March Madness: Fly Fishing in Missoula, Montana (VIDEO)


To most folks March Madness is all about filling out your bracket, watching big upsets, and enjoying the highlight of the college basketball year that culminates with the Final Four in April.  March Madness means something entirely different to the avid anglers here in Missoula.

The mania here centers around the famous Skwala stonefly hatch that starts on the Bitterroot river and spreads to Rock Creek, the Clark Fork, and Blackfoot as the season stretches into April.

Missoula is one of the few places in the country where fly rodders can fish big size 8 and 10 dry flies with confidence early in the spring.

The Skwala hatch isn’t the secret it once was, but there is still great fishing to be found all over the area.  Just like the basketball tournament there is always a lot of interest early on.


The first warm spell in March gets everyone with cabin fever out on the river.  It’s fun for sure, but it is usually a little too early for the best fishing.

Fishing attention wanes through the middle of the hatch, although enough stellar fishing reports sneak out that it’s all hands on deck by mid-April when the Skwalas are joined by March Browns, Blue-wings, and Neumoras creating a veritable buffet for the trout.

March Madness in Missoula, it’s the most highly anticipated fishing event of the season, and it is way better than losing money with busted brackets again in your office pool.

Tight Lines,

Tony Reinhardt, Montana Trout Outfitters


Tony Reinhardt BioTony Reinhardt is the owner, outfitter for Montana Trout Outfitters in Missoula.  He has been a guide on the rivers of western Montana for 16 years and absolutely loves his job.  When he’s not working you’ll find him fishing with his two children or in the woods hunting.