It usually doesn’t happen this early in March, folks, but the spring fishing chess game has begun. One look at the not unfishable but pretty darned off-color Clark Fork in town today told me that I’d better start checking the river flows each day while I drink my coffee. Warm daytime temps, warm overnight temps, and warm rains, have begun to bump the rivers up again, and finding good fishing will mean finding dropping water. Check the graphs daily, even hourly if you’re obsessive like us, and watch for the gauge to turn down. This usually happens at the top of the drainage (for example, Darby gauge on the Bitterroot) but exceptions are the rule.
Bitterroot River Fishing Report
Just when things were starting to get interesting up here, Darby jumps to 1000 cfs. This river should drop and clear within a couple of days, and when it does fish will start looking for skwalas again, and maybe the year’s first Blue Wing Olives. With rising flows, it will be a bit harder to find the soft water trout prefer this time of year, so don’t be afraid to slow your boat down, anchor up and make some repetitive casts on the inside bends. Floaters often seem in a big hurry this time of year, and they’re often passing by the best runs just to race out in front of other boats. One of our guide boats last week milked a put-in hole on the ‘Root for an hour while three other boats scrambled to launch and get ahead of each other. After netting nearly a dozen nice fish, they considered pulling the boat and calling it a day!
Clark Fork River Fishing Report
We had some fairly decent if spotty fishing down on the Clark late last week. Midging fish were willing to move a ways for a leggy skwalla, but the blind fishing was few and far between. Could you fish a dropper and catch some fish between the honey holes? Yeah, you could….but it’s good to earn em every now and then. Go under with large pheasant tails, small Pat’s and that red yarn thing everyone complains about but nonetheless seems to have in their fly box.
Blackfoot River Fishing Report
Looks to have doubled in flow in the past day and jumped to 2000 at Bonner. This means you’ll have all week to fill out your March Madness bracket, crumple it up, fill out a new one, and even watch an NIT game or two before even thinking about this river as an option. Discounted trips for Jayhawk fans this week!!
Rock Creek Fishing Report
The upper end of Rock Creek near Phillipsburg will be your best wade fishing bet for a while. Worms, eggs, Pat’s Rubberlegs, and slowly stripped streamers will take the most fish this week, but don’t be surprised to find a few nice trout sipping midges on the slowest edges and in the tail-outs. A #20 Adams will get it done in that situation–same bug that would have worked five months ago quite well.
Upper Clark Fork
Lower Clark Fork