Fishing report: After the long winter, it’s time to cast a line
Bitterroot River — The river is fishing well, and every day we see more and more dry fly action in the afternoon. Skwala are around and fish are looking up. Rogue Stones, Morning Wood Stones, Water Walkers, Miller’s Hi-Viz, Skinny Chubbys and Cadillac Skwala will work. Drop a 20 Incher, Jig PT, Prince, Rubberlegs or San Juan off the back in the mornings. Streamer fishing is an option when the clouds are out and in the mornings when the fish aren’t looking up. Try smaller streamers, like Mini Dungeons, Cousin It’s, Jewel Thieves, Skiddish Smolts and Lil’ Kims. It’s busy out there, so be nice. — Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop, Missoula.
Gallatin River — The Gallatin has opened up nicely from Big Sky downstream. Water temps have been climbing, and the fishing has been solid. The usuals, like stones, midges and worms are fishing well but don’t be afraid to start trying some caddis and mayfly nymphs as we progress into spring. With the water temps warming up streamer fishing is picking up. Smaller olive and black streamers on cloudy days have been our favorites. Pre-runoff fishing can be some of the best fishing of the year. As the snow melts we will see the river start to slowly rise. Try adjusting your drift or depth as the river changes. — Montana Troutfitters, Bozeman.
Rock Creek (East) — The creek is in fine spring form. Most stretches are crystal clear, and with so little rain flows are quite wadeable. With no dry fly activity being reported yet, the early season game is nymphs and streamers. Spring nymphs to use include stonefly nymphs (8-12). Effective patterns include North Fork Special in tan and black, as well as Girdle Bugs and Pat’s Rubber Legs. San Juan Worms in red or tan in similar sizing can be an easy bite. Of course standard beadhead nymphs like Prince, Copper John, Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails (12-14) are all proven patterns. Zebra Midges in red or black (16-18) round out this week’s recommendations. Streamer fishing is good right now. Sparkle Minnows, Grinches, Thin Mints as well as Craven’s Dirty Hippies, Galloup’s Mini Dungeons or a John Bond Dragon in black can result in catching the brown trout of your season. — East Rosebud Fly Shop, Red Lodge.