Fly Fishing DePuy’s Spring Creek
DePuy’s Spring Creek is the classic, western spring creek. Silky water that slowly meanders its way through a valley floor lined with the Willows and hundred-year-old Cottonwood trees. Gentle runs where wild trout pile into during the world-renowned hatches that have made this particular spring creek a “must-fish” destination for the serious fly angler. Surprisingly deep pools and ideal bank structures afford the wary spring creek trout places to hide and rest during the slower times of the day. DePuy’s is one of our longtime favorite places to fly fish for wild trout around Bozeman.
The creek starts about 1.5 miles above the property line between the O’Hair and DePuy family ranches. DePuy’s boasts about 3 miles of spring creek that has been managed, maintained, and improved with the fly fisherman in mind. As the largest spring creek property in Paradise Valley, Depuy’s can handle several small groups of anglers a day without ever feeling too crowded, especially during heavy hatch periods.
Anglers generally describe Depuy’s in terms of an upper, middle, and lower creek. Each section has a mile or so of fishable with fantastic banks, prolific weed-beds, and a frim, silty streambed. The upper section starts at the property boundary with the O’ Hair Ranch and runs down to the second angler’s hut on the stream called, appropriately, the Middle Hut. Then the stream continues to flow north where it fills a small reservoir that holds fish and is home to myriad species of waterfowl including Trumpeter Swans. A small waterfall represents the start of the lower creeks which eventually flows into the Yellowstone River at the northern most property boundary of the DePuy’s Ranch.
As with most western spring creek hatches, there is an amazing array of insect hatches which will, literally cover the water at times. Although all of the hatches can bring fish to the surface during the peak emergences, a few of our favorites hatches to fish on DePuy’s include Blue-Winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns, and Caddis. The BWO and PMD hatches will last for hours when conditions are ideal, bringing hundreds and hundreds of feeding trout to the surface. This is classic, “match-the-hatch” fly-fishing requiring skilled presentations of flies that best imitate the natural insects. The Caddis hatches are more sporadic, generally run from April through the end of July, and oftentimes bring some of the larger trout in the creek to the surface in “splashy” rise-forms. There are plenty of other hatching insects too that keep the wild trout interested in feeding just about every day of the year on Depuy’s spring creek, including Midges, Trico’s and Callibaetis among others.
During those times of the day when hatches are sparse or absent altogether, the spring creek has enough character and depth to make nymph-fishing productive as well. Sowbugs, Scuds, Midges, Mayfly nymphs, Cranefly Larvae, and Caddis larvae are prevalent at all times of the year. A stealthy approach and accurate presentation is still required to fool these wary trout making nymph fishing Depuy’s a very demanding task for even the most skilled anglers.
Mid and late summer fly fishing on DePuy’s is typically best early and late in terms of finding hatching insects and steadily rising trout. Terrestrial patterns that imitate Ants, Beetles, and Grasshoppers are often sight-fished to mid-creek feeding fish during those bright, sunny days of August and early September. The weed growth becomes more prevalent during this time of year, so most of the nymph fishing consists of dry/dropper combinations fished along seams, undercut bank edges, and through deeper pools.
DePuy’s Spring Creek is a private water fishery that is well-known and highly regarded throughout the world. Access is limited to a maximum of 16 anglers a day and advanced reservations are highly suggested. Depuy’s charges a “Rod Fee” that varies between $40 and $120 a day/angler. Visit DePuy’s website for availability of rods and current pricing. Our Bozeman fly shop is well stocked with patterns that work well on the various situations and hatches one will enounter while fly fishing Depuy’s.