3 Tips for Fly Fishing the Western March Brown

-Tip #1 Prospecting

It’s rare to use Mayflies as searching pattern when fly fishing in Montana but the March Brown is one. When we say a searching, or prospecting, pattern, we mean a fly that can be fished in most water types, and not focusing on actively feeding fish. You’re throwing to places you believe hold fish. A thick Western March Brown hatch will get fish actively feeding on them, but if a few are present, the fish will eat them sporadically. If the trout aren’t eating your Skwala, tie on a March Brown and fish it like you would a Skwala, floating it over promising holding water. Prospecting with WMB’s can turn a slow day of spring fly fishing into productive, especially on cloudy days in Montana.

-Tip #2 Late Spring Savior

Spring fly fishing in Montana varies from year to year. Sometimes, runoff has started by mid to late April, making our rivers high and unfishable. When that happens, our guides head to the Missouri River. However, some years fish great into late April and early May around Missoula. During these extended fishing years, skwalas taper off, but the March Brown can still be going strong, providing what can be some of Missoula’s best fly fishing of the year. Our guides love fly fishing late spring because water temps are warming, and the fish get active on the surface!  

-Tip #3 Clouds = Big Fish

Read our tips and you notice that we have a thing for cloudy days. If you fly fish in Montana, you should too! Clouds may sometimes slow the Skwalas down early in the season, but it’s all good since March Browns love the dark cloudy days, and so do big fish. Some of the year’s biggest fish are caught while fly fishing Montana in the spring. In Missoula, the March Brown accounts for a lot of big fish caught on dry flies. Trophy Brown Trout become much more active on the surface with cloudy Spring conditions. We see it all the time- boats fishing Skwala patterns not picking up any fish, while our guides are fishing a March Brown and catching consistently good trout.

Additional Western March Brown Resources