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
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!
Pearl & Elk Caddis
Purple Lighting Bug
Kyles BH Yellow Sally
Pats Stone Rubber Leg
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!
Dark Rubber Legs
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!
Evan’s Iron Lotus Olive
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.
The Gallatin river has provided a lot of great fishing recently, with one of the best Salmon fly bites that we have seen in a couple of years. Big bugs have made there way through Big Sky and are moving into the park section of the Gallatin. While the fish are still coming up to look at your larger dry patterns the bite seems to be better on smaller Caddis and PMX patterns. With our current temperatures we suggest fishing early morning and evenings. Fishing the deeper water during the peak sun will provide your best chance of hooking up. The shade provided along a lot of the West and South fork can also create some great opportunities for fish.
Chubby Chernobyl Gold – 12-16
Angie’s Knobbler Sally – 14-16
Girdle Bug Olive/Black- 10-14
UV Sally Nymph – 14
Flows have come up a bit this week with the release of some water from the Dam. Salmon flies have worked there way up through the walk wade only section. If you are looking to keep the big bug fishing going this is where we suggest fishing. Below Lyon’s Bridge we are seeing a lot more action on Caddis, PMD’s, Yellow Sallies, and Stoneflies. With the current flows fishing the middle water has lead to more hook ups. The water temperatures rise quickly in the sun so the fish are looking for the deeper cooler water to hold up in.
X-Caddis – 12-16
Clownshoe Caddis – 14-18
Yellow Stimi Chew Toy – 12 -16
UV Sally Nymph – 14
Doc’s Mothers Caddis – 14-16
Lower Madison –
With this body of water being so wide and shallow we have found that the most action has been in the early mornings as or before the sun is coming up, as well as a couple hours after the sun has set. During the peak sun light the fish are not very likely to be coming to the surface due to the warm water temperatures. We are seeing a lot of evening PMD, and Caddis hatches down from Bear Trap. We thoroughly suggest pinching your barbs if fishing in this section. The faster you can return the fish to water the better chance that fish has to recover and pinching your barb can assist you in this.
Stimulators – 10-16
Copper Bob Softy – 14-18
Purple Lightning Bugs – 14-18
Showshoe Sally – 14-16
We are still seeing some Salmon and Stone flies by Carbella. Mostly seeing shucks as apposed to actual bugs flying around, most have made there way into the park. We are very excited to see that the fish have started to look up along the banks for hoppers. The hopper bite has not been great for the last couple of years, but we have a feeling this summer that is going to change. With the early rains this summer and warm weather recently it has created the perfect storm for hoppers. We have already had good reports with guides running hopper dropper rigs and picking up a lot of fish on the surface fly. So if you heading over to the stone don’t forget to dust off those hoppers or stop into the shop and check out our large terrestrial selection.
Morrish Hopper Pink – 12 -16
BLT Flesh – 12-14
Morrish Hopper Tan – 12-16
Psycho Prince Dirty Pink – 14-16
UV Prince Purple – 12-16
Gallatin River 6-17-2015
Fishing season is upon us in Big Sky! The Gallatin is running nice and clean with flows around 1,640 cfs. What this means for us is great fishing, with water still up and those side channels flowing there are plenty of soft corners for fish to spread out. In other exciting news Salmon Flies have been spotted on the river in Big Sky and through out the canyon. Fishing larger dries such as Chubby Chernobyls, Stimulators, and of course Salmon and Stone fly patterns should produce results. We strongly suggest coming in and checking out the new selection of Salmon flies for this summer as the bite should be coming on strong over the next couple of days. One of our new favorites is the Morrish Fluttering Stone in golden. The last couple of evenings the dry fly bite has made for lights out fishing.
West and South Fork are fishing just like the main flow of the Gallatin with plenty of fun dry fly fishing.
This week the Madison has seen a lot of action. Boats are stacking up at all of launches and the walk wade section has been packed so get there early to lay claim to your favorite spots. Salmon flies are the ticket here as well. Chubby’s, Stimi Chew Toys, and Salmon fly patterns are working incredibly well. Also try dropping a caddis pupae behind to pick up those fish that just don’t seem to want to come up to feed on the surface.
The Yellowstone’s flows have dropped a great deal and waters are running with a bit of an olive color still but fishing very well. This is a river that will please all anglers from the dry fly purists to the streamer junky just looking to rip lip you will find areas to make everyone happy.
Who has the bigger smile?
