Winter Fishing

A winter brown from the Yellowstone, caught just before the "arctic blast."

Yes, people have still been fishing but it has been COLD!  If you do get out there be sure to dress warm, with many layers, a good hat, winter buff, and gloves – especially for those days into negative digits!  This week looks much warmer however, Friday looks like a high of 39, Saturday is calling for snow with a high of 31, Sunday is back to the teens.

Fishing Lower DePuy's on a day with the high of 3 degrees. Photo: Brett Edwards

We are lucky to have the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks so close to our back yard.  The water here is much warmer (coming out of the ground at nearly 50 degrees).  The warmer water makes for more bug activity, which in turn gets the fish more excited than those “chilling” in the river.  Armstrong’s, Nelson’s, and DePuy’s are all offering winter rates now at $40 per rod.  The good news about these colder days?  You will most likely be those only ones fishing out there!

Brett Edwards with a midge larva eater. Photo: Forrest Craig

Midges are the main food source during the winter months, both for the fish in the Spring Creeks and the Yellowstone.  Zebra midges, miracle nymphs, larva lace midge larva have all been top sellers, however you can also catch fish on serendipities, scuds, sowbugs, slim mayfly nymphs, sculpin patterns, and leeches.  On the rare, warm yet calm day you can even get some midge dry fly fishing in, although these opportunities usually only last a couple minutes before the wind picks up again.  For situations like these, a Griffith gnat, midge cluster, or one of René Harrop’s hanging midges are the go to patterns.

Forrest Craig with a nice DePuy's rainbow. Photo: Brett Edwards

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2019 Argentina Fishing Report (Jurassic Lake)

A recent drone shot of Jurassic Lake Lodge

George’s report from Jan 5-12 2019:  I just returned from our Jan. 2019 trip to Jurassic Lake Lodge.  The fishing was awesome as usual, especially the first couple of days when we caught tons of huge fish at “The Boca” (the mouth of the Barrancoso River and Lago Strobel). The average size fish is a solid 5-7 pounds but we had a large number of fish over 10 pounds.   It seemed like most of the big fish we were catching were in that 12-15 lb. class.   My largest fish was about 18 pounds this year.  Most of the time I was fishing in the lower two pools of the Barrancoso river, before it enters the lake.   People loved the Aquarium pool, and it produced a lot of nice fish in the 10-13 lb. class.  The lake itself was good at times and one day it was almost calm and that brought in big numbers of fish that formed a giant mass just off the river mouth.  We were catching lots of nice fish on big dry flies like big beetles and Chubbies that afternoon.  Several people got broken off by large fish there.

George with an hefty 18 pounder near the boca. Photo: Nico Escalada

John Drumheller with a big river bow - just a short walk from the lodge.

3, 2, 1 ..... Liftoff! John, on the missile launch controls.

Another hard fighting chromer from the lower river...

Bob, battling the elements in the Bay of Pigs!

Bob Stabler reaping some well earned Bay rewards...

George with a Bay bullet...

The Bay of Pigs, where we normally catch the largest fish, was good at times, especially in the afternoons when the wind wasn’t blowing too hard. Unfortunately on most afternoons the wind was producing big waves that made the fishing very difficult.  We could see lots of giant sized fish out over the weed beds but farther out than we could cast in the conditions.  We did catch a couple of 12-13 lb fish in the “Bay” but had to give up and go back over to the river, where it was easy to fish with the wind at our backs.

A nice dry fly eater...

Long and strong, these fish fight hard!

Gotta-catch-em-all Bob with a strong boca bow...

George smiling again...

Those first two days, I was hooking fish on almost every cast!   I love fishing the river since you can do a lot of good sight fishing there, and cast only to the really big fish.  By doing that I really upped my average size to over 10 pounds.  Most of our group liked using nymphs and even streamers like black or green wooly buggers in the main lake.  In the river smaller nymphs like copper johns and silver johns were deadly as were most bead head nymphs. Bigger flies also worked well and could even be swung in the river.

The coveted "Aquarium Pool" is always a favorite spot...

Bob, roping in a whopper from the Aquarium pool...

Bob with a solid upper river fish...

We use heavy tippet most of the time and other than up in the Acquairum Pool, it is a mistake to use anything smaller than 1X Fluorocarbon.  In the river I was using 01X Trout Hunter Fluorocarbon, which tests at about 18 pounds.  This way I could use my 9 foot #9 Loomis NRX and really land the big fish quickly and get them back in the river unharmed.

Time for a quick break!

George, locked again near the boca...

Chunky Cold Medina (ha-ha)

An impressive buck from river.

The hardest fighting fish are often the slightly smaller but energetic "teenagers"...

Another lower Barrancoso torpedo...

