Mid-Winter Forecast. Will you Fish?

Will you do some fly fishing this winter? In Montana?

Most of the best winter fishing venues in Montana are solid each and every year. The upper Madison, Bighorn and Missouri are likely the most popular, but there are plenty of other spots that can provide some excellent and reliable winter angling.

Techniques for mid-winter are consistently the same. You’re generally targeting fish with surface and sub-surface midge patterns, tickling the bottom with attractor nymphs, or fishing slow-moving streamers. Flies don’t really change much, nor do holding lies. If the weather is right, you’ll catch fish on one or all three of these techniques.

And weather is the key. The last two winters here on the Missouri have seen some arctic temperatures that have kept all but the very hardiest anglers off the water for months. Way too damn cold.

So far, this winter has been much warmer and – unfortunately – drier. And while we normally root for cold temps and ample precipitation, it is nice to get out on the water in comfort.

Looking ahead, the Dec/Jan/Feb forecast form NOAA looks like we will be seeing more of the same. Warmer than normal and an even chance of  above or below average precipitation. Great news for winter fly fishing, but not so great for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts. Or for rivers and trout. But if you’re itching to get out and cast a rod, the Christmas holidays may present some opportunity.

Below are the forecast maps for Dec/Jan/Feb 2018-19. For more info click here.

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