Great news! The Gallatin is starting to clear here in Big Sky and the CFS is dropping daily, down to about 2,730 cfs. Above the Taylor’s Fork is back to being clear and is fishing very well. The waters get a bit muddy as you head toward Bozeman as it continues to wash down river. While there is still some color to the river fishing streamers and larger rubber legs seems to be producing some good fish. Don’t forget to put a nice flashy dropper on there. We have had luck recently with lightning bugs 16-18, Trina’s bubble back emergers 14-18, and prince nymphs 14-16. And don’t forget about worms! The Goomie Worm has been a recent favorite in the shop with all of the rains.
The West and South Fork also make for some great fishing. Easy walk from anywhere in town and very nice waters. The water is still running a little high and fast in some spots so use caution when wading. This is smaller water so having a smaller creek rod like a new Redington Butterstick or Echo Fiberglass rod can make for some really fun fishing on those smaller fish. Same patterns as the main Gallatin.
The Madison has made for some great fishing so far this spring/summer. Streamer fishing has been producing some big browns, although we have found through out the day you can have fun with dry flies as well as nymphing. Rubber legs, Wooly Buggers, and Warbirds with a flashy dropper has been working well to pick up fish.
The Yellowstone is still holding around 10,000 cfs, running fast and dirty. With flows being what they are we suggest finding another option. With the Madison and Gallatin being so close we suggest trying your luck on them instead. With a lighter snow year we do not anticipate a drawn out run off. We will keep you informed as the flows start to come down and fishing picks up.
While the river is running clear and weather has been good, the fishing has been a little slower. Action has been better in the afternoons and evenings. As it has been getting down there at night, with recent lows around 28 degrees, allowing the temps to come up a bit will be beneficial.
The majority of fish caught recently have been on smaller dries and nymphs. Our recent recommendations have been dry/dropper rigs, such as Stimi Chew Toy Lime 10-14 with a Baetis Nymph 16-20 trailing about 12-18 inches behind. We have also been having some fun subsurface action on Knotty Girls dark brown and olive 6-8 with a purple lightning bug or zebra midge 14-18 about 16-18 inches below the top fly.
For those of you looking to streamer fish the time is now! Lots of action on zonkers, Montana mouthwash, and Coffee’s sparkle minnows. We have found these are working well dead drifting with a zebra midge or baetis trailing 14-18 inches back.
Our top choice for fishing this time of year!
Right now is a great time to be out on the Madison. Both the upper and the lower are fishing extremely well with flows making for great floating. The fish that have made Hebgen, Quake, and Ennis lakes home for the summer are starting to make their way back up into the river in preparation for the fall spawn. What this means for us is big fish and lots of them. We have had a lot of fun recently both nymph and streamer fishing in these areas. To all of you dry fly fans out there don’t let this discourage you as there has still been a bit of surface action to be capitalized on.
Gallatin River Report –
Fishing has been excellent recently. The Gallatin is running clear, and with the weather we have predicted for this coming week there should be plenty of fish in hand. As the temps have been getting down there at night there is no huge rush to get to the river first thing in the morning. Afternoons have been fishing the best recently.
The majority of fish caught recently have been on smaller dries and nymphs. Our recent recommendations have been dry/dropper rigs, such as Morrish Hopper Pink 10-14 with a Baetis Nymph 16-20 trailing about 12-18 inches behind. We have also been having some fun subsurface action on Knotty Girls dark brown 6-8 with a purple lightning bug 14-18 about 16-18 inches below the top fly.
Also for you streamer junkies out there it is a good time to start rippin’ lip, stripping smaller streamers such as sculpins, wooly buggers, and zonkers seems to be producing some good fish. Stop by the shop and see what we have been having fun with recently.
Madison River Report –
FALL TEMPS ARE UPON US! Uncharacteristic rains have brought water levels up a bit on the Madison and they have been releasing water at the Hebgen Damn. We have not seen any affect on the clarity of the river and high water means happy healthy fish, which puts a smile on all of our faces.
Streamers are seeming to be the ticket right now as the cold temps have made for more aggressive fish. Coffee’s Sparkle Minnow Peacock has been an attractive pattern to those big browns and bows recently, while your standard nymph set ups, such as girdle bugs and baetis patterns, have been producing a good amount of fish as well.
For those dry fly fanatics out there not yet ready to say good-bye to the dry fly season, we have seen some large blue wing olive hatches in the afternoons and early evenings. While the river is not boiling with risers you will notice some coming up to feed on the surface, capitalize on it while you can!