Fly fishing across the state has continued to see good fishing on rivers, including dry fly fishing! Fishing will remain good overall as long water flows cooperate. Spring rains and warm weather can quickly change river flows and make fishing conditions change quickly, so make sure to check with local fly shops on current flows/conditions or at least check for big spikes in CFS river flows here www.montanaoutdoor.com/fishing/water/ . Also, don’t be afraid to check out different lakes this time of year as ice off is happening across and state and can produce great fly fishing opportunities.
Bitterroot: The Root has been fishing well and will continue as long as the water cooperates! Skwala’s are out and best action on to-water will occur in the afternoons from 12-5pm. If fish are not looking up for you, hit them with a bead headed stonefly trailed by a Saun Juan worm in red or brown and you will have fish in the net! Be careful up there and stop in at a flyshop to get the latest on snags in the river. There have been 3 boats lost up there this year already!
Blackfoot: There are still better options out there in the area.. See Bitterroot and Rock Creek. However the foot has been producing some fish and even some fish on dries. If you do go, your best options will be fishing the ends of the deeper runs with bigger stonefly’s followed by a saun juan worm or even an egg.
Clark Fork: The Clark Fork is fairly dirty and will probably remain so for awhile. Streamers, big beadhead stones, and saun juan worms will be most productive until the clarity becomes better. If you must fish this stick to the upper and lower reaches of the Clark Fork and avoid the area +-25 miles of Missoula.
Rock Creek: The Creek continues to fish well with good clarity too. Unfortunately most of the fishing is occurring under the subsurface with stonefly nymphs, princes, copper johns and streamers. I can’t think of a better way to spend a spring like day up Rock Creek. For current information check out www.rcmerc.com or give the shop manager John Persico a call.
Lower Madison: The lower has colored up and fishing has cooled off. If you are to fish the Lower Madison try cray fish and suan juan worms.
Upper Madison: The river upstream of McAtee bridge is now closed until the third week of May. Fishing below the bridge has been great! Try using san juan worms, eggs, and stonefly nymphs. If you find the softer, slightly deeper holes you will find fish!
Yellowstone: I have very good reports coming from the Yellowstone with both dry flies and nymphs. Big fish aren’t really chasing streamers but I have heard of some nicer fish being taken dead drifting a streamer under an indicator. If you can get on the stone on a windless days expect good midge fishing and even BWO’s.
Missouri River: The upper river is still fishing very well. Fish are still taking midges daily, and expect good success on less windy days. Nymphing has and will remain consistent. Your typical Missouri river sizes 14-18 will do the trick. Don’t be afraid to try some larger rubber legs and crayfish. I have also heard of some better fish being taken off streamers.
Big Horn River: Midge activity is taking off! The fish are rising and will take midges! Nymph fishing continues to be successful with your standard tailwater sowbugs and midge pupas. The river is in great shape.
Report compiled and written by Kjel Olson of the MORS crew