Our Missoula fly fishing weather is a major factor in what drives our fishery. It is always fun to listen to visiting anglers talk about the forecast, or look of the weather in the morning. Those who have fished Missoula for years have the exact opposite reaction of those who have never fished here. The newbies are always hoping for sun and warmth while the veteran anglers get giddy with a chilly morning and thick layer of cloud cover over the valley.
“I hope it doesn’t rain” or “Sure would be nice if the sun came out” is often heard from the first time visitors. Meanwhile their guide is licking his chops with a spark in his eye and hoping his clients have the right gear to stay out in the elements. Cloud cover typically means great fishing in Missoula, especially dry fly fishing. From the time our trout are born every bird from Kingfishers, Herons, and Osprey are trying to take them out. Those birds can see better in the sunlight and it doesn’t take long for the fish to learn that. Cloud cover gives our trout a break from the predators. It gives them the confidence they need to move out into the open.
Solid cloud cover helps our mayfly hatches too. Add a light drizzling rain and you have the perfect recipe for blanket hatches and rising trout throughout the system. The bugs love the clouds too with more of them hatching on cloudy days. They are stuck on the water longer as well since it takes more time for their wings to dry out.
Do we even catch fish on sunny days? Sure, the trout have to eat after all and if it stays sunny for days on end then the trout adjust and feed accordingly. Sometimes it’s even excellent out there under the bright sun. But meet your guide on a cool, cloudy morning with a good chance of rain and you’ll see a guy with an especially big grin and a little extra pep in his step. As far as Missoula fly fishing weather is concerned, clouds rule.