What to Expect On a Spring Guided Fly Fishing Trip in Montana – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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What to Expect On a Spring Guided Fly Fishing Trip in Montana

Fly fishing Montana in the spring can offer some wonderful fishing without the crowds. If you are starting to plan your excursion to Montana, we've got you covered. Here are some things to keep in mind for your guided trip.

Ahh spring fishing. After a long winter, it feels good to get back on the water and find some active fish. Once the water temperature hits the mid-40s, the fishing really turns on. During what we call "pre-runoff" fishing, which is typically late March to mid-May, we will generally be using a variety of techniques on our guided trips. Under the right conditions, we can find trout rising to BWOs, March Browns and even some caddis. I like fishing this time of year, because, one, it feels good to be back on the water, and two, the fish are hungry and haven't seen a million artificial flies yet.

A Typical Day on the River

This time of year, we will generally meet at the shop about 9 a.m. We will likely fish the Madison River, but the Yellowstone or Gallatin rivers are options if the weather aligns. We do offer trips on the Missouri, if that is something you are interested in. We'll take the drift boat, but probably do a shorter float than we would in, say, July. This gives us an opportunity to anchor on the best runs and buckets.

Spring Fly Fishing in Montana

Fly Fishing in the Spring

While the fish are getting active, they will still be concentrated in some of the deeper, slower holes. We will normally be nymphing, and it is not uncommon to pull a few fish out of each of these juicy spots. While we row from spot to spot, the angler has the option of sticking with the nymph rig or stripping streamers. Springtime is my favorite time to pull streamers on a sinking line in hopes of moving a large trout.

Much like we stop to nymph certain spots, we will be keeping our eyes peeled for sipping trout in soft water. Overcast days offer the best dry-fly fishing. If we find a pod of risers, we'll bust the dust off the dry-fly rod, typically a five weight, and make our best presentations with a Parachute Adams or Purple Haze in sizes 14-18 to best match the hatching mayflies. If the fish get picky, we'll switch over to an emerger pattern.

We will have our normal streamside lunch, either in the boat or at a picnic table, and get right back to fishing in the afternoon. When the water starts to warm, the bite usually turns on. Hopefully, we'll have bent rods all the way to the take out.

Preparing for Montana Weather

I should also mention the weather. It can get interesting. One day will be 65 and sunny followed by a snowstorm the next day. Rain is common, and sometimes we experience all four seasons in a single day on the water. It's best to pack layers And boots and waders are pretty much a must.

Spring is an amazing time of year in Montana. Rainbow trout are getting ready to spawn. Views of snow-capped peaks are second to none. The rivers are not crowded -- most days we only see a couple of other boats. And this is when the fishing starts to get hot.

Call our Bozeman fly shop to book your 2021 guided trip.