Spring fishing here in Montana can be terrific. There is generally a three week period where most rivers are in good shape before snowmelt and runoff flood valleys. Depending on how spring shapes up, the end of March and most of April usually offer solid angling opportunities.
Here are five tips that will help you catch more fish during the spring in Montana.
1. Keep bankers' hours. Since water temperatures are still on the colder side there is no need to get on the water early in the morning. Most insect activity will happen from late morning into early evening. Have another cup of coffee and eat another scone and hit the water around 10:00 am.
2. Cover water. Regardless of whether you're floating or wading, be mobile. During the spring fish are still basically in winter mode. That means they're more or less spread out and not necessarily concentrated in riffles. Keep moving in order to consistently find feeding fish.
3. Look for fish in pools, around cover, and in off-current areas. Since fish are still in winter mode they will generally prefer to avoid heavy current. Boulder gardens, woody debris, pools, and deep runs are best bets.
4. Be accurate. During spring trout are not necessarily feeding aggressively. That means you have to put your bugs right in front of their nose. Whether you're fishing dry flies or nymphing, it's important to feed fish accurately.
5. Employ all techniques. Be ready to switch techniques depending on conditions. Daytime weather during spring can be all over the place. It's not uncommon to nymph in the mornings, fish dry flies for a couple hours during mid-day, and pull streamers toward evening during a day on the water in the springtime. By being prepared and versatile, you can adjust techniques throughout the day which will improve overall success.
Montana offers some outstanding spring fling opportunities. Keep these five tips in mind during March and April and you'll be ahead of the curve before you hit the water.
If you need more details about spring fishing here in Montana or want to book a trip on the Kootenai, Bitterroot, Clark Fork, or Missouri give us a shout. Heck, give us a shout if you want to know anything about fly fishing for that matter. 406-295-4872