Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's been a classic spring thus far....snow and wind one minute, vibrant sunshine the next. Took off the river on Weds and the truck thermometer read 77 degrees - the same ramp on the Madison just 24 hours later and the thermometer read 27. The fishing in the past few days has mirrored these rapidly changing conditions. Slow mornings have been followed by amazing afternoons and vice versa. As the Yellowstone blew out in the last warm spell, we have been fishing the Madison above Ennis and generally speaking the fishing has been terrific. Though scattered baetis are around, the best fishing has been with nymphs such as the Olive/Brown McKee's Rubberlegs #8, Sawyer PT #18, SJ Worm #12 and Black Zebra Midge #18. Without question, overcast skies have been the ticket. With the Yellowstone dropping and clearing fast, we're hoping to get back on it tomorrow.

Monday, April 20, 2009

After a brief dose of runoff, the Yellowstone was again fishable today - just a week ago it was dumping snow, today temps neared 70 by the end of the day. Still good baetis and midge activity and I did see a few caddis in the air. Though I can't hazard a guess of when the caddis will really start it's good to see a few around - a sure sign of spring. If the river holds out, we'll try it again tomorrow, if not, we'll simply head to the Madison... which isn't a bad alternative.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Though the weather continues to go back and forth in true spring fashion, fishing has been good. As luck would have it, the nastier days have been the best with snow, drizzle and overcast skies producing good afternoon baetis hatches and the start of some good dry fly fishing. The perfect, comfortable bluebird days, though extremely pleasant, have been the toughest. My thoughts on this are simply that with prolific midge and baetis hatches on the overcast days which are more common at this time of year, the fish are well fed and have little reason to feed in the absence of hatch - often the case under clear skies. Who knows for sure - endless speculation with this sport. Needless to say, the blue winged olives are now underway - a sure sign that spring is here.

Just read in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that there are plans to remove the Ninth Street Bridge on the Yellowstone that was damaged in last year's runoff. They hope to do so before this year's snowmelt takes the structure down on it's own. Selfishly, I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that we'll still be able to use this access point this season.
Grab your fingerless gloves, hat, raincoat and Parachute Adams - now is the time for some of the best fishing of the year.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Well, it was a snow packed week here in Bozeman yet in spite of the weather we did manage to get out on the water 5 days. Fished the Lower Madison 2 days, the Upper Madison, Yellowstone and Depuys Spring Creek. Though fishing was good each day, the fish seemed to prefer the overcast conditions when midge hatches were strongest. Have not seen any blue winged olives yet though I suspect that the next warm spell, predicted for this coming week, should get some hatch activity started. Even in the absence of baetis we have experienced some great dry fly fishing, particularly on the Yellowstone - a #16 H&L Variant seemed to do the trick. Otherwise, nymphing with worms, shrimp cocktails, zebra midges and the Micro Madison Midge from Blue Ribbon Flies produced excellent results.

Interestingly enough, I have not seen much spawning activity from the rainbows yet regardless of location. There are some fish on redds at Depuys but not nearly as many as in years past. It seems that everyting is running just a bit late this year. In your travels, if you see fish on redds let them be - though I'm not aware of any scientific proof that catching fish will harm anything, common sense leads me to believe that it's just not a good idea.

Recent storms have put snowpack levels at or above 100% throughout our region - this bodes well for summer river levels and the fishing season that lies ahead.