Skwala stonefly hatch has begun
By Hookemharry


The nice weather we have had this week has really made me think of things that I need to get done so I can enjoy some early spring fishing in Montana.

I’ll admit it. The good fishing reports have also been a motivating factor to get out and wet a line.

One of those reports comes from Doug Persico, from Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile.

The fly-fishing season has begun on the local streams and, like usual, the first stream to come alive is the Bitterroot where the Skwala stonefly signals the coming of the season.

Even if you haven’t been one of the lucky ones who have had a chance to float the river, you certainly should have noticed the steady stream of boats headed up the Bitterroot for a day of fishing.

Most of the time there seem to be more rafts and drift boats from all over Western Montana and anglers, than there seem to be flies mating, commented Persico. But even so, the crowds the anglers seem to be having a lot luck.

The skwalas are also out on the lower Clark Fork River, though not as heavy as on the Root. If you want to cover the most ground on the Clark Fork, then a drift boat or raft will be best your best bet.

Now if you prefer wading, then the place to be right now is Rock Creek, added Persico. “Unlike the bigger rivers, Rock Creek’s first hatch is the March Brown mayfly.

The creek has a skwala hatch, but not of the same magnitude as those on the Clark Fork and the Bitterroot.

The mayflies hatch out in the afternoon and can provide some spectacular fishing, according to Persico. At this time of year, the smaller fish are not as active so an anglers chances of catching and releasing larger trout should be very good.

Last week, I received an e-mail from Rich Neis out of Alberton asking if I know of any information about the fish traps in the Causeway On Hauser Lake, north of Helena.

Steve Dalbey, a Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks biologist at Helena, posted a message on www.walleyesunlimited.com a month ago. I thought some of my readers might be interested in what he had to say.

The traps were constructed and installed as part of a FERC license requirement to monitor fish use in Lake Helena. The traps merely count fish. No fish are killed. Fish are live released in the direction that they were traveling, either into Lake Helena or into Hauser Lake. Walleyes are tagged and released in the direction they were going.

The traps don’t need to be removed from under the Causeway Bridge to be opened. They are opened by winching up the leads and opening the throats, which allows water to freely flow.

Dalbey also said in the message to call him if anyone has any further questions, the can call him at 406-495-3263






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