Category Archives: Blog

Big Sky area fishing report - 7/2/19

Its salmon fly time!

Gallatin River – The salmon flys are starting to show up around the shop now and the fishing has been good. Anglers have been doing well with Dancin’ Ricky’s, Flutterbugs, and Henrys fork stones. We have also talked to some people who have been getting more fish on a golden stone than a salmon fly, so don’t forget to add some of those to your box. Closer to the park line there haven’t been as many sightings of the big bugs, but there has been some very good caddis fishing. Try a Missing Link caddis, with a Juan’s Kryptonite caddis dropper.

Madison river – The last we heard the big bugs were still close to Ennis and the fishing was really starting to pick up. Its a fairly similar story as the Gallatin with a touch more variety. Try leading with a salmon fly or golden stone and trail it with a PMD, flying ant, or a caddis.

Hebgen Lake – The lake is still fishing well with leeches and Chironomids. It also hasn’t been getting as much pressure with so many people chasing the big bugs so it should continue to fish well. slow stripping a leech, or suspending a leech or chironomid under a bobber should do well.

Big Sky Area Fishing Report - 6/18/19

Gallatin River – The Gallatin does seem to finally be starting to drop and is down to 3250 CFS this week. Even though it is still brownish grey, we have been talking to some people who have been catching fish when the water hasn’t been chocolate. Try nymphing with a big black stone and a worm. The most important thing during the drop and clear is to hit the areas close to the bank, the fish will be sitting where you normally stand the rest of the year.

Lower Madison- The flows got bumped a little on the lower over the last week and there might still be a little color in the water even though it does seem to be coming back down now. Caddis and yellow sallies have been out and its about time for the brown drakes to start making an appearance as well. As with the Gallatin, working the insides of the bank is usually the ticket when the water is high.

Upper Madison – The upper has been fishing well over the last week or so. There is some color from the tributaries but the fishing has been good even with the color. Your best bet is a worm or stone fly lead fly with a lighning bug or a olive baetis trailer. From what we have heard the best fishing is in the middle part of the day, but fish are still being caught in the mornings and evenings.

Hebgen lake- The lake is filling up and there is a little bit of room to spread out now. It has also been fishing really well. A good rig is a shock collar leech followed seemingly any of your Hebgen favorites.

Big Sky area fishing report - 6/6/19

Gallatin River – The Gallatin is flowing at 4260 CFS today and still rising every day. There are better options around right now but if you just have to fish it try a big black pats rubber legs followed by a big squirmy worm, a big dark streamer off the banks isn’t a bad option either. Look for the areas where clean water from the mountain streams is coming into the river or bang the banks with a streamer. This time of year there is always a chance of trees and other debris floating down the river so be sure to keep your eyes on whats coming down river.

Madison River – Between the lower and upper sections there has been some really good fishing to be had.

The Lower is still seeing some decent caddis and mayfly hatches, along with some scattered reports of golden stones. A Saligas low rider stone trailed by a Kryptonite caddis or a lightning bug would be a great bet to put some fish to hand right about now.

The upper has had something for everyone lately. The water is rising but is still hanging on to some clarity. With the water rising its never a bad bet to lead with a dirt snake. Try dropping a lightning bug or a AKA prince off the back. If you are looking to try a streamer this is a great time to try one of our favorites, the Krafts Kreelex.

Yellowstone park – The Firehole has been on fire lately, caddis dry dropper rigs are getting a lot of fish. The streamer bite has been good too, but leave the 6 inch dungeons behind and try something small and natural. All the stuff in the northwest corner of the park is in runoff mode, so stay a little closer to big sky.

It is that time of the year that we are looking forward to fishing big bugs. We have a great salmon fly selection this year so be sure to swing by and stock up for the season.

Fishing Report 5/30/19

The weather is finally turning nice and summer temperatures seem to be here at last! The Forecast for the coming weekend does have some scattered showers and thunderstorms, so keep your eye on the sky if you are planning on being out this weekend.

The Gallatin is in full runoff mode, flowing 2240 CFS and rising everyday. If you are trying to get out this week there are better options but if you absolutely have to try fishing the clear sections where some of the mountain streams are flowing in. The other good thing to try is a big black rubberlegs and worm around the banks. If you are planning on hitting the Gallatin keep your eye out for debris coming down river.

