Cutthroat Trout-Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 7-19-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have guides available and we’re the local source for all things surrounding the Kootenai River.  Give a call anytime if you have any questions about the Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: the Present discharge from Libby Dam is 9000cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 13,400 cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 59 degrees

Best Time of day: mornings and evenings

Hatches: caddis, pmd mayflies, crane flies, midge

Patterns: elk hair caddis, caddis emerger, ascending caddis, supa pupa, royal wulff, parachute Adams, purple haze, yellow haze, chubby, bubble back nymph, quasi moto nymph, rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut, parachute Adams, purple haze, stimulator

We’re hitting our stride here on the Kootenai River and water conditions could not be better.  Kootenai River flows are currently at 9000 cfs and the Kootenai River is in great  shape.  Water clarity is good and there’s still a hint of glacial milk color to the River which we actually like.  Soon enough the Kootenai River will become gin clear so it’s nice for now to enjoy early season water conditions.

Caddis have become very active the last few days largely due to warm, sunny days.  Pmds are popping as well later in the afternoon as well and dry fly action is solid especially early and late.  During hatches dry fly action has been good.  Light pmd spinner falls are happening in various riffles up and down the river in the morning between 9:00-10:00 am.  And adults are sporadically coming off during late afternoons as well.  If you see fish rising, think pmd or caddis for the most part.

Nymphing has been steady throughout the day and trout are starting to settle into summer runs.  The Kootenai River is still coming into shape so some runs are full of fish and others are the Miller Lite runs.  They taste great but are less filling.  That’s to say you think and know they should be full of fish but actually aren’t, yet.  Fear not.  In the coming days boulder gardens, riffles, and runs will fill in with hungry trout.  The times they are a changin.
All stretches of the Kootenai River are in good shape.

Streamer action has been a bit slow but that’s to be expected under such sunny skies.  However, if you stay with it, you may just be rewarded.  We’ve had some anglers giving it a shot from time to time and have indeed found some bigger fish.  Get out the 250 grain, get the fly down, and white has been the color for the most part.

It’s all coming together nicely here and conditions and fishing are heating up daily.  Literally.  Expect high sunshine and daytime temperatures in the high 80s and 90s for the next seven to ten days.

And speaking of hot, the Boston Red Sox are currently on fire and leading the American League East in first place!  Young guns are smoking and pitching has been super solid.

Give us a call if you need any Kootenai River information or if you want to get on the water with us anytime.  800-596-0034.  www.fishmontana.com

LOC guest David W. with a great native westslope cutthroat.

Dry Fly Fishing-Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 7-4-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have guides available and we’re the local source for all things surrounding the Kootenai River.  Give a call anytime if you have any questions about the Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: the Present discharge from Libby Dam is 11,000cfs.

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 27,000 cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 52 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: caddis, pmd mayflies, crane flies, midge

Patterns: elk hair caddis, caddis emerger, ascending caddis, supa pupa, royal wulff, parachute Adams, purple haze, yellow haze, chubby, bubble back nymph, quasi moto nymph, rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut, parachute Adams, purple haze, stimulator

Happy 4th of July.  We’re hitting our stride here on the Kootenai River and water conditions could not be better.  Kootenai River flows are currently at 11,000 cfs and the River is in great  shape.  Water clarity is good and there’s still a hint of glacial milk color to the River which we actually like.  Soon enough the Kootenai River will become fin clear so it’s nice for now to enjoy early season water conditions.

Action has been getting better by the day but it’s still early and water temperatures are chilly but warming by the day.  If you’re wet wading expect an ice cream headache for the first few minutes as you acclimate to early season conditions.

Caddis have become very active the last few days largely due to warm, sunny days.  Pmds are popping as well later in the afternoon as well and dry fly action is picking up.  Top water action is not on fire yet but getting better by the day.  We really need water temperatures to enter the high 50s and low 60s in order to get trout metabolisms in gear.  They’re eating, but just not focused on seriously looking up yet.  When will they decide to eat on top?  Any day.  Stay tuned and stay dry.

