Missouri River Early Spring

missouri river montanaIt’s been a long winter around here, it’s snowing now.  My mountain bike just got knocked over on the front porch by the latest snow squall that ripped through the valley, and now it’s sunny.  All in about twenty minutes.  I can see the next one brewing up Sawtooth and Roaring Lion canyons across the valley from my house.  It should be here in the next hour.  And so it goes, Montana in the spring.

missouri river montanaThe Missouri river is a place that will haunt your memories all winter long, and you might even get a whacky idea mid December or January to go freeze your ass off there and watch your guides ice up. You’ll catch fish, but freeze you will.  So once the bugs stir for the first time and the nights are no longer freezing deep, it’s time to go see what we can find on the big river.

missouri river montanaNymphs dominate the scene this time of year on the Mo.  Until the caddis and baetis get their groove on, really midges are the only thing happening on top, and unless it’s epic, you really will only see a couple random rises throughout the day.  Streamers have their moments, as well, and both fish I’m holding ate a conehead bugger  while ripping it across flats on a sink tipped number seven Loomis. I love the streamer game when it plays, and once a mile is considered playing by my standards.

missouri river montanaSo get with us on an early Mo trip, unless you are here chasing the Skwalas around on the Bitterroot with us.  The Mo offers the utmost challenge in fly fishing with rewards of rainbows in the trophy class. These fish are big and healthy and do not screw around once hooked: jumps, runs, and more runs until you can finally bring them to hand if you play them correctly.  Bring your ‘A’ game and get ready for one of the finest trout rivers in North America.

Bitterroot Skwala Hatch

bitterroot skwala hatchHere we go again, the start of another Montana fishing season, and as always, the Bitterroot River Skwala hatch is on the forefront.  While most of Montana is covered in ice and snow, and many rivers are still locked up in a winter pattern, our Bitterroot is wide open with bugs starting to pop along the gravel bars and riverbanks.  Skwala and Nemora stoneflies are the first of the real bugs to get cranking on our rivers, not counting the midges that peel off on most nice winter days, and they bring up trout to the surface even on a snow squalled March afternoon.

bitterroot skwala hatch 019We are still very early in the hatch, as I’ve seen only a few Nemora adults and less  Skwala adults yet, though the fish are definitely looking up for a bug during the right window of the day.  Nymphs and droppers off dries play well during the early part of the day, and a decent dry fly bite has occurred right around noon til four on the right days.  As our weather improves with spring, which who knows when that will actually happen, we will see a greater emergence of stoneflies and eventually start to see some March Brown mayflies.  This is when things really fish well around here.  So give it a couple weeks and bit o’ sunshine, and get in touch with us for a little early season topwater before it’s too late, runoff is just around the corner and that dry fly window will shut down until June.