The Gallatin is clearing up a lot earlier than expected mostly due to a slower runoff than anticipated. This window of opportunity has been opened by unseasonably colder night temps at higher elevations and even a couple inches of snow a week ago.
We’ve also seen fewer rain showers and overall less precipitation locally than normal for spring. This means summer fishing has already begun and guided trips are already having some stellar days on the Gallatin around Big Sky!
While wading is still sketchy in most spots as the river is still flowing at a quick clip, plenty of healthy trout can be caught in the calmer shoreline sections, inside bends, and side-channels. Using popular patterns like heavily weighted beadhead prince nymphs, girdle bugs, purple lightning bugs, and san juan worms, have been the most effective strategy.
The Lower Madison has also been consistent for float trips using caddis dries in the evenings and various nymphs like BH princes, soft hackles, as well as Pat’s rubber legs, and crayfish patterns.
Even the Upper Madison is full of surprises this early in the season as we’re floating a lower and clearer upper section of the Madison above the West Fork than we normally would be this time of year. The water temps are up too, so we’re catching fish using midge clusters and elk hair caddis dries in certain sections. Even the big bugs have already been spotted near Ennis so things could get crazy for salmon flies in the next week or so; as the hatch moves up river. Best of all, those floating now have virtually had the river all to themselves on weekdays. This coming weekend could be another story though as word spreads…
Yellowstone National Park
There are also a couple wade-fishing options in Yellowstone National Park like the famed Firehole River; using PMD’s, Drakes, and White Miller’s Caddis dries.
Floating the Yellowstone in the Paradise Valley sections and below Livingston is still couple weeks out, but that’s fine by us with so much great water around Big Sky available to fish right now!
So pick up the phone and book your next guide trip with Grizzly Outfitters; (406-995-2950 or toll free at 888-807-9452). Fly Shop hours are 8AM – 6PM every day of the week!