The Madison has been fishing well lately with the warmer weather bringing the caddis back out in force. The have been thickest on the lower and farther down toward ennis on the upper. There have been some good reports of Caddis higher up on the upper just not as many of them. This time of year its never a bad idea to try some smally chubbys through the day if you aren’t getting any love from the caddis.

Hebgen Lake has been doing well. We’ve been hearing quite a few reports of fish being caught on small leeches trailed by an Ice Cream Cone or something similar.The water is on the rise and hopefully we will be able to spread out a bit soon.

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

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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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6/30 Gallatin River

Hello fisher people!

The Gallatin is dropping fast this year and all of the hatches seem to be just a little bit ahead of schedule. You may have noticed that some fish were a little reluctant to eat dry flies after the salmon fly hatch, now that they’ve had a few days to digest they’ll be looking up for more big meals! A size 10 golden chubby is a great option for searching the fast canyon water for hungry fish. Don’t forget to fish the shallows! It’s not uncommon to see the back of a nice brown trout break the water as they move into the shallow water to feed. Mayflies and Caddis are also popping up all along the river and can make for some great action. Fast water and an abundance of bugs mean that matching the hatch is not usually necessary, try a purple haze parachute or a royal wulff cripple in a size close to the naturals and you’ll do great. CDC caddis Blooms Caddis and the classic elk hair will all take fish when the caddis flies are out. When fishing the Gallatin it’s much more important to have a good presentation then it is to match the exact hatch, focusing on that perfect drift is essential! Dry fly fishing is awesome but some days the fish just don’t want to come up to eat, that doesn’t mean they aren’t hungry. Rubberlegs, pearl lightning bugs, pheasant tails, trout crack and little green machines are just a few flies to try floating below an indicator during the heat of the day. Start with your point fly about 5 feet from the indicator and a smaller fly about 12 inches below that. Add splitshot about 8 inches above the first fly and adjust depth until you start catching fish, and remember just like with the dry it’s all about the drift! As these hot days continue many rivers will become to warm for good fishing, the Gallatin will stay cool and fish well throughout summer while other rivers shutdown to protect the fish. We are happy to call this river home and are always here at the river shop to point you in the right direction.

Tight Lines!

-Will

Fishing Report 6-28-2015

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Gallatin River-

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

 

Upper Madison-

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

 

Yellowstone –

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

 

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Fishing Report 6-17-2015

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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.

 

Madison River

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.

 

Yellowstone River

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.

 

 

Fishing Report 6-11-15

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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.

Fishing Report 10-10-2014

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!

Fishing Report for 8-10-2014

Fishing Report for 8-10-2014
Epic Spruce Moth!!

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That’s what is happening right now on the Gallatin; especially here near Big Sky. The trout are literally gorging themselves on the real thing, but also falling for well presented olive/tan elk hair caddis patterns and cut-wing patterns of the lighter phase moths; plus some specialty attractors. We have several dozen of the most effective patterns in stock, and the correct sizes, but they’re going fast!

If you’re in the canyon and have been fishing (and catching) all morning, by 1 to 2 PM the fish are likely fat and happy; so to find more hungry trout get back in the car and move upriver or down a half-mile or so, into harder to reach places. Target areas below low-overhanging trees (preferably spruce) and fish into the shadows; and you should find some more opportunistic trout willing to eat your imitations.
Don’t ignore the presence of small hoppers, beetles, and ants though in late afternoons, , as these terrestrials are very active on the shoreline this time of year and often fall in the drink. Fish that are hanging nearby structure or cut-banks won’t likely let one of those ‘well-presented patterns’ pass by either.
Instead of hopper-dropper, think hopper-ant, as a trailing dry (10-12” max.) This can be deadly in early August. Dress both accordingly, as well as the tippet between them, and this should produce a strike.

The Upper Madison had experienced warm water temps lately, as they pulled from the top of the dam at Hebgen Reservoir. This had slowed the bite considerably, but things are better now. There are still plenty of fish left to be caught; using nymphs like Bubble backs, Shop Vac’s, and Frenchie’s. Float-trips seem to be more productive than walk-and-wade sections and throwing hoppers, chubbys, and ant patterns, will get a few strikes as well. Streamers on cloudy days are also an option.

