General Techniques - Fins & Feathers - Bozeman Fly Fishing – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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General Techniques

Fly-fishers are more experienced today than ever before and this allows our guides to make attempts to provide each angler with an experience that is unique to their own expectations. For example, some anglers only want to fish dry flies, others want to try for a very large fish, while still others just would like to catch a few fish and enjoy the scenery. The diversity and amount of trout-filled waters in southwest Montanan gives us the opportunity to provide anglers with these types of choices most of the year. While many of our clients are intermediate to advanced anglers, the sport is continuing to grow in popularity and we welcome many first-time and novice anglers to our region on a guided trip each year. Essentially, we use a variety of techniques and try to match the angler's experience and expectations with the best fishery and then use whatever techniques we need to bring it all together with a successful day on the water being the goal. You will find a brief description of the techniques we typically use below to help better understand how we fish and what to expect when making your plans. This, of course, is just a brief synopsis so feel free to give us a call or e-mail for more details.

Everyone loves dry-fly fishing and to many, this represents the “purest” form of our sport. Essentially, dry-fly fishing involves using a fly that closely imitates an adult or emerging aquatic insect (Mayflies, Caddisflies, Stoneflies, etc.) or any one of a variety of terrestrial insects. “Match the Hatch” fishing is typically exemplified best by the image of casting a dry fly to a steadily rising individual or a pod of trout that are feeding on or near the surface of a stream or lake. This type of fishing is typically best between March and October with reliable opportunities to be found year-round on the local spring creeks. Fishing with attractor dries like Royal Wulffs, Humpies, Trudes, etc. is typically available throughout the year as well but is best between June and September. Attractor dries are typically fished “blind” over water where trout are most likely to be holding and feeding. Finally, late summer and early fall is the time of year when patterns that represent Grasshoppers, Ants, & Beetles will bring fish to the surface across the region. Although catching fish on a dry fly is a fantastic experience, it is often necessary to fish with nymphs or streamers throughout the day in order to find feeding trout.

Nymph fishing typically involves using flies that closely imitate the immature stages of aquatic insects. Most aquatic insects spend 99% of their life underwater in the nymph or larval stage of their lifecycle. Therefore, trout spend most of their time feeding on these stages of insects and it is often necessary to use nymphs in order to get to feeding trout. Nymphing is almost always effective to some degree and will most certainly produce a few fish on even the toughest of days. Fly-fishing with nymphs is productive year-round and is the preferred choice during times when the rivers are slightly off-colored or periods of little surface activity.

Chuck and duck streamer fishing is usually limited to anglers with intermediate and advanced fly fishing skills. Streamers imitate larger forms of trout prey such as crayfish or small fish from a variety of species. For the angler in search of a large fish, fishing streamers are often the most effective means for finding the true brutes of our local rivers. Heavier rods (7-8wts) are preferred and sink-tip lines are used on occasion to help get flies down in the deepest of runs on the Yellowstone River. Streamer fishing tends to be the most effective in the spring and fall, but we will use streamers with regularity throughout the year.