The push and pull of spring and winter weather patterns makes for a fun start to March in the Northern Rockies, one day its powder and skis and then the next its sink tips and streamers. Before the recent dumping of snow I was able to get out for a few days of streamer fishing on two of our favorite waters in the area.
The week started by swinging flies with the two-handed rod on the Missouri. The nice mellow pace of cast, swing, step, and repeat made for a couple of pleasant days on the water. The Mo is a really great trout spey river and with the small uptick in water temps the trout are getting much grabbier. A small black leech has been the most productive and fishing the slow inside bends is key to putting a bend in the rod.
After a few days of swinging, a quick trip to the Upper Madison was in order. We floated from Lyons to McAtee and committed the entire day to throwing streamers; if it wasn’t large and tied with at least two hooks we weren’t going to throw it. Although this strategy sometimes yields less fish, we were looking for the big one and it worked. We put a couple of nice fish in the net and found a few opportunistic smaller fish that had a big appetite. A sure sign that spring is knocking on the door.
Reflecting back on the last few days really makes me appreciate the diversity of fishing we have within a short reach of the Bozeman/Helena area. One day you are swinging a little black size 12 leech on the calm waters of the Missouri River and less than 24 hours later you’re stripping a gaudy articulated white streamer on the Upper Madison. Here in troutlandia you sometimes have to drive past good water to find more, but sampling it all has an appeal in itself and it’s really thrilling to accomplish so much during a short time period.