Missouri River

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April 22, 2013 Our Skwala and the early mayfly season has been the best I've ever had the honor to witness this season. We've been going strong here on the Root for the last few weeks with good water levels and excellent hatches. The afternoon March Brown hatch pumps out thousands and thousands of the little buggers, bringing up heavy trout with their guards down for world class feedings. I like to float short distances in good habitat for this epic event, timing my river progress just right to catch the hatch in the right pool or run. A person doesn't need a marathon float with these types of hatches going on; really a few good pools will make your day. When ten to twenty hefty fish are podding up and pigging out in each good run, a heads up angler can work those fish for quite a while without putting them down. We are still getting the weather here in southwest Montana, which bodes well for the long summer ahead. The cool temps and precipitation have kept the river dropping while loading up the high country with money in the bank. Look for continued mayfly action on the Bitterroot while this early season lasts, until the inevitable heat brings on the runoff and the next stage of the season.

March 26 The long Montana winter is wrapping up and our first major hatch of the Bitterroot has started. Our weather has been intermittent lately, to say the least, with snow squalls and cold temps still holding out from winter. I've seen a few good days of fishing the last couple weeks, mostly weather and river section dependent. We set out from Bell Crossing two days ago, March 24, with two big March Browns and a pair of Skwalas loving it up as we pulled the boat out from the rocky beach. We threw dries from the front and streamers from the rear, with the streamer getting the most play. As the day progressed, a couple of fish ate our dry offerings and we had quite a few more takes on the streamer. But alas, as it goes in this country this time of year, we were soon hammered by relentless snow squalls and a drop in temperature to well below freezing from our iced up guides. So it goes...Keep an eye on the weather report and look for that window of good weather: that's the time to catch this early set of hatches. As we move on into April, look for more and more consistent fishing, especially as the river starts to bump with the nicer temperatures of real springtime.

Missouri River Madness:

Oh how we love our beloved Mo. The Mo has been kind on all my excursions throughout the winter and early spring. Nymphing near the dam was downright amazing a few of those days, weather regardless, where a well mended drift scored a big rainbow almost every cast. We're fishing the usual small, but also found a few secret larger patterns that the fish went bananas over. Last trip, mid March, after getting the cobwebs shook out near the dam with the trusty bobber, Chris and I started hunting midge risers on the banks below Bull Pasture. To our delight, a griffith's gnat on 5x proved to be just the ticket to these big finicky sippers. What a joy to throw a dry again! We milked out that bank for about a half dozen then found another few right above Wolf Creek bridge. We carried on just until Prickly Pear, where we stopped and had to check out one of our favorite lies on this river. As I cooked up some pasta and tried to warm up on the beach, I watched Chris put on a nymphing clinic that will go down in our memories for a long time. I'll just say that Chris burned up about five years worth of fish karma in that run; I warned him but he never listens. From that point it was getting late and we had a good ways till Craig, so we rigged the big guns and ripped streamers the next six miles. Once again, the good spirit of the river was kind as we hit quite a few good fish stripping our bugs across knee to waist deep runs. So... Good times on the Mo. As we move on into the spring, we should continue to see good fishing on that river. Baetis are coming.