Monthly Archives: July 2015

Gallatin River and Area Lakes Fishing Report 07/20/2015

Hello all,

Will here with Grizzly Outfitters river shop, the Gallatin remains an excellent option for fishing in southwestern Montana right now. The dry fly bite has been a little slower the past few days with the cooler temps but people are still bringing fish up all day with the best action being late in the evening. Caddis and PMD’s are the main fare right now but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some other bugs around. Don’t be afraid to fish a larger parachute if you see bigger mayflies, even if they aren’t widespread the fish will key in on them. You may also notice a few larger stoneflies around, don’t be afraid to fish some big dries! You may not get as many but searching with a size 10 black and purple chubby can bring some big fish to the surface. Nymph fishing has  been very productive lately, rubber legs, pheasant tails, and lightning bugs will all find fish. We’ve been having good luck on tungsten bead king prince nymphs, pearl lightning bugs and anything purple! The purple UV prince nymph has been awesome and the purple craze parachute has fished great on top. Something about the color purple that just gets those Gallatin fish all riled up…. If you’re hunting for larger fish try an olive Near Nuff sculpin, fish it near the bottom and get out early!

The lake fishing around Big Sky is a great way to escape the crowds and can lead to some beautiful fish in some beautiful locations. A lot of people come into the shop asking about high lake fishing and it can often seem like a daunting task. If you’re interested in fishing dries be ready for some selective trout. In the clear calm water of a mountain lake the fish have a lot of time to inspect your fly, long fine leaders are the ticket for this kind of fishing. More often then not your best bet will be to go deep and fish nymphs. A black or olive wooly bugger stripped SUPER slow is a tried and true method for catching lake fish, try trailing a small scud or midge off the back. Creek mouths, points, drop offs and weed beds are all good areas to target when lake fishing. If the fish are really tricky you might want to try fishing with an indicator, go eight feet to the first fly and twelve inches from that one to the dropper. Experiment with different twitches and retrieves, I like to use a slow retrieve and count my flies down after each strip, patience is key! Damsel Fly nymphs, little green machines, red zebra midges and rainbow Czech scuds are a few of my favorites and will get it done on most of the lakes around Big Sky.

Hebgen and Quake lake are just down the road from Big Sky and offer the opportunity to chase some truly massive fish. When the winds are down, the clouds are out and the stars align you can have some truly amazing dry fly fishing. Long leaders and fine tippets are the recipe on this still water even more than others in the area, the bugs range in size from twelve down to eighteen depending on the time of year so have a range of your favorite mayfly imitations. Klink Adams, AP Galloups Mayfly, T’s Carnage Drake and a the trusty old royal wulff are a few that work for us but everyone has there favorite so don’t be afraid to experiment. The nymphing tactics we use on the high lakes will work well on Hebgen also, one other fly to throw into the mix is the clouser crayfish. A boat is a great way to explore the lake but there are plenty of options for shore fishing. Swing by the shop and we’ll point you in the right direction.

On some days the river can seem quite crowded, the canyon North of Big Sky draws the most anglers but the fishing south of here can be excellent. Explore some new water and have a chat with someone you’ve never met before, who knows you may find your new favorite spot or learn your new favorite fly. Whatever you chose to do be polite and try to give your fellow anglers a little elbow room.

Happy fishing and tight lines,                                                                                                    -Will



Fishing Report 7/12/2015

Gallatin River:

With the afternoon rain storms and lower temperatures the Gallatin is coming back to life! Even with this cooler weather, the lower Gallatin from Sheds Bridge (near Four Corners) downriver to where the Gallatin meets the Maddison is on Hoot Owl Restriction, no fishing 2:00pm till Midnight.  This means fish Big Sky! Even though this week looks like the temperatures will be in the 70’s during the days and 40’s at night, morning and evenings will be the better times to get out and fish.  During the day if you find some time to get out, look for riffle water, up against the banks and that slower water tucked behind little rock patches.  PMDs for mornings, rubber legs afternoon and by evenings Caddis!

Don’t forget to keep your eyes out for the infamous spruce moth.  We are starting to see signs of them in the area.  No significant hatches as of yet but we expect to see it any day now!


Fly Suggestions:

Pearl & Elk Caddis


Royal Wulff

Chubby Chernobyls

Purple Lighting Bug

Kyles BH Yellow Sally

Pats Stone Rubber Leg


Yellowstone River:

Rain and more rain to come.  The Yellowstone has been going from kind of muddy to muddy and back again! Checking daily for the water clarity is key.  When the water starts clearing up, the fish have been hitting in the deeper, cooler water.  Also try up along the banks and anywhere that has shade.  Looking ahead at the week’s weather, looks like more rain and some wind!  Look for smaller hoppers that are starting to show their faces. Areas on the river where the muddy streams are merging, try fishing the muddy line with a streamer for one of those BIG BOYS we all love!


Fly Suggestions:


Royal Wolff

Dark Rubber Legs

Girdle Bugger

SH Copper John



Upper Madison River:

The Maddison between Hebgen Lake and Ennis Lake has had some cooler water.  This cooler water has been some of the most consistent in the area and that has been helping with some great fishing!  Fishing early mornings with PMDs has had great results and Caddis in the evenings.  In the afternoons fish are not hitting as hard, try a rubber leg or a small streamer. Looking at the week to come, weather seems to be staying a little cooler then these past weeks so get out and fish!


Fly Suggestions:



Yellow Sallies

Zebra Midges

Evan’s Iron Lotus Olive


Lower Maddison:

Hoot Owl Restriction from Ennis Dam to the Missouri River, No fishing 2pm to midnight. The water is warm on this part of the Madison.  It’s better to let the fish hang out and grab your friends and check out the Bikini Hatch! If you do find yourself up at sun rise and want to fish try a PMD with a dropper or try a streamer.

Gallatin River 7/7/2015

Hello fisher folk,

Will here with Grizzly Outfitters on the river, a plug of mud moved through the Gallatin below Taylor’s Fork yesterday and last night but it’s clearing up quick. There is still a greenish tint to the river near big sky but plenty of visibility for some nymph fishing. Try a black stone fly with a goomie worm dropped of the back and you’ll find fish. The river should be clear enough for dries by the afternoon and there are certainly a lot of bugs to chose from. Caddis, mayflies and a few yellow sallies will be the main ticket items to look for but you may be surprised with a larger drake or even some late hatching stone flies! Don’t be afraid to fish a larger parachute, think size 12, or even a smaller stone fly like a size 12 purple chubby. Keep your eyes peeled for the spruce moth!! You can never be sure when this terrestrial will make it’s first major appearance but when it does you’ll want to be ready!

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