Welcome back to the Glacier National Park area fishing reports brought to you by Wild Montana Anglers. The days are getting longer, the sun is shining, and people are stoked to get out and enjoy the Flathead Valley. We have seen quite a few anglers out enjoying the spring like weather and if the weather pundits are correct, we are in for a few more nice days. This is a special time of year in the Flathead Valley.
The big river is seeing it’s annual migration of trout starting to move up. Fishing has been sporatic but getting better with each day. Fishing under the bobber has brought most trout to hand but there have been moments of dry fly glory with trout sipping on midges. I would suspect a bump in the flows this week and my guess is that the trout push will get under way in earnest. River flows are manageable for boat traffic but still use caution. Water temperatures are ranging from the high 30’s to low 40’s. This is no time for a polar plunge.
We have had a few guides out head hunting for sippers. Their success has been a mixed bag. If you do find rising trout, midges are probably your ticket to ride. I have seen the occasional stonefly fluttering around but most fish that we have witnessed rise to the dry fly have come from patterns such as the goober midges, Griffith’s nats, and small klinkhammers. Keep them pretty small 16-20’s. Winter water is still holding the majority of trout. Look for slow inside the corner water next to a riffle or foam line. Keep an eye out for stoneflies and small mayflies. With rising water temperatures, you might find yourself floating through a hatch somewhere along the river.
Keep your flies big and bright. Worms with tungsten beads in all sorts of colors have been getting the job done. A great fly fishing hack this time of ear is to use a ratfinkii. This jig was designed for pan fish and is used quite a bit to vertically jig for all sorts of species. Trout love them. You should give them a try. Other flies to consider are Pat’s rubber legs, frenchies, hot beaded jig nymphs, more worms.
A few nice fish are being caught on streamers. I will put an emphasis on a few. Fish them deep, slow, and with confidence. Sparkle minnows, clousers, small buggers, and leeches are all a good choice. Sink tips are important this time of year. The lower in the water column you can get the streamer the better odds you have at running it in front of a trout holding in winter water. Have faith, keep chucking the streamer, retrieve, repeat.
It is still a little early for the small water in my opinion. Next week could be a different story. It will all depend on how Mother Nature intends to bring on spring. If we continue to have warm weather the small water will turn on. If winter temperatures return, it could be a few weeks till we find ourselves wading around in our favorite small water.