How Does 2020 Look for Montana Fly Fishing? – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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How Does 2020 Look for Montana Fly Fishing?

2020 Early Season Montana Fly Fishing Highlights

We don’t know much about the stock market or Coronavirus, but we like to think we know more than most about fly fishing in Southwest Montana. Our Bozeman fly shop and fly-fishing guide service is entering our 20th year in business and we have been chasing fish around this part of the world for the better part of the last 30 years. If we know anything – we know that 2020 is shaping up to be an awesome year for trout fishing the rivers and streams around Bozeman.

Our snowpack is terrific right now thanks to some serious precipitation in January and February which has led to an above average water year to date. Throughout Southwest Montana, the major river drainages are over 100% of their long-term averages, with most of them actually being near 120% of their averages. This good news means that we have plenty of water in the event that the spring ends up being abnormally warm. On the other hand, we don’t have so much snow that we are likely to experience a long and protracted runoff. In short, we are looking very good in terms of water levels for the 2020 season that we are expecting from the snowpack. This is the single most important tool we have to predict the coming season and it looks GREAT right now.

As you start to think about planning your trip out west this year, there just isn’t any place better than Bozeman when it comes to fly fishing for wild trout. We have so much to offer in terms of diverse watersheds, wild trout populations, hatches, and area to spread out and get away from the masses.

Here are a few early season “highlights” to keep in mind for the 2020 season that are front and center in our minds!

Montana Fly Fishing Sure Bets

  • March 25 – April 8 : This is primetime for spring fishing on the upper Madison with lots of Rainbows spawning or getting ready to spawn in the river around Ennis. Things pick up in terms of traffic on the water by mid-April so these dates are usually great in terms of few other anglers around and great action on nymphs with limited dry fly fishing. The river fishes great through early/mid-May, but the early season weeks are some of our guide’s favorites!
  • April 27 – May 8 : The Mother’s Day Caddis will be going off on the lower Madison by late April and followed closely on the Yellowstone River. One of the grandest hatch events that an angler will ever experience, the 2020 conditions should be ideal for hitting this hatch during this timeframe.
  • June 15 – June 19 : Salmonflies on the Upper Madison should be out and about by mid-June this year and hitting this hatch early in the cycle has become the best bet. Don’t wait until late June as the fish will be wise to the big dries by then and there will be a ton of anglers out. The fishing is always solid earlies than later in June on the upper Madison – especially if you want to try to find some big fish on big dries.

We think it’s safe to bet on some great fishing conditions anytime throughout the 2020 season, so anytime you can get out here should offer up some great opportunities. However, getting a jump on the season by coming out early is often a great option that gets overlooked too often. Whether you are coming out to fish on your own or are looking for a guided fly fishing trip in Bozeman, we are here to help you get the most out of your time on the water.

Guided trips can be booked online or by calling our Bozeman fly shop at 1-877-790-5303. Reach out to us via email for help with putting your trip together or for more information on the fly fishing opportunities around Bozeman, Montana