Late March In Montana

surfnsully

Active Member
#1
OK, I am planning a week in Montana the last week of March and usually go to the Bitterroot and sometimes hit the Madison. If you were me, where would you spend your time in late March?
 
#3
I have a son in Helena and I have enjoyed is outstanding fishing on the Missouri river.
I don't know if the Blackfoot river is open in March, but I have had some good fishing there in summer months.
The Clark fork during a May fly hatch in the rain once in March was outstanding, one cut after another
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
#5
OK, I am planning a week in Montana the last week of March and usually go to the Bitterroot and sometimes hit the Madison. If you were me, where would you spend your time in late March?
Rock creek hope for March Browns and or Skwalas. Might be a little early i can never remember the exact timing over there.
 

mikemac1

Active Member
#7
OK, I am planning a week in Montana the last week of March and usually go to the Bitterroot and sometimes hit the Madison. If you were me, where would you spend your time in late March?
Of course, it all depends on the weather and what the early low-level snow melt situation is on a day by day basis, but here are three sure fire places for late March.

1) Yellowstone River above Emigrant all the way to the park boundary. The river at Corwin Springs is generally in the 1000 CFS range and not much higher at Livingston. The low water exposes a lot of wadable water and makes for easy floating in kayaks, canoes or pontoons. Immediately above Yankee Jim Canyon there’s some good shore access on the west or Yellowstone Trail side of the river (access at Corwin Springs or Tom Miner Rd.) Fish will concentrate in the deep buckets just below riffles and along deep banks. Midges will be out on sunny days and the streamer bite is usually pretty good in the early Spring. No crowds.
P4180770.JPG
2) Madison River between Ennis and the lake. This is wade fishing only, but accessible by boat from Ennis or on foot at the Valley Garden FAS. This section used to be closed until late May to protect spawning rainbows. If you catch it right, the river can be loaded with big rainbows that have moved up from Ennis lake. Zero pressure.
P4200594.JPG
3) Shields River – Lower few miles around Convict Grade Rd. Wadable in early spring with good chance for big browns and lots of Cutthroat. You'll be all alone.
Shields River
 
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Old Man

Just an Old Man
#8
OK, I am planning a week in Montana the last week of March and usually go to the Bitterroot and sometimes hit the Madison. If you were me, where would you spend your time in late March?
At home keeping warm.

The Bitterroot is open from Dec to the third Saturday in may. It's an extended season..In other words, it is open all year. The Clark Fork is open all year. It would help to have a copy of the regs as some places are open and some are not. And a new copy of the regs, as the 2018 booklet expires at the end of Feb this year. New ones come out the first of March.

One more thing. Most small skinny water West of the Continental Divide is closed unless mentioned in the regs. And open all year East of the Divide.
 
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Buzzy

Active Member
#9
I managed two good days on the Clark Fork a few years back. April Fool's Day was a travel day to Montana, fished the 2nd and 3rd of April. Snowed HARD the first day of fishing, heavy upstream wind and the fishing was slow until late afternoon. The next day was clear and cold but the fishing was very good, right about @Old406Kid's house we got into a little dry fly fishing. I hired Linehan Outfitting to guide me. Tim Linehan is a very good guy.
 

Kyle Smith

DBA BozoKlown406
#11
Of course, it all depends on the weather and what the early low-level snow melt situation is on a day by day basis, but here are three sure fire places for late March.

1) Yellowstone River above Emigrant all the way to the park boundary. The river at Corwin Springs is generally in the 1000 CFS range and not much higher at Livingston. The low water exposes a lot of wadable water and makes for easy floating in kayaks, canoes or pontoons. Immediately above Yankee Jim Canyon there’s some good shore access on the west or Yellowstone Trail side of the river (access at Corwin Springs or Tom Miner Rd.) Fish will concentrate in the deep buckets just below riffles and along deep banks. Midges will be out on sunny days and the streamer bite is usually pretty good in the early Spring. No crowds.
View attachment 188749
2) Madison River between Ennis and the lake. This is wade fishing only, but accessible by boat from Ennis or on foot at the Valley Garden FAS. This section used to be closed until late May to protect spawning rainbows. If you catch it right, the river can be loaded with big rainbows that have moved up from Ennis lake. Zero pressure.
View attachment 188748
3) Shields River – Lower few miles around Convict Grade Rd. Wadable in early spring with good chance for big browns and lots of Cutthroat. You'll be all alone.
Shields River
Hey thanks for all of that.
 

Old406Kid

Active Member
#12
It's a big state, watch the weather and be flexible.
Driving a hundred miles is a drop in the bucket and the weather can be totally different depending on the pattern of weather fronts.
 

surfnsully

Active Member
#13
Thanks for all th input And keep it coming. Like I mentioned I have spent several springs in Montana and love the unpredictable weather and the wildlife that time of year. There is nothing like driving the Madison Valley and seeing all of the elk and antelope for this Oregon guy. Two years ago a moose slept on my front porch at the Rainbow Valley Inn.

But again, I mostly try and hit the Root for the Skwala hatch but do like some of the new ideas mentioned above. I have never hit Rock Creek in the spring so I may go there or the Mo.

Whatever I end up doing I will share a report upon my return so keep sending the suggestions. Right now the only sure thing on my agenda is a night playing poker with the sophisticated cientele at the Oxford in Missoula
 

Fast Action Freddie

Having a drink in The Buff
#15
Of course, it all depends on the weather and what the early low-level snow melt situation is on a day by day basis, but here are three sure fire places for late March.

1) Yellowstone River above Emigrant all the way to the park boundary. The river at Corwin Springs is generally in the 1000 CFS range and not much higher at Livingston. The low water exposes a lot of wadable water and makes for easy floating in kayaks, canoes or pontoons. Immediately above Yankee Jim Canyon there’s some good shore access on the west or Yellowstone Trail side of the river (access at Corwin Springs or Tom Miner Rd.) Fish will concentrate in the deep buckets just below riffles and along deep banks. Midges will be out on sunny days and the streamer bite is usually pretty good in the early Spring. No crowds.
View attachment 188749
2) Madison River between Ennis and the lake. This is wade fishing only, but accessible by boat from Ennis or on foot at the Valley Garden FAS. This section used to be closed until late May to protect spawning rainbows. If you catch it right, the river can be loaded with big rainbows that have moved up from Ennis lake. Zero pressure.
View attachment 188748
3) Shields River – Lower few miles around Convict Grade Rd. Wadable in early spring with good chance for big browns and lots of Cutthroat. You'll be all alone.
Shields River
No Crowds?! Zero Pressure?! You'll be all alone?!!!

I'm in! I'm bringing The Crue!! (and maybe an outing for one or both of my FF clubs!)

Let's keep this one to ourselves ... i.e. don't spread it around by word of mouth, keep it on the down low on the internet ...
 

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