Hello, Will here with Grizzly Outfitters river shop. September will be here soon and that means cooler nights and shorter days. No need to get out with the sunrise, a 9am start will do just fine. We aren’t seeing a ton of bugs hatching these days but anglers continue to bring fish up on a variety of flies. Small hoppers, think #14 morrish, have been working well in the meadow stretches and small parachutes and spruce moths are still getting it done in the canyon. Nymph fishing will be good with many of the usual suspects, knotty girls, soft hackle pheasnt tails, zebra midges, and of course lightning bugs our all on the menu.
Cooler weather and a slow down in hatches means tougher fishing, for the most part…. The streamer fishing on the Gallatin is often overlooked but can produce some of the best action of the year. You usually won’t catch as many fish as you would with the nymph rig but the ones you do are usually quality and you may even find the ever elusive 20″ or bigger Gallatin Brown. They do exist! For the Gallatin I usually don’t fish the big junk that we like to throw over on the Madison. Near Nuff sculpins, bow river buggers, sparkle minnows, and zonkers are all good options but don’t be afraid to branch out. Try to get your fly down deep where the sculpin dwell then twitch it just enough to keep it from getting snagged. Experiment with different strips, twitches and dead drifts till you find whats working and remember, when it comes to streamer fishing some days are just better than others.
However you chose to fish out on the Gallatin be courteous to your fellow angler, give em some elbow room and say hello when your passing by.
River Conditions are back to what we like to see after last weeks mud plugs. Still having fun throwing spruce moths and smaller baetis patterns. If you aren’t seeing any surface action try dropping a size 16 lightning bug or three dollar dip and be ready to rip some lip!
Hoot Owl restrictions are still in effect below Four Corners and for the entire East Gallatin. This means that fishing is closed from 2pm – 12am due to high water temperatures.
The Upper Madison has provided some of the most consistent fishing in the area. Recently however the fish have been changing their diet seemingly daily. Bring your strongest nymph game with you as the dry fly action has been a bit spotty. Be ready to wave your magic hand over you box in fly choice. With finicky fish you may have a pattern that works for a bit and then stops entirely. Don’t be afraid to change bugs frequently. We suggest trying a Girdle bug with a Zebra Midge training about 16-18 inches behind. Best chance for dry action has been in the evenings. Still a few Spruce Moths hanging out in the area and smaller baetis sizes 18-22.
HOOT OWL IN EFFECT. CLOSED TO FISHING FROM 2PM – 12AM. Due to high water temps and fishes inability to bounce back after being caught we suggest finding other water. Let these fish be so we are able to fish them when the water returns to non-lethal temperatures.
Best for Bikini hatch between 10am and 4pm. Don’t forget your Chaco’s, sunscreen, and floatable cooler!
This has been a difficult river this summer. The high volume of heavy rains this summer has meant mud plugs on the Yellowstone. When we have had a couple of clear days the fishing has been incredibly though. Hopper bite is still on in this area and has been best earlier in the day. We suggest a smaller Para-Hopper in size 12-16. Still not picking ’em up? Try a classic hopper-dropper rig with a flashy nymph. We like a gold Lightning bug in size 16.
With the recent fires in the area a great deal of smoke is hanging around all of these rivers. Come in to the shop to pick up a Buff. Wearing this can allow you to breath a little easier and will cut down on the headaches that can come along with the smoke. Be sure to stay plenty hydrated!
As always for a more accurate daily report please feel free to give us a call or stop by the shop and pick our brains! We are always happy to help!
Hello fishing World,
Will here with Grizzly Outfitters River Shop, August has arrived and that means cooler nights, shorter days and Spruce Moths! The Moth fishing has been a bit off and on so far this season but that should change soon. This morning we found hundreds of them flying around the shop and the fish are definitely taking notice. Spruce Moths range from size 10 all the way down to 16 and are usually somewhere between off white and tan in terms of color. We usually recommend having a couple different options to try, a snowshoe spruce in a 14 or a fathead in a size 12 will get it done most of the time.
We are seeing the tail end of a lot of our summer/spring hatches which means when the moths aren’t out the dry fly action can be spotty. There are a few yellow sallies bouncing around and the fish have been keying in on the nymphs when they’re present. If you’re fishing south of Big Sky or in YNP you may want to try a small hopper. A size 12 Morrish Hopper in pink is a great fly for fishing the upper stretches of the Gallatin.
When the sun is high and the fish just aren’t looking up, go below the surface. Nymph fishing has been good to great as of late. The rains that come through usually push a little mud through the river and can sometimes leave it a greenish tint for a couple of days. This is a great time to fish Nymphs or Streamers and is often the best time to chase bigger fish. Psycho Prince Nymphs, Rubberlegs, Lighting Bugs, Shop Vacs, Zebra Midges and Pheasant Tails have all been getting it done lately. Take the time to adjust your depth, add split shot if needed and you will get into some fish! A Near-Nuff Sculpin or an Olive Wooly Bugger bounced off the bottom can move em when nothing else will…
As always stop by the shop or give us a call for a more up to date report, we have one of the best fly selections in town and pride ourselves on keeping the good stuff in stock while the fishing is on. As always happy fishing and tight lines!
Will here with an update on our favorite local freestone. The Gallatin is low and clear this season but remains one of the best options in the state for cold water and willing trout. Last weeks rain gave us a nice increase in flows but the river is now back around 500 CFS, what does this mean for the fishing? BE STEALTHY! The Gallatin is not typically a match the hatch stream it’s much more important to dial in your presentation, try running a 10ft leader tapered down to 5x and make that drift perfect! This is the type of fishing where a good pair of polarized sunglasses can make or break the day, being able to see the fish and put the fly right in front will greatly increase your chances of hooking up. Swing by the river shop and check out the new Smith Chroma Pop. Compare them to a pair of glass lenses and let us know what you think!
The warmer weather this week has led to the emergence of our favorite terrestrial bug, the spruce moth! This protein packed bug brings fish up to the surface with reckless abandon and can bring some of the best dry fly action of the season. We have the best moth selection in Big Sky and pride ourselves on keeping these crucial flies in stock while the fishing is hot. Try fishing a size 14 in the mornings when the naturals are out then switch to a 10 or a 12 for searching in the afternoon. Don’t be afraid to skate, skitter and sink that moth. Spruce moths aren’t made for the water and when they fall in they usually don’t make it to long, big wary trout will often wait for them to sink before they strike.
For Nymph fishing the usual suspects will get the job done, Pat’s rubber legs pearl, lightning bugs and psycho princes are few good ones to try. Tapering down to 5x fluourocarbon is important in this low clear water even when you’re fishing down deep.
Happy fishing and tight lines!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Fishing Report for 8-10-2014
Epic Spruce Moth!!
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!