Missoula spring fly fishing is like few others in the west. Some of the best fishing of the year starts in March, and it starts on the surface! That’s correct, we have stellar dry fly fishing in March and April. Whether you’re a fan of throwing a big dry fly like a Skwala stonefly, searching with a Nemoura or take pride in hatch matching with a Western March Brown or Blue Winged Olive, Missoula’s spring dry fly fishing will make you smile. The Bitterroot River and its epic Skwala hatch is famous in Montana, and for good reason. What’s less known is Rock Creek and the Clark Fork River also have strong Skwala populations, along with excellent WMB and BWO hatches. While most anglers are focused on the Bitterroot River, the adventurous angler will find spring dry fly fishing throughout the Missoula area.
You can expect surface action from late morning through the afternoon. Missoula’s fly fishing in March and April is temperature dependent, meaning the warmer it gets, the sooner the dry fly fishing starts. If the day stays on the cold and wet side, that activates the BWO’s to epic hatches! Montana’s spring dry fly fishing is focused on Missoula, due to our warmer early season weather. It’s tough to find better spring dry fly fishing in Montana. It’s a lot of fun to be able to start the season on the surface!
Coming off the cold winter, the big dogs are coming out of hibernation, and they’re looking to feed. Every angler knows big flies take big fish, so if you’re looking to see Brother TwoFoot, you may want to turn that dry into a streamer! Many who take advantage of spring fly fishing in Missoula will start their day with the big rod and the big flies, working the edges and holes to sting those big, hungry trout. When the dry flies truly establish later in the day, some anglers will put the big flies away, but don’t kid yourself. The longer you fish the streamer, the longer the Big Dog barks! We love to take those early spring streamer junkies to the Blackfoot River, letting those steep ledges and deep holes divulge their early season secrets.
Which brings us to old reliable. Why does the nymph get such a poor rap, when it’s hands down the most effective way of putting trout in your net. Spring fly fishing in Missoula offers multiple nymphing opportunities, including shallow water sight nymphing with a Skwala or Nemoura nymph, or working a little deeper with your Pheasant Tails and Hare’s Ears. For the first time since late fall, there are lots of nymphs on the move, and early season trout will key on this new and abundant food source. You can get way serious and run a double nymph rig, or you can combine the great spring dry fly fishing with your subsurface hunting and rig up a dry/dropper. However you plan to approach it, the nymph is always the workhorse, the producer, for any angler.
When you start the season early, the weather can be as exciting as the fishing, so be prepared for a Montana Spring fly fishing! But no matter what the weather is above the surface, the trout are eating, and eating hard.
The Missoulian Angler Fly Shop is offering three great deals for experiencing the best spring fly fishing in Montana. Click the button below to see more details.