Missoula and Bitterroot River Fishing Report
Welcome to what looks like Missoula’s “new normal” flow-wise, for this spring anyway. On the ‘Root, Fork, and Foot, flows are level, and the water’s clear, but the rivers are still carrying more water than they have for the past couple of springs. This is good news if you’re willing to forgo expectations and adjust to the conditions at hand. As one of our guides said last week, “The fishing is about as good as your oarsman and your reach cast.”
That pretty much sums it up, but for good measure here’s our weekly list of “more-than-we-should-be- divulging”:
- If you’re not exhausted after a day of rowing in these flows, you probably didn’t catch many. Keeping the boat off, but the bug in, the feeding lanes is a lot of work right now. In other words, your guide is earning his tip; or your buddy is earning way more than that warm PB’er you just tossed his way.
- There’s very little rhyme or reason to where we’re finding fish, so covering all the water well is the difference between decent days and great ones….you gotta earn em.
- More and more mayflies are making an appearance which should draw the fish out into more dependable lies. Look for the March Brown push to come strong with the cloudy days on tap later this week. Gotta love those “nuking” takes!
- If you haven’t mastered the reach cast yet, this is the spring to get some reps in. Hire a guide for day or even a half day, and learn this essential drift-lengthening skill.
As one old timer pointed out at lunch on Tuesday, “Five feet equals twenty inches.” Along with our clients, I looked at him like he’d just said the ceiling is the roof. “Five extra feet on your drift, he explained, “gets you the twenty-incher you were looking for!”
And only the reach cast will get you there.