Mid December Bozeman Fishing Report – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Mid December Bozeman Fishing Report

Weather here in Montana has kept us guessing this Fall/Winter. We practically skipped straight over Fall in October with some brutally cold weather and snowstorms. December however has been crazy mild with very little snow on the ground and high temps are over 40 degrees daily.

What does this mean for fly fishing? Well when the wind isn’t howling the fishing conditions have been excellent. The Gallatin and both upper and lower Madison are all in great condition with very little ice shelves and maybe only a touch of slush early in the mornings. Dry fly fishing on the Madison has been very solid this winter with decent midge hatches nearly every day. Slow moving slicks and eddies behind rocks are great places to look for rising trout. Patterns like small Parachute Adams and Griffith’s Gnats are a great way to trick these risers.

Bozeman Winter Fishing

If fish are not eating on the surface, the best way to catch a few fish has been deep nymphing. The recent mild weather has made fly fishing on our Bozeman rivers very pleasant water temperatures are still quite cold. Fish are sitting in the slow moving (walking speed ish) deep holes and are not apt to move far to eat a fly. On the Gallatin stonefly nymphs, midge pupa and mayfly nymphs have been our go to patterns. An angler can’t go wrong with a San Juan worm or another worm variation in the winter.

The upper Madison has been good with patterns similar to the Gallatin. Midges will be the best bug to imitate followed closely by stonefly nymphs. Rather than a Pat’s Rubberleg a pattern that is a bit more realistic and looks like a golden stone seems to be key. The Golden Biot Epoxy stone has produced for our Bozeman fly shop.

Fishing on the lower Madison is good with your typical tailwater patterns. Scud and sowbug imitations trailed by a Zebra Midge or red Jujubee Midge will keep fly fishers busy throughout the day.

The Yellowstone would be the last fishing choice of our Bozeman waters due to very cold water, slush, ice and high winds in the Livingston area. If you find yourself in paradise valley the spring creeks will be the best options.

When in doubt, fish worms and midges on any local waters this time of the year.

Overall the fly fishing around Bozeman has been great as of recent. Hopefully everyone gets the chance to get out before weather turns and Montana winter is upon us.

Check our fishing reports for the most recent river conditions and fly recommendations!