Stonefly Season | Where the Big Bugs at!? – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
Close x

Category_Vintage -

Stonefly Season | Where the Big Bugs at!?

We’re coming up on one of the most amazing times of the year for any trout fly fisher. When droves of forked tailed, armored nymphs rush the bank to hatch and squadrons of 4-winged flying trout TMRE’s (Trout Meal Ready to Eat) take to the air. I am of course talking about stonefly season. For those who don’t know what stonefly season is let me fill you in. Stonefly season is when hordes of Yellow Sallies, Golden Stones and Salmonlflies all hatch at about the same time and the trout gorge.

During this time trout will sip Yellow Sallies all day long and take Golden Stones without much hesitation and gusto. The real prize however, is to get a big trout to eat a size 4 Salmonfly dry with murderous intent. There’s nothing in the fly fishing world like it. The only problem is it can be hard hit the hatch correctly. This is because of a few unpredictable variables. The hatch is totally dependent on the weather and water. Once the rivers hit the mid 50F’s for several day in a row the bugs should start showing up, and depending on the water temp can move several miles upstream a day. That’s what make hitting the Salmonfly hatch so tricky. You need to be just ahead of the hatch to have bugs are on the water so fish are looking up, but not in the middle of the hatch where the fish are gorged.

Keeping that in mind, where are the bugs at right now? There really aren’t any in the Bozeman area yet; however, flows and water temps are just looking good over on the Big Hole right now. Haven’t heard any definite sightings over there yet, but he conditions are right. A good rule of thumb is ounce they hit the Big Hole we’re usually two weeks out around here. That being said the water temps are looking promising on the lower Madison right now. The only snag with the lower Madison is it’s not the best stonefly habitat anymore. Stoneflies like cold, fast-flowing, well oxygenated water over a rocky riverbed. Doesn’t sound like the lower Madison does it? There are some big stoneflies left up in the Bear Trap, so with these conditions keep an eye out for some big bugs. There have been some confirmed reports of big stoneflies on Rock Creek and the Blackfoot over by Missoula. Maybe a 2-3 weeks (weather dependent) before they show up around Bozeman.

People come from all over the world to try and hit the big stoneflies. If you’ve never experienced a large trout destroying a size 4 dry fly make sure you find the time this year. Even witnessing the emergence of the these prehistoric looking bugs is something you won’t forget. The shear biomass flying through the air, the audible thrumming of their wings salmonflies really are the B-52’s of the insect world, and trout love them!