The Best Winter Gallatin River Flies
Winter fly fishing on the Gallatin River can provide an excellent opportunity to catch fish. What can make your day even better? Knowing exactly which flies to use! Here are my personal favorite flies to fish on the Gallatin throughout winter.
Caddis, often overlooked by fly fishers when they are not hatching, are a viable source of food for trout in the Gallatin River during the winter. The Rainbow Prince looks a bit like a caddis pupa but is just very buggy in general, a good attribute when it comes to fishing this river. The flashy body on this fly helps catch the attention of fish, especially in the bright sun. Overall, the Rainbow Prince just catches fish all Winter.
Stonefly nymphs are a huge portion of fish diets on the Gallatin all year. Pat's Rubberlegs are most commonly used to imitate this aquatic insect. To differ slightly from what other anglers are doing, I find slightly better success using the very similar Restless Stone pattern. Knotted legs and a slight curve, seem to be enough of a difference to outfish anglers using a Rubberlegs. Effectiveness based on color seems to change day to day but peacock and coffee/black always work.
Brown/Orange Hybrid Steely Worm
Perfectly weighted for fishing the Gallatin and much different from what fish are used to seeing, the brown/orange Hybrid Steely Worm has gotten the job done for years. Similar words could be used to describe many other worms if I'm being honest. Have a few Hybrid Steely worms but definitely do not hit the Gallatin this winter without worm patterns.
Silver/Pink Spanish Bullet
Flashy. Jiggy. Pink. Heavy. Combine these four fly attributes and you have the silver/pink Spanish Bullet. Crazy to believe that these also happen to be some of the most effective fish-catching attributes of flies for fishing the Gallatin in the Winter. Spanish Bullets have been MEGA effective this season and this style has really produced on the G this winter.
Black TB Tube Midge
Last but not least, is a fly with a lot less flash but a perfect midge profile. I will generally fish this below one of the previous flies. Tungsten helps this fly get deep to where the fish sit in the Winter and get there quick! Midges are the most active aquatic insects this time of the year and you'd be crazy to hit the river without the Black Tube Midge.
Fish a combo of these flies at about 5 feet deep in slow-moving, deep water for the best success. If you feel like your fly isn't getting deep enough at a BB split shot a foot above the first fly. Swing by our Bozeman fly shop to get additional Winter fishing information!