willows of the lower Clark Fork in April has little comparison beyond the Salmon flies of June.
We are in the peak of our booking season for spring trips and hope to hear from you. Please give us a call toll free 1-877-327-7878 or send us an email at [email protected] to put together your spring fishing package.