Many of our loyal Montana Fish Bum Blog followers have asked why the fishing reports are always so varied this time of year. The short answer: it’s spring fishing. We have to go back away for the longer, geekier answer. All the way back to ancient China and the philosophy of Yin/Yang. The Chinese philosophy of Yin/Yang espouses how seemingly contrary forces are interconnected in the natural world and how these forces give rise to one another. For example, light leads up to periods or darkness, which in turn yields back to light. I lost some of you so here’s the short version = opposite yet related. Most Montana anglers would loosely agree with this line of thinking, especially when it comes to spring fishing. Of course, you still don’t see many Yin/Yang bumper stickers pasted to the back of mud covered trucks driven by guys with cowboy hats.
Spring is the time when most anglers are getting excited for the first warm days of spring and the hopes that eager trout will feed with abandon. However, for as many days as this holds true the opposite occurs. Our warm days and nights in Montana raise the water temperature to excite the baetis, caddis and March Browns, but it also starts melting snow in the mountains. The melted snow raises the river flows, colors up the water and in most cases cool the water temperature down delaying the hatch or putting the trout off the feed.
This situation holds particularly true during late April and early May here on the Yellowstone River when the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch occurs. Caddis fishing in here in the spring can be a real start and stop adventure. One day the caddis will pour off the river then a couple of days of warmth with blow the river out. The caddis hatch will slow down and when the river gets warmer they’ll start going again. This could scenario could last several days, even weeks. Damn the Yin Yang!
So as anglers are anticipating the greatest of all spring hatches here in Montana we would suggest taking up the philosophy of “The Dude”*, which would be “forget about it and just go fishing man” (PG version). It’s not possible to plan for good fishing, you have to put in your time. When you fish enough you’ll realize that all fishing days are great, the catching just balances itself out over the years. In the battle of holding to the best philosophy of spring fishing in Montana, we hold true to the Dude.