The Bitterroot Skwala hatch is in full swing these days. There are bugs throughout the river corridor at this point, and I even saw a few March Browns yesterday. River flows are still way above historical average, but they are dropping slightly and water clarity is good. At these levels it is a challenge to find productive wade fishing water. You need to know the river well to be able to search out side channels and wadeable portions of the Bitterroot. The float fishing this past week was good to excellent with fish on droppers and nymphs in the morning, and then solid single dry fly fishing in the afternoon. Again, with the big flows it pays to know the river well. You can’t just float downstream and bang fish all day, you need to focus on the most likely water-the slower stuff. When you find the right water, a good dead drift will usually produce a willing trout. The one bonus to the higher streamflows is that there is more water to fish and the boat traffic can better spread out. When the river is low it only takes a couple boats in front of you to really hurt the fishing. Right now traffic isn’t much of an issue. Also, it is important to remember that the Bitterroot is a dangerous river, especially at these flows. All the diversion dams can prove hazardous and there are numerous logjams and sweepers that can ruin your day. When in doubt make sure to scout your route. With that said, the Bitterroot Skwala hatch is producing good fishing these days and it should only get better as more bugs come into play in April. If you have never fished the Skwala hatch before then this is the year to check it off the bucket list.
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