The Montana fly fishing guides at the Bozeman Angler are excited to announce that 2011 will be one of the best years for fly fishing in the Gallatin Valley in recent memory. This year’s winter was snowy and cold, which means a deep snow-pack and a high runoff that will start as soon as within the week. This will ensure excellent fly fishing on the Madison, Yellowstone, and Gallatin rivers starting as early as June and continuing late into the fall, so if even if you can't book a trip or make the time to visit Bozeman, MT before then, never fear. The fly fishing will still be phenomenal.
Working in a fly shop, time off is a luxury that we rarely get to enjoy during the summer. However, Rod and Pam gave me the best birthday present I can think of, 5 days off for a trip to one of the most gorgeous rivers I've ever been to, the South Fork of the Flathead. This remote river in Northwest Montana winds its way through the Bob Marshall Wilderness and its upper sections are only accessible via horse, backpacking, or if your really lucky like a group of forest service workers we ran into, helicopter. Seeing how that wasn't an option, we went with backpacking.
After fishing the Upper Madison with my Mom and Dad, we headed to the Boulder River with Jason Denny to hit some of the pockets in the upper sections above Natural Bridge. For the most part I stuck sub surface with size 14 green lightening bugs, green copper johns, and small iron sallies. The water was crystal clear and some more overcast weather kept the fish on the feed. There are tons of fish in the upper sections, none of any real size, but they are some of the healthiest and brightest colored rainbows I've seen around.
Had the pleasure of fishing with my Mom and Dad this past week, so we decided to spend a couple days wade fishing the braids of the Upper Madison. On Monday we hit it just right. With cloud cover and upper 70 degree weather the fish were on the rise and couldn't keep away from a size 12 Tan or Gold Chubby Chernobyl trailed by blue Lil' Spanker's and various soft hackles. Most of the takes, and bigger fish for that matter, were within a few inches of the banks. Basically we put on chubbys from the start and didn't change up all day.
I've had the past half week or so off so was able to make it out a lot before the runoff hit too hard. I started out up on the Dearborn with three of my good buddies, for two of which this was their first fishing trip in a couple years. When we threw out the first lines, Jason Fix hooked into a fat 20 inch rainbow right of the bat and we figured we were in for one of those days. However with 80 degree weather the water started to turn color around 11, and the fishing stopped dead. It wasn't until around 3 that I threw on a san jaun worm and managed to hook into a nice bow.
Spent this past weekend camping/fishing up in the Beartrap Canyon with my friend Fix and managed to have some more good luck. We hiked in Saturday morning and set up camp about three and a half miles in before starting to fish some of the windiest conditions I’ve had this year. It wasn’t that there were hurricane force winds, rather a constant 15-20 mph stream that lasted for 36 hours straight.
I’m not sure if it was the green long underwear or the Guinness I packed in, but something gave me some good luck this St. Patrick’s day. I headed to the Upper Madison and had a bluebird day full of descent sized rainbows. Right from the get go I tied on a size 10 bead head prince nymph trailed by a size 16 pink delekta sex fly and stuck with the combo all day.
We’ve been fishing out on the Gallatin the past couple days with some luck. We started fishing close to the canyon and have been working downstream since. Closer to the canyon we were able to find some deep runs that were just filled with rainbows, and of course lots of whitefish. They were mainly hitting dead drifted olive bead head buggers, zonkers, prince nymphs, and San Juan worms. The next day we decided to pack our bags and head out to the Big City (aka. Manhattan) where the East Gallatin dumps into the Gallatin. Here we encountered some descent browns and some more bows.