Spring fly fishing in Montana on the Yellowstone River, Madison River, and the Spring Creeks of Armstrong, DePuy, and Nelson can be some of the best of the year. In fact, many of our summer guests ask us when we get time to fish. The answer – springtime! While the weather can be variable the fishing is quite consistent. Those of you considering an early season get-away, here’s a rundown of what you can expect.
The weather and conditions are varied so come prepared for temperatures from the low 40’s to mid-’60s. On occasions, there is snow, which should not stop your fishing, but if it does, this is also the prime time for wolf watching in the nearby Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park. Buffalo, elk, and other game, that grew weary over the harsh winter, often fall prey to the wolves at this time and the packs can be seen from the road! This wonder has drawn worldwide interest and many people are coming to our region specifically for this event.
The benefits of springtime travel in Montana have not caught on nationwide, but for the passionate community of people who love the West, it is the only time to be here. For “locals”, this early fishing season is a treasured un-crowded time unlike any other. It’s often been suggested Montana natives named it the “Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch” so they could have the best dry fly fishing for themselves for three weeks before.
As for what you can expect for the fishing:
March-early April bring us great midge and baetis fishing. The water is usually low and clear, so good presentation is the key to fishing success. That said, the fish are eager to eat after the long winter’s cold. Water temperatures warm and the fish get active. Warm afternoons are best, especially on cloudy days even if it’s snowing outside. The added bonus is that if the weather turns cold and snowy Bridger Bowl ski area is only 35 miles away – ski in the morning and then fish the afternoon hatch!
Mid-April – early May really gets us excited. One of the most spectacular hatches anywhere in the world is right around the corner – the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch on the Yellowstone River. Describing this hatch, when it’s full blown, is almost impossible. You might think we’re exaggerating, but that’s why we’ve included some photos so you can judge for yourself. The river has an orange hue when the hundreds of thousands of caddis hatch in the afternoon. In the beginning stages of the hatch, trout are eager to feed on these tasty morsels along the river banks and in back-eddies. While the caddis hatch gets most of the attention the March Brown’s can be just as spectacular. What trout wouldn’t want to eat a size 12 to 14 mayfly after a long winter’s slumber?
In an effort to get some of our long-time summer fishing clients to get a taste of the great Montana spring fishing we offer a 15% discount from our standard guided fishing rates. So if this sounds like an interesting time of year let us know and we can fill you in on more details. This opportunity is available from March until the first week of June.