Written by: Tim Linehan, Linehan Outfitting Co.
Montana offers some of the best spring fishing in the lower forty-eight. During the months of March and April and before runoff and snowmelt blows out valley rivers, water conditions are often quite consistent and trout feed eagerly.
Skwala stoneflies and mayfly hatches–such as March browns, gray drakes, and Baetis–ar the main focus of anglers in Montana during the early season. Here are five of the top Montana patterns that will help you catch more trout during the spring.
The venerable parachute Adams in various sizes will cover you in most cases during March brown, gray drake, and Baetis hatches. Never leave home without it.
This Skwala pattern rides low, floats true, and trout eat it. What more could you want from from a fly?
Sparkle Duns are some of the most effective patterns in the game. They float well, have a great mayfly silhouette, and with the trailing shuck are a terrific cripple/emerger pattern, as well.
This nymph in various sizes is outstanding. The legs give it life, and it’s suggestive of both Skwala and gray-drake nymphs.
This fly gets down fast, is suggestive of all nymphs, and is the perfect dropper.
Pre-runoff fishing in Montana can be great. Make sure you have a few of these patterns in your box when you head out for your next spring adventure.
Tim Linehan is the owner of Linehan Outfitting Co.–2020 Orvis-endorsed Outfitter of the Year–on the Kootenai River in Troy, Montana.