Weather, Water Conditions, & Fishing Report

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Fishing Report: 

August 31st, 2017

Ants and beetles have turned up the fishing on the Madison below Quake. For weeks the dry fly fishing was hot and cold here, but since we've been having cool nights, more fish have been willing to rise. Long Horn Beetles, parachute ants, and small hoppers have all been productive. You'll have to operate with stealth, and your drifts will have to be drag free. Most of the action has been occurring in the lower wade stretch, and the float stretch.

It's possible to run into a spinner fall, or sparse emergence of some kind on the Gallatin, but the fishing will be primarily dependent on terrestrial activity. Beetles and hoppers should work well in the stretches north of Big Sky. A few spruce moths could also be about due to warm temperatures during the day. If you have plans to fish the park stretch, be sure to bring a few nymphs with you.

Hebgen Lake has been more consistent this past week. Each day the wind has stayed low, the air has warmed up, and plenty of fish have risen. Callibaetis haven't blanketed the water, but there have been strong enough emergences of them to bring up fish for several hours. Tricos are still thick on the Madison Arm, and ants have been falling throughout the lake. Fish here while you can, it won't last much longer.

A few fish have started running up the Madison, lower Gibbon and lower Firehole, but the run is far from heavy yet. There are plenty of hoppers in the meadows, so feel free to pitch one around with hopes of catching a big fish. We'll keep you posted as our attention will soon turn to the fall runners.

Soda Butte and the Lamar have challenged a lot of anglers this summer. A good drift, and a good fly have been essential for fooling fish on top. We hope that the fishing will become more forgiving as more Drake Mackerals hatch. It shouldn't be long until we're seeing dense emergences of them. Also, the Hecubas on Slough should be showing up any day.

Late season angling on Sheep Lake offers some of the most difficult alpine fishing you can find. The lake is inhabited by wise rainbows that range from two inches to sixteen inches. Hoppers, ants and small mayflies will be your best. The hike is 6 miles with a substantial elevation gain. The trailhead is in the Madison Valley near Raynold's Pass Bridge.

July 20th, 2017

The hot sun has been imposing its will on us for many days running, until today. It's cloudy and wet in West Yellowstone at the moment. The Madison has been in slightly odd form. As Craig said, it's imperative that you find cool water. The upper wade stretch has produced little for most anglers. The float stretch has been more fruitful. The West Fork and other, smaller tributaries have kept the lower river cooler, and more consistent with emerging caddis. Our guides continue to have good days in the morning. This year, water is once again coming over the top of Hebgen Dam, and it's been getting very warm on most days. If you're headed for the Madison, go with the intention of searching around the lower wade stretch for the best fishing. It's still happening, but finding it isn't as straight forward as heading to a typical spot at $3 Bridge.

Pale Morning Duns and caddis continue to emerge on the Gallatin, but the fight against biting flies has been brutal. Be sure to cover up with long sleeves, a buff and sun-gloves if possible. The flies will be worst in the meadows in the park. If they prove overwhelming, head down river toward the trees. The Gallatin should fish well for at least the next two weeks. Flows are finally starting to settle down, though you should still look for slower water. Stoneflies have all but blown through, though you can still fish a Sunken Stone during the warmer times of the day. This river is so fertile that you never know what might emerge while you're fishing. Bring various mayfly and caddis imitations, and think hard about where fish might lie, and what you have to do to get the right drift.

The Yellowstone Above the Falls is dropping steadily, but it's still running at over 5,500 CFS from the lake. The high water has made it hard for fish to rise in typical locations, and wading to reach rising fish has been all but impossible. You'll have to look around to find prime feeding water if you want to cast to rising fish. Salmonflies have been thick throughout the river for several days now. You're also likely to see emergences of Pale Morning Duns and Green Drakes.

Amazingly, Soda Butte is still slightly off color. Mixed reports have been coming in over the past few days. Some of the gang has had success blind fishing with Green Drake Sparkle Duns, others haven't been able to touch a fish, even with nymphs and streamers. It can't be more than a few days until this creek comes into form, but we've been saying that for two weeks.

Slowly, more fish are beginning to rise on Hebgen Lake. Tricos have already been spotted on the Madison Arm, and Callibaetis have been seen all over the lake. Though the fish are rising more than once, we've yet to hear a report of the fish truly feeding like gulpers. If you want to fish dry flies here, stay tuned.

