Yes it is still January. And many of us are either chasing steelhead or sitting over a hole in the ice. But March really isn’t that far away. I often get asked “What’s the best time of the year to come out and fish”. And thats kind of a tough one to answer. It really depends on what your looking for, dry flies, seclusion, big fish, warm sometimes hot weather. Or a combination of a few. If it were possible to have all of those you would for sure have to omit the seclusion factor.
I’ll try and break it down starting with the fall and work backwards. Fall (Sept-Oct) is usually one of the more quiet times of year on the river for several reasons, football and hunting being the main ones. This time of year generally has good dry fly fishing and quality streamer fishing. But it can be a little chilly. Were usually in waders and the best fishing tends to be in the afternoon.
Summer (July-August) is probably the most comfortable time to be out. Usually wet wading and sometimes flat out getting in the water all the way to cool off. Its almost unfair to group these 2 months together. August can be flat out hot with lower water conditions. Sometimes the fish can be a little more picky depending on how the water levels are. August is Terrestrial and Tricos along with early am starts. In July we probably have the most boat traffic but also the most bug activity!
July usually has perfect water levels lots of options on where to fish and comfortable days on the water. Everyone’s happy Anglers, fish, dogs…you get the idea.
Early Summer is where I’d put June. Typically the water is a little off color. Due to the fact that the snow melt that preceded made it difficult for the fish to eat. These conditions is often when we catch some of the biggest fish of the year. Both on big dry flies and streamer and nymph rigs.
Traffic is usually moderate.
That brings us to spring. Maybe the perfect time of the year to be out to catch all of the best conditions. Dry fly fishing, big fish, and not too hot. While this also used to be a quiet time on the water as far as traffic is concerned. It has “caught on” so to speak and is no longer a secret. We consider spring being March-April. Some years stretching into May. This time of the year there is no reason to be on the water at the crack of dawn. And a really good chance to catch a trophy fish on a dry that hasn’t seen a fly or boat for 3 or 4 months. Its been a long winter and there hungry.
Like everyone always says “The best time to go fishing is when you can”. and while this may be true hopefully this will also give you little more insight.
Till next time