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Each year, anglers from around the world head for Montana to see if they can hit the salmonfly hatch.
Photos by Doug Casey
Tip #1: Timing is Everything
For the visiting angler or anyone who can’t be on the river at a moment’s notice, timing the hatch can be the toughest part. Generally speaking, the two-week window from June 20 to July 4 is when the hatch should fall. The bugs typically appear in the town of Ennis around the 20th, and by the 25th the hatch has exploded throughout the float section up to Lyons Bridge. These dates are just general guidelines, and both weather and water conditions can lead to early or late emergences of the big bugs. If Montana is experiencing a big snow year or an unseasonably cold early summer, you can plan on things being pushed back a bit. Drought years and warm weather have the opposite effect. Things can change on the river at a moment’s notice, and even the best-laid plans can go awry, but using information on snowpack, weather, and historical trends will give you the best chance to hit the hatch.