April has finally arrived and is bringing with it all kinds of good things. The first casts of the season are well behind us and some seemingly lost fishing sense has returned to hands on cork grips everywhere. Missoula area rivers have been swarming with trailers and driftboats the last few weeks as whispers of everybody's favorite non-swearing "s" word have filtered through media and flyshops:
"Skwala dries moving around today"
"Got em on the Skwalers big time yesterday afternoon!"
"Put that Skwala in yer pipe and smoke it".
It doesn't take much rumoring for "The Hatch" to hit fever pitch and we all want a piece of the action. Fishing has been good and there's nothing like a good dryfly bite to keep you out there through snow squalls and downpours alike. The weather this Skwala season has reminded me of years past with brief windows of awesome fishing surrounded by all the types of inclement weather you can imagine. If you're not wearing your rainjacket, you should be. It's good luck, and it's often necessary. And the fish can tell.
With calendars filling in fast for summer guiding throughout the state it makes these leisurely spring days a welcomed time. A few pro days to kick off the year, sure, but the mania and 20-day-straight stretches of summertime are still long in the future. We can afford to post on sporadic surface feeders and take the boats out at dusk without fear of missing the deli to get tomorrows lunch. Fly boxes are at maximum capacity, brimming with ammo for the upcoming long hauls across the state. Basically, its preseason and this years team is looking gooooooood. . . . .
Our past week of warm summery weather will put a temporary freeze on that super spring top water action : Rivers swelling with the first flush of mid elevation snowmelt never make trout happy having just barely woken up from a cold winter siesta. This first mini runoff bump is actually one of my favorite cues that big trout season is right around the corner. No other time of year yields as many big shouldered fish as this in-between season of short rising and falling water levels to push the big boys around and get them chomping. Is it spring? Is it runoff? Will there be any fish had at all?? I have learned it pays to be out there now and finding those few fish that the Skwala craze just grazed and didn't hit, something large and hungry and ready for a minnow.
Summertime on my mind. Also, Tacocat !