Category Archives: Fly Fishing

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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Tenkara and Meteors

The stars shine brightly here in Big Sky, Montana. Late Saturday night, I was lucky enough to enjoy a brilliant natural display, the Perseid meteor shower.  Relaxing in the hot tub, I zoned out and watched dozens of meteors streak across the sky. Some were just simple lines of light, others thick and sparkly.

The Perseid meteor shower is named for the constellation (Perseus) from which the falling meteors seem to originate. The shower happens when earth’s orbit moves through a cloud of debris left by the Swift-Tuttle comet. Check out this composite of 23 images taken by David Kingham in the Snowy Range of Utah.

It’s been a hot and gorgeous summer in Montana! But hot + dry = wildfires. Luckily we have avoided the burn around Big Sky, and hope to keep it that way. On the up side, drifting smoke from far-off wild fires dyes the sunsets and sunrises. Monday morning’s sunrise was glaring neon pink. Over the weekend, we enjoyed (that’s right, enjoyed) some rain and cooler temperatures. Today, our blue bird Montana sky is back.
 
Grizzly Outfitters is excited to have a tenkara fly-fishing gear from Tenkara USA. Tenkara is the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing that is ideal for mountain streams. The angler uses only a rod, line, and a few flies – no reel. Tenkara is about fly-fishing simplicity and mountain-stream effectiveness, though the rods can be used anywhere.  Watch this video featuring Tenkara USA founder Daniel Galhardo playing a 20” brown on the nearby Madison River.

The boxes of fall and winter gear are rolling in. Stop in to check out the newest gear and clothing from all of your favorite brands – what do you want to try on?

Select clothing/gear is also on SALE now!!!

 
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Hot Summer Nights in Big Sky, Montana

Wow, it’s been an amazing summer so far in Big Sky, Montana. Summers are always insanely beautiful and packed with events…..that’s my excuse for taking way to long to blog!

July 18 was an especially fun night for Grizzly Outfitters, Lone Peak Cinema, and a lot of friends (old and new). We held a party to celebrate summer, and the grand opening of our new fly shop and guide service. Daytime events included free bike demos, a bear bag throwing challenge, and knot tying instruction. Fly rod demos and casting instruction spilled into the night.

We were lucky to be joined by some of our favorite folks- reps from Dr. Slick, Costa del Mar eyewear, Sage, Rio, Redington, Patagonia, Umpqua, Smith, and many more. We held a huge giveaway, casting contest, and champagne toast in the evening. Ken Lancey and Andrew Schreiner (owners of Grizzly Outfitters) shared a keg of Pilsner from our local Lone Peak Brewery. Our giveaway table was packed with thousands of dollars in merchandise from Montana Fly Company, Redington, Rio, Adventure Medical Kits, Quikclot, Sage, Beartooth Publishing, Hatch, Buffs, Black Diamond, Camelbak, GSI, Osprey, and Big Sky’s Wild Bear Designs.

Casting ninja, Mike Atwell brought killer rods and held a casting contest and instruction. He and his wife Diane operate Atwell & Associates, and rep several of our most popular brands. Costa del Mar joined us and offered great deals and giveaways. The crew from Dr. Slick brought their tricked out drift boat to the party as well. They’re known for their precision fly tying tools and fishing accessories, and operate out of Belgrade, Montana. Thanks to all for coming!

As part of the grand opening event, we teamed up with Lone Peak Cinema to show an amazing film, Where the Yellowstone Goes. We were lucky enough to be joined by the director, Hunter Weeks, and producer/wife Sarah Hall. The film chronicles Robert Hunter, Shannon Ongaro, and friends as they float a 600-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River. Located a short drive from Big Sky, the Yellowstone is incredibly scenic, and the longest undammed river in the lower 48. Calling it a fly fishing movie would be selling it short. Where the Yellowstone goes chronicles a beautiful river and moreover a memorable group of people.

Mike Sprague of Trout Headwaters, Inc. also made it to the party.  Thanks so much for your work, and it was great to meet you!

