News

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Spring

In This Newsletter

  • NEW – Yellowstone National Park (YNP) fishing license
  • Fishing report.
  • Update on Montana Fishing license and Mother’s Day Free Fishing
  • New Apparel

YNP Online Fishing License

Finally! All anglers can now purchase their Yellowstone National Park (YNP) fishing permit online. This is welcome news and much overdue. Those anglers whose flights arrive late but they plan on getting an early start the next day can do so now without waiting for a licensing agent to open their doors.

The cost of a fishing license has increased, and this was necessary. Let’s face it! Spending a little more to fish in Yellowstone is well worth it, and this money would be spent on a good cause. The three-day permit’s fee has gone up from $18 to $40, the seven-day permit’s fee has gone up from $25 to $55, and the season’s permit’s fee has been increased from $40 to $75.

The additional revenue from the permit fees will be reinvested into the park’s efforts to strengthen the Yellowstone ecosystem, prevent aquatic invasive species (AIS) and restore native fish habitat. The park invests millions of dollars each year into reducing non-native lake trout in Yellowstone Lake. Substantial progress has been made over the years, and there is a need for continued investment.”  – Yellowstone National Park

YNP opens to fishing on the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend (May 29, 2021) every year, and fishing would be allowed till the first Sunday in November (November 7, 2021).

Click HERE to purchase your 2021 YNP fishing permit online.

Update on Montana Fishing license and Mother’s Day Free Fishing

HB 260
This is the bill that proposed to revise non-resident fishing license fees. It removes the 2-day, $25 fishing license and replaces it with a 1-day, $14 fishing license. This bill also removes the 10-day fishing license and replaces it with a 5-day, $56 fishing license.

This bill got passed in the House in February. In March, it got approved by the Senate Fish and Game Committee and went to the Senate. On the Senate floor, it passed the 2nd reading, but was subsequently sent to the Finance and Claims Committee, where it currently resides.

SB 61

This bill would allow free fishing on the Mother’s Day weekend.

This bill passed and was signed into law by our governor on February 23.

You can now fish for free on both Father’s Day weekend and Mother’s Day weekend. Mother’s Day weekend is May 8th & 9th and Fathers Day weekend is June 19th & 20th.

Fishing Report

Madison River – All boat ramps from Raynolds Bridge to Headwaters State Park except the Ennis Fishing Access Site (FAS) are open. The road into the Ennis boat ramp still had ice on it a couple days ago. Once the ice clears, the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) staff will be able to assess the damage and begin repairs. Hopefully, this will be open and be ready for use by Salmonfly season in late June.

Fishing has been great on the Madison River in the Madison Valley recently, and it will continue to remain so through runoff. We are seeing some healthy Run-up Rainbows making their way into the river from Ennis Lake. These fish are full of energy and chrome in color. We have not seen any spawning redds yet, but the Rainbows should start making their nests soon. Be cautious and use your best judgment while wade fishing in the upcoming weeks.

We are likely to have some great spring hatches in the not-so-distant future. Blue-winged Olives are starting to hatch on overcast days, and the numbers will get better over the next few weeks. We should see some March Browns and Skwallas in the next week or two also. The Mother’s Day Caddis hatch on the lower Madison – Their hatching is expected to start in late April or early May.

We want to remind anglers that the Madison River will continue to fish well during runoff conditions in late May and early June. The water from the Earthquake Lake downriver to about the Palisades FAS will be the best on this front. The water clarity offer 4–8” of visibility, but don’t let that stop you from getting out on the river – mostly a nymph and streamer game during runoff.

