Montana Fly Fishing

This hasn’t been a typical year. We have had record snowfall and cooler than average March temps. This should result in an outstanding year for summer fishing, but has pushed the spring fishing back a few weeks. In fact, we are just now starting to have some decent dry fly action that we usually have near the end of the first week in March.

The past few weeks has been primarily sub-surface fishing with San Juan worms and egg patterns. The most productive water has been the slow eddies and soft inside bend, and even the 4-5 foot deep tail outs. The water is still very cold and the fish are in their winter lies. People often ask, “Can you fish in the winter!?” and the answer is, “Yes, but you are going to work for them!” In the winter, the fish almost hibernate. They will eat, but you need to put it right in front of them.

As the water warms and the bugs become more prevalent the fish will start to move into more obvious seams. This is what is now starting to happen and should get better in the next few weeks. Skwalas, nemouras, and cappnias, are the name-of-the-game! And smaller mayflies (16) will turn to bigger Drakes (12) as April progresses.

Sometimes the secret to catching fish is trying a float that isn’t getting hammered, like maybe a river other than the Bitterroot.

The window of good fishing has been from 2-4pm. This is where you may catch 80% of your fish. As April approaches the window moves to a much larger span.

Next blog will cover tying high-water flies, which will likely come in handy this year!

Till next time,
Doug Jones
Clear Creek Outfitters