The fly fishing season in Western Montana has officially begun.
Those hardy souls who spent the winter chucking and ducking from weighted streamers and nymphs are now starting to enjoy some dry fly action.
Doug Persico, of Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile, claims that March and April brings with it some the best fishing of the year.
The season usually begins on the Bitterroot River with the skwala stonefly.
During the past few years this hatch has signaled the unofficial start of the fly fishing season, according to Persico.
Trout become more active with longer days and warmer water temperatures. Humans also are affected by these conditions. It’s called cabin fever.
No, it doesn’t matter that the official opening for stream fishing is May 19. Anglers know that the only way to cure cabin fever is to go out and catch and release a few nice trout.
Skwalas on the Bitterroot certainly will get the fly fishers floating and walking its banks at this time of the year. If there are too many anglers for you on the Bitterroot, then Persico has more options.
“The Clark Fork is also producing some good action. In fact, the first reports of skwalas this spring came from the Kelly island area” says Persico.
You also might want to check the upper Clark Fork, from the mouth of Rock Creek to Turah. There will be skwalas there eventually, too, but it might be late March or early April before they arrive.
You probably never thought I would get to Rock Creek. But, considering that it is Persico’s favorite, I thought I would leave the best for last.
Persico claims that Rock Creek also has some really good spring fishing. Surprised? Don’t be. The March Brown Mayfly is the primary hatch this time of year.
In fact, and this might surprise you, Persico thinks the March Brown Mayfly is the best hatch of the year on Rock Creek — even better than the more famous Salmon Fly Hatch.
“Absolutely,” says Persico without hesitation. He adds that there is also a Skwala hatch but insists the March Brown is better. One of the reasons Persico is so adamant about touting spring fishing is that he says as a whole, the fish run bigger in all the rivers and streams at this time of the year. Plus, after a long winter, they are hungry.
So there you have it. Hatches, longer days, and warmer water temperatures — the three ingredients to cure your Cabin Fever. Take a rod, a fly, and an afternoon off from work and catch and release trout till your cured.