Monday, April 25, 2011

Double or Nothing

A Gallatin River brown trout, taken on a #8 Gould's Half Down Skwala.
I've had a strange infatuation with the skwala stonefly hatch on the Gallatin River this spring. I saw my first Gallatin skwala on March 24th, a lone stonefly scurrying along the bank. Since then I haven't seen another confirmed skwala, although I'm fairly certain that I've seen a few in flight. I've talked with local anglers who have knowledge of the hatch, and who provided me with motivation to fish it - sparse as it may be. And then there was the surprising photo that a friend took on the lower Gallatin two weeks ago - within the frame of which there were a dozen skwalas.

The cold, wet spring weather that we've endured in Montana over the past few weeks finally gave way to warm, sunny conditions this weekend. Despite not having heard of any skwala sightings on the river in over a week, I decided to give it a shot Saturday afternoon. My hope was that even if the hatch had passed, maybe the fish would still recognize and take a skwala, much the way they will take a salmonfly a week after that hatch.

I went with a tandem dry fly set-up, trailing a Gould's half down skwala with a sparkle dun. I was all in on the dry fly game, double or nothing. The first take caught me totally off guard, six months of rust with a dry fly was in evidence. Over the course of the next couple of hours I slowly found my timing and brought a few browns to hand, all of which took the skwala dry. Sure, I likely could have caught dozens of fish - and larger fish - if I had nymphed, but catching a few trout on a big dry fly in April was just the payoff I was looking for.


  1.'s always nice to catch fish the way you want to catch it.

  2. its all about where you confidence is hangin out... aint it?

  3. Sometimes it's fun to try something different, and challenge yourself to try something outside of your fishing comfort zone (for me that's nymphing under an indicator). My next thing is going to be trying to find some success swinging soft hackles, something I've done very little of.