Recommended patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly, black and olive – size 8–4
    • Green Machine, chartreuse and pt – size 18–16
    • Lighting Bug, purple – size 16
    • #3 Dip, rust-brown and olive – size 16–14
    • San Juan Worm, red and orange – size 4–2
    • Egg Patterns, orange and pink – size 16
  • Dries
    • Adams – size 18–14
    • Parachute Adams – size 18–14
    • Griffiths Gnat – size 20–18
    • Morgans Midge – size 20-18

 

Missouri River – The Missouri River is in great shape and fishing very well. Rainbows are starting to move into their spawning grounds from their deep, slow winter locations, so use caution when wade fishing. Water temperatures have slowly climbed up a few degrees to 41˚–42˚ for daytime highs, which means Baetis should be on your mind. The nymphing game is still the best technique for catching fish. The human hatch is in full swing as we are experiencing more anglers than normal during this time of year.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Soft Hackle Sow Bug, natural and pink – size 16-14
    • Green Machine, chartreuse & pt – size 18-16
    • Hogans S&M, olive – size 18-16
    • Weight Fly, pink & purple – size 16-14
    • Rainbow warrior – size 18-16
    • Mighty Midge, red– size 20-18
    • San Juan Worm, red, orange & pink – size 6-2
    • Egg Patterns, orange & pink – size 16-14
  • Streamers
    • Kreelex, gold/silver – size 4
    • BH Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Thin Mint – size 10-6

Yellowstone River – The Yellowstone River has been hit or miss, mostly a miss. Stripping streamers are producing some nice Browns but not in quantity. We are entering that time of year when the Yellowstone will fluctuate with water clarity depending on the air temperatures. When we see 2–3+ days in a row when it is 50˚+, the tributaries such as the Shields River will start to push dirty water into the Yellowstone. If the water clarity offers a minimum of 6” of visibility, it will be good to fish here.

Recommended patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly, black and olive – size 8–4
    • Green Machine, chartreuse and pt – size 18–16
    • Lighting Bug, purple – size 16
    • Hunchback March, brown – size 16–14
    • San Juan Worm, red and orange– size 4–2
    • Egg Patterns, orange and pink – size 16
  • Dries
    • Adams – size 18–14
    • Parachute Adams – size 18–14
    • Griffiths Gnat – size 20–18
    • Morgans Midge – size 20–18
    • March Brown Adams – size 16–14
    • AK’s March Brown – size 16–14
  • Streamers
    • Galloup’s Sex Dungeon, white & olive
    • Morrish’s Sculpin, brown or olive – size 4
    • Delekta’s Double Screamer, yellow/brown

New Apparel

We have received a few more Trout On The Fly (TOTF)-branded Simms apparel. You can purchase at our online store by clicking HERE.

SIMMS M’s Bugstopper Solarflex Hoody

  • TOTF Logo on the back
  • Quick-drying, wicking, anti-odor, & UPF 50
  • Insect Shield® for long-lasting, effective, & convenient insect protection
  • Flat-seam construction for maximum comfort
  • Raglan sleeves for ease of movement
  • Hood designed to wear over a cap
  • Machine wash & dry. See garment label for details.

FABRIC TECH: 100% polyester

Insect Shield® repellent apparel provides long-lasting, effective and convenient personal insect protection to help battle insects some of which may carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease. Insect Shield Repellent Apparel has been registered to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges (no-see-ums). The active ingredient in Insect Shield is so tightly bonded to the fabric fibers that it retains effective repellency throughout the lifetime of the product.

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed.  A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through.  This means the fabric will reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure significantly.  All of our UPF finishes last the life of the garment, an industry standard of 30 washings.

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

Montana Winter 2.0

In This Newsletter

  • Snowpack
  • Montana Fishing License Update
  • New SIMMS Apparel
  • Featured Vacation Rental

Snowpack

We finally received the much needed snow storms over the past couple of weeks! Bringing our current snowpack to favorable levels.

2021 Montana Fishing License

If you have a 2020 season Montana fishing license, it is about to expire after February 28th 2021. You can purchase your 2021 Montana fishing license online HERE starting at 5 am mountain time on March 1st.

New for 2021 fishing season from our friends at F.O.A.M.

“HB 260  Revise non-resident fishing license fees.  Representative Seth Berglee (R) HD 58, Joliet.

