George casting with his favorite spring creek rod, the 8'6"#4 Zenith....
We’ve had mixed reports on the Spring Creeks lately. Angler’s with reports of difficult fishing have come in disappointed with very few PMD hatching. Angler’s who have hit the right day have reported fantastic fishing, one angler even called it the best fishing he’s ever seen in 20 years of fishing the spring creeks! In some respects, you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt – with luck you’ll get a little cloud cover and hopefully not much wind. Midges have been working in the morning, start looking for PMD’s around 10:00 – 2:00. The PMD’s are now smaller, so expect to be fishing #18′s and #20′s. You’ll want to be fishing 6X in the riffles and 6.5X or 7X in the flatwater…
Bruce Ullock and Hank Bechard with a nice valley brown
Matt Carara with a nice townie. Photo: John Nehring
We’ve had a few calls about mud today since it rained hard last night in Bozeman. So far so good… the Lamar continues to flow up and down so you can expect to see the same type of clarity we’ve been having. The webcam above Yankee Jim is currently showing that “green is good” water, we’ll be keeping an eye on it just in case and we also have some great shuttle drivers that keep us posted with plugs. For now the coast is clear. This weekend is your last chance to get Salmonflies from Gardiner to Point of Rocks. The Bird float has been on fire lately with streamers and nymph rigs, with lots of 18-20″ browns paying attention. Through town and down low is still big water and remains an “A” team only game, meaning great rowers and good sticks. The party-time boat float should be between Springdale and Big Timber today if you there are any pleasure floaters that would like to join in the fun, just keep in mind that this year the water is huge and to take the proper precautions. CFS at Carter’s is finally below 10,000 today. Usually we don’t recommend floating from Pine down until the river hits 8,000 CFS.
Troy Lichtenegger breaking in the new hat Valley style! MC Photo
Paulson with a nice brown to the boat... Photo: Jeff Blatter
Still some big waves/water down low...
If you are looking to see salmonflies from the boat the next few days are likely your last chance. The bulk of the big bugs are already up past the canyon and heading into the park. Still, the dry fly fishing has been good up high, even below Yankee Jim canyon. Sallies, caddis, and general attractor pattens can be highly effective behind the hatch, if you are above Yankee Jim then you should be fishing salmonflies and goldenstones. The fish above Yankee Jim are typically smaller however, so keep in mind a 16″ fish up there is like a 20″ in the valley. Yesterday’s mud plug has gone through and is well past Big Timber, leaving 2 feet of vis or more through the valley. One other thing to keep in mind is that the annual “Booze Cruise” boat float starts today (all kinds of contraptions putting in at Mayor’s Landing today) and will keep floating a few days to Reed Point. Fishing down low right now can be very dangerous with wicked hydraulics, nasty whirl pools, and big wave trains… which means rafts or experts only.
Skip Herman with a nice brown above Yankee Jim
Natalie Vais with a nice upper Valley brown... Photo: Paul Vais
Camille Vais and Matt Carara with a nice Carbella bow...
The Yellowstone continues to fish well up high with both salmonfly dries and nymphs. Yesterday Carbella to Point of rocks fished good, not great. It definitely seemed like the fish (and bugs) were spotty and while we didn’t catch a ton of fish (we averaged about 10 per float) we did have quite a few doubles. If we had another 6-8 inches of visibility the dry fly fishing could have lights-out, but as is you’ll likely want to add a rubberleg or beadhead dropper. Quite a few folks have also been been doing well dead drifting a sparkle minnows, Bow River Bugger, black leadeye. We saw big bugs as high as Brogan’s Landing yesterday, although several are likely already in Gardiner or in the park by now…
Samatha Brokman with a nice valley brown. Photo: Matt Carara
Attack from the back! Sam with another nice valley fish. Photo: Matt Carara
You know the Yellowstone is fishing well when you can’t find a parking spot at Point of Rocks, Mallard’s, or Carter’s! The bad news is that it’s bumper boats. The good news is lots of bent rods on big fish, on nymphs, streamers, and big dries. Lots of people have had better luck fishing behind the bugs rather than right in them. Perhaps it takes the fish a day or two to key in on the big dries, or perhaps they are already gorged on nymphs. Either way the fishing has been excellent anywhere from Carbella to Carter’s. Down low is still too high and dangerous to be worth it. Look to fish town and below once it drops to 8,000 CFS. For now focus on the big bugs since this is one of the few years you can fish Salmonflies on the stone. We did have less clarity today up high and the river with the roller coaster CFS has been striped with green is good followed by olive is OK… No super brown mud yet but enough change in clarity to pay attention to it. Tomorrow is certainly a go… either go early and beat the crowds or go afterwork.
