A quick update from the Gallatin, the Spruce Moth is back! After making only a short appearance last summer our favorite area terrestrial has been falling out of trees for the last few days now and the fish have taken notice. The moth can produce great dry fly fishing all day long but the best action is usually in the morning. The moths fall out of the pine trees and hit the water so choose your spot accordingly, more trees=more moths! We are fully stocked up on Moth patterns so stop by and load up before your next trip out!
Summer is in full swing here in Big Sky Montana and that means great fishing! While some rivers in our state have been battling with warm water the Gallatin near Big Sky and in Yellowstone National Park will remain cool and clean all summer long. The lower Madison is still under hoot owl closure, no fishing from 2pm to midnight and with the massive amount of floaters and warm water it’s best just to give the fish a break for now. Many people have come by the shop asking about a hoot owl closure on the Gallatin, the closure is on the stretch from shed’s bridge to the confluence of the Missouri in Three Forks. Shed’s bridge is more than 40 miles north of Big Sky so there’s no need to worry about finding fishable water!
The main hatches on the Gallatin lately have been PMD’s earlier in the day and Caddis in the later hours. The small black Caddis that hatch in the evenings can be tough to match at times. If you’re seeing bugs smaller than a size 18 try fishing a griffiths gnat instead of an actual caddis pattern. If you see rising fish in the evening and no caddis you can be pretty sure they’re eating spinners. A rusty spinner in a size 16 or 18 will usually get it done but those fish can be spooky too! During the early hours a pmd cripple or a purple haze in size 16 or 18 is all you really need… In the heat of the day the fishing can get tough, small nymphs in size 18 or 20 fished below an indicator will usually always get it done. Try adding some split shot and fishing the faster more turbulent water, the fish will move into these zones as river gets lower and they see more angling pressure. Lightning bugs, Batman Nymphs and Micro Mayfly’s are a few of our favorite nymphs so far this summer.
If you’re looking for a change of pace try heading over to Hebgen or Quake Lake. Callibaetis will usually start hatching around 10 and if you catch a nice calm day the dry fly fishing can be spectacular. If there’s no dry fly action you don’t have to turn around and head home. Damsel Nymphs, Zonkers, Buggers, Chironimids and callibaetis nymphs will take fish subsurface. So give us a call or swing by the shop, we have a great selection of lake flies, sink lines and of course local knowledge!
Hello from Big Sky, Summer is here although you wouldn’t have noticed it if you were staying up high these past few days…. Heavy rain and snow has caused a mud plug to move in from the Taylors fork but as of now the river is trending towards lower flows and well on it’s way to clearing up. Don’t let the slightly off color water scare you away, a greenish tint makes for great streamer fishing and the river still has plenty of clarity for nymphing.
If dry fly fishing is your main objective head up above Taylors fork creek or into the park, the rest of the river will probably be back to its usual form by tomorrow though so don’t go to far. Fish are still coming up for chubbies but until the nocturnals start hatching you may find more luck with smaller flies. Weise’s purple haze cripple’s in 14 and 16 have been hot lately and we’ve even spotted a few larger drakes near Big Sky.
If the crowds are thick along the main river take a hike up one of the many tributary streams. You might not find many monstrous fish, but you will find beautiful scenery, peace, quiet and willing trout! Stop by the river shop and we can point you in the right direction. We have flies, guided trips, licenses, gear and most importantly a knowledgeable staff!
If you are looking for an easy, accessible way to get on some fish, look no further than the Gallatin, as it is fishing very well at this time! With golden stones and yellow sallies coming off steadily, and even sporadic sightings of salmonflies returning to the river you don’t have to put your big bugs away just yet. There has also been a great deal of caddis and PMD’s coming off in the mornings and evenings. If you’re fishing in the morning or evening try fishing a Chubby or Stimulator on top and drop either an emerger pattern or bead head nymph off the bottom. During mid-day, nymphing will be your most lucrative option. Running a stonefly pattern with a soft hackle pheasant tail is a good place to start. Make sure you swing and raise at the end of your drift, as many fish will hammer soft hackles on the swing. There have been mixed reports with streamers, but on these sunny days it wouldn’t hurt to run a white zonker through some deeper runs.
Hot Flies: Chubby Chernobyl (Gold) Royal Stimulator Crack Back PMD Morrish Super Pupa X Caddis.
The Madison is also fishing extremely well right now, the salmonflies have moved through, but the fish will remember! PMDs and caddis are also popping right now, and its the making for some amazing dry fly fishing if you can get out of the wind. There are quite a few different species of caddis flying around, so don’t be afraid to throw the box at them until you find the right pattern. A good place to start would to take a slightly smaller Chubby and run a Shop Vac or Hare’s Ear off the bottom. Nymphing; as always, has been productive with stoneflies, prince nymphs, and even midge patterns. If you have your eyes on the pigs that lie beneath, darker streamers have been producing, but something yellow or white may serve you better on sunny days.
Hot Flies: Chubby PMX Shop Vac X Caddis Iris Caddis Emerger Prince Nymph