March – April Montana Fly Fishing Hatches
Skwala Stoneflies (#8-10), Grey Drakes (#12-14),
March Browns (#14) and Blue-wing Olives (#18)
Our season kicks off with the Skwala hatch on the Bitterroot in mid-March. Fish have a hard time passing up such a large meal and some of our biggest trout of the year, especially browns, are taken during the Skwala hatch each spring.
As April approaches the Clark Fork and Rock Creek come alive as we start to see regular mayfly hatches of Grey Drakes, March Browns, and Blue-wings. This is a favorite time of year in Missoula as sheer dry fly foolishness ensues.
Anglers who fish the spring once usually return year after year for the opportunity of big trout on big dries.
May Montana Fly Fishing Hatches
This is typically the time of year when we experience run-off, but when water conditions allow for it the fly fishing can be fantastic with trout exploding on dries tight to the banks.
The caddis hatches on the Blackfoot and Clark Fork are simply unbelievable. Our main focus is on the Missouri this time of year with consistent nymph fishing for trophy trout.
We also fish certain lakes where the preferred method is sight casting to cruising rainbows that can push 10 pounds!
June Montana Fly Fishing Hatches
Salmonflies (#4-6), Golden stoneflies (#6-10),
and Green Drakes (#8-10)
This is big water and big bug time. The action starts early in the month on the East and West Forks with giant salmon fly patterns.
By mid-month Rock Creek bugs are coming off, and by the third week of June, the Blackfoot will join the mix. Characterized by fast flows and short drifts this is the best time to find large trout gorging on the daily feast of stoneflies.
As Salmonflies start to wane Golden stones and Green Drakes begin hatching. Fishing conditions change daily, and Montana Trout Outfitters has the experience to stay on top of the best hatches.
Warm and cloudy June days can provide some of the most epic fishing of the season.
July Montana Fly Fishing Hatches
Golden stoneflies (#8-10), Green Drakes (#8-10), Spruce Moth (#10-12),
Yellow Sallies (#14-16), and Pale-Morning Duns (#14-16)
The big stoneflies and drakes will linger into the early part of July gradually giving way to consistent hatches of Yellow Sallies and PMDs. Every stream and river in the area will be fishing in July.
On larger rivers like the Bitterroot and Clark Fork the trout will start to congregate in pods to feed on the daily emergence of mayflies and little stones.
The Blackfoot and Rock Creek typically have a Spruce Moth hatch that produces ridiculously good dry fly fishing.
This is the most predictable time to fish in regards to weather and water conditions.
August Montana Fly Fishing Hatches
Grasshoppers (#6-10), Tricos (#18-22), and Hecubas (#8-10)
The peak of summer is hopper time. The rivers aren’t as busy and the trout lie in wait along grassy banks and under logjams to ambush these hapless terrestrials when they hit the water.
The Bitterroot and Clark Fork also have morning trico hatches that provide ample targets to test your dry fly skills. These fish feed willingly regardless of weather, but they demand a good fly with the proper presentation.
The Hecuba, or Fall Drake, will show up mid-month and can provide some of the most exciting fishing of the summer.
Trout have a hard time passing up a juicy mayfly when all they have seen is hoppers drifting over them for weeks.
September/October Montana Fly Fishing Hatches
Grasshoppers (#6-10), October Caddis (#8-10),
Mahoganies (#12-16) and Blue-wing Olives (#16-18)
Hopper fishing is a mainstay throughout the fall, but as the leaves start to turn and the mornings get frosty the autumn mayflies will begin to appear.
Daily hatches along with the urge to feed before winter make fall fly fishing one of the highlights of the year.
The Bitterroot fishes great late into the fall, and this is THE time to be on the Clark Fork for rising fish.
The Blackfoot and Rock Creek have solid October Caddis hatches and the violent strikes from big trout are not to be missed.
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