Doing a quick online search for these stoneflies will bring up a barrage of fishing websites, and for good reason. According to the Missoulian Angler Fly Shop website, “The Skwala Hatch in Montana is the best pre-runoff hatch around Missoula, drawing in anglers from near and far to get their first fishing of the season.” The “hatch,” which usually occurs in late March to mid-April, refers to a particular time in the stoneflies’ lives. After one to three years as aquatic larvae (naiads), hunting and living among stream or river bottoms, they crawl out on the bank, molt and become winged adults. While adult life is brief, only a week or two, it’s plenty of time to engage in reproductive activities, take a rest on a pinecone …and try to not get eaten by a hungry trout.

Photo by Karen Weaver on 3/29/20 in Missoula, MT (Bitterroot River at Maclay Flat Boat Launch)