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The 10 Best Fly's for Spring in SW Montana

The 10 Best Fly's for Spring in SW Montana

The Top 10 Patterns for Spring in South West Montana


Spring in South West Montana can be  special time.  The rivers are awakening and the fish are hungry for the first significant food of the year.   Also, it is a great time to fish as most of the busy Tourist fisherman are still home and you are left with large amounts of river to yourself.  Our guides absolutely love this time of year and get in most of their personal fishing for the entire season during the spring.  You need to be prepared so here is a list of the bugs that absolutely need to be in your box. 


Pats Rubber Leg Brown--  The do all stone fly nymph imitation.  Have it in your box in size 4-10 and fish it each and every day. 


San Juan Worm—No matter what you think these just work.  Have them in pink and red in size 10-12


Copper John Red--  The perfect searching nymph pattern.   When things get tough I always try this one and it always produces.  I carry this in size 12-16.


Copper John Copper-  I like fishing these in a size 10 during the spring.  It is super heavy, looks great and is my secret spring nymph. I know your not accustomed to seeing this in size 10 but try it. 


Purple Haze--  This is the perfect do anything adult may fly. I am not sure why the purple color fishes so much better than more traditional colors but it does.  Have this in size 10-16.   My first choice for a BWO, drake or march brown.


Olive Chubby Chernobyl—A great Skwala imitation that floats well and you can see it in rough water.  I like it with an olive body, chocolate colored foam wing and in size 12. 


Hi Vis Para Midge—You will frequently encounter fish feeding on midges during the spring.  I like this pattern because it is easy to see and floats well.  The peacock body also attracts fish really well.   Have this in size 16-20


Sparkle Minnow Sculpin—These sparkle minnows came on the scene a few years ago and really changed streamer fishing.  I like these in size 4-6.  Fish it slow and deep, stripped fast or twitched but just fish it. 


Bead head CDC Prince Nymph—Like a prince nymph only better with the tuft of CDC.  Works great as an emerger for Mothers Day Caddis or as a general searching pattern.   I think the CDC holds a tiny air bubble making the entire fly more visible and realistic to the fish.  Have them in size 12-16


Peacock body Elk Hair Caddis—In South West Montana the mothers day caddis hatch is the stuff of legend.   This caddis tied with bleached elk wing realistically imitates the adult and can be seen in rough water.  I carry these in size 12-16.


There are lots of great other patterns but these are the staples I use each and every day come spring. Let us know what you think are the best.  






John Way Posted by John Way

Guide, Outfitter and chief bottle washer for the Tackle Shop.  Recently developing his inter web ninja skills. 

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2 Comments To "The 10 Best Fly's for Spring in SW Montana"

Rob On 05.02.2016
Thanks for the hints. Will be stopping in next time I'm in Ennis. Per recommendations from friends. Reply to this comment
Maggie Kuhlman On 18.06.2015
Sparkle minnow is my favorite! I walked into the Tackle Shop last summer and John personally grabbed a handful and took a black sharpie down the back of a sparkle minnow! Worked like a charm :) Reply to this comment
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