Still Icy

Grey Bear boat ramp (3/21)

Things are still looking pretty icy out on the Yellowstone.  As nice as the weather is this week, we have to remember just how cold it got (and stayed) most of February!  Most all of the boat ramps on the Yellowstone are currently inaccessible right now, and some sections of the Yellowstone remain completely frozen over.  On top of that, the Yellowstone has gotten pretty dirty in the afternoons, making wade fishing an even better option as you can quit anytime, versus committing to a float where you feel stuck in the mud.  Give us a call for the latest report or if you’d like to book a trip on one of the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks!  1-406-222-7130.

From the Grey Bear bridge, (3/21)

Springdale access, (3/21)

Springdale, (3/21)

HWY 89 Bridge, (3/21)

89 Boat Ramp, (3/21)

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

Yellowstone Still Unfloatable

9th street island (3/16 7:42 AM)

With Spring Fever brewing at an all time high people have been jonesin’ to hit the Stone.  Wade fishing is still the way to go over hear.  Many of the boat ramps are still full of snow, even parking is difficult without getting stuck much less towing a raft and trailer.  Don’t even think about floating unless you are up for a Shackleton expedition, pushing your raft over snow and ice at both the put in and take out as well as a possible snow and ice portage in the middle of your float.  Not worth it, especially with the low water temps.   Give it another few weeks, better to be safe than sorry.  In the meantime wade fish the Yellowstone where warmer water flows into it for your best chance of catching a fish.  Or even better, take advantage of the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks winter rates, ($40 per rod) and enjoy a day on one of Montana’s most scenic meadow streams.  Give us a call if you’d like to book a trip or for the latest report! 1-406-222-7130.

9th street east channel (3/16 7:45AM)

East End (Thursday 3/14) photo: Logan Brown

Buffalo Hump area - completely frozen over (3/14) Photo: Logan Brown

Springdale Bridge (3/14) photo: Logan Brown

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

Tough River Access

Carter's Bridge 3/9/19 (7:45AM)

Some parts of the river are still completely frozen over while others have open water.  The problem is we had so much snow last week that many of the Fishing Access Sites are unplowed and difficult to access without fear of getting your vehicle stuck.  It looks like next week’s weather is a little nicer, with daily highs getting into the 30′s.  For now your best bet around here to catch fish is definitely the Spring Creeks.  Armstrong’s, Nelson’s, and DePuy’s are all at their winter rates right now ($40 per rod).  Midges are still the main food staple, although fish have also been caught on scuds, leeches, baetis nymphs, eggs, worms, buggers, sculpin, ect.

Carter's Bridge FAS 3/9/19 - a good place to get stuck right now...

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

Still Icy Out There

Almost no open water at Mallard's rest (2/23/19)

People have been asking if there is a good section to float the Yellowstone right now and the answer is no.  There are some spots with open water making it possible to wade fish the Yellowstone, however we do no recommend floating. Even if the put-in looks good and the take out looks doable, there is no guarantee that the river is not iced over somewhere in between, especially in slower sections.  Many of the put-ins and take-outs are full of snow anyway, making it a serious challenge to get a boat and trailer in and out.

Below Depuy's (2/23/19)

Carter's Bridge (2/23/19)

9th Street Island (2/16/19)

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

Lower Madison

Heading up Bear Trap (2/17/19)

Things have been looking a little icy on the Lower Madison lately.  Be sure to bring a 4-wheel drive vehicle with decent clearance if you are heading to either side of Bear Trap canyon.  With these colder temperatures nymphing is going to be more productive than swinging or fishing streamers.  As pretty as winter fishing can be it may not be worth battling the elements right now.  Definitely no need to drive down low as the ice shelves are thick and dangerous…

Lower Madison (2/17/19)

Cobblestone won't be ready for a while... (2/17/19)

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

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…

Posted in Fishing Reports | Leave a comment