Mid-April Fishing Outlook for Bozeman 2018
Just back from the Orvis Guide Rendezvous event in Asheville, N.C. and still in disbelief at all of the snow piled up in the mountains! Another 2 feet of fresh snow fell near Bridger Bowl the night before last! It is now, certainly going to be a “classic” high-water season in Southwest Montana…no doubt in my mind. So, what does that mean for angling in the region and the Bozeman fly fishing opportunities?
We are currently sitting at or near 150% of long-term average snowpack in all of the major drainages that feed the upper Missouri Headwaters. There will not be a meaningful decrease in the snow pack levels for at least another 2 weeks (end of April) given the current weather outlook. More accumulation is actually more likely.
Expect to see some rising water levels during this time, but keep in mind that these will be quick cycles that are draining low elevation rain and snow. Watch the stream flows closely before heading out and – as a rule – expect fishing to be tougher if the c.f.s are increasing, even in water clarity is good. However, if the c.f.s are dropping – even if the water clarity is poor – the fishing will more likely be good
The Mother’s Day Caddis hatch usually gets going around April 20thon the lower Madison and early May on the Yellowstone. We will need several days in a row of warm weather in the 70’s to get the hatch really moving along to the point of being the prolific event we are used to seeing. Water conditions will be off-color and higher than in recent years, but there will still be plenty of wade-fishing options along the banks in the evenings. The likelihood of this hatch being relevant on the Yellowstone is totally unclear -I have no idea whether or not the bugs will show up prior to the start of the runoff (if I had to guess, I would say no).
We are watching the weather, flows, and snow-pack levels closely here at our Bozeman fly shop and fly-fishing guide service. It’s great to see the snow up in the mountains this late in the year as the chances of forest fires are greatly reduced and the rivers will have water in them all through the season. The great thing about fly fishing in the Bozeman area is all of the choices in the region. We have some many fishery options within an hour of town that we always have some great options.
Be sure to watch our fishing reports for current conditions and keep in mind that the streamflow feeds there are real-time. Email our Bozeman fly shop for help with planning your Bozeman fly fishing vacation around the high-water flows of 2018.