Spring Dry Fly Fishing Continues

By this time last year the water had blown out and the real runoff was upon us. In the past couple weeks the relatively cool weather has kept the high water at bay, providing us an extra long spring dry fly window. The dry fly fishing this spring has been pretty awesome, and very consistant on most of our area rivers. Skwalas, grey drakes, march browns, baetis, midges, and I even saw an adult salmonfly yesterday…on April 27.

March Brown lookin' cool

March Brown lookin’ cool

Big Skwala on the Clark Fork

Big Skwala

Salmonfly in April

Salmonfly in April

Hare's Ear Parachute, one of my favorite all-around mayfly patterns.

Hare’s Ear Parachute, one of my favorite all-around mayfly patterns.

Yesterday I got a chance to tag along in a jet boat on some big water. Needless to say it’s pretty cool to fly up and down rapids at 30+ mph.

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The jet was great to hold in spots for a while and then move to different areas on the river. You just can’t fish big water the same way out of a drift boat. We got into a good grey drake and skwala hatch that provided good fishing on top for those strong rainbows this river is known for.

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A Skwala "Hangover" fish.

A Skwala “Hangover” fish.

The fish in the above picture is a good example of timing a stonefly hatch. When a prolific hatch of stones like skwalas or salmonflies comes off, the fish gorge. They can’t believe the amount of protein floating down the river. The only problem with a prolific stonefly hatch compared to a mayfly or caddis hatch, is that the fish can get full too fast, because the stones are just so big. Last thursday there was a great number of live skwalas all over the water, but the fish were barely touching them. I caught some fish on top that day, but it should have been epic fishing with the number of bugs on the water. All the fish brought to hand looked like the one above, and were kind of “hungover”. My guess is they gorged the day before and most of them were too full to continue.

Yesterday we hit better timing on the hatch, and enjoyed good fishing for most of it’s duration. During the latter part of it though, you could see the fish started to get stuffed, as they stopped eating the bugs helplessly floating down the river.

I will probably be able to get just one more full day of fishing in next weekend before the big bump of water starts and studying for finals take over. Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak out wade fishing in town a couple times though. After finals it’s off to home for a short couple weeks. I’ll focus on Smallies, Great Lakes Steelhead, Brown Trout, and hopefully a Muskie when I’m back, and I can’t wait to see family, friends and my dog. Then it’s back out to Montana to start the best time of the year.

Stay tuned for more. Thanks for reading.

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