MISSOULA – Fly fishing is a big part of life in Western Montana and this season has been good for anglers so far.
The recent salmon fly hatch on the Bitterroot River was especially fruitful, and luckily this year, river conditions were fishable.
“We’re at kind of the typical stage with the bugs this time of year. Sometimes we have heavy snowpack and a lot of rain and aren’t even able to fish the salmon fly hatch,” said Clear Creek Outfitters fishing guide Doug Jones.
“This year everything kind of aligned where the bugs are coming off and we had the clarity. So right now is on the tail end of the salmon fly fishing but the conditions are great for getting out and fishing,” he added.
With the salmon fly hatch finishing up, we asked Jones what folks can expect to see next.
“Caddis, Goldens, PMDs — and we are actually seeing all of those flies right now. Our main hatch out here is the PMDs, on all of our rivers,” he told MTN News.
“It seems to last the longest and they will key in on those and the Golden Stones right now too, but just depending on the kind of day too,” Jone continued. “Those mayflies like the cloudier days and if we got a really bright sunny day we will see more of those caddis out.”
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks had to put some restrictions on fishing last year because of poor conditions including high water temperatures and hot weather.
But, FWP spokeswoman Vivica Crowser says they don’t think that will happen again this year.
“Really what it comes down to now for how fishing is going to be for the rest of the season is that the water temperatures are like what the air temperatures are like and how much water we sustain in the rivers,” she explained.
“The more water that we can sustain, the better the fishing will be and then most likely we won’t have to look at drought restrictions. Things are looking pretty good and its still cool and we’re getting a little moisture so we are all just hoping that we don’t get to that point this season,” Crowser concluded.
You can find out if FWP has put on any river restrictions on their website where they will also post any restrictions at fishing sites.
Reporting by Connor McCauley for MTN News