This bill removes the 2-day $25 fishing license and replaces it with a 1-day, $14 fishing license.  For multiple days, days can be non-consecutive.

This bill also removes the 10-day fishing license and replaces it with a 5-day $56 fishing license.  The 5 days need not be consecutive.

This bill passed the House Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Committee and recently passed a second reading on the House Floor.  The bill is now at the House Appropriations Committee.

SB 61  Allow Free Fishing on Mother’s Day.

Senator Pat Flowers (D) SD 32, Bozeman.

This bill would allow free fishing on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day weekends without obtaining a fishing license.

This bill passed the Senate on 21 Jan 21.  This bill passed through the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee and passed the second reading on the House Floor on February 10th, 2021.”

We will keep you posted on these bills.

Trout On The Fly Apparel

We are starting to receive some much needed SIMMS apparel for the 2021 season! We put our order on hold last spring due to the COVID-19 shutdown and the uncertainty of tourist travel to our state.  We will keep adding inventory as it arrives, so check our online store often. We have a few sale items that are worth looking at for a bargain! FREE shipping on all sale items if you mention you read this newsletter!

Featured Vacation Rental

Unwind at The Noble Bison After a World-Class Trout Fishing Experience

At Trout On The Fly, we specialize in premier guided fly fishing adventures. However, we strive to provide our clients and guests with much more than the opportunity to catch fish. It is our goal to create the type of fishing vacation and experience you’ll remember for a lifetime. That is why in addition to our guided tours, we offer rental properties that bring our guests as close to the action as possible.

Stay in a charming house that is minutes away from the waters you can fish. Like The Noble Bison, our three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Ennis, MT, less than 5 minutes to the Madison River. It’s everything you’d want from a vacation home and more.

Stay and Play — Explore the Waters of Montana

You head out to a spectacular sunrise with the alluring blue sky above. The vivid scene of contrasting bluish water and swaying golden brush takes you to a settled place. As you enjoy the scenery that surrounds you, we lead you to the finest trout location in your area. The crisp air fills your lungs and the anticipation of catching your first trout takes hold.

This only begins to describe an outing with one of our dedicated and experienced guides throughout Montana. Whether you’re a veteran or a new angler, we tailor each trip to meet your specific needs. We want to ensure that you have the best possible experience, which is why we take the time to teach people the skills needed to make the most out of their fly fishing trip.

During my career, I, Nate Stevane, have had the opportunity to work alongside anglers age 8 to 90, beginners to experts. It has been such a rewarding journey and I see the impact that these trips have on individuals, couples, friends, and families. That is why the Trout On The Fly team has created an immersive experience, one that lasts long after we dock and hang up our waders.

We wanted to offer our guests an experience unlike any other, which is why we offer a number of lodging options. Each of our lodging options offer their own unique charm and are close to the water. During your stay with us, explore rivers, lakes, and creeks, all of which are perfect for both wade anglers and drift boat enthusiasts. These waters include:

Learn more about all our waters here. Each of our trips, which are full or half day, allows you to explore various bodies of water, including the enchanting Yellowstone National Park.

After an exciting day out on the water, you can then retreat to the warm and cozy Noble Bison, a modern and chic guest house with rustic accents. It is here where you’ll reflect on the day and plan your next adventure. There is so much to see and do in the area, which is why we have made The Noble Bison such a relaxing place to unwind.

Rest Undisturbed at the Noble Bison Guest House

The Noble Bison will be your home away from home — a place where memories are made both on and off the water. A justification for getting off the “grid” to bond through horseback riding, hiking, hunting, fishing, and much more. Not skimping on modern-day amenities (forced air and heating, smart TVs, luxury vanities, etc.), all these “extras” make you feel comfortable and secure.

Newly constructed in October 2018, you and five others can sleep in a fully stocked home that is within minutes of the notorious Madison River — which is one of the most diverse year-round fisheries in Montana. It is the ideal spot for anglers of all skill levels, as well as those who like to fish dry flies, nymphs, or streamers.

