Early last season I got a call from a good friend and long time CMGS client to let him know when the river was ready. For Darcy, that means when there is two feet visibility along the edges and the color is a light shade of sea foam green.
I checked on the river just prior to the opener which on the Swan is the third Saturday in May. The level was up and she was moving at around 7 knots but the color was just about right.
Possessing the luxury of being able to travel to Montana at a moments notice, Darcy was here the next day. Decked out in our best Simms gear we shoved off. Now, it is important to bear in mind that spring fishing is not for the fair weather dry fly enthusiast. Temperatures may fluctuate by 30 degree variables and the possibility of rain, sleet or snow is always a prevalent.
We started feeding them jig flies that worked well. Big Rainbow Trout in the high teens and low twenty inch mark came to the net, all of them feisty and colorful in the frigid water. The Swan produces the most colorfully pigmented Rainbows that I have seen anywhere, all wild and native.
The angler that can cast a weighted line or read an indicator does best when the conditions like those described above exist. Darcy, being a master at this from years of Steel Head fishing in B.C., Canada capitalizes here. Unfortunately, a fair amount of gear is usually sacrificed to the river due to so much structure being shrouded in the murky water.
Along with the many Rainbow Trout caught, a new resident the Brook/Bull cross, showed up to play. This new arrival comes along with a little bit of controversy since he stands as proof that the efforts to maintain a pure strain of Bull Trout may be thwarted by natures reluctance to fit in to man’s idea for evolution. On the plus side, what’s wrong with having a massive fish whose instinct to crush a dry fly on the surface is as strong as it is to devour a streamer being stripped along the bottom?
The day ended as most early season trips do, with a box full of wet, matted flies, damp gear and great memories.