The Spring-Spawn: Great for Beginner Fly Fishermen

Where the novice fly fisherman can actually catch fish

Fly Fishermen on Goose Lake

Fishing Goose Lake

The Spring-Spawn or Ice-Off  on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in NW Montana is a great opportunity for beginning fly fisherman to learn how to actually catch fish. You have put so much time in effort into educating your self about the sport, the most important step in continuing on the journey is having success and actually getting a fish to the net. Here are a few examples of why I recommend getting to the east side this April and May to experience the Spring Spawn and fly fishing at it’s best. ( or at least, it’s most abundant)

Multiple Hook-set Opportunities

For now I wont go into details here on proper technique, but only to suggest that one of the most important things to learn when fly fishing is proper hook set and  how to fight the fish. The best way to learn this or anything for that matter, is multiple opportunities and repetition.  The spring spawn offers just that, many chances to set the hook and fight the fish.

Amen with Cutthroat

Short Cast

During spring spawn rainbow trout in large numbers move in along the shore in an attempt to spawn. (these fish are genetically modified and unable to reproduce) Large groups of fish will cruz the shore line and are eager to feed and fight. The trout will cruz in 1-6ft. of water and are easy to spot within 20′ of the shore line. This allows beginning angler to make short cast to cruising fish and be successful. Also, weather and wind play a factor when fishing, especially on the east side. It’s important to learn to cast in all conditions. Needing only short cast to be successful is very helpful.

Room to Back Cast

Learning to cast a fly rod properly can be difficult at best. Proper technique, line control and timing are critical. For most beginners, the backcast is the most difficult aspect of the cast to learn. The lakes on the east side have deep shore lines with limited obstructions and plenty of room for the backcast. This, combined with only needing to cast a short distance, makes things easier on the novice.

Fewer False Cast

Every new fly fisherman has probably seen the movie “A River Runs Through It,” and aspires to cast like Brad Pit, but the most important thing to remember when fishing the east side lakes – less is more. Save your energy. It’s a long day of casting and catching fish. Be proficient. Make as few cast as needed to get the fly into fishy waters.

Fishing Stillwaters

For the beginner, stillwater fishing is just easier. Learning to read moving water, mending line and proper fly presentation is difficult to master. Start your fly fishing journey on stillwater then graduate to moving waters when your ready.

The Spring Spawn runs from April-May. I invite you to stay with us at The StoneHouse at Duck Lake and enjoy the magic of the Spring Spawn. I suggest hiring a local guide. It takes out the guess work for the novice and greatly increase your chances for success. We recommend Dave Parson (Buckskin) owner of Cut Bank Creek Outfitters. He has fished the the Rez his entire life and knows all the fish by name. Plus, he is just fun to hang out with!

Bragging Rights

During the Spring Spawn, fisherman not only have the chance to catch trout in large numbers, but the opportunity to catch a fish of a lifetime. 5-10Lb trout and 20-30 fish days are not uncommon during Ice-Off .

Buckskin with a Four Horn monster early March 2016


Cut Bank Creek Outfitters – (406) 450-5467

For More info on the StoneHouse or to book contact:

David Walburn

(406) 250-9415



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