“The Yellowstone is the river to be floating right now!” Unfortunately word travels fast and everyone knows this; so weekdays are much less crowded than weekends which can be zoos. Mud plugs and an aggressive white fish bite are common August conditions to deal with on the Stone, but getting a few fat cutty’s and that occasional huge brown to take your hopper/chubby off the top; makes a trip worth remembering.
Soda Butte, Slough Creek, and the Lamar Valley are currently the better places to fish in YNP, using terrestrials; and are also not coincidentally…some of the most beautiful waters on earth too!

Fishing Report for 7-15-2014

The Gallatin is in excellent shape!

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While the salmonflies are done the caddis and golden stone dryfly fishing is just getting good. The water levels have finally dropped to more manageable wading levels opening up a huge portion of river that was left unfished for the past month.

This reduction in flows and increased clarity has also allowed trout to move into more areas to hold and feed as well.
All in all this makes for more space between anglers, guided trips, and rafters too; so a more enjoyable river experience for all.

The Upper Madison is also in great shape as far as flows and clarity and fishing great from the walk-and-wade sections all the way down to Ennis for those floating. For those wading it’s a dry fly game with caddis, golden stones, and Yellow Sallys; while those floating like nymphing in afternoons on Shop Vacs, Green Machines, and caddis pupa.
Switching to size 10 golden Chubby Chernobyls or pink Chubby Chucks in the mornings or evenings is a solid bet.
While the shoreline has plenty of fish some of the bigger ones have moved out into the buckets so don’t ignore center-river fishing this time of season.

The Yellowstone River is finally ready to float and fishing great. Granted we’ve experienced a couple mud plugs due to thunderstorms in the park, but when she’s clear it’s on!!

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Why DPS Carbon Skis Stand Out

2e1ax_default_entry_IMG_5980That’s What She Said

 You know how your grandma says you’ll know immediately when you’ve found “The One”? She was right. It took only a few turns and I fell deeply in love with my DPS Yvette 112RP carbon skis.

 DPS – Heard of them?

Yes, smart guy, I’ve heard what you think DPS stands for. Thanks for telling me anyway and grossing me out on the chairlift. I don’t know you and it’s creepy.

 In 2005 pro skier/ski designer Stephan Drake joined forces with ski engineer Peter Turner and DPS was born. It stands for Drake PowderworkS, and the company seeks to “create the perfect skis worthy of those who live and breathe the sport”.   DPS is known worldwide for its trailblazing technology, shaping, and durability.  They are the world’s only company to create a “Pure prepreg carbon fiber sandwich ski”. Their Pure3 skis are manufactured at their factory in Salt Lake City. Made in the USA!

 Big and Pink and Beautiful

 If you don’t recognize the name, I bet you’d recognize the skis. In contrast to the industry standard, DPS has chosen solid top sheets in optimistic colors with minimalist logos. They stand out in both looks and performance.

 The Pure carbon Yvettes are HOT pink, and just looking at them makes me happy. It’s not just their shimmery unicorn candy heart color, but for their shape and feel. I’ve always been more tomboy than princess – but these Pure carbon skis are beauty and beast. DPS doesn’t dumb down the technology and slap on a pretty top sheet for the ladies. The Yvettes are based on the geometry of the acclaimed DPS Wailers: 141/112/128. The tip rocker is 480mm, which enables the Yvettes to shine in the powder. They’re responsive and do well in a variety of snow conditions.

Confession, I should admit that I telemark. I’ll wait while you tell an out-of-date telemark joke. Haha, done? I think I rode the chairlift with you earlier.

 I mounted my Yvettes with TwentyTwo Design’s Axl bindings.   It’s my dream set up. The Yvette 178cm weigh 1700 grams, or 3.75 pounds each. My Axl bindings (small) weigh 1.9 pounds each. SO combined they weigh 5.65 pounds, which is less than a six-pack. They’re so light that in contrast it felt like there were no skis on my feet.

 Ski the Space Age

DPS pioneered the carbon ski technology utilized at its Salt Lake factory. Similar technology is used in jet fighters and spacecraft. The prepreg carbon used by DPS is spawns freakishly lightweight, torsionally stiff skis. My Yvettes float like a dream in the pow, bust the crud, and carve the corduroy. Ideally we would all have an assortment of skis for different conditions. But if you have to survive with one pair, this would be my pick.

Don’t believe me? Demo a pair 3/21 at Big Sky Resort from 9:30am to 3:00pm, or swing in to Grizzly to check them out.