Since our last blog we’ve had non-stop snow cycles pounding Montana. It’s brought the snow pack/snow water equivalent for most of the western part of our state up to about average or just above. Average or above usually bodes well for summer flows. It also makes for great skiing conditions which we have been enjoying thoroughly.
For the first time in last 8 years or so we haven’t been fishing much on the Flathead River. Not because of conditions but due to lack of access. With only one boat ramp clean it makes it hard to float and we’re not to keen on post holing to go fishng. Unfortunately nobody seems to care or have it in their schedule to manage our fishing access sites for winter use. Luckily one of our friends owns a legit plow and went in yesterday and cleaned out the east side of old steel bridge. It took him 20 minutes. Pretty major deal…We now have 2 ramps available. Granted Teakettle to Old Steel is too long for winter time floats but at least there’s another access point now. If you have a raft you can probably drag in at Presentine. You can also head up Hungry Horse, drag your boat in under bridge and float down to Teakettle. We also heard that you can weasel down under the bridge at old steel with a trailer and drop it off the ice edge. They are calling for snow all week so not sure how long the plow job will last.
Flathead River Fishing conditions look to be prime for winter. Water temps are on the climb for almost a week which usually means good nymphing productivity if you know the spots. Slow and deep is certainly the key. Slow swinging buggers/streamers or deep nymphing with worms, pats rubber legs, eggs, and bead head attractors works well. Don’t forget to bring some dry flies, with the warmer temps you could find some midging fish in the afternoons if you keep your eyes peeled. We’ve had great dry fly fishing in January snow storms…Small P-adams and grifiths variations are a good combos to put over risers. It looks like more snow all week with temps hovering above freezing and approaching 40 on Wednesday.
We’ve finally started to hit the vice as skwala season is upon us. Here are a few variations to get your gears turning.