Skwalas Out West – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Skwalas Out West

‘Tis the season for fishing the first significant stonefly hatch in Montana – Skwalas – and primarily in western MT. Skwalas are out on the Bitterroot with a few on the Clark’s Fork. We’ve heard some reports that they have started sporadically on Rock Creek as well. With the warmer weather in the forecast, expect the dry fly fishing to get better and better over the next week. The “rub” with chasing this hatch is that it gets pretty crowded as everyone in the region decides that it’s time to throw some bigger dry flies after a long winter of bead heads and worms. Still, it’s worth a shot so think about heading that way sometime in the next 10 days with grand hopes of getting some fish on dries.

If the dry fly thing isn’t happening and the water starts to get dirty as low elevation snow melts, then focus on nymphing. Small olive stonefly nymphs tend to be the general fare but the worm bite during Skwala time is legendary in itself. We’ve got a pretty good selection of Skwala dries in the shop and a few specialty nymphs too so stop on out before you head over there. In addition to the more specific Skwala patterns, we’ve always done well with Olive Stimis and Olive PMX’s when the fish are really on the dries. We usually fish a nymph dropper anyway during the Skwala hatch because the fish just seem to like it better that way!

Want to fish it with a guide? Rick Weisend is manning our Missoula based portion of our guiding efforts over there and running a few trips during the hatch. Give us a call or an e-mail for more information or if you’s like to book a day on the Bitterroot or Clarks Fork in the next couple of weeks.