From mid-March to mid-April Skwala Stoneflies make a brief appearance on our local waters. After dining on nothing but tiny midges and micro mayflies the Skwala seems to resonate with hungry trout. Think of the Skwala as the Slider of the burger world.
Tasty and welcomed but never quite enough to make the belly stick out too much. Trout seem to relish the largest meal they've seen in months. The eats are aggressive and often seem to come out of nowhere.
The most famous rivers in the region to get big Skwala hatches are the Owyhee River in eastern Oregon and the Yakima River in central Washington. Both can be awesome if you hit them right. That's a big IF in spring with water flows and temp's changing daily. You don't have to drive 5 hours or more to find respectable Skwala hatches. In Central Oregon, the Middle Deschutes, the Lower Deschutes around Maupin and the Crooked River all have good numbers of Skwala's. Now, it's important to note that you will never see thousands of Skwala's on the banks, in the sky or falling into the water like the more famous Golden Stone and Salmonflies. That doesn't mean that the small Slider Burger is not being noticed by the trout that have been eating the equivalent of baby carrots for 5 months.
If you see a few Skwala's on the water, you can bet that fish along the margins of the river have seen a lot more than you. In fact, at the heads of pools, slow runs and backeddies the bigger trout have been noticing them for a while and are looking up for them.
We carry a good assortment of Skwala's dries in-store. The flies range in size 10 to 14. When they hit the water, they really struggle to get back off the water and they seem to wobble downriver as they head back to the bank or in the mouth of a waiting trout. You definitely don't need to have a box full of them, but like Green Drakes in May on the Deschutes, don't leave home without them in spring. The Silvey's Little Olive Stone is the one I couldn't leave home without but the Perry's Bugmeister and the Bullet Head Skwala are fantastic also. You can also use these flies as searchers to suspend small beadhead nymphs (try a #20 Zebra Midge on the Crooked) if you plan on covering water.
Don't forget to Holla for Skwala's. The trout certainly do.
April 08, 2022 5 min read