Dropping Water Around Bozeman
I’d love to look out the window this morning to the sight of flowers blooming and the rich greens of early summer along the peaks of the Bridger Mountains. However, the ridgeline is blanketed once again in another pounding of snow – I’m reluctant to look to the south to see what the Spanish Peaks look like. This is the winter that just won’t give up, perhaps Mother Nature has not heard the news that Game of Thrones is almost over. Cold temperatures in the high country translate to a stalling of our annual spring runoff.
A quick peak at the streamflow graphs show that everything is heading down, steeply. Although the Yellowstone and Gallatin are still too high to fish safely, they are dropping quickly. If the weather does as forecasted the next few days in terms of highs and lows, this trend should continue. So, although we were thinking that our river days were over for several weeks just a few days ago – I’m know thinking that there just might be one more last hurrah for those of us around Bozeman.
Keep an eye on the stream flows, webcams (on the Yellowstone and our soon to open second location Upstream), fishing reports for updates throughout the week and hope for some green in the water (Gallatin looks like a very likely candidate for this conditon), rather than brown. Even when these rivers are high in terms of volume, they can fish very well so long as there is 1-2’ of visibility along the banks.
If we get that window of fishable water on these rivers, expect to be fishing with nymphs on heavy tippet and plenty of weight. These can be ideal conditions for finding some of the bigger fish of the year and fly selection usually really doesn’t matter. Plan on loading up some Stonefly nymphs, San Juan Worms, and dead-drift streamers such as Zonkers in darker colors. Caddis and March Browns are still out on the Yellowstone and that can fish very well after a big push of high water this time of year – just watch for flows to get back down below 7000 C.F.S before you get too excited.
I haven’t really talked about the Madison in all of this…might want to go give that a look if you are really wanting to fish some moving water the next few days. Higher is better, or so they say.
These conditions seem to come into play every year but they are usually a few weeks earlier in the season – whereas most of the Bozeman angler crowd has turned their attentions elsewhere for the time being in 2019. Get out on the water if you get the chance in the next few days and enjoy some less crowded conditions and fish near the banks for a change. Stop by our Bozeman fly shop for some of the best bugs and advice around while you are in the area too. Don’t forget…YNP opens next weekend too (we should have licenses later this week).