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10 Early Spring Patterns for Montana Fish

10 Early Spring Patterns for Montana Fish.

While the calendar might say it is still winter but thanks
to some El Nino fueled warm days the river and the fisherman are starting to
wake up.  Good fishing can be found
across much of Montana during this time of year and eager local fisherman after
a long winter lay over are more than happy to oblige.

If you’re headed out for the first trip of the year or just
a few hours on the river there are a few flies that you need in your box.

San Juan Worm:  Most
people do not like fishing the worm as it is not a true fly but few can argue
its effectiveness.   If you have a moral
conflict with the worm I like to think of it as an aquatic annelid
emergence.   We really like it in hot
pink for this time of year with fire engine red a close second.

Egg Pattern: With the rainbow-spawning going on in the early
spring the river is awash in free floating eggs.   Fish love these tasty morsels.  We like the Otters Soft Egg in Peach or Pink
color.

Crystal Meth:  This is
an egg pattern on steroids or meth.  It
is shiny and bright colored and has taken over as one of our early spring
favorites.  We like it in bright pink or
chartreuse.   I know the saying is Not
even once but you should really try this.
The only harmful side effects to fishing this fly is getting bent for
several hours a day each spring and it is habit forming.

Pats Rubber Leg: If you’re going to be in Montana fishing
you need this pattern.  It accounts for
more fish than any other pattern season long.
During the early spring we like our Pats in size 10 and dark bodies
either black or coffee.

Fire Bead Ray Charles:
A classic scud pattern with a hot red or orange head.  Some think the fish eat it as an egg some
think the ostrich hurl body represents movement in the water.  Whatever reason the fish love this fly on
tail waters state wide.   We like them in
a size 14-18.

Copper John: A very traditional pattern that can be fished
most of the year. During the spring months we like it larger sizes say 8 or
10.   A real sleeper.

Para Midge:  Good
midge hatches take place most of the spring and the para midge will take all
risers.   We like this pattern because
the parachute gives better visibility and increased floatation.   We like this in size 16-20.

Zebra Midge: A great midge larva representation.   Black and white is traditional but also have
it in red and white.  Sizes 14-18

Purple Haze:  You will
need to be ready for the first Blue Winged Olive hatches of the year and the
now famous purple haze will do the job.
During the early spring we like it in size 14-18 and we tend to darken
the parachute and hackle with a sharpie just a little.

Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail:
Blue winged olives are on the horizon and this is a good representation
for a nymph.  Also works well in the
upper water column as an emerger during a hatch.  We fish this all the time when mayflies are
around and have become a staple in our boxes.
Have them in sizes 14-18 for spring fishing.

This is a great time of year to be on the water in
Montana.  The days are getting longer,
the fish are hungry and the rivers have significantly less fisherman than the
summer season.   In fact it is one of our
favorite times of the year to fish.

Fishing Reports and Trips

  • Fishing Reports

  • Want to know the most up-to-date information to find where the fish are biting? The Tackle Shop Fishing Reports provide you with a comprehensive look at current water conditions, recent hatches and flow data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

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  • Float Trips

  • The Tackle Shop offers a range of full-day and half-day float trips in the Madison River Valley area. The trips are all-inclusive and cover files, rods, reels, waders and boots. Leave your worries behind and let us give you the fly fishing trip of a lifetime.

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  • Enjoy one of our full-day or half-day walk and wade trips for a more immersive, slower-paced fly fishing experience. The Tackle Shop will cater to your individual needs so you are able to take in the sights and sounds of the best waters in Montana.

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