July 6th, 2017

The Madison has hit its stride. Pale Morning Duns are bringing fish to the surface in the mornings, and dense emergences of caddis have the water boiling just before dark. The bulk of the salmonfly hatch is creeping up towards the wade stretch. Tossing a Chubby, Sunken Stone or Stimulator is fair game pretty much anywhere downstream of Quake Lake. If you're hoping for risers be sure to fish early and late since the days have become quite hot. X Caddis are important to have, but Iris Caddis are essential. If possible, carry the Iris and X Caddis in size 16, 18 and 20 to cover the various caddis that are hatching on the river right now.

The Firehole has dropped off the radar for most anglers. It's exceeding the 70 degree mark in the afternoons on a daily basis. If you'd still like to fish here, but sure to stay above Midway Geyser Basin, and fish in the morning. Pale Morning Dun spinners are probably still about, and a few Pale Morning Duns and caddis may be hatching.

Salmonflies and golden stones are hatching on the Gallatin, but the water is still slightly cold and a little high. The best fishing is still happening downstream of the park stretch, but it will be any day now that Pale Morning Duns and caddis will start hatching here. If you're just now getting acquainted with the Gallatin, explore the stretches just downstream of the Park stretch. The fishing is more forgiving, and the insects and fish are not as moody.

Small streams: Beaver Creek, the West Fork of the Madison and most of the small streams in the park are still a solid week away from hatches. They're clear, but running cold and high. Fish can be pounded up with stonefly dries, but stay tuned if you're hoping to cast to risers.

The Lamar and Soda Butte are still high and cold. Don't expect rising fish on these rivers for a few more days or even a week. The water levels on Slough are good, and we expect it to fish any day now.

More and more fish are getting up on Callibaetis on Hebgen Lake. It's been a slow start, which hopefully means we'll have a typical year of amazing gulper fishing in August. Nymph fishing has been productive on the Grayling Arm as well as the Madison Arm.

May 25th, 2017

This morning, the Firehole rose to peak streamflow for the week. But it should settle down since temperatures will stay cool through this weekend and into next week. Though it's likely to stay tea-stained and high, fish should still rise to Pale Morning Duns, but probably only in prime dry fly water. We're seeing the beginnings of the White Miller hatch, also, Baetis will hatch here during foul weather. Soft hackles and streamers will be the most productive flies during these early season conditions. Drop in the shop and we'll get you set up with the right flies and send you on your way to some productive waters.

The Madison in the Park is likely to be in the same condition as the Firehole on Saturday. There may be some Pale Morning Dun or caddis fishing to be found, but nymph and streamer fishing will be the most efficient way of catching. The best opportunities for nymphing on this classic stretch of river can be found from Nine Mile Hole up to Madison Junction. If you're hoping for dry fly fishing, the Firehole should be your main focus.

The Madison below Quake is still running high since 1700 CFS are being released from Hebgen Dam. This means nymph and streamer fishing will be your best bet for consistent success. It's possible to find risers, but it's often in the evening, and always in the best possible dry fly water. A Rubberleg Stonefly and a Micro Mayfly make for a perfect rig while fishing the Madison this time of year.

Hebgen Lake has had loads of midges hatching when the wind lays down and the air warms up. During those calm, balmy moments, fish will be rising. Otherwise, a dry dropper or indicator set up will be the most effective way to catch fish. As well, you can sling leeches and have a great shot at catching a big brown. If you're in town before the opener, and the wind is down, definitely do some fishing on Hebgen.

Cliff and Wade Lakes have provided consistent leech fishing. The midge fishing has been hit or miss, mostly due to gusty days. The Callibaetis are not quite fired up yet, but they should be soon.

April 6th, 2017

The Madison below Quake Lake has produced some fine fishing on warm afternoons. Midges will be emerging, and good casts will easily hook enough fish to make for a good day. Skittering Zelon Midges, Zelon Midges and Griffith's Gnats will all be sufficient patterns for imitating the naturals. Land a few beauties, and soak up the aura of early spring.

The Madison in Between the Lakes will be best fished with nymphs. Aaron's Half Pint, Serendipities and other midge imitations will all take fish. Be sure to get your flies down deep and fish them drag free. Loads of rainbows will be on redds in this stretch soon, if you're fishing here, step with caution.

If you're jonesing for some fishing, but can't go too far from Bozeman, check out the Gallatin. A deep-dredged Rubberlegs paired with a pheasant tail should bring you some healthy early season trout. Wade with caution though. The Gallatin be slippery, and that water be cold.

As always in the spring, please remember that rainbows are spawning in all area rivers, so be sure not to bother any actively spawning fish to make certain that our trout populations continue to thrive.