Top 5 Flies for Montana Spring

Written by: Tim Linehan, Linehan Outfitting Co.

Springtime trout are hungry after a long winter, and pre-runoff fishing can be spectacular.
Photo courtesy 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.

1. Parachute Adams

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.

2.Bitterroot Skwala

This Skwala pattern rides low, floats true, and trout eat it. What more could you want from from a fly?

3. Tan sparkle dun

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.

4. Coffee Pat’s Rubber Legs

This nymph in various sizes is outstanding. The legs give it life, and it’s suggestive of both Skwala and gray-drake nymphs.

5. Tunghead Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail Nymph

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.

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Flies for Montana Spring”

    1. Thanks for the piece Tim. Pats rubber legs has been picking up some nice bows for me on town to Big horn terrace lately.

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