Everything you need to know about the Noble Bison

  • Occupies six people (one king-size bed, one queen-size bed, and two twin beds)
  • Located in a quiet neighborhood, just three blocks from Main St. in Ennis, Montana, and only minutes away from the Madison River.
  • 3 bedrooms, including a master suite + 2 bathrooms.
  • The 2021 nightly rate is $280.00 per night, with a two-night minimum.
  • The 2021 weekly rate is $1,750.00 (savings of $210).
  • Both the Bozeman airport (BZN) and the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park are an hour’s drive away.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you need for cooking and baking (featuring stainless appliances, gas range, granite countertops, hardwood floors, etc.). There is also a separate dining room.
  • The living room is full of character, featuring rough-sawn fir hardwood floors, stone-accented gas fireplace, full-size leather couch, etc.
  • Two-car garage + a private patio, featuring a picnic table and a gas grill. Take in the Madison Mountain Range while preparing dinner for your family.

A Fly Fishing Vacation Rental You’ll Never Forget

Establishing a welcoming base camp is so important — and we take that responsibility seriously. Just like our personalized guided fishing trips, no detail is too big or too small. A lot of time and care has gone into The Noble Bison to ensure that our guests feel at home. We have designed each room with our guests in mind.

We welcome you to check out The Noble Bison, as well as our inclusive packages — including our 3-7 night Madison River Lodge package.

To plan your next memorable trout fishing getaway, here is a list of all the available trip options. I, as well as my team of guides, know our waters as if they were our own backyard. You let us know what you want to do and we’ll create the perfect trip. Each body of water offers its own unique treasures, both in terms of the fish and the surrounding scenery.

We cannot wait to share this beautiful place that we call home and provide you with your own home away from home during your visit.

Our goal is to deliver once-in-a-lifetime vacations. If you have any questions or would like to plan a personalized trip for you or a loved one, please contact us.

Also, be sure to check us out on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!

 

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

Mid-Winter Report

In This Newsletter

  • Lodging options.
  • Fishing report.
  • Snowpack to date.

Lodging Options

Here at Trout On The Fly, we recognize each of our clients’ unique tastes and needs when it comes to lodging, and this article intends to help you make the best decision regarding your lodging options.

When we receive an inquiry about booking a fishing trip, the conversation ultimately leads to lodging. The following questions have been outlined to help you make an informed decision regarding your lodging needs.

  1. What is your budget?
  2. Do you want to cook for yourself?
  3. Do you want to eat out for every meal?
  4. Do you want an all-inclusive experience?
  5. Do you prefer a bed and breakfast?
  6. Would you prefer a vacation house?
  7. Are you more comfortable with a motel/hotel?
  8. Are you traveling in an RV or wish to stay in a tent?
  9. Which location do you prefer?
  10. Do you want to stay by the riverside or in town?
  11. What is the size of your group?

Tent/Rv

Depending on our clients’ reasons for lodging, we recommend sites suitable for their needs. If you are traveling in an RV or a travel trailer, your lodging option would depend on whether you want full hookups or no hookups. Similarly, if you are tent camping, whether you want a location with shower facilities or a primitive site would influence our lodging recommendation for you. Moreover, the location is an important deciding factor; for instance, if you are scheduled to fish in the Madison River near Ennis, MT, we recommend a location close by, NOT near the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. Another critical factor is mobile phone coverage; if you are not in a location with good mobile phone coverage, you and your guide will not be able to contact each other. If you are at a campsite with no mobile coverage, we will make arrangements beforehand when and where to meet your guide.

Hotel/Motel

All the areas we fish are equipped with hotels or motels, located at a reasonable driving distance away from the exact location where we plan to fish. Depending on where you’re fishing with us, we can provide several recommendations.