After the giveaway at Grizzly, Lone Peak Cinema arranged for a local ripping (Indie-folk-rock-alt-country-bluegrass) band, Holler ‘n Pine to play under the marquee. It was another gorgeous night in Big Sky, and the talented musicians added a wonderful vibe.

The Lone Peak Cinema was packed. It has to be one of the coolest new theatres in existence, and every seat seems to be the best one. Before the movie, we held another giveaway! Grizzly Outfitters raffled more amazing items including: a Sage rod, Montana Fly Company reel, guided trip with our own Brian Kimmel Fly Fishing, copies of Where the Yellowstone Goes, and threw lots more swag into the crowd. Geez, that NEVER gets old. A million thanks to everyone who made this possible!

After the movie, Hunter and Sarah held a Q&A, then Holler n’ Pine geared up for a full set. It was the perfect night, and I met a lot of people I hope to know for years!

I also met someone who reads this very blog – this one goes out to you, Seth! Let’s all get together soon!

A Fly Fishing Institution - Hardy Now Available at Grizzly Outfitters

In the fly fishing world, Hardy is a true institution. The company has been in business since 1872, and is know worldwide as a historical innovator of fly fishing equipment. In the 1880s, Hardy became the first company to build hexagonal rods from bamboo. In 1891, they patented their first “Perfect” reel, a design that is basically still manufactured today. Pioneers in the fly fishing industry, their innovations have won countless awards and honors over the 140 years they’ve been in business.

Here at Grizzly Outfitters, we are thrilled to be carrying the Hardy line of fly rods and reels, including the SINTRIX series. SINTRIX fly rods are up to 60% stronger and 30% lighter than conventional carbon fiber rods. Read more about SINTRIX at Hardy’s website, and watch this poorly made video featuring Ennion Williams casting Hardy’s Zenith one-piece rod.

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Big Sky's Secrets, and My Drunk Driving

In Big Sky, summer is finally upon us.  The snow falling in early June has given way to deep azure skies and warmer weather.  We’re thought of as a winter destination, but summertime in Big Sky in unparallelled.  There are so many activities from hiking to zip-lining.  Mountain bike out your back door.  Fish the country’s most iconic rivers.  Enjoy a horseback ride or cowboy cookout with Cache Creek Outfitters.  This summer, Big Sky Resort will offer rides to the top of Lone Peak via the tram!  Disc golf, skateboard, shoot hoops, or play on the swings at one of the most scenic community parks in existence.  Dig for crystals and fossils.  White water raft or try rock climbing.  It’s all right here in Big Sky.  Day trips to Yellowstone National Park are a piece of cake, and you avoid the swarm of tourists.  Yes, Big Sky is a secret summertime jewel here in the Treasure State!

This time of year, I am usually still getting my legs under me for mountain biking.  Big Sky has great trails for everyone – from first timers to experts.  Lots have easy warm ups on roads and cruisy single track finishes.  This year I am making an effort to really learn how to fly fish.  I’ve dabbled in it for years – first back in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, and now here.  As a younger person, I thought of it as a little boring, but considering it involved water and friends (and sometimes beer), I went anyway.  I depended on friends to help and never really caught anything.

I caught my first trout on a fly rod in late May on the Gallatin.  It was snowing and the fish was little, but it was a complete thrill!  The rush of catching a beautiful (even little) fish is immense, and I was hooked (ha ha ha).  Anyway, this summer I am lucky enough to have award winning, world-class guides right here Grizzly Outfitters.  They’ve been helping me to become an independent fly fisher woman, so thanks guys!

Mountain biking is still my first love, but it always takes a few rides to regain my concentration and balance.  “Drunk Driving”  the the phenomenon when a biker wobbles their front tire around in an attempt to balance.  This is the stage I am at right now:)  My biking season started late, but it will all come together sooner or later!

Speaking of which, we are trying to organize the return of the Grizzly Ride.  For years, we had a group ride for bikers of all levels.  Stop into the expanded bike shop or drop us a line via Facebook and let us know you are interested.  Right now, we are considering a Tuesday morning ride.  What works for you?  We have some other exciting events planned for summer…..so stay tuned.  Hope your day has been beautiful!