No other hatch has more fan fare, the hopper hatch in August comes close but the salmon fly hatch is revered. I’ve got a good friend who meticulously records the timing of the first bug on Rock Creek, the peak of the hatch, and the end. Recording not only the number of bugs and fish caught, but water temperature, flow level, air temperature, and who was in the boat. The latter just so he knows who the skunk in the boat is, everyone has this friend. It’s a science really, borderline obsession.
Bugs the size of your pinky finger typically cloud the skies of Montana rivers in the month of June. I’ve literally been on Rock Creek when the sky turns black. The fishing is fast and furious, even for a water slapper like me; fish are landed in high numbers. Nothing can describe the joy I get from watching trout, big and small, hit these big bugs on top water.
So whether you’re headed to the Blackfoot, Rock Creek, Big Hole or the famed Smith River for your souljourn, start planning now and get plenty of bugs as you need to fish in the bushes, that’s where hungry salmonids lay in wait. When that big ol salmon fly lands on your shoulder, think about trying a taste, “Fish eat em, I EAT EM!”