Thawing Out

Springdale boat ramp still under ice

Nice Spring Creek 'bow. photo: JG

With the recent warm weather a lot of anglers have been eager to hit the river.  The fishing has been ok to good depending on where you go.  We all got out this weekend and the results were less than spectacular.  The majority of the fish are still in their winter pattern sticking to the slow, cold water.  This year the river had a lot more ice in it than the previous two and while the air temps may feel like “its on,” we may need another month of thaw in order to experience great fishing (and to be able to utilize all the boat ramps).  Many of the ramps in the Valley and below 89 are still backed up with ice and will be unusable for about another month. If you do get a wild hair and decide to float make sure to scout both put in and take out before you set sail. The Spring Creeks are still the best option for our area.  Fish are still steadily feeding on Midges, Scuds, and all of your typical winter fare.  Rates are still $40 until April 15th so take advantage of the lower rates while you still can.  The creeks do get a reputation of being technical and “tough fishing” but tend to be a bit friendlier in the winter.  If you are still intimidated by the reputation of the creeks give us a call to set up a guide trip 406-222-7130, or give us a ring for up to date river reports.

Slowly thawing out

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Jurassic Lake Report – Week 3

Kyle Travis with a bay of pigs dime piece... Photo: Jedwards

Our third group has just returned from Jurassic Lake Lodge.  Although they faced some challenging conditions such as low water in the river and ripping 50-60 mph winds, everyone on the trip caught the biggest rainbow of their lives.  Which goes to show how amazing this place really is.  Even when the fishing is “difficult” it still produces some phenomenal fish.  We can’t think of anywhere else in the world quite like it, which is why we continue to go back year after year.  As Josh Edwards, the host of our third trip noted, “Jurassic Lake was one of the most unique fisheries I’ve ever experienced.  The days seemed more like saltwater fishing in the surf than trout fishing a lake.”  And at times these huge, chrome rainbows seem more like salmon or steelhead than trout.

Jed cracks another tall boy near the boca, this one into the backing twice! Photo: Kyle Travis

Kyle with a killer river fish. Photo: MT Jed

Next year we are lucky to have booked two back-to-back weeks at Jurassic Lake Lodge during prime time dates.  We are more likely to see higher water levels in the Barrancoso river next year since it is earlier in their season.  (It would be similar to booking a trip to Montana during early July rather than Late July or August).  In the past we have always wanted to get earlier weeks but they have always been full.  In order the “share the love” next year Logan Brown will be hosting week 1 (December 14th – December 24th / fishing days 12/16-12/22) and Josh Green (J.G.) will be hosting week 2 (December 28 – January 7th / fishing days 12/30 – 1/5).  The second week is separated by a small Christmas break for the staff, which means the boca (inlet) will have been rested for several days in a row and will be ready for someone on week 2 to catch the big one upon arrival.  We already have a few spots sold for each week, so if you would like to ensure a spot on this bucket list trip a $1000 deposit will do it.  Please check out our Jurassic Lake travel page for more info or give us a call anytime.  We have been booking trips to Jurassic Lake for over 5 years now, (one hosted trip to Laguna Verde and 4 to Jurassic Lake Lodge).  Wether you would like to go with us or are heading there on your own, we are happy to talk about the proper gear, tackle, flies, and techniques that will help you land the biggest rainbow of your life.  406-222-7130.

Big fish, little river... Jed finds a nice one above the Barrancoso's aquarium pool

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Jurassic Lake report – Week 2

Tim Stamm tames an 18 pounder from the Bay of Pigs... Photo: Pedro F. Rodriguez

Week 2 at Jurassic Lake lodge was another successful trip.   The guys caught a ton of fish in the 15-18 pound range, all with tall shoulders and as chrome as can be.   The report was basically the same, with big fish eating small dries in the river while the bay fish were still focusing more on nymphs.  A new goal for the Barrancoso river is to catch a fish over 30″ on a size #14 dry fly or smaller, which turned out to be a reasonable goal!  It looks like several anglers are looking to re-book for next year so if you are interested in joining one of our weeks next year please give us a call!  406-222-7130.

Back to back beasts! Senior Flood does it again this time with a big "blue back"

During our second hosted week the Bay of Pigs got red hot.  Despite steady winds and gusts in the 60 – 100 kph range (37 – 62 mph) the fish were stacked up and feeding heavily.  Everyone who was willing to stick with it caught a bunch of fish, most all of them over 10 pounds and amazing fighters.

