Go Time For Montana Trout

Ok, there are flakes falling today and the high will be 35, and it doesn’t look better for the rest of the week. But, things are changing here in Missoula, Montana, with the snowbanks slowly creeping away from the edge of my driveway, exposing a little brown grass and everything else that accumulated there this winter, including a few IPA escapees.

Next week the temps could reach the high 40’s, which is fishing weather for sure. Out of curiosity, I checked the date on a photo I was glancing at the other day (see above) and it read March 19. Streamer action, midges, maybe some blue wings and the start of skwalas. It’s all here.

I perused the garage yesterday, pulled out the trout pack and my grab-and-go wader/boot bag and made sure all is ready. Then I texted a friend and wrote, “Monday and Wednesday. Highs in the forties. Get yer shit done.”

I pulled the vice out, too, and found some egg material. This is the time of year I like to run a size 16 PT followed by a size 18 egg, tied on a scud hook. Find the right run and be ready to pluck them out as fast as you please.

The other part of the equation, of course, is the streamer bite, which varies from day to day, and even hour to hour. Sun goes behind a cloud. Boom! Overcast from dawn til dusk? You might get 30 grabs in a day. No matter the conditions, if you pound the rock walls and inside corners you’ll hit fish. And don’t forget those shallow flats where you wonder why a fish might hang out there, exposed to the eagles and ospreys. Fish get tight to the banks and onto those flats during the night, perhaps a set up to warm themselves in sun and shallows come morning. Who knows why for sure (probably Galloup, right?), but it’s worth covering ground, even some of the places you would typically overlook, because trout are spread out during the early spring season.

Sculpzillas are a go-to for me. Baby Gonga’s too. Galloup’s Boogie Man is a real winner, too. When fishing these streamers, remember, the water is still cold during spring. The fish may not move far for a fly. Don’t overlook the cast and slow drag method, wherein you don’t really strip so much as let the fly fall and slowly work away from the bank. On the rock banks you may find fish in very shallow pockets. In other places it’s often the low and slow game.

Hey man, March 12 ushers in Daylight Savings. The snow may still be here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not spring. Time to dig out your gear and get it set. Catch up on your work. Hell, get ahead. That way the bossman won’t hold you back when you say, “Yo, bossman, it’s a good day to fish. See you tomorrow.”

Need more on streamers? Check out this earlier post on AT. All about streamers with Kelly Galloup. https://www.anglerstonic.com/2020/05/kelly-galloups-favorite-streamer-flies/

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