Nymphing has been steady throughout the day and trout are starting to settle into summer runs.  The Kootenai River is still coming into shape so some runs are full of fish and others are the Miller Lite runs.  They taste great but are less filling.  That’s to say you think and know they should be full of fish but actually aren’t, yet.  Fear not.  In the coming days boulder gardens, riffles, and runs will fill in with hungry trout.  The times they are a changin.

All stretches of the Kootenai River are in good shape.  Keep in mind the farther you go downstream, the warmer the water temperatures will be which may mean more active fish.

It’s all coming together nicely here and conditions and fishing are heating up daily.  Literally.  Expect high sunshine and daytime temperatures in the high 90s fo the next seven to ten days.  Yup.  Going to be hot.  And that’s not necessarily bad since we’re looking for help to raise water temperatures.

And speaking of hot, the Boston Red Sox are currently on fire and leading the American League East in first place!  Young guns are smoking and pitching has been super solid.  Heading into the All Star break this is as good as it gets for Sox Nation.

Give us a call if you need any Kootenai River information or if you want to get on the water with us anytime.  800-596-0034.  www.fishmontana.com

Awesome shot by LOC guide Sam S. releasing a Kootenai River rainbow.

 

 

 

 

 


Caddis Flies-Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 6-15-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: Libby Dam outflows will be decreased from 20 kcfs to 17 kcfs at 2300 MDT Thursday, June 15.  Flows will be further decreased to 15 kcfs at 2300 MDT Sunday, June 18. This operation continues the descending limb of the Sturgeon Pulse.

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 42,000cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 50 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: caddis

Patterns: elk hair caddis, caddis emerger, ascending caddis, supa pupa, royal wulff, parachute Adams, purple haze, yellow haze, chubby, bubble back nymph, quasi moto nymph, rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut, parachute Adams, purple haze, stimulator

The Kootenai River is shaping up nicely and will be in great condition and fishing well in just a few short days.  Flows are headed south and by Sunday will be 15,00o cfs which is perfect.  Water temperature is  now 50 degrees and that means caddis will start to pop with more frequency as well.  It’s still a bit early for pmds but it’s time to officially say, LET THE DRY FLY FISHING BEGIN!

With lower flows and warming water temps fish and bugs will both be more inclined to become active during all times of the day.  For the immediate future, look for fish next to islands and in softer currents until the weekend and until flows come down again.  If you see bugs hatching in a riffle, you may indeed find rising fish.  But for the most part trout are in transition right now.  Flows are still slightly high so fish will not necessarily be in riffles to any degree just yet.

Dry fly fishing is picking up and if you stick with it, and roll down soft banks and tight to grassy island edges, you will likely pull a few fish.  Think attractor patter with caddis dropper or pheasant tail about three feet below.

Nymphing is currently good.  Again, look for fish in softer current and especially at drop-offs around islands and in channels.  Structure will hold fish as well so keep in mind boulder gardens submerged woody debris as good target areas.

This time of year the streamer bite can be great.  Get out the big sticks like 7 weights and be sure to roll with a at least a depth charge sinking tip line.  Get down deep and let patterns swing.  Big fish have just come off a long winter/spring and are hungry.  Think 4-6 feet of walking speed current or way down deep at the bottom of tailouts in pools and longer runs.

Expect cool, cloudy days and nights with chance of showers or rain through Saturday and daytime temps in the low 50s.  By Sunday partly sunny days and warmer temps will prevail and with flows being reduced next week the Kootenai River will be in great shape.  Give us a call if you want to get on the water.  800-596-0034.

Kootenai rainbow trout

 


Dry fly fishing-Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 6-6-2017

This Missouri River Montana Fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting (www.fishmontana.com) and provides current Missouri River fishing conditions. This report will be updated frequently or as conditions change. The LOC crew spends May and June on the Missouri River and we currently have availability. Give a call and let’s go fishing.

