The old saying applies to spring dry fly fishing in Missoula, too, and the go-getters have been getting theirs this week. Fishing has been solid to very good, depending whom you ask and how honest your Missoula Fishing Report source is. Catching big trout on dry flies is special any time of year, but early season takes on size 10 skwallas are especially electrifying. A twenty-inch brown sliding into the shallows to take your dry on the Bitterroot hasn’t likely made a mistake like that since last October–it’s a fun time of year to fool fish on top!
We’ll spend most of our time here in the coming weeks as the river warms and stonefly nymphs congregate in the moderate riffles. The skwalla hatch isn’t anywhere near its peak, but enough bugs have hatched that the fish are looking up and willing to crush the dry. Concentrate on your nymphing and dropper fishing here, or skip that game altogether and tie on a leggy skwalla and let it rip. Some days fish want the bug on the twitch, and other times they want a clean dead drift. Every day is different–that’s why we have boats out everyday–and experimentation pays. Remember to look for the fish where you left them last fall–rarely will you find fish in mid-summer lies this time of year. You may have been ready to go fishing for the past three months, but the fish are just getting their groove on.
Clark Fork River Fishing Report
The river just below town has offered solid action on top, and with droppers. Look for pods of midging fish to contain at least one gamer–a big trout willing to risk it all for a skwalla–and single midging fish to play more than occasionally on the skwalla even if there aren’t many naturals around. As we wait for more natural skwallas to hatch, nemouras, a smaller stone, will also get fish interested, so don’t be afraid to try the “dainty game” — a small stonefly and a midge cripple over risers as well.
Blackfoot River Fishing Report
A bit off color due to low elevation snowmelt but soon this river will be perfect for bugger-chucking–slow crawled natural colored bunnies will wreak some happy havoc this time of year.