The Spring Equinox has just past and the bite for western Montana seems to be turning around. While the nymph game has been consistent for weeks now the top water action started out anemic at best. Some times we are honest on this blog. Sometimes. It has not been a gangbuster start to the flyfishing season this year and that much was expected: With all the snow accumulated this winter along with a record-setting stretch of cold temps the rivers are slow to warm this year. While some have quickly grown accustomed to finding superb spring fishing as early as mid-February these past several drought years, this spring is a return to the Skwala hatch being more of a gamble. This past two weeks, however, has seen the fish shake off the winter slumber and go back to eating on the surface full time. Man oh man is it fun when things come back to life!
This past week has seen a change in fortune for the dry fly flickers. More numerous and more willing surface feeders are lined up opportunistically sipping the well-presented Skwala. Any day now we should be seeing our first consistent March Brown hatches of the season. While the eastern March Brown comes off in March like the name suggests our western hatch R. morrisoni is rarely seen before April. Once it gets going you can count on the 1-4pm window hosting concentrated areas of this prime hatch. It is best to post on pods during this hatch rather than prospect with the searching mayfly pattern. Find the fish focused in on the mayflies and catch them there. Not too much calendar left before we head off to foreign rivers trying to avoid the Bitterroot Brownout. Runoff will be a doozy this year but the Big Hole and Missouri figure to be prime. The season long game of finding fish has just barely started.