Like many of you reading this, we’re tired of frozen guide loops, chilly fingers, and less than ideal days on the water, but that’s all about to change. With warmer weather and spring right around the corner, western Montana’s first hatch of the year is just beginning. This past weekend, we took to the water with a few good friends, in hopes of catching the beginning of the infamous Skwala Stonefly hatch. Not familiar with the hatch? Check out our latest film, SKWALHALLA to get the full scoop. Upon arrival to where we planned on fishing, we were greeted with partly cloudy skies, and mild temperatures (mid 40’s to low 50’s) given the time of year. With reports of skwala stoneflies beginning to show up, we had high hopes that the fish would be keying in on them as the afternoon went on.
Despite a beautiful float, good bug numbers (in isolated locations), and almost perfect spring weather, the fish just didn’t seem to be keying in on the big bug quite yet. After many fly changes, solid drifts, and a lot of persistence, our good buddy Brandon was able to capitalize on the first fish of the day, and his first fish on a skwala for the year. Needless to say, we were stoked. Although this skwala smashing shmedium cutthroat may not be the biggest fish you’ve ever seen, he’s the first of his kind for us this year, and we’re jacked up about it to say the least. Despite the skwala hatch being “epic” status for the year yet, we were able to pick up a handful of other fish on streamers, and nymphs throughout the day. With increasing temperatures in the extended forecast, we’re hoping for better results as the days go by. Have you been out fishing the skwala hatch yet this year? If so, let us know how you did in the comments section below.
Want to see more from our weekend float? Check out the photos below to see a couple highlights from our time on the water. While you’re at it, check out our all new Fly Patch Trucker, and get geared up for spring fishing HERE.
Words & Photos: Calvin Connor