The Skwala Hatch - A Spring Favorite

Here in Western Montana we are usually in the midst of the full force of the Montana Skwala Stonefly hatch. Arguably the best spring dry fly fishing in the West, this hatch has drawn attention for years and for good reason. Throwing a big foam dry in mid-March and April beneath the massive mountains surrounding the Bitterroot River is truly spectacular.

Skwala hatch on Bitterroot River Montana
Skwala stonefly hatch Montana

The bug falls in the stonefly family and doesn’t need much more said. Trout love stoneflies. The hatch generally starts waking up mid-March and the end of March and first half of April are usually hot fishing as long as the river stays in shape. This year it was just into a week of good fishing when the rain combined with valley snowmelt and spiked the river.

Bitterroot river flows in spring during skwala hatch

This is a momentary death sentence to the hatch. Fortunately we’re early enough that this will most likely come back down and if it stabalizes, the hatch will re-emerge. This hatch is known to bring some big fish to the surface and is worth experiencing at least once in your life.

Skwala hatch on Bitterroot River Montana

That said there are some other rivers that will produce skwala stoneflies but the hatches here are tough to predict and the bug numbers pale in comparison. If you’re lucky enough to hit it right on these other Montana rivers it will be some of the best spring fishing you’ve had and you most likely will have the river to yourself. Do a little exploring, it’s what makes fishing fun. So while we wait for the rivers to come back into shape here’s a film our friends at Montana Wild released to their YouTube channel this spring documenting the infamous skwala hatch. Enjoy!