Hotels and motels are affordable options for single anglers or couples. Although these are not the best options for large groups, sometimes they are the only option. Nevertheless, this is a great option if you plan on eating out for breakfast and dinner every day. Lunch is offered in all our full-day guided fishing trip packages.

Suppose you are scheduled to fish in October for fall run-up rainbows and browns on the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. In that case, instead of staying at a hotel in Bozeman or Ennis, MT, you could choose to stay in West Yellowstone, MT. October is a winter month here in Montana, which means the roads can be terrible on any given day. We don’t want you traveling long distances from October through April to fish with us. On this subject, another thing to consider when renting your car from October through April is to make sure you have an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle. One of my longstanding clients and his son booked a mid-October fishing trip with us; they had two days planned on the Madison River in YNP and two days on the Missouri River jet boat trip. When I picked them up for their first day, they had a rear-wheel-drive two-door convertible Camaro! I was appalled that the rental car company would even rent a car like this in October. And, of course, the weather deteriorated, and the roads turned icy and snow-packed. This made travel much more nerve-racking than it should have been.

Bed & Breakfast

Like the local hotels and motels, B&B’s are a great option for single anglers or couples who wish to enjoy a good breakfast in the morning. When booking bed and breakfasts, one important thing to be considered is how early your guide wants to get you on the water. If the answer is before 7 am, we would recommend against staying at a B&B since you won’t be able to enjoy the scheduled breakfasts at the facility.

As mentioned before, we provide lunch on all our full-day trips. We would make recommendations in the area for restaurants for dinner if you planned on staying at a bed and breakfast.

Vacation House

Renting a vacation house has become quite popular over the past several years due to Airbnb and VRBO. These vacation rentals can accommodate large groups or single anglers. They are located in town with amenities, on rivers or lakes, or in the mountains.

The wonderful thing about a vacation rental is the home-like atmosphere that makes your stay feel personal and inviting. The little things such as being able to hang your wet waders at the end of the day or having a washer and dryer available so you can enjoy time with friends and family instead of wasting time at the laundromat. Vacation houses are great if you want to cook in, eat out, or enjoy a combination of both. Here at Trout On The Fly, we can even arrange for a chef to come in and cater to you and your group while you are out fishing! The chef could talk with you about the meal you prefer—from prime rib to encrusted walleye. This would be a great option if you wish to savor a two-course gourmet dinner, including appetizers, on a budget.

Between our recommendations, Airbnb and VRBO, we are confident that you will find the right vacation house for your needs. Book early to spend your time at the vacation house you desire!

All-inclusive Lodges

Despite the welcoming feel, one might sense through the name that all-inclusive lodges are not for everyone.

The pros are that it is a one-stop-shop option—you show up, and everything from meals to housekeeping is taken care of; you just sit back and enjoy your time with family and friends and let the staff take care of you. However, this option is on the high end when it comes to budget. If it is your first time traveling to a new area, an all-inclusive lodge can give you the peace of mind you always looked for.

The cons of an all-inclusive lodge can sometimes outweigh the pros. Most all-inclusive lodges are highly structured. This means that breakfast is served at a set time, the guides show up at a set time, and appetizers and dinner are at a set time. This does not provide the flexibility which people look for during vacations. So, if you are here for the fishing, this may not be the best option. For example, the best fishing timeslot can be at 6 am in late-June–early July, the all-inclusive lodge may not the best option. Similarly, if you are targeting rising fish at 4:30 pm, just when the appetizers are served—at 4:30 pm—then this may not be the best option for you.

If you are willing to spend thousands of dollars on your Montana fishing vacation, choosing your lodging can be as important as picking your outfitter and guide. Lodgings get booked just as quickly as great fishing guides. Hurry and fish out your lodging of choice!

Fishing Report

Weather conditions have been unseasonably warm lately which has allowed anglers to get out and enjoy some of the open water.

