Skwala Fever

Well, there went the weekend and you’re in a mad frenzy to tie the next big skwala pattern and get back out there. With reports of trucks parked from the river to the road at all the boat ramps on the lower Bitterroot, it was a party on the rivers around Missoula. Trout coming to hand on the dry for some, while the nymphing moved fish by the dozens. The shuttle bums on the Bitterroot weren’t complaining, and neither were the guides. Those that found some solitude were grinning ear to ear with the beautiful weather, and as one trout bum put it, if you just got a new drift boat and all the coolest gear, the lower Bitterroot was the place to be.

We’ll just pretend he ate a skwala instead of the worm. 

Were the skwalas out? A few. Were the anglers out? A lot. With weather in the high 50s it looked as if the entire town was ready to bend a rod, and though the bugs haven’t quite shown up in full force, the fishing is great and will be improving all week long. Get busy tying that next surefire hit fly, but don’t get caught up tying dozens upon dozens of skwala dries- before you know it, they’ll have come and gone. It would be wiser to stock up on the big prince nymphs and skinny mayflies, which will play all season. Skwala fever might be highly contagious, but it can often leave sufferers with a lingering feeling of trout gone by and high hopes dashed on the skinny water. If you get a chance to hit the water this week, the rubberlegs or a wooly bugger stripped in short jerks through the inside bends can move more fish than a perfectly drifted dry pattern in our experience, but don’t feel bad if symptoms persist and you can’t get away from the idea of a tug on the dry! Live the fever dream. We won’t blame you.


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