We get it, there’s a huge problem out there, and we’re all feeling a bit nervous, a bit helpless and buffeted about things we can’t see or control. How tired are you of hearing about the new normal?!?!?!?
The old normal is out there- it’s on the Clark Fork River, Bitterroot River, Blackfoot River and Rock Creek. The bugs have no clue. Neither do the trout. It’s spring, the trees are budding, and it’s snowing in the mountains. You can get knee deep in a river and feel the water wash around you. You can gaze at the mountains, snow capped and magisterial as they watch over the valley in their slow, patient way. You can marvel at the rising trout, the sly underwater wink that could be Mr. Big, or just a whitey. But that’s why we fly fish, for the fascination, for the chance at Brother Two Foot, to catch and release to be there again.
The cold nights have the Missoula rivers in perfect shape. They’re lower than normal, which means the fish are where they should be. The Blackfoot River is actually getting a bit warm and fishing. The WMB’s are coming off on Rock Creek, along the edges just where you expect them. The Clark Fork is fishing great, and the Skwalas and WMB’s are making their presence felt. And of course, Skwalas on the Bitterroot river. The conditions are a clarion call to listen to Governor Bullock- social distancing is protocol, but let’s not forget to recreate, let’s not forget to take advantage of what surrounds us.
There are a lot of places not as well off as Montana when it comes to the issues we face today. If you’re there, and not in Montana, you’re on our minds. We hope the social distancing is working as well where you are as it is in Montana. That means you’ll be here sooner than you think for some Missoula fly fishing. Don’t worry! The rivers will still be here, that favorite bend in the river, or that awesome bucket where you hooked one you never even saw, that you think about even today. That trout is still there, and will be when we get back to the old normal.
With the weather we’re having right now, it feels like run-off, when it comes, is going to come hard and fast. The rivers are in perfect wading shape (Drift boats are finding the bottom closer to their hull than usual!) and the fish are willing and healthy. No need to be on the water as the sun appears, it’s just a tad cold still. Sleep in, fish the middle of the day. If it’s cloudy, have your BWO’s with you, and of course Skwalas, WMB’s and Nemouras. If you’re a streamer guy, then you do want to be on the water a bit earlier, to take advantage of the bite before the hatches.
Missoula spring fishing is here. Maybe it’s difficult to pick up on, as we don’t bustle through our normal day. But it’s here, and it’s happening. Remember to take a little time out, remember to do things for you. As Han said to Chewee, “Keep your distance, but don’t look like you’re trying to keep your distance.” You know, fish casual! The rivers are there, they will be there and they will do their job as they always do. Because when you’re fishing, the cares of the world go washing away with the water that passes between your feet. Let the water work it’s wizardry, allow yourself to experience river magic and lose yourself for just a bit in the old normal . . . . . still found below the high water mark on every river!