High air, water temps, and fishing traffic got you down? No worries! Here's a few tips on how the guys around the shop handle summer fishing around Bozeman.
1. Fish early, fish late, rest in between
As soon as daylight cracks the horizon, the fish will start eating. Trust me. I spent the night on the Madison recently, and I could hear fish feeding before I could see my hand in front of my face. They'll continue eating well probably until about 11 a.m. (until the sun gets high), and then they'll probably take a rest and seek shelter in deeper water. At this point, don't be afraid to do the same! Maybe put the rod away for a few hours and go for a swim, or find a local brewery with A/C, and then hit the river again for some evening caddis during the last couple hours of daylight.
2. Fish sneaky water
Bozeman area rivers get hammered during the summer! Tourists from around the world come out here to try out the fly fishing game, and practically every shop is sending anglers to the Gallatin River, Hyalite Creek, and the Upper Madison. Does that mean you shouldn't fish here? Of course not! Good fishing is still to be had if you fish early and sneaky water. Think about it. Every angler will be fishing "behind that big boulder" and in "that deep run." But, how many anglers will be fishing the knee deep riffles and the side channels? Not many. Fish know that, and they will move out of places where they get fished all day and seek refuge elsewhere, even if it's not their favorite swimming hole.
Also...mountain streams are fishing really well, too! Most small creeks that flow into the Yellowstone and Gallatin hold fish, usually smaller, but very willing to eat a dry fly and a lot of fun during the summer.
3. Fish sneaky flies
Once again, everybody and his brother are going to be fishing a chubby chernobyl on the Yellowstone and a lightning bug on the Gallatin. After getting hooked a few times on a pattern, do you think a trout will still eat that pattern? Probably not! But, they may eat something similar, or even a little outrageous. Maybe instead of a lightning bug, try a throwback Sawyer's PT. And instead of a chubby, why not a small royal wulff, a big beetle, or even a suble midge pupa? You may be surprised at the result.
4. Take a break from trout
So, everybody is hammering the Bozeman area rivers, fishermen and boats wherever you look...ready to take a break? Maybe take a trip to Canyon Ferry for some perch or to your favorite pond for carp. Sometimes this is the cure to trouty summer blues...usually less people and a different species of fish can put a smile back on your face!
So...for best results, fish early and late, fish sneaky water and sneaky flies, and don't be afraid to take a rest and fish for something other than trout.