Rain, glorious rain is on it’s way through the Missoula area. That’s what we’re looking for in March. Sunny warm days might get all the attention this time of year, but it is these long periods of rain that are really deserving of the angler’s love. Chilly in the hills to add to that snowpack, rainy here in town and time to get the rain gear out on the river. Perfect. What does it all mean for your weekend fishing plans? Lots of good things. Rain keeps those less than die hard anglers home, and it makes for great streamer days as well. So lets get into it.
|Fish like this are eating meat stripped slow still. Or maybe you’ll get ’em on the dry.|
What is it looking like on the the rivers these days? A lot like early spring. A little like late winter. And not much like banner skwala days. Sure, there have been reports here and there of the skwala hatch getting going, and yes some anglers have been finding some good fish on top as well. Is the hatch “on”? Depends on your definition of a hatch. A few lost and lonely bugs looking for love in all the wrong places and hatching early, or flipping rocks to find piles of bugs running for cover? I’m more into the latter, and those days are still a little ways off. Go ahead and give that new skwala pattern a rip if you get that feeling, but for most of your day the winning ticket is going to be nymphing and streamers. Still, you should be prepared for the day when the bugs are present. A good start would be reading my posts, What is a Skwala? and add some of these flies for those early skwala days as well. Want some options that will get tugs in early spring, try some of my early spring dry fly options.
Where to go this weekend? Well, the Bitterroot is the obvious choice in these early spring days. But don’t expect to be alone, even though the rain will keep some anglers home. For this weekend, the weather looks like steady rain and mild temperatures, so the fishing should remain the same as it has been. If the hatch is really kicking off, then these rainy days usually slow it down a bit. But I wouldn’t be putting all my eggs in that basket if I were headed to the Bitterroot this weekend. Bring your favorite streamers, and be prepared to do a lot of nymphing to get the job done. And don’t hate the rain. It’s good for you.