Flows from Holter Dam: current discharge from Holter Dam are fluctuating between 830o-8900 cfs

Water Temperature: 58 degrees

Best time of day: River is fishing pretty well throughout the entire day

Hatches: Pmds and caddis

Patterns: zebra midge, tailwater sow, hot bead sow, Ray Charles sow, gold lightening bug, San Juan worm, steel worm, bubble back pmd, pheasant tail, parachute Adams, purple haze, Bloom’s caddis, crystal caddis, ascending caddis, zoo cougar, circus peanut, split case pmd, yellow haze, pmd hackle stacker, parachute pmd, pmd emerger

We’ve all been waiting for dry fly fishing and finally it seems the fish are starting to look up here on the Missouri River.  Water temps are starting to consistently hang around the high 50s and pmds and caddis are finally starting to pop in earnest.  Dry fly fishing is improving by the day and fish seem increasingly eager to feed on top.  Look for hatches of pmds in tailouts and faster currents but keep in mind fish are usually set up to eat a bit down stream in slightly softer water to take advantage of an easy meal and cripples.  At the moment fish are not necessarily snooty and will eat several versions of pmd and caddis patterns.  But it’s still all about the drift.  At this point their not pattern shy but be sure to show them nothing but fly.  Drag on the fly or a poor presentation will only get you the middle fin.

Nymphing is still solid up and down the river.  You can run short, about 5 feet to a couple bead heads and stick with banks and faster current in 3-5 feet of water or you can run deep with a couple BB split shot in 6-8 feet of water as well.  Just kind of depends on your preference.  Fish are definitely spreading out and can be found in all water types and seem to be moving each day as well.  Keep in mind what works one day may not actually be the ticket the next.  This is a transition period and trout are seeking more traditional summer runs and faster current.

It looks like we have a couple more nice days in the forecast and then expect much cooler temps and unfortunately wind.  A cool front is entering the area on Saturday and daytime temps will hover around the middle 50s.  We’ve been enjoying daytime temps in the 70s and very little wind.  It’s actually going to be hot for the next couple days and then we’ll see a big change later in the week.  What does this mean for dry fly fishing?    Stay tuned or we’ll see you on the water.

LOC guest Tom U. with a dry fly eating Missouri River brown dog.

Sturgeon Flows-Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 5-28-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 26,900cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 42,000cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 49 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: midge, baetis, March brown mayfly

Patterns: rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut, parachute Adams, purple haze, stimulator

The Kootenai River is actually in pretty good shape at the moment.   The second pulse of Sturgeon flows have started but for now the river is perfectly fish-able at 18,000cfs.  That’s still a bit on the high side and so wading is not really much of a option.  Float fishing is the way to go right now and will be for a while until runoff has abated a bit.

Water temps have risen nicely what with some sunshine and 49 degrees is good enough to stimulate some activity in the way of feeding fish.  With sunshine and warmer days tributaries will kick color into the main stem but water conditions should remain pretty good from here on.

Nymphing is the way to go if you’re interested in best bet.  Fish are likely still busy spawning so numbers may seem scarce for now.  But rig up with 2 BB split shot and ser your indicator about 6-7 feet from first fly.  Look for fish in softer runs and tail outs for now as they’re likely not in fast water and are still in late winter/spring habitat.

streamers are also a good bet and on cloudy days the note has been decent.  Roll with at least a sink tip since it’s important to cut through the top layer of current and get down in the zone.  Look for fish in cover and boulder gardens.

Expect a nice week of weather with partly sunny skies and fair days.  Water temps will continue to rise and caddis should start popping a bit in the near future which may provide some dry fly opportunities.

Spring Kootenai River Westslope Cutthroat

 

 


Rain-Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 5-19-2017

Missouri River rainbow trout

This Missouri River Montana Fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting (www.fishmontana.com) and provides current Missouri River fishing conditions. This report will be updated frequently or as conditions change. The LOC crew spends May and June on the Missouri River and we currently have availability. Give a call and let’s go fishing.