Madison River – Location, location, location! Walk-n-wade fishing between Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake. Wade fishing below Earthquake Lake at Raynolds Bridge, $3 Bridge, Pine Butte, and the West Fork. Wade fish below Ennis Lake are going to be your best options for open water.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black with olive legs – size 8-4
    • Palamino Midge, black – size 18-16
    • Mercury Black Beauty – 20-18
    • #3 Dip, rust-brown, olive – size 16-14
    • San Juan Worm, red and orange– size 4-2
    • Egg Patterns, orange, pink size 16
  • Dries
    • Biot Midge, black – size 20-18
    • Antonio’s Quill Midge – size 20-18
    • Griffiths Gnat – size 20-18
    • Morgans Midge – size 20-18

Missouri River – If you follow our social media pages, you are aware that we could get the jet boat in on Upper Holter Lake so we could fish below Hauser Dam in the Land of Giants on January 16th. We had to break some ice with the boat in the first 100 yards leaving the Gates of the Mountain Marina. The ice was 3/8″ – 1/2″ in thickness. We were the only boats on the river and the lake that day. There were a few wade angles that walked in from below the dam. The fishing was good! The better fishing was located in water that was 4-6’ in-depth and moving about walking speed. For a majority of the bigger fish landed was located where the river meets the lake, stripping a black wooly bugger VERY SLOWLY. The great thing about fishing from our jet boats is that we can fish the same productive water over and over again.

We were able to float the Mighty Mo from Holter Dam to Craig, MT on January 15th in the drift boat. Our fishing was not as productive as the jet boat section of the Missouri on 1/16/21. Like the jet boat section, most of the fish were in deeper, slow-moving water. Once you recognize the structure of water the fish are holding in, you can row past the non-productive water to the holding locations and focus your time there.

Both the drift boat section and the jet boat section of the Missouri River did not produce any consistent rising fish for us to target. If you plan to fish the Missouri this winter, I would make sure you have your midge dry flies with you.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Soft Hackle Sow Bug, natural and pink – size 16-14
    • Firebead Ray Charles, grey, pink & orange – size 16-14
    • Rainbow warrior – size 18-16
    • Mighty Midge, red– size 20-18
    • San Juan Worm, red, orange & pink – size 6-2
    • Egg Patterns, orange & pink – size 16-14
  • Streamers
    • Kreelex, gold/silver – size 4
    • BH Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Thin Mint – size 10-6

Ruby River – Fishing the Ruby in the winter is an excellent option for a few hours during the warmest part of the day from 11-3 pm. The flows are manageable to wade around within the ordinary high water mark without trespassing (click HERE for Montana Stream Access Law). Usually, there is little to no competition out there, and there is a high chance you will fish to rising fish.

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Palamino Midge, black – size 18-16
    • Mercury Black Beauty – 20-18
    • Disco Midge, red – size 20-18
    • San Juan Worm, red and orange– size 4-2
    • Egg Patterns, orange, pink size 16
  • Dries
    • Biot Midge, black – size 20-18
    • Antonio’s Quill Midge – size 20-18
    • Griffiths Gnat – size 20-18
    • Morgans Midge – size 20-18

 Snowpack to Date:

Since our last report on December 16th, the snowpack in the higher elevations has barely moved up. We are not too concerned about these numbers yet. March and April months can bring heavy wet snow to bump our much-needed snowpack up to average amounts.

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

 

2020 Fishing: End of Year Review

In This Newsletter

  • End of year review.
  • Madison River Recreation Plan update.
  • Fishing report.
  • Trade show season.
  • Holiday gift ideas.
  • Fishing with us in 2021.
  • Snowpack to date.

2020 Fishing: End of Year Review 

As 2020 comes to a close, there is no denying that it has been a challenging year — especially for businesses. All of our April and May trips were canceled due to travel restrictions to Montana in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, once our governor, Steve Bollock, lifted travel restrictions to out-of-state tourists, we were up and running once again, eager to fish!

Luckily, we managed to salvage our 2020 season with last-minute bookings. If you were someone who came out and fished with us during this 2020 season, we would like to thank you!

