Bozeman-Area Fly Fishing Update | Late March
The weather and the fishing are heating up. Last week we had beautiful sunny spring days with highs in the 50s. This week we're back to cooler temps with some snow, rain and sleet -- the justification of spring in Montana.
The warmer weather increased the river temperatures, causing the fish to get a bit more active. We've had great days on the Madison, Gallatin and Yellowstone.
The Madison and the Gallatin have had the most consistent nymph fishing. Fish have been taking stonefly nymphs, midges and Baetis nymphs on the Upper Madison and Gallatin. On the Lower Madison, fish are keying into scuds and small attractor nymphs. If you do a bit of searching, you can usually find some fish rising to midges. Both clusters and single midges have been taking fish. We've seen a few adult BWOs, but that hatch hasn't quite kicked in yet.
Oh, yeah, and worms. Worms work great everywhere this time of year.
We've had a couple of great days throwing small, dark streamers on the Yellowstone. This is often the time of year when we see the biggest fish of the season in the net. The dry-fly fishing around Livingston has also been pretty darn good. Look for subtle rises in slow water near the bank or in foam eddies.
Warming air temps and precipitation will add some color to the freestone streams. Some days the Yellowstone has gotten pretty green, but it still hasn't blown out too bad. The Gallatin has had great clarity all spring. Some of the smaller, low elevation streams have turned brown.
Lastly, the rainbow trout are getting ready to spawn. We are starting to see their cleared-off spawning grounds. Keep an eye out for redds and avoid fishing and walking on them. We need those wild fish to survive so they can eat our hopper imitations in a few years.
Our guides have gotten their boats wet and have had successful fishing days on their own and with clients. Our guide calendar is starting to fill in for the summer, so it's best to book early to ensure a guide is available.
At the fly shop, we're getting new products in daily, and are having a hard time finding room for all the new gear, fly patterns and tying materials. If you're in the market for a new rod or waders, stop by our Bozeman fly shop this month. We are currently fully stocked on most items, but we don't expect that to last throughout the summer.
Have fun fishing out there this spring. Don't forget to dress in layers, and remember the old saying: "The best way to make it rain is to forget your rain jacket."