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.