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Early Season Fishing, A Guide’s View

Jan 25, 2017 | Todd Lanning Andy_Landing2.jpg

One of the biggest questions I get in the boat during the summer is Hey Andy, What time of year would you come if you were me? My answer is the late winter to early spring. We all know about the great fishing on the Henrys Fork, Madison, Teton, and South Fork from late May and throughout the summer, but I don’t think most people realize that once February starts and up to the runoff in early May this area produces some great days on these great rivers.


In early February of course we still have a lot of snow of course and access to area boat ramps are next to none but the walk wade fishing can be outstanding. Most of the fishing will be nymphing and streamers, but when we get the right temperatures the midge fishing on all these rivers can be fantastic. In March the weather is getting more consistent, the access at the boat ramps are starting to open up, and the rainbows are gearing up for the spawn. You still have some good midge fishing on all of the rivers and you start to see Blue Wing Olives on those warmer cloudy days.


On most days most of the consistent action will be nymph fishing and streamer fishing. Come April spring has arrived, the snow is melting, the temps are warming up and boat access is not a problem in most areas.The first major hatch of the year is just about to start the Mothers Day Caddis. Early in April, the predominant hatches you will find are Midges, Blue Wing olives, and later in April is when the Mothers day caddis hatch starts. Not only is this a great hatch but you get to fish it without the crowds, and rarely do you see another boat or fisherman. During April most of your days on all these rivers will be nymphing and streamers but again when the conditions are right the dry fly fishing can be fantastic. I think the biggest part of having a successful trip this time of the year is watching the weather. Weather plays a major factor in the timing of the hatches during the day and really what part of the day will be most effective. This time of year is not like the summer, so you won’t be on the water from sun up to sun down. You will be on the water during the optimal time according to the weather.


Some great advice is to be flexible. Come up and plan to stay here for a few days because we all know we can’t always trust the weatherman. The majority of people think that this area only fishes in late spring through the fall. That’s not true at all with a little adventure and couple more layers of clothes. Most days you can enjoy all these great rivers practically by yourself and have some great fishing. This time of year is just right around the corner so come enjoy some great fishing with us.