Missoula Fishing Report

Easter Sunday Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report


From a fishing stand point, Easter has normally been a turning point for the fishing around the Missoula area. The mayflies are start to show up in good numbers and the Skwalas have been crawling on the rocks in The Bitterroot long enough to have nice fish looking up for a stonefly. Easter weekend seems to be when we can count on good dry fly fishing for the better part of the day. 

The only difference this year seems to be the water levels. Yes the water is high. Yes it seems pushy on the upper rivers. Is it slowing down the fishing? No. 

The bugs are here. The spring stoneflies are here in good numbers. The big spring mayflies are starting to play a bigger role in “fish catching”. The afternoons have been giving up some fantastic dry fly fishing. Big mayfly attractors are working well. Hare’s ear’s, Para-Adams, The Haze, The Brindleshute, Carnage Drakes, and Mountain Mints are all getting eating. The Skwala bugs that are working seem to be in the Low-Pro category. Anything with a bullethead. The PK, The Rouge, and The Rastaman. The most important variable has been where you are putting that bug. Remember that it is spring. The water is still cold and fish are not hanging out where they do in July. I draw “Spring Fishing Diagrams” at least once a day here in the shop. 

Fish the “Triangles”. The soft water coming off the riffle. The seam where two currents come together after an island.  The soft water Triangles are where the fish are eating the dry fly right now. Spring fishing is just simple geometry. And you thought you wouldn’t use your 3rd grade math again…

Remember to replace that old tippet you bought last year. You don’t want to loose that big brown on old tippet that you found in your glove box before you got on the water. 

-The MAngler


Missoula Fishing Report

Friday Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report

A quick overview of what’s going on around Missoula this weekend.

First and foremost, our good friend and Missoulian Angler Fly Shop Guide, Burke, is opening his BBQ restaurant. The Notorious P.I.G. is opening it’s doors at 11 am today in downtown Missoula. If you are around Missoula today, be sure to stop by and have your taste buds blown away.

Secondly, The Montana Fishing Film Fest is going on Saturday at the Roxy. Tickets are $10 and we have them available here at the shop. We are also going to have a Pre-party here at the shop before the movies. So feel free to stop by and enjoy a beverage.

Now lets talk about the fishing.

The Bitterroot: The river is still way above normal flows for this time of year. That being said the fishing has been very decent. The mornings have been colder the past few days causing the dry fly fishing to get going a bit later. Early morning streamer fishing and nymphing has been productive. Rubber legs, beadhead style prince patterns, and worms for your nymph set up. The Skiddish smolt, The Kreelex, and The Sparkle minnow have been producing for streamers. The dry fly fishing has been good in the afternoons. Skwalas and March browns have been the ticket. Throw the low-profile skwala. The bigger fish won’t shy away from those bugs.

The Blackfoot: We fished it this week and were pleasantly surprised. The water is very big and off color, but the streamer fishing was good. You had to fish hard and put it in the right spot, but when that happened the streamer got eaten. The Silver and Black Sparkle minnow was the ticket for us.

Rock Creek: Fished well this week. Afternoon dry fly bite was there. They ate the skwala after lunch. A good option for wade anglers looking to get away from the boat traffic on The Bitterroot.

The Clark Fork: Big and off color. Maybe not your best option this weekend. But fish have been caught on the Clark. Skwalas around in the afternoons. Throw the dice and you might be surprised. Another great way to get away from the traffic on The Bitterroot.

Well there it is. if you have any questions about a game plan for fishing this weekend, stop by the Missoulian Angler for any thing. We are glad to help out and point you in the right direction.

-The MAngler

…Because you fish

Missoula Fishing Report

Monday Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report

The Bitterroot fished well this weekend. Not to over inflate, I would say that the dry fly fishing was “Fair” on some banks and “Good” on others.  We saw lots of Skwalas, Nemouras, and capnias. We also saw a few larger mayflies. March Browns? You tell me. The water is still high so some of the classic banks seemed a little pushy for skwala fishing. They were sitting in heavier water than we expected but the fish seemed to want to eat the bug regardless.

As far a bugs we threw the Rastaman Skwala, The PK Stone, The Bullethead Skwala. in the morning they are the Skiddish Smolt for a streamer and a pink worm/Rubber Legs for a nymph rig. We have a plethora of those bugs here at the shop.

The USGS Graphs are showing some consistency in a flat or downward trend. That means that the fishing should improve everyday. As long as we don’t get another push of water the spring fishing seems to have returned.

Stop by the shop for any of your Spring needs. We are totally stocked and ready to rock.

-The MAngler

…Because You Fish

Missoula Fishing Report

St. Paddy’s Day Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report

Well there is no two ways around it… The rivers have gone up. Significantly.

As of this morning then graphs look to have slowed down or plateaued. While this bump may have put the spring fishing on hold, it will help clean out the winter sludge in the rivers.

When the water starts dropping things will be game on again. Until then, take advantage of the lull and stock up your boxes. It’s easy to get caught up in “Skwala Fever” and completely ignore the fact that we have other bugs coming up. Don’t forget your PMD’s, Yellow Sallies, Hoppers, ants, and Beetles. In the long run they will play a bigger role than skwalas in your fishing.

