The winter is finally letting go of the valley. The ice broke near east bank and the river has begun its steady climb to high water. The elk have been moving up the valley to there spring calving grounds and the geese have been pairing up and getting noisy. With the weather being unseasonably warm, fishing has already begun. The skwallas have been spotted on the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, and Blackfoot rivers, which typically happens 2 to 3 weeks before the Big Hole bugs emerge.
The return from The Bahamas has taken a little getting use to. The Bonefishing trips went off without a hitch, but it is sure nice to be back in the mountains. The GDO crew is pulling boats out, cleaning up tackle bags, and getting ready for another busy season on the rivers. A few of us did make it out on the Jefferson for a quick float. The water was dirty and cold, but we did enjoy the sun and a few beers, and managed to catch 2 browns on streamers. We did see a couple fish rise to midges. The rises looked suspiciously like whitefish, but it was still fun to watch. I am looking forward to the streamer fishing on the Beaverhead which should pick up very soon (streamer junkies wanted!)
There have been a few changes to the fishing regulations on the Big Hole and Beaverhead as of last fall the everyone should be aware of. As many of you know, the brown trout in southwest Montana have taken a huge hit in the last few years. These regulations were created in an effort to stabilize the trout population and the FWP has already been issuing citations for those who did not read the new regulations. You can find these new regs online or in the Montana Fishing Regulation booklet.