Here 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.
We 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.