Skwala Fly Fishing Montana

Skwala Fly Fishing Montana

Most of our rivers have some sort of skwala activity in the spring. We typically focus our skwala fly fishing on the Clark Fork River, Bitterroot River, and Missouri River, but there are other lesser known rivers that we like to fish as well. i.e. Nunya Creek and Blind Fold River…

The skwala hatch is no secret. The Bitterroot takes the brunt of the spring traffic and has become very busy over the past decade as this hatch has been popularized with magazine articles and the blogosphere. Though it can be busy during peak skwala season(late March – Mid April), a little extra planning on what stretch and your timing can usually keep you away from the skwala armada of Missoula. The Clark Fork River and lower Missouri River are also good bets if you want to have some solitude, but they usually don’t provide quite as consistent skwala action as the Bitterroot.

Skwala fly fishing on the Bitterroot River

Skwala fly fishing on the Bitterroot River

The skwala season is approaching fast. If we continue to get warmer than average temps we could see good dry fly fishing with the big bug in just a few weeks. Typically the last week in March and the first two weeks in April are the most consistent with weather, water, and bugs but we’ve had great skwala fishing as early as the first week in March. Although the skwala hatch continues well into May, run-off generally starts towards the end of April and conditions become hit and miss for the remainder of the hatch. The Skwala stone fly is not the only hatch during the spring season that gets the fish looking up. BWOs, March browns, and caddis are also present during the spring months and often provide good action when the fish get tired of the foam fly.

During runoff (late April – May) we switch our focus from the western freestones to the Missouri River. As the latter half of April approaches the Missouri River dry fly fishing starts to heat-up and fishing conditions will remain stable through runoff (especially on low water years). We also get windows of opportunity on our freestones rivers during run-off. When cold spells bring the flows down the fishing can be outlandish in May when the conditions line up right.

Though one can never predict weather and run-off, our current snow-pack is at or below average for most of the state. This bodes well for a great skwala season that starts earlier and lasts later. But you never know…

Bitterroot Skwala Fly Fishing

McMac AKA The Rambl’n Cowboy likes testing his new skwala patterns.

At any rate, this is a fun and exciting time of year for most fishing guides. We are all fresh and looking forward to the season, tying new secret weapons to try out, and just happy to be out on the water watching a few trout come to a home brewed skwala pattern.

Give us a call if you are interested in booking a guided skwala fly fishing trip. We still have some prime dates available for the spring season and it should be a good one.

Home brews fresh from the vice.

Home brews fresh from the vice. Got Yours?

Jason Lanier
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