MFG guide Jeff Welke and angler Mike W., who took advantage of our Spring Special, had some solid fly fishing on the Madison River this weekend.
About a dozen fish made it to the net, primarily on nymphs. Most productive were larger copper & brown zirdle bug flies trialed by hot head nymphs. Various squalls made any dry fly fishing tough, but a lot of midges were out. Fishing was consistent throughout the day, but early starts certainly aren’t necessary.
Weather was cool and overcast with small squalls coming through. Temperature were in the 40s, so basically good early season conditions.
No biggies on the day, but who’s going to shrug at several cookie cutters, a 16″ Rainbows and an 18″ Brown? All aboard couldn’t have been happier, plus Mike got a jump on some early season fishing and saved a few bucks with the Spring Special.
Eric Adams had the fortune of fishing with Doug MacDonald and Darcy Cook of Granite Sports Medicine in Livingston who both took advantage of our Spring Fling Guide Rates. We spent our day on the Yellowstone River and overall we landed a mixed bag of about 25 Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat trout with several in the 16 inch range. All of the trout looked as though the wintered well and appeared extremely healthy. Overall a great spring day of uncrowded fishing.
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Weather & River Conditions:
The past couple weeks have seen some crazy weather from highs in the 60’s nearly two weeks ago to highs in the teens as little as 5 days ago. Mix in a couple white-out blizzards and you’ve got a typical Montana Spring. The weather cooperated as the highs were in the mid-50s with overcast skies until early afternoon. The wind was present, but tolerable at about 10 mph from the WSW. The Yellowstone River is low and relatively clear with a couple feet of visibility. The current flow is about 1,400 cfs which is low for this time of year, but mostly due to the recent cold conditions. Keep this low flow in mind as many of the usual foam holes are not in place with the lower water levels. Water temperatures yesterday reached 50 degrees and the trout were very feisty.
Baetis and midges where the ticket yesterday and we did see several caddis hatching in the afternoon, but the trout didn’t focus on them as the numbers weren’t there. Our most effective strategy was short-leash nymphing dropping a CDC Pheasant Tail Nymph (sz 16) below a Tungsten Zebra Midge (sz 18). Concentrate on the areas behind corners and point barbs where the foam collects and get ready to hook up.
Yesterday we did not work streamers very hard, but have heard some very good reports in the past few days of some very big fish being caught.
Yellowstone River Caddis Update:
As we mentioned we did see about a dozen of the Mother’s Day Caddis, so they are getting ready to pop. the magic water temperature to see full emergence is usually 54 degrees. With the warm weather predicted we predict a good hatch by this weekend. Stay tuned we’ll keep you posted as we’ll be on the river over the next several days.
It’s become an annual tradition of mine to head to the Upper Madison River for opening weekend. Opening weekend on the Madison occurs on the 3rd Saturday of May every year allowing access to certain sections that close for crucial spawning habitat during late winter. It can be an exciting and frustrating time up there, battling the crowd on Saturday is more entertaining to watch from the parking lot with a cool beer than standing in water with anxious anglers pounding every piece of good water. I tend to wait out the crowd and start fishing late in the day when the fish have had time to settle down.
The real fishing starts on Sunday and Monday when most of the excitement of the opening day has passed. Large sections of un-fished water lay ahead and big, hungry trout move in tight to the banks and start feeding on whatever happens to be around. I’ve always had good success with Stones, San Juan’s, and variety of smaller flashy nymphs depending on whats been hatching recently.
This year was no different than the last few, a large crowd on Saturday had me retreating for the cooler and lawn chair to sleep off the hangover from the night before. Once the parking lot cleared out it was time to head to my favorite holes and fish till dark. This year some big browns were found in shallow water eating small streamers (Buggers, Bow Rivers, Stoneflies). I’m not sure if it was the cool weather or the water clarity that kept the crowds small, but Sunday and Monday we basically had the river to ourselves. The standard flies were the ticket and much large fish were landed and released. It was another great opening weekend in the books.
If you’re considering heading up there don’t let the water clarity fool you. This river can fish great in the off color water you just have to keep fishing different types of water and change up flies till something works. Shouldn’t be too long before we start seeing Salmonflies and Goldenstones up here. Here at MFG were excited that summer is finally here so give us a call at 406.223.2488 to book your trip. Check out our great guide staff at https://www.montanaflyfishingguides.com/montana-fly-fishing-guides.htm
Spring fishing in Montana is always pretty exciting with unpredictable weather each new day is an adventure. This Spring has been particularly good fishing as the weather actually feels like Spring with warm air temperatures and very few spring snow storms. The Yellowstone River fished quite well with the Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch making it’s best showing in the past few years. We had a number of anglers take advantage of our 25% off Spring Discount. These anglers were not disappointed as we routinely landed 30 to 40 fish a day with a few gems including Mac’s 22″ Yellowstone River Brown trout (pictured here).
As is typical with any Montana Spring fishing season the inevitable Spring run-off is upon us. Run-off is our annual event where the mountain snows melt with the warm weather and flood the rivers and make them unfishable for about 4 to 6 weeks. This doesn’t mean there isn’t any good fishing to be had. The local spring creeks of Armstrong, DePuy, and Nelson start to fish well and the Missouri River is currently on fire – at least on the nymphing side of things. In fact, one of our guides Jeff Pavlovich has been on Missouri for the last week and reports good to excellent nymphing with bright caddis pupa and emergers, along with the ever-present scuds and sow bugs. The caddis on Missouri are nearly ready to explode so the dry fly fishing is certainly within days of getting really good.
We’ll continue to keep you posted so stay tuned…