Flows from Holter Dam: 10,500 cfs

Water Temperature: 52 degrees

Best time of day: River is fishing pretty well throughout the entire day

Hatches: midge, baetis, caddis

Patterns: zebra midge, tailwater sow, hot bead sow, Ray Charles sow, gold lightening bug, San Juan worm, steel worm, green machine, pheasant tail, parachute Adams, purple haze, Bloom’s caddis, crystal caddis, ascending caddis, zoo cougar, circus peanut

It’s been an interesting couple of days here on the Missori River. Flows from Holter Dam have increased approximately 2000 cfs in the last four days.  Normally we’d expect the fishing to slow down under this situation but for the most part the song remains the the same.

Two days ago a winter storm brought over 2 inches of rain to the area.  Tributaries blew up and Prickly Pear Creek and the Dearborn River both tripled in size  and are presently still pouring color into the the river.

For now, the only fish able water is from Holter Dam to the Dearborn River.  The upper River is off color at the moment but has been improving quickly.  Below the Dearborn River and in the canyonwater conditions are marginal.  The Dearborn is dropping quickly but it will be a couple more days before the lower river/canyon is fish able.

Today we had several boats running deep nymphing rigs with wire worms and sow bugs. Reports were good with rigs set 7 feet from the first fly with one B split shot. Most fish were caught in 6-8 feet of water and most were still on the sow bug.

Streamer action has been pretty good and one boat had substantial streamer action over the last couple days. Cloud cover always helps when you’re throwing junk and several big were netted with big smiles and high fives. If you’re throwing streamers you have to put in the time.

Dry fly action is pretty much non-existent at the moment. Blue winged olives are hatching each day but with higher flows rising fish are pretty scarce. If you poke around in the channels and really look hard you might get lucky and see a nose or two. But don’t expect much in the way of surface activity.

Today was a great weather day.  It was 65, partly sunny, and there was no wind.  The good news.  Expect more of the same for the next week.  And keep in mind water clarity is improving daily as well.  By early next week the entire River will be in good shape again.

Stay tuned for more reports and give a call if you’re headed this way to join us or want to arrange a trip.

 


Holter Dam-Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 5-14-2017

This Missouri River Montana Fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting (www.fishmontana.com) and provides current Missouri River fishing conditions.  This report will be updated frequently or as conditions change.  The LOC crew spends May and June on the Missouri River and we currently have availability.  Give a call and let’s go fishing.

Flows from Holter Dam:  8,230 cfs

Water Temperature: 52 degrees

Best time of day:  River is fishing pretty well throughout the entire day

Hatches: midge, baetis, caddis

Patterns:  zebra midge, tailwater sow, hot bead sow, Ray Charles sow, gold lightening bug, San Juan worm, steel worm, green machine, pheasant tail, parachute Adams, purple haze, Bloom’s caddis, crystal caddis, ascending caddis, zoo cougar, circus peanut

It’s been an interesting couple of days here on the Missori River.  Flows from Holter Dam have increased approximately 700 cfs over the last 48 hours.  Normally we’d expect the fishing to slow down under this situation but for the most part the song remains the the same.

Today we had several boats running deep nymphing rigs with wire worms and sow bugs.  Reports were good with rigs set 7 feet from the first fly with one B split shot.  Most fish were caught in 6-8 feet of water and most were still on the sow bug.

Streamer action has been pretty good and one boat had substantial streamer action over the last couple days.  Cloud cover always helps when you’re throwing junk and several big were netted with big smiles and high fives.  If you’re throwing streamers you have to put in the time.

Dry fly action is pretty much non-existent at the moment.  Blue winged olives are hatching each day but with higher flows rising fish are pretty scarce.  If you poke around in the channels and really look hard you might get lucky and see a nose or two.  Caddis are hatching in the canyon.  You might find fish rising tight to the bank in soft water if you’re lucky.  For the most part flows will have to come down before any consistent dry fly action can be expected.  When will that be?  That’s the big question.  Wednesday weather prediction calls for an inch of rain and possible snow.  That means the water is still pouring into Holter Lake and after a certain point, it has to be released.  Will flows keep increasing?  Only time will tell.

