Missoula Spring Fly Fishing

March

Hatches: Skwala (8-12), Nemoura (14-16), March Brown (12-14), Capnia (16-18)

Weather: Variable/Mix Of 55 and Sunny To Cold And Snowy

Fishing: Days are warming up and getting longer. Two bugs really dominate Missoula fly fishing hatches in the early spring; the Skwala Stonefly and the March Brown. Fish are looking up after a long winter and are eager to eat on the surface. If that isn’t enough, our first hatch of Blue Winged Olives is coming on and brings the pods of trout up to the surface in the slow water.
These pre-runoff hatches seem to focus many anglers on the Bitterroot River where the weather breaks earlier than our other drainages, but don’t be afraid to check out different options. Expect fluctuating conditions out on the river with warm and sunny afternoons mixed with snow squalls and colder temperatures.

April

Hatches: Skwala (8-12), Nemoura (14-16), Blue Wing Olive (14-16), Mother’s Day Caddis (12-16), March Brown (12-14)

Weather: Average High 50’s

Fishing: Skwalas and March Browns continue but the Blue Winged Olive hatch only gets better. We typically target the sweet spot of these early hatches as March 15 – April 15, but as we all know fishing on either end can be very good. Fluctuating air temperatures mean water clarity issues as snowpack begins to melt. This equals spikes in water after a warming trend (fishing turns to nymphing and streamers) and drops in water levels following a cooling trend (surface action back on).

May

Hatches: Skwala (8-12), Neumora (14-16), Blue Wing Olive (14-16), Mother’s Day Caddis (12-16), March Brown (12-14)

Weather: Average High 60’s

Fishing: Daytime temperatures are creeping up and the daylight hours are getting longer again. At some point the freestone rivers around Missoula begin the yearly ritual of full runoff. Anglers eagerly await the third Saturday in May when the tributaries open again. Boat traffic heads east of the Continental Divide to fly fish the Missouri River, a tailwater fishery that provides high numbers of fish per mile and a great option for our anglers.


Additional Spring Resources