The guides were a big help in netting the fish for us and then unhooking them.  If they were huge, they would also weigh them.  I think next year I’ll bring a net bag and a good accurate scale to weigh fish like I did two years ago. They don’t hurt the fish at all and quickly get very accurate weight.

Asado for our last night...

Grass fed beef and Argentine sausage cooked over hard coals...

A wonderful chicken dish just to change things up...

Thanks everyone - until next year!

The food was excellent as usual.  Everyone enjoyed the cuisine with a nice mix of vegetable dishes, chicken, and of course no shortage of terrific grass fed beef!  We are headed back next year (fishing days are going to be Jan 11-18th). We are also planning on an add-on trip to Captain Lodge (formerly known as Kui Noom).  We will have more details on the exact travel dates, the fishing dates, and the 2020 prices up on our website soon.  Or feel free call us anytime for more trip details… 1-406-222-7130.

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2019 Argentina Fishing Trip Report (Esquel Outfitters)

Steve Flood getting some "fresh air" on the Carleleafu...

We just got back from Argentina and it was a great trip!  It was actually much colder temperatures than we expected, everyone was sure glad we brought along waders once the cold weather rolled in later in the week.  The first 2 days we floated the Arrayanes and the Carleleafu, two beautiful glacial rivers that flow out of lakes near Cholila.  Usually we float the Rivadavia, but recently there has been more fishing pressure on it, so we opted for the less crowded rivers.  On the Arrayanes we probably saw 6 or 7 other boats, on the Carleleafu we only saw one other boat.  Both days our boats caught around 20 fish, most of the fish were rainbows in the 16-18″ range, although we did catch couple browns, the biggest being 23 inches.

A nice brown from Lago Verde, before entering the Arrayanes...

A warm sunny day on the Carleleafu.

The following three days on the Chubut were spectacular.  The gear boats would go ahead to set up camp so everything was taken care of while we fished.  It was as if the river had not changed in 15 years!   Without a doubt everyone caught over 150 fish over three days, although the first day was just mind blowing.  Most of the fish were rainbows (probably close to 80%) with the others being browns and a few perca (perch).  We fished dries when we could, although the wind forced us to fish streamers most of the time, which worked great since the Chubut is chuck full of pancora, (a crustacean similar to our crayfish but more round).  It was the best fishing I have had in several years for numbers of fish.  The biggest was a 22″ rainbow although Marcos has caught 24″ rainbows  before.  The big browns are hard to catch because they mostly likely live in the deepest holes (12-15′ deep) or in willow “caves” that we float through where it is impossible to cast, even with a bow and arrow technique.  In the event that you did hook a fish, you’d be toast and likely be taking advantage of your rod warranty program.  We lost count of how many doubles we had, and even managed to have a few triples and one quadruple between the two rafts…

Re-rigging on the Chubut...

Steve Flood with a nice Chubut bow. Photo: Javier Diez

Steaks on the grill... Photo: Kevin Grimm

Squeezing through a willow tunnel on the Chubut

John Connolly hooked up to a nice Chubut brown...

From the Chubut we drove south to the Rio Pico area where there is plethora of good fishing options, including rivers, spring creeks, and lakes.  Seeing how we had our numbers already we opted for the lakes in hopes of catching a few bigger fish.  Although the lakes were tough fishing, (maybe only 2-5 fish a day) they did not disappoint!  Part of the slow fishing was due to the weather as we had some nasty fronts move in, making if difficult in the wind and rain, plus the fish just weren’t eating as well as they had on past trips.  But the fish were big!  John landed two brookies over 2 feet long, the 25″ weighing in at 8.8 pounds on the weigh net!  Although we were hoping for a monster brown we landed several fish in the 26-28″ range, and lost a couple that looked over 30″ (ha, they always look bigger when they get away).  The big rainbows reminded me a lot of the fish in Jurassic lake…

John Connolly with back to back big brookies!

Marcos with the other big brook trout...

Guide Javier Diez with a fat 28" hen rainbow...

Kevin Grimm with another big rainbow!

Steve Flood with a tail walker... Photo: Javier Diez

Another look at the "pinche marrón"... Photo: Marcos Yeager

We had so much fun this year that we are planning to come back next year with back to back trips, the first during early January and the second during mid-January.  Give us a call at the shop if you are interested or if you’d like us to save you some spots! 1-406-222-7130.

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Tailwaters Fishing Well

Forrest Craig with a nice Horn hen... Photo: Tom Ramlow

Fishing on the Yellowstone has been pretty slow lately.  There are a few spots where warmer water comes into the river where fish are more active, but tailwaters like the Missouri, Bighorn, and Lower Madison have been fishing much better.  Midges, sow bugs, scuds, egg patterns, and streamers have been the name of the game.  On some of these rivers the browns spawn late, so please be careful not to stand on the redds or fish to browns that are actively spawning…

Kelsey Edwards with her personal best! Photo: Brett Edwards

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Holiday Gift Ideas

No slush ice, for the moment...