Sitting down on the job again? George with a fat 16 pounder...

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2017 Jurassic Lake report: Week 1

Matt and John Hanousek with a "Secret Bay" pig! Photo: Pedro Rodriguez

Shane Nielsen with a Barrancoso beast! Photo: Dallas Nielsen

Our trip to Jurassic Lake Lodge was pretty good this year despite the lower water levels of the Barroncoso river.  Last winter the Santa Cruz province in Argentina didn’t receive as much snow pack as it has in recent years, creating drought like conditions for many areas in Patagonia.  After adjusting our tippet and flies to the conditions we had a great time catching fat 10-16 pound fish on small caddis dries, purple haze, scuds, beetles, hoppers, chubbies, salmonflies, mice, and a variety of different nymphs and buggers.  We only landed two 20+ pounders during our week, but had two more on (reel failure and no net) and we saw a few more cruising that we didn’t hook.  While it would have been nice to catch more of the 20 pound “cochinos,” no one was complaining about catching multiple 8-10 ten pound fish everyday, especially the fish caught on tiny dries!  I was blown away witnessing such large, hot fish being landed on 3, 4, and even 5X fluorocarbon.   A 9′#5 weight rod was the perfect weapon for this task, as it helped to protect the lighter tippet much better than a 9′#8 or 9-weight would.  The true 20 pounders in the bays however, required 0X or heavier to stand a chance of landing one. These huge chromers were as hot as they’ve always been and fought hard into the backing, making spectacular jumps and tailwalks.  Jeff landed his 20 pounder on 02x and had one of similar proportions bust him off while fishing 03x.

On the back side of Titi's Bay the wind is at your back. Photo: Pedro Rodriguez

Rick Hirsch with a nice boca beauty!

This year we did a little more exploring, fishing two new bays a smaller “lagoon” and the upper river.  The lagoon was a slam-dunk for “smaller” 16-20 inch fish and the upper river was stacked with juvenile 6-12 inch fish with the occasional eight-ten pounder.  There was a lot less fishing pressure on the upper river, and it was nice to see a big fish look at a fly and turn around down stream to eat it.   The other two bays we fished were well worth the 45 min drive.  One was called “Titi’s” bay and was shaped a lot like the bay of pigs with the same wind angle, so a spey rod was key to getting your fly out as far as possible.  The other bay named “Secret Bay” (aka “Diego’s” Bay) had a huge weed bed far out there with some monster fish feeding around it.  The sandy bottom was easy to wade and the wind was at our back here, making us feel like casting kings.  The week before we arrived, a female angler had landed a 26 pounder there.  John caught his 20+ pounder there and Jeff saw one so large he didn’t want to leave.  All and all we had a great trip and while fingers are crossed for the area to get more rain and snow in the Andes next year, we are looking forward to going a bit earlier when the river is higher.  The trip will be $1000 more next year, but that is during Jurassic Lake Lodge’s prime time dates.

Steve Flood with a dark Bay of Pigs buck...

Dallas Nielsen with a solid aquarium bow... Photo: Shane Nielsen

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Tailwaters and Spring Creeks

Modern Savage pro-staffer Jess Marquis on the JJ... Photo: Capt. Coy

With Freestone rivers iced up and frozen over, only Tailwaters or Spring Creeks make sense for fly-fishing right now. There have been some midge hatches on the creeks, but for the most part, the action has been sub-surface with scuds, small nymphs, or streamers.  Dito for the Tailwaters…  Give us a call if you are thinking of heading out to battle the elements and we can hook you up with some flies and a hand drawn map to Lockedville, MT.  406-222-7130.

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Cold Snap

Winter is finally upon us... Photo: Dino

This week’s arctic weather has put a serious kibosh on the Yellowstone.  Unless you are borderline insane, the only reasonable place to fish around here is going to be the Spring Creeks, and even that is going to be chilly for a while. That being said, if you dress appropriately with lots of layers, a warm hat and the right gloves you can have a pleasant day out there.   Midges are the only hatch going right now, although fish will also be eat scuds, eggs, and leeches.

Tying flies on your day off never became more appealing...


