The Blackfoot River temps have hit the low 40’s which is decent streamer fishing conditions. Still one of the coldest options for fly fishing Missoula rivers and you can have much better fishing elsewhere. But if you like streamer fishing then this can be a large fish producer at these temps. Fishing every inch of slow water and inside seems, low and slow is the game this time of year while fly fishing the Blackfoot River. Nymphing will increase your odds fishing this same type of water. For nymphs try a stonefly as your point fly and cycle through droppers until you find one they like, such as Ptail, Worms, Hare’s Ear, G-Kes and Prince Nymphs. Streamers that worked well for us were the Baby Gonga, Mini Sex Dungeon, Sparkle Minnow and Kreelex.
Well it’s offical, we’ve seen the first adult Skwalas of the year on the Bitterroot river. While this is an exciting sight for us, we’ve seen this before year after year and know it’s still a bit to early to go dry or die. Fish will still come up for the dry on occasion but it’s a bit early in the hatch to primarily fish dries. Give it a few more degrees in water temperature for a few days consistently and we will start to see more and more fish come up to feed on the surface. The Bitterroot is still days/week away for consistent dry fly fishing but for those who like nymphing and streamer fishing, this is one of your best options for Missoula fly fishing. Nymphing stonefly patterns like the Pats Rubber Legs, Double Bead Stonefly and 20 Inchers as your point fly is your best option with droppers like the G-Kes, Ptail, Hare’s Ear and Perdigons off the back. For streamers we had a lot of success with darker patterns in black and dark olive. For the dry or die angler, do it, you will have some fish come up and eat the dry but don’t expect numbers yet.
Clark Fork River
The Clark Fork river temperatures are breaching 40 degrees which is a good sign for dry fly fishing to come. No skwalas sighted yet but Missoula fly fishing is turning the corner and is almost there for the dry fly angler. We’ve floated the Clark Fork above and below town lately and the the streamer fishing and nymphing has been decent. With the warmer day coming, look for the Clark Fork start to produce some great fishing in the coming weeks. The Clark Fork may not be the best option for fly fishing around Missoula but it’s not necessarily a bad option either. For those who want a stretch all to themselves and enjoy streamer fishing, this is a solid bet for you. Streamers that worked well for us were the Dirty Hippie, Olive Baby Gonga and the Sparkle Minnow. Nymphing will be your most consistent tactic using patterns like the Pat’s Rubber Legs, Ptail, Hare’s Ear, Perdigons and the good old Worm.
With the warmer weather in the forecast, fly fishing on Rock Creek will start to turn in the right direction. No Skwalas as of yet but they will start hatching very soon. One of the better Montana fly fishing options in the spring for wade anglers. Nymphing and Streamer fishing is where it’s at right now on rock creek. We have been getting a lot of decent reports from the bottom stretches all the way to the top. Focus on inside seems and slow water in the 2-5″ depth. Streamers like the Kreelex, Sparkle Minnow, Sculpzilla and Baby Gonga has been the best producers so far. With so many Skwala nymphs moving around focus on nymphs like Pats Rubber Legs, Double Bead Stones, 20 Inchers and dropping smaller nymphs about 18 inches off the back like Ptail, Hares Ear and G-Kes.
Click any photo below to find out more information on each individual hatch. Includes life cycle, best fly patterns, helpful tips and where to find these hatches in your Western Montana fly fishing adventure.