Why Spring Fly Fishing Is Underrated – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Why Spring Fly Fishing Is Underrated

Spring in Montana can provide some of the best fly-fishing this wonderful state has to offer. There are a few reasons why the fishing in the spring is so outstanding. Fish are hungry, food is abundant, water temperatures are on the rise, and the weather can be phenomenal.

Bozeman Fly Shop Spring Fishing

Hungry Fish

Coming out of the colder months fish are becoming more active and are looking to put on weight quickly. Rainbows and cutties are preparing for the physically taxing spawn and looking to devour food to have the energy necessary to pass along their genes. Browns are just hungry after the long winter and trying to recover from their fall spawn. This makes fish increasingly aggressive and even more likely to take a fly, bringing us to the next factor that makes spring fishing awesome. There is soo much fish food in the water.

Trout Food Everywhere

Spring means runoff, rain, spawn, and hatches, all of these bring certain trout foods to the table. Runoff and rain result in extra water flowing through the rivers and streams, which means worms. Worms galore. Any bait fisherman will tell you how much trout like to consume dirt snakes, and lucky for us fly fisherman, these are easily mimicked. The bait guys again can tell you all about fishing eggs, another easily mimicked spring food source that is brought on by the spawn. Trout just happen to love crushing this high in protein source of energy. Spring is also a great time to fish many nymphs and crustaceans including mayflies, stoneflies, midges, scuds, sowbugs, and of course crawfish. Not big into nymph fishing? Well that’s okay as well. Spring can mean excellent hatches such as midges, BWO’s, skwala’s, and march browns for those looking to get a dry fly fix early in the season. Fish increasing their daily activity also leads to a lot of fish on fish violence for the folks that are most interested in streamer fishing. The variability of the spring weather can make all of these types of fishing very productive given the right conditions.

Bozeman brown trout

Warming Water Temperature

High temperatures can reach the 50’s yet the lows are still in the 30’s or lower at night. What does this mean for the fishing? Warmer temperatures means higher water temperatures, which in turn means greater bug activity and hatches along with more active and aggressive fish. Cool nights keep runoff from occurring too quickly and blowing out our pre-runoff spring fishing. On any day you can catch fish on dries, nymphs, or streamers, and often have warm cloudy days while doing it, a beautiful thing to any fisherman.

All and all, spring means hooking into large numbers of fish, a greater proportion of which I have discovered to be large. These opportunities can be found on the Madison, Gallatin, Jefferson, Yellowstone, and Missouri rivers. Whether catching a lot of fish or targeting big browns is what you are after, spring fly-fishing in Bozeman is a fantastic time of the year to do both.