A Day Spent On the Fly in Bozeman – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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A Day Spent On the Fly in Bozeman

The alarm went off at 4:30 AM yesterday, again, just like it did the day before that and the day before that. I’ve never really cared too much for such nonsense, but uncrowded waters and some hungry trout are all the motivation I need to get me moving. Early mornings are spectacular this time of year in Southwest Montana with cool air and the colors of the sunrise peaking over the Bridger Mountains. These are the days that keep me up at night in January and February as I look forward to what is to come.

I picked up my clients in Livingston and headed East to one of my favorite places to fish once the hopper bite starts to get going. I never know if the fish are eating a hopper for a hopper or a midnight stone this time of year, but they start to look up and wait for big dries to come floating by. What a rush it is when a dark shadow suddenly shows under your fly and slowly takes in the dry with all the confidence in the world. It gives me shivers just thinking about how awesome an experience it is, whether I’ve got the oars or a fly rod in my hand.

The day turned cloudy – a condition we haven’t seen in a few weeks – and doubt crept in my mind as I wondered how the fish would react. Intuitively, I thought that streamer fishing might be the way to go, but experience told me not to worry about it, the fish would either be looking for big dries or rubberlegs – don’t get sucked into the idea of streamer fishing on cloudy days mid-summer much past 7:00 AM. We threw streamers, to hell with my experience and wisdom.

Montana Fly Fishing the Yellowstone River

Fish were on Barely Legals (Olive and White), tight to the bank and quick-stripped ramp to ramp. A few switches here and there between nymphs and dries produced some fish, but not the consistency that I’ve become used to over the last week, I wrote it off to the clouds. Didn’t get anything huge, but a lot (15-ish) fish to hand in the 14-17” range on streamers plus another dozen or so on nymphs and hoppers sure seemed to make for a great day when we touched the ramp at the end of the day.

There will never be enough yesterdays.

We are now at about the 1/3 way through the busiest part of our “season.” It seems like I hardly ever see the guides, employees, and our regular customers this time of year. However, this is the time of year when I do get to see so many of my dearest friends and have the chance to make a few more too. This fly-fishing life has been very good to me. The sunrises haven’t started to get old yet in 2017, the tangles have been manageable, the fish are great, the rivers are spectacular, and I look forward to watching the sunrise tomorrow and spending the day on the water with my dad and 10-year-old son…awesome!

All of us at Fins & Feathers of Bozeman’s fly shop and fly-fishing guide service sincerely appreciate the opportunity to share our passion for fly-fishing. Whether you are new to Bozeman, just passing through, or have been here forever; we look forward to talking fishing with you soon.