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Yellowstone and Spring Creek report

Fishing on the Stone has been slow but we are starting to see more browns again

The past couple weeks the Yellowstone has been pretty slow, mostly because the larger browns have been in side channels or tributaries spawning on their redds.  We are finally starting to see some of these browns return back to the main runs and riffles which is encouraging.  It’s been windy for the most part, but on calmer afternoons there have been some decent midge hatches.  Unfortunately we have not seen much for rising fish.  Due to the colder water temps, dead drifting buggers and nymphs has been more productive than stripping streamers.  Think shorter floats this time of year as you’ll want to capitalize mostly on the warmest part of the day, which is typically the 10:00AM – 4:00PM window.

Winter rates on the Spring Creeks are $40 per rod right now

If you have already put your boat up for winter storage, consider spending a day or two this winter on one of Paradise Valley’s three spring creeks:  Armstrong’s, Nelson’s, or DePuy’s.  The water temperatures are significantly warmer than the river and the fish are more actively feeding on midges, scuds, and other small nymphs.  Although the creeks are seeing a lot less pressure now, remember the water is still gin clear and you’ll want be stealthy when approaching the stream.  4X is about as large of tippet as we’ll use out here, with 5 and 6X being more of the norm.  Give us a call if you’d like to book a guide or simply have us help you book a rod.  406-222-7130.

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Happy Halloween!

Hide yo kids, hide yo wife... Photo: King Kris


Just a few Halloween pics for fun.  If you have any you’d like to share e-mail us at   As we mentioned before the Yellowstone looks like it is going to be a while before she clears up and is fishing good again.  In the meantime we’ve been fishing the Spring Creeks, the Madison, YNP, smaller streams, and private lakes.  The creeks have had some excellent midge and baetis hatches on them.  For midges be thinking small (size #20-22) with a black pupa or red midge larva as a dropper.  For baetis go a little larger (size #18-20) with a short wing emerger or CDC emerger as a dropper.  We’ve been fishing 5 to 6X tippet, depending on the light and size of fish you are targeting.  If you are fishing streamers go 2 or 3X as the brown trout are getting some sharp teeth and will easily bite through smaller tippet.  The Madison would be a great spot to go if you are looking to fish streamers.  While the lower is closer and can be good swinging the upper is also worth a little more window time.  Since the Varney boat ramp has been closed, there is some good wade fishing to be had.  Yellowstone National Park closes the first Sunday in every November – which is 11/6 this year.  This would be a good week to get out there and try to enjoy the Park.  The baetis dry fly fishing on the Firehole can be as good as it gets this time of year.  While the fish aren’t as big as other places this time of year, you’ll make up for it with elbow room and lots of numbers.   As for smaller streams plan on walking a lot to cover ground.  You may be able to fish dries but it seems like small black streamers are the way to go.  Private lakes have seen a lot less pressure lately, and the ones stalked with browns will have big fish circling the edges this time of year.  Give us a call to book a trip while the weather is still warm!  406-222-7130.

Dia de los Muertos

Pffff... Californians and there dang selfie sticks... ;-)

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Yellowstone on the Rise

Marcus and Dick Adams with a good one... Photo: Ben Adams

The Yellowstone has been on the rise this past week and as such the fishing has been pretty inconsistent.  Last Monday the Stone was a little over 2,000 CFS, today it is nearly double that.   Clarity in town today is only a couple inches and not worth trying.  The spring creeks have been a good bet however, with a solid run of river browns in them now.  Give us a call if you’d like to book a trip or for the latest report… 406-222-7130.

Yes, the Stone looks as bad in person as it does on the chart...

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Fall Browns

Logan with a solid YNP brown. Photo: Lars Axelsen

Aside from the Yellowstone, the fishing in SW Montana has been hot.  Many anglers have been focusing their efforts inside Yellowstone National Park as the season is slowly coming to an end.  The NE corner has been less crowded and this is a great time of year to explore, and check out new water (or water that is usually crowded).  The Madison in the Park has also been fishing well.  Anglers are taking nice fish on soft hackles, nymphs and swung streamers.  Remember to move through the hole in a timely manner, and patience is always a virtue when fishing this stretch of the Park.  Also remember to de-barb your hooks (as always) and to fish either tungsten or tin weight instead of lead. Take advantage of these last weeks and call us if you want to book a guide for this late season run (406-222-7130)!!

A colorful brown caught by Vann Dam... Photo: Logan Brown

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