The Salmonfly season started as it should in mid-late June, but an unexpected week-long cold front put the hatch down, which never fully recovered in comparison to what we should have experienced. Since there was a lockdown in April and May, there were heavier crowds than what there typically is during our peak tourist season of June, July, and August. This was because local anglers were unable to work, spending their time on the water. 

As June came to an end, July PMD (Pale Morning Dune) fishing on the Missouri River was great, particularly in the jet boat section known as “Land of Giants.” The rainbows were feisty and fought like a small steelhead making this month both exciting and rewarding for both locals and tourists. 

In late July, August, and into September, hoppers were the primary bug of choice — but compared to hopper fishing in 2018 and 2019, 2020 would be given a B rating. 

For those who love to fish brown trout, we enjoyed an early push of browns in mid-late September out of both Ennis and Hebgen Lakes. The high numbers of fish in Yellowstone National Park on the Madison this early was a pleasant surprise; and with not many anglers out, this yielded an excellent experience for those who visited us during this time. 

Early October was warm and sunny, but fishing for runup rainbows and browns was more challenging than earlier in the season. However, we are always pleased when someone surprises us with a larger than average fish, such as the 28” female brown that returning guest, Ron H., caught on October 4th. His large catch was landed during a half-day float trip from Varney Bridge to Eight Mile Ford on the Madison River. That day, the weather was wonderful — another warm and sunny October morning. Ron hooked her around lunchtime, kickstarting an exciting battle to the net. Ron managed to bring her in using a 4x fluorocarbon on a size-14 silver Lightning Bug. 

Over my 20 years guiding anglers on the Madison River, this is the biggest I have had come to the net. Based on my experience and knowledge, I would confidently bet that this fish came up out of Ennis Lake. Her colors did not indicate full spawning colors, like most of the browns we caught that day. 

Once October 22 rolled around, Mother Nature slammed us with an early cold blast that lasted until October 26th. Temps dropped to the single digits with wind chills well below zero. When temperatures drop this low, the very best tactic is to “truck fish” — jumping from one fishing spot to the next, warming up in the truck between spots. This ensures a more lengthy, productive day. If we committed to launching and fishing from the drift boats with no means of warming up, our day would have likely been cut short. 

Booking for 2021 and Beyond

As we approach 2021, we’re eager to get back out on the water! As always, we recommend booking as early as possible. Booking your trip a year or two in advance is not uncommon. Doing so will ensure you receive the dates you want, the lodging you want, and the guide you want! For your convenience, you can book directly through our website

Deposit & Cancellation Policy on Fishing Trips

  • A 50% deposit is required at the time of reserving your fishing guide. The remaining balance will be due 60 days before your scheduled trip(s)
  • Cancellations made 61 days or more from your scheduled trip will be refunded the full amount.
  • Cancellations made between 60 and 31 days before your scheduled trip will forfeit $100 of the trip amount.’
  • Cancellations made 30 or fewer days before your scheduled trip will forfeit 100% of the trip amount.

Trade Show Season

We were scheduled to attend three trade shows in January, February, and March 2021. Due to COVID, the shows were canceled or we are not optimistic at this time that if the shows were to go that the attendance would be any good. We always enjoy coming to your area and seeing all the great customers we have and meeting new ones. We will all have to catch up on the river here in Montana for 2021!

Madison River Recreation Plan Update

As a member of FOAM (Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana), we wanted to share this important information from their website. This plan will go into effect on Christmas day, 2020.

On November 18th, 2020, the Fish & Wildlife Commission voted to approve a recreation management plan for the Madison River. After FOAM viewed the recommendations from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, they rejected their proposal. Surprisingly, their management recommendations did not highlight many of the areas found in the proposed FOAM plan, nor did they address public comments. FOAM offered alternative options that would help craft a plan that would be suitable to all river users, without having a devastating impact on our industry. 