TNT with a big birthday brown on a Salmonfly! (7/3) Photo: John Bond
Salmonfly dries have popped on the Yellowstone as of this morning near Loch Leven. Clarity on the Yellowstone is looking good for now (about two feet in the Valley). Check the CFS at Corwin and at Carter’s the next couple days in case the Yellowstone spikes but it looks like for now the fishing will be good over here for a few days and hopefully though the weekend. You can also check the webcam above Yankee Jim for clarity or give us a call. Keep in mind that the Yellowstone can be very dangerous with flows above 8,000 CFS and we do NOT recommend that anyone float it unless you are going with an expert on the oars or you go with a professional guide. Give us a call to book your last minute Salmonfly adventure… 406-222-7130.
KJ with a nice afterwork brown... (7/1)
Kate Pace setting the pace! Photo: Mitch Werbell
Catherine Wodey lands the one on a Salmonfly dry! Photo: Mitch Werbell
Salmonfly Fever is in full swing on the Madison right now. There are tons of adult dries out right and the big fish have been gobbling them up. Although water is very high (and still less than 6 inches of visibility) on the Yellowstone, the water levels on the Madison have been dropping quickly and are already super low. Haha, which means bring your buddy’s hard boat or a raft if at all possible. No surprise, the best topwater flies have been Paulson’s Flutter Bug (twitched or skated), Lawson’s Henry’s Fork Form Stone, or a Chubby Chernobyl. Most folks have been fishing DFO (dry fly only) since it is one of the few times of the year that you can catch a really solid rainbow or brown on a dry fly. We’ve been fishing with thick tippet, (0X or even O1X fluorocarbon) since you often need to have your fly as tight to the willows as possible. The bugs have been most active during the afternoons, however with the right cast, drift, or twitch, you can catch fish on a salmonfly dry anytime. We have heard some reports of fish feeling gorged (stuffed from eating so many flies) so you might try fishing a smaller dry or fishing ahead or below the main hatch. As for where exactly that is you’ll have to ask your guide! Call us to book your trip now… 406-222-7130.
Skow with a buttery Upper Madison brown... Photo: Eric Paulson
Brian Sienkowski and Dave High with a nice brown!
While water levels on the Yellowstone are sneaking back up (12,500 CFS and yes, getting dirtier), flows on the Upper Madison have been dropping and the action on the Lower Madison has been heating up. Guides have had consistent fishing on both sections of the Madison and some pretty nice browns have been caught the past few days. Give us a call if you are interested in booking a trip, fishing the Salmonfly hatch in Montana is one of the most fun trips you can do!
A nice lower madison brown... Photo: Paul Bloch
A nice Lower Madison rainbow... Photo: Paul Bloch
Josh with a handull of salmonfly nymphs from the town section
We’ve been getting lots of calls lately looking for big bugs and the answer is not yet… but soon. We have seen plenty of both salmonfly and goldenstone nymphs but we haven’t seen any adults. We haven’t seen any empty casings on the rocks or willows yet either, but our guess is by next week we’ll see some near Loch Leven or higher. Yesterday water temperatures were pretty chilly and the streamer bite wasn’t very good. Water temp is already on the rise however and the river is still on the drop so today could be pretty decent. Clarity is good enough, probably around a foot in town and perhaps a little better in the valley. We expect the river to dirty up again, however everyone is thinking the Stone will clear much earlier than previously predicted. We all have our guesses but George thinks the we’ll be on the river by the first week of July…