May is often a tough month to fish Montana: high water, unpredictable weather, hatch envy, etc. Most years this holds true, as rivers just become straight up unfishable for a couple weeks with dirty water and logs coming down the pipe. This year has been quite a bit milder on river flows due to a warm winter and fairly low snow pack, making the usual barrage of runoff merely a swell in the lower river valley for a spell.
So what that boils down to is that fishing has been essentially uninterrupted during this runoff. Fishing is consistent on most reaches of the Bitterroot, Big Hole, and Missouri right now, and I don’t foresee anymore huge snowpack fluctuations affecting flows for this season. With that water consistency has come some fine fishing and bug hatches to match. Low water years, as we’re seeing right now, will bring epic hatches to the rivers: lower water allows consistent flows and more solar energy to warm huge populations of insects at one time, rather than high water years which have fluctuating levels and temps causing trickling hatches through a long period. Our Salmonfly hatch should be a wall banger this season with no floods on the horizon in mid-June.
The rivers are prime and fishing is good right now, if one knows where to look and how to pull it off. We do. Though the dry fly is still a bit away to truly turn the corner on the season, we’re finding good fish eating nymphs and buggers throughout the river systems very consistently, with a bit of dry fly opportunity in the afternoons. Trips are already running strong and summer is quickly approaching with Salmon bugs and Goldens on the horizon; get in touch with us before we’re slammed for the season, and we’ll be seeing you on the river. JF