The Commission was recognized based on their positive involvement, as they took part in one of the most constructive working group meetings seen in respect to the Madison. 

Following this meeting, the Commission adopted the following rules:

New Rule I:

  • Madison River Special Recreational Use Permit (SRP) holders will be assigned a number of trips that they may operate in a season equal to their highest number of historic use of trips in the 2019 or 2020 season (FOAM’s proposed new rule VI in petition).
  • New Rule I will be implemented, January 1, 2022.

New Rule II: 

  • Rest and Rotation will be implemented from June 15 – September 30.
  • On Saturdays, June 15 – September 30, from Raynolds Bridge to Lyons Bridge will be open to noncommercial float fishing and closed to commercial float fishing.
  • On Sundays, June 15 – September 30, Lyons Bridge to Palisades Fishing Access Site will be closed to commercial float fishing.
  • On Sundays, June 15 – September 30, Raynolds Bridge to Lyons Bridge will be open to all float fishing.
  • New Rule II will be implemented June 15, 2023.

New Rule III:

  • Ennis to Ennis Lake, will remain as status quo, allowing boats to be used for access for fishing, but not allowing fishing from a boat.
  • Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge will remain as status quo, allowing boats to be used for access for fishing, but not allowing fishing from a boat from October 1 – June 14.
  • Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge will remain status quo, allowing boats to be used for access for fishing, but not allowing fishing from a boat, Monday – Friday, June 15 to September 30.
  • Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge will be open to fishing from a boat on Saturdays and Sundays, June 15 – September 30.
  • New Rule III will be implemented, June 15, 2023.

Last-minute Gift Ideas

Christmas is nearly here and after a tough year, you’re likely looking to give those extra special people in your life something memorable. If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift, look no further. If you’re looking to buy for an angler, a guided fly fishing trip in Montana with one of our legendary guides would certainly be a gift they’ll never forget. 

You can learn more about me and our amazing guides here

This is the type of gift that won’t end up in a closet or garage, collecting dust for years to come. A guided fishing trip will bring incredible, joyous memories for the rest of the angler’s life! As an angler myself, I can’t think of anything better. 

We offer a range of all-inclusive packages, providing our guests with experiences in a location that can’t be beat. Stay in the Madison River Lodge, situated at the center of the famous Upper Madison 50-mile riffle. What’s even more exciting is that the river bends around the property, allowing anglers to cast a line at their convenience. When anglers aren’t fishing, they can enjoy the views from their walkout patio, which overlooks the river. 

There are options to book for 3 nights, 4 nights, 5 nights, 6 nights, and 7 nights. 

These packages include:

  • Lodging
  • All meals including beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages
  • Guided fishing
  • Equipment use – rod & wader rental
  • All your tackle on guide trips including flies & leaders
  • Private access to the Madison River

Learn more about our packages here. There are also a wide range trip options available, including a half-day float or walk-n-wade, Yellowstone National Park walk-n-wade, and more. 

To make things simple, we offer gift cards. Please contact us for details. 

We also have an online store with Trout On the Fly apparel. Items such as hoodies, SPF shirts, Simms hats, and cotton shirts all make great gifts. Click HERE to start shopping. 

Snowpack to date

When the cold front nailed us in late October, I was sure we were in for a great winter, just like 2019. Following that cold front, it was unseasonably warm here in Bozeman, MT. Now, we’re in the third week of December, and temperatures are leveling out to normal temps. 

Daytime highs in early December were in the ’40s. I had a good friend in Florida text me on December 1st saying it was 32 degrees at his place in Destin, FL. At the same time, here in Bozeman, the outside temperature was the same, and 37 degrees in Billings, Montana. 

Wow! How can this be?

Madison drainage is 69% of normal, Gallatin drainage is 72% of normal, Yellowstone drainage to Billings, MT is 100% of normal.

 

As of December 15th, the daily highs for the 7-day forecast for Bozeman are 32 -39 degrees F.

Fishing Report

We received some much-needed snow the second weekend