Expect another day or two of decent weather and then be prepared for some cold rain and possibly snow here in Craig.  Forecast is calling for an inch or more of rain on Wednesday with temps in the middle 40s.  With this kind of fast moving front winds are expected to blow around 20 miles per hour from the north.  That means it will feel much cooler.  Fortunately the front will last for only two days and by later in the week weather will be fair and more user friendly.

Stay tuned for more reports and give a call if you’re headed this way to join us or want to arrange a trip.

Nothing but net here on the Missouri River with LOC.

 

 

 

 

 

 


BWO Mayflies-Missouri River Montana Fishing Report 5-4-2017

This Missouri River Montana fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company.  It provides current water and fishing conditions and will be updated frequently or as conditions change.  The LOC crew spends May and June on the Missouri River in Craig, Montana.

Discharge from Holter Dam:  7,200cfs

Water Temperature:  48 degrees

Best Time of Day:  Conditions are good throughout the entire day now

Hatches:  midge, baetis

Patterns:  parachute midge, midge cluster, bwo hackle stacker, bwo parachute, bwo sparkle dun, bwo cripple, zebra midge, lightening bug, green machine, pheasant tail, sow bug, hotbead sow, sj worm, black bunny patterns

This is the time of year when the LOC crew is on the Missouri.  Through the middle of June we will be featuring  Missouri River fishing reports on our site and other outlets.  Stay tuned especially if you are meeting us soon in Craig, Montana for a spring fling adventure.

Let’s see…current flows from Holter Dam are 7,200cfs which is bigger than we’ve seen over the last three years.  This is a good water year and we’re all hoping flows stay in that range for the entire spring.  To compare, the last several years Holter Dam released average flows below 4500cfs.  We like more water and the river stays fresh and offers more in the way of diversity since channels are full, holding fish, and spreading things out a bit.

At the moment nymphing is pretty solid.  With good hatches of baetis and midge, fish are eating all day and depending on weather have been pretty grabby.  Bright days seem to offer less action but with cloud cover the nymphing has been great.  With slightly higher flows, remember to raise your indicator.  Think 6-7 feet to the first fly and be sure to add enough weight to get the flies down near the bottom.

Dry fly fishing has been sporadic.  During hatches of blue winged olives you can definitely find some rising fish in soft water and tight to the banks.  These fish will be tricky.  It’s all about small ball and long leaders.  But if that’s your preference, look closely and you’ll find some targets.

The streamer bite is largely dependent on weather.  It has been worth the effort if skies are cloudy, overcast, and obviously rainy days are better still.  Bunny patterns are always in play and we like to fish a dropper off streamers as well.  Think bead head prince nymph or something with some flash that might get their attention this time of year.

It looks like we’ll be seeing pretty typical spring weather for the next 7 days.  Immediately daytime temps are going to rise significantly with sunshine and approach high 70s!  I know, right.  And clear sunny skies will dominate the landscape for two or three days.  Then, daytime temps will be more normal and hover in the 60s as another gray sky, low pressure, rainy front moves into the area.

We have availability and would love to get you on the water.  Joanne and Helen are in the office and ready for your call.  800-596-0034.

Blue winged olive hatch on Montana’s Missouri River

 

 

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 5-3-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 22,600cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 15,600cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 39 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: midge, baetis, March brown mayfly

Patterns: rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut, parachute Adams, purple haze, stimulator,

Runoff has officially started here on the Kootenai River and for the most part the Kootenai is huge. Periods of rain could spike tributaries throughout the week and push color into the mainstem. Additionally, Libby Dam is discharging nearly power house capacity so conditions are not that great at the moment. Generally speaking, the Kootenai river is not user friendly. Is it fish-able?  Actually, yes.  Water clarity is great and will only change if it rains hard enough to bump tributaries.

How long will conditions like this last? Hard to say. Right now if I went with my gut, I’d say it’s smelling like it might be one of those springs where the Kootenai River doesn’t offer much in the way of reduced flows until summer.  There’s still a ton of snow and data is showing the Kootenai River basin is now at 130% snow water equivalent.  It will start running off quickly depending on weather. But daytime temps and nights are still cool so for this week the song remains the same. But that can change in a day as we all know.

