Sunday, February 19, 2012

Great week of fishing

Sunday afternoon - sun is shining on about four inches of new snow from the storm yesterday afternoon and last night. It's good to see it looking like winter out there for a change. The mountains have been gettting some snow (snowpacks seem to be averaging 70-90% of normal) but we've had very little in town.
As a result, people who would often be focused on skiing are feeling the spring fishing bug creep in a bit earlier than normal. As several of these folks learned this week, the fishing is outstanding right now. More typical winter conditions have set in - it'd colder than it has been but not too cold. Instead of the 40s even 50s, we've seen high temps in high 20s to mid 30s. Warm weather seems nice but it brings wind, big wind. For the most part, in the past week, we've experienced calm conditions - exactly what we want.
Hit both the Madison and Gallatin in the past few days with excellent results in both locales. Still haven't found much in way of surface activity with midges but that will come in the weeks ahead.
So we've been nymphing primarily and while several patterns have worked well - the San Juan Worm and Shrimp Cocktail have been the most productive - no surprise as these are often my two best winter bugs. We've found fish deep, found them in the heads if the runs, really found them everywhere - they have been on the feed from about 11:30 -4:00. And while there are certainly some folks out there, we haven't run into any. Just rainbows and browns - mostly 12-15" with a few larger and a few smaller. Winter fishing is such a novelty - to be out there in a blizzard like yesterday afternoon, to be covered in snow and catching fish to beat the band - it's hysterical - fun. Size, numbers? Who cares. It's about much more than that.
I continue to hear good reports coming from the Missouri and Big Horn as well the Yellowstone when winds are down. Basically, fishing seems to be good most places right now and will likely stay that way until it gets really warm or really cold bring either wind at one extreme or floating ice on the other.
Don't give up on the skiing - it's pretty good and is just getting better. Tell that to everyone you know then head for the river.

Monday, February 6, 2012


30 dregrees at the moment, calm and overcast - absolutely primo conditions for an afternoon on the river. It's been an unusual one to say the least - very little snow in the Bozeman area (though the Yellowstone and Madison snowpacks are looking pretty good) and fairly warm temps. As a result, fishing has been excellent. The Madison, both upper and lower have been good when the wind has been down. I've had some wind myself which simply means nymphing instead of throwing dries though I know there's been some calm days and good midge fishing. Reports coming from the Reynolds Pass area on the upper Madison have been really good.
Really the story is much the same everywhere else - when the wind is down, fishing has been terrific. The Bighorn is experiencing great dry fly fishing with baetis and midges and NO people and I've heard from the Trout Shop in Craig that the streamer fishing below the dam is red hot. I'm sure the nymphing is good up there too - it usually is.
And while I haven't hit the Yellowstone in recent weeks due to the wind which blows down there most days during the winter, I'm sure the midge fishing would be good if you hit the right day. And there's the spring creeks - always a great option this time of year.
If there was ever a winter to fish, this is it. Often times our options are limited due to ice and other obstacles routine with a hard winter. This year however, those obstacles don't exist - at least not so far. Like most folks who live here - I feel that we're still gonna get it - just hope it's not in May and June.
I plan to be on water later this week, my son has the itch and he won't let it drop until we make the trip - most likely to the Madison or Gallatin which suit a 5 yr olds wading ability and patience level well.
Until then, I'll keep restocking the boxes and working on my winter order for Blue Ribbon Flies up in West Yellowstone. Still have Green Drake Emergers, Flav Sparkle Duns, Improved Zelon Midges and a host of others on the list. I cheated today and tied a bunch of PMD cripples, Callibaetis and March Brown Comparaduns for my box.
I'll be checking back in soon.