Take this intermission in spring fishing to stop by the shop and stock up on tying materials.

-The MAngler

Missoula Fishing Report

Missoula Fishing Report for March 5th

The Missoula Fishing Report

The Big Picture


Skwalas. When will the dry fly fishing be what we have all been dreaming about since November? Well your guess is as good as mine. The general idea is that Skwala’s need a water temperature between 42-47 degrees to hatch. Some people agree on the lower end and other agree on the upper end of that scale. The cool thing about Skwala’s is that they are a relatively “New” bug in the research sense. They have only recently (20 years) become a popular hatch and noticed by most anglers. Sure some people have been fishing the hatch longer, but for the entire community they are a new bug. The other piece of the puzzle is getting temp readings from the river. The USGS stations offer temp readings, but only on a seasonal timeframe. So to get a temp you are going to have to do it the “old school” way. Go out and stick your hand in the water. The only way to know for sure when the water is warm enough for Skwalas to show up is to take a temp reading when you start to see the bugs. Do it this year. It will give you a leg up for future seasons and a little science never hurt anyone.

Bitterroot Skwala Hatch
Bitterroot Skwala

March Brown/Rhithrogena/What Ever You Call Em’s: “The Difference Maker”. Some days the big stonefly pattern just doesn’t produce. When you are flummoxed and there are fish eating, Throw the mayfly. These bugs are the first big mayflies to show us since fall. There are many days when the trout will completely ignore the skwala and shift their focus to the mayflies. When that happens you can have some fantastic headhunting or some great pods of fish to shoot at.

When,Where, and How: This weekend and next week look to be about as beautiful as we can hope for in the spring. That being said, expect for everyone to have the same idea. Go Fishing. Cabin fever is the worst this time of year and a day on the water is a perfect remedy. If you are one of those people who cant stand seeing other folks on the water it’s time to think out of the box. Don’t out your boat in at Tucker or Bell at 10am. Maybe go for a long walk down a Bitterroot side channel that boats cant fit into. Maybe explore a part of The Blackfoot that you have never been to. Walk and wade the upper Clark Fork. Or spend a day on Upper Rock Creek. We are lucky in Missoula to have over 300 miles of water within an hours drive. Don’t confine yourself to 15 miles of The Bitterroot if you want some solitude.

All of that being said, there is some fantastic fishing on the main stem of The Bitterroot during the Skwala hatch. Remember that these are early spring stoneflies. They ARE NOT Goldens and Salmonflies. That means fish the early spring water. Of course you could catch a fish or two off the fast banks and the “Bouncy Summer Water” but the majority of your success will be on the slow inside bends. The same place you nymph in the winter. The “Boring” water. Have faith and let that fly drift. Don’t get antsy and cast over and over again, the fish can’t eat it in the air. Leave your fly alone once it’s out there.

Whatever you need for spring fishing is in the shop. As I am writing this boxes from MFC, Simms, Echo, And Spirit River are piling up with flies, gear, rods, materials, and other goodies for the spring. We are fully stocked and ready to rock this spring. If you need to tie a few more bugs come on in and let us help with your game plan. As always we are here for you. Let us help with Missoula Spring Fishing.

-The MAngler

…Because You Fish

*March Spring Guide Specials- Full day guided trip for 2 anglers only $385*

Missoula Fishing Report

Missoula Skwala Fishing Report for March 3rd

Well we have made it. It is officially March here in Montana. I guess everywhere else as well. March means warm days, birds singing, and Skwalas, river wide…. Well not yet. The cold temps that brought March in will slow things down for just a few days. By the end of the week we are looking at warmer weather.

Now cabin fever is the main trigger for early spring fishing. The best and most consistent Skwala fishing seems to be around mid to late March through mid April. That being said, don’t be surprised if you find bugs this weekend. We have seen fantastic dry fly fishing as early as late February. The last time we were on the Bitterrooot the Skwala nymphs were in shallow water close the the bank. And by close I mean inches. It could pop soon… When things are right.

As for right this moment.

The Bitterroot: Nymphing the inside bends will still produce fish. Skwala nymph patterns in size 8-12. Rubberlegs, double bead stones, tungsten nymphs. San Juan Worms in Red, Pink, Purple, Gummy, and Wire. Soon the dry fly fishing will be a legitimate option. When it goes, make sure you have a variety of Skwala patterns. Big and fluffy and low profile both have their days. For the big and fluffy bugs look for the Fat Frank, Ninch’s Peanut, The Para-Skwala and the Widow Web Skwala. For the low pro bugs the PK Skwala, The Bullethead Skwala, The Rouge, and The Cali Blonde. When the Skwala’s start rolling keep fishing the winter water. The fish won’t be in the fast summer stonefly water. More often than not, if you aren’t catching fish, turn around 180 degrees and cast the other direction.

Once that water warms up it will be game time. So keep tying and get ready for the season.

-The MAngler

…Because You Fish