Generally speaking the Army Corps will drop flows significantly during April.  We just received word that discharge from Libby Dam will remain at essentially power house capacity for the foreseeable future.  We had big rain and precipitation last fall and big snow this winter. There is lots of water content in the basin and it all ends up in the Kootenai River. We’ll just have to wait and see.

For now the Kootenai is only fish-able from a boat.  With water this high wading is non-existent and could be dangerous.  Keep in mind water temps will be a bit warmer as you move downstream.  And since the Kootenai River flows are big, longer floats are the name of the game.

Dry fly fishing is really not that much of an option at the moment.  You might see some rising fish late in the afternoon in super soft water but for the most part water temps are still on the chilly side.  Dry droppers down grassy banks might work.  But nymphing will be your better option.  Fish a #10 brown rubber legged stonefly nymph with a #12 bead head prince dropper six to seven feet below an indicator.  Add at least one BB split shot and look for fish in soft currents, cover, next to and below flooded islands in 4-6 feet of water.  Fish will be concentrated and actually nymphing under these big water conditions can actually be pretty good if you dial into where fish are holding.

Expect warmer daytime temperatures in the high 60s-low 70s and sunshine through midweek.  Then partly sunny skies and chance of showers with daytime temps in the low 60s.

The Boston Red Sox bats are finally starting to warm up.  Run production of late has improved greatly.   Defense has been solid and pitching continues to look stellar for the most part.  GO SOX!!!

The sign says it all. And if you’re not here, you should be.

Clark Fork River Montana Fishing Report 4-24-2017-Good Conditions

This Clark Fork River Montana fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current water and fishing conditions for the lower Clark Fork River below Alberton Gorge. This report is updated frequently or as conditions change.

Flows at St. Regis: 14,000cfs

Water Clarity: stained but very fish-able

Water Temperature: 45 degrees

Best Time Of Day: late morning to evening

Hatches: baetis, skwala stonefly, March brown, gray drakes

Patterns: Pat’s stonefly, bh prince, bh copper john, bh green machine, parachute Adams, purple haze, Rasta Skwala, bullet head skwala, parachute skwala, bugmeister, bh pheasant tail, sj worm

The lower Clark Fork River is very fish-able at the moment. Recent cool temperatures and gray days have slowed runoff in a manner of speaking and conditions are excellent.  It’s starting to feel a bit like spring here in northwest Montana and at least daytime temps are consistently above 50 degrees for the time being.

Bug activity is good especially on cloudy days.  March browns, baetis, and gray drakes now headline hatches.  The skwala stonefly hatch is waining but they are still around to some degree.

Nymphing is your best bet to start the day. Fish are still concentrated in deeper pools, drop offs, and tailouts but are moving toward banks for food during afternoons. Keep in mind with chilly water temps trout are not likely to move very far to eat. Get the flies down, and fish them slowly along the bottom and around structure.

Streamer action might move a few fish but don’t be that aggressive with the retrieve. Let streamers roll and bounce and instead of ripping them back, let them pulse and dead drift some of the time as well. Bigger fish might like a bigger meal this time of year and big black buggers with a #12 Pat’s stonefly nymph as a trailer is a good rig for prospecting while floating.

Dry fly action has been pretty steady but mostly about in afternoons and early evening.  As I mentioned, water temps are still a bit chilly and a couple days of sunshine would actually help the bug situation. Baetis have started to show in really good numbers. If you see a fish rise, slide a small parachute Adams or purple haze over it and you’ll likely get an eat.  Cloud cover is our friend thi time of year.  Gray drakes love soft, cloudy days and some sections of the River have seen good numbers of drakes in the late afternoons.

Expect more rain and dark skies to continue through the week with daytime temperatures in the middle 50’s. Cooler nights will continue which is actually good since that will keep runoff to a minimum.   All in all it’s perfectly warm enough and gray skies are good for fishing. Keep an eye on flows and water clarity as rain will influence both. Expect good conditions to prevail.

Sliding along on the Clark Fork looking for the next rise…