These are perfect days, they won’t last forever as the summer is coming and runoff could come any moment. Embrace them as they come; the fields are turning green in the valley, mountains white and loaded with the water we hope to get all through the summer, the tree buds waiting to pop. Fishing is good to grand some days, this was one of them shared with good companions on a perfect weather day. May it last forever….
Early season Mo fishing can be downright troublesome sometimes, and April can bring some nasty weather to the table all day, no escaping it. Occasionally you get some nice windows to find a fish feeding on the surface, but having the nymph handy will be the most useful, as those surface eats can be nonexistent most the day. Little march brown and baetis nymphs set to the right depth with a shot to sink em down where they need to be usually does the trick, finding the right spots on the big river is another thing.
I try to focus on all the ledges regardless of where they lie in the river, either banks or flats where the edge meets the main dropoff. Also finding a depth, even if its shallower, can prove successful by setting the depths of the nymphs appropriately and running that water style when you see it. It’s always a challenge this time of year, but well worth the effort to catch healthy powerful fish that this river supports year after year.
This season looks as good as 2011, as far as snowpack in the high country, and cool temperatures keeping it locked up and the river flows stable. Big and stable. Friends are still skiing and will be for some time to come, while our Bitterroot river is alive and fishing well on our first hatches of the season. Skwala stoneflies are hatching routine now, and the first of the March Browns are here and building every day.
The river is gonna be big this year, same with the Big Hole which feeds from the same mountain ranges as our river. Its been double historical flows for the last month, and a long winter with never ending shitty days and cold temps have kept any signs of runoff at bay. The river and the bugs are happy despite the fickle days, and afternoons produce excellent dry fly fishing for a few hours or better on the pleasant days.
We have a couple weeks of predictable fishing, maybe more, until that big snowpack starts to let loose, and then we’ll see how this year’s runoff shapes out. Right now the valley is just waking up, no leaves yet, deep white mountains overhead, brilliant sunshine followed by a snow squall every thirty minutes or so, and great early season fishing: it feels like a perfect Montana spring.