Weekend Warrior: Get That New Gear, And Get Out There

Wait, you’re going to work today? Ugh. We’re all going to be feeling a little spring fever today, with highs in the mid 50s predicted under bright sun. With the Bitterroot valley always a couple degrees warmer this time of year, is this the day them skwala bugs get skittering? Haven’t heard of any adults out and about, or nymphs close to shore under the rocks but there have been folks getting random eats on a skwala all week. Would it be my first choice to tie on at the boat ramp this weekend? No. I’d be on that streamer game. Maybe I’d tie a skwala nymph off the back for those inside bends, but I’m sticking with the streamer for a bit here.

Zach Orth has a real eye for photography. Too bad the Bitterroot Valley isn’t up to the job of providing beautiful backdrops. Weather like this should make for busy waters this weekend.

There’s a little precipitation in the works for Sunday, but both Friday and Saturday are going to be cranking the heat and warming those chilly waters. Fishing should be good to great depending on where you choose to fish. Saturday looks like it could get busy out there, but before you head out make sure you hit one of the events in town where you can grab some awesome deals. Blackfoot River Outfitters has their annual gear swap, and 20 percent off in the store. Great finds on lots of gear – including a couple of Sotar boats! Bring in the old and walk out with some new. 
The Grizzly Hackle (voted Missoula’s Best Flyshop) has been hard at work renovating their shop and bringing in new product by the boatload, and they’re ready to show it off and treat you to free legendary smoked turkey sandwiches from The Notorious P.I.G. (voted Missoula’s Best New Restaurant). Two of Missoula’s best, lots of cool stuff going on including a presentation by Dan Shepard on fishing the newly open for business Cuba, giveaways and sales and fly tying demos all day long. I’ll be doing some demo fly tying at 11 am, so stop in if you want to see me tie some godawful flies guaranteed to hook bushes and land trophy stick fish. Hit these events up before you head out to the river, and catch the best part of the day on the water. 
Where to go? The Bitterroot and Rock Creek are obvious great choices this time of year, but the lower Clark Fork could have some good fishing as well, and sometimes gets that early skwala action going. I’m not 100 percent confident that this weekend will be “it” for the lower Clark, but if you’re a gambler it could work out. Bring the streamer box and some extra beers in case you strike out. The upper Bitterroot is fishing well, and it would be my choice for dropping a boat in the days. The winter rigs are working, but concentrate on looking to those inside bends and skwala-like water for the good stuff. Keep the BWO box handy, and alternate your nymphs with a flashy or pink and a dull natural. Fish are eating in deep trenches and starting to move about as well. If you’re wading, find a good run and work it well. You might see a parade of boats on the lower ‘root, but this weekend the weather looks so nice it won’t make a difference. Get out and shake the spring fever, and then hit the water with a smile and some new waders. 

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