Not many people have been fishing this past week, although there have been a few regulars on the spring creeks still. Last week the Yellowstone had a lot of slush floating down it, mainly due to nightly negatives and sub zero mornings. Things have warmed up a bit and the next few days look like 37-47 degrees), but unfortunately with the warmth comes the wind.  In short it is a good time to tie some flies, or do a little Christmas Shopping.  Below you can see a few of our Christmas gift ideas.  Please call the shop to order, 1-406-222-7130.  Also feel free to browse on line by visiting our On Line Store or save up to 85% off on our Deep Deals page…

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Late Fall Fishing

Logan releasing a nice Armstrong's brown. Photo: Vann Gravage

Fishing has slowed down for the most part in SW Montana.  The Yellowstone is free from ice, but it has been so windy lately that almost no one has been floating.  We’ve had some good days on the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks however, where anglers can take a break and warm up a bit before returning to the stream for another round.  The baetis hatches are starting to get smaller and smaller, however the midge hatches have been steady and will remain the go to food source throughout the winter.  There are still some fish spawning in the creeks, so be careful to avoid stepping on any redds (spawning beds).  We also ask anglers to try to refrain from fishing to actively spawning fish. Give us a call if you’d like to book a trip, especially if you are in town for the Holidays and would like to experience a successful day on the water!  1-406-222-7130.

John Bond with a nice Nelson's rainbow. Photo: Francois Bergeron

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Happy Halloween

Hide and go seek... Photo: Chloe Nostrant

The browns are just about ready to spawn in the spring creeks, and have already started in DePuy’s.  As always, we ask anglers to be cautious on where they are stepping in order to avoid stepping on any redds (spawning beds), as this will ensure the eggs a better chance of survival.   It will be obvious where these cleared off spots are, where the hens have dug out/cleared the gravel from silt and dirt.  Please do not fish to actively spawning fish, if you see them on their redds, let them do their thing and just enjoy watching them.  There have been a couple kinds of baetis on the water, a larger more typical 18-20 blue winged olive, and a smaller 20-22 baetis with a hint of yellow in their belly.  Calm, cloudy days will be the best for dry fly fishing.  Midge larva, sparsely tied baetis nymphs, and egg patterns have been working if they aren’t eating the dries.  Give us a call to book a trip, there are still some fish to be caught out there!  1-406-222-7130.

The browns are about to get busy...

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Yellowstone Slowing Down Some

John Bond and Greg Snow with a stud brown! Photo: Christine Varnai

In general the fishing is starting to slow down on the Yellowstone, but at least a few big fish have been getting caught!  This past week has been very sunny with only a few baetis and midges on the water.  We expect the dry fly game to get better towards the end of the week, as we finally have some decent cloud cover.  This should help the streamer bite as well.  Give us a call if you’d like to book a last minute trip!  1-406-222-7130.

Logan gets locked...

Vann Gravage coming up big with a tall streamer eater... Photo: Logan Brown

Dean Poli breaking the 2 foot mark again... Photo: Logan Brown

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Fall on the Yellowstone…

Jess Kelly with a big Yellowstone brown! Photo: Justin Stockfish

Last week’s colder weather has kept river traffic to a minimum and brought out some nice browns.  This week looks much warmer, (and brighter – for better or for worse).  Leaves are still looking good and the wind, at least through Thursday, is looking like single digits up to 15 mph.   This would be a great time to get out on the Yellowstone while the browns are still running and not yet in the tributaries or to their spawning beds in the river.  The fish have been aggressive and chasing streamers well, you just have to find them and they seem to be on the move right now.  Nymphing has also been working well, although plan on catching a few whitefish, especially through town and in the valley.  On cloudy days look for BWO’s.  They have been small, about a size 20.  Hitting one of these hatches can be tricky, but when conditions are right the dry fly fishing has been excellent.

Josh Edwards and Dan Julie with a nice one... Photo: Mark Berggren

Kenton Weins with a nice valley rainbow. Photo: John Bond

John and Michael Harned with a nice upper river brown...

Matt Hofheimer enjoying a nice Fall day! Photo: Chase Chapman

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Yellowstone Fishing Well

Jeff O'Brien with a nice fall brown. Photo: Eric Paulson

The Yellowstone has been fishing well this past week.  Baetis have been coming off in good numbers and on calmer days the dry fly fishing has been excellent.  The streamer fishing has also been very good.  Pick a color and they have been eating it!  Leaves are still in prime colors, and we expect the river to be fishing well for a couple more weeks. After that, the browns and Fall spawning rainbows will be spawning, but there will still be some dry fly fishing to smaller fish.   Give us a call to book a trip!  1-406-222-7130.

Paul and Paulson all smiles... Photo: Fred Fingersh

Paul Fingersh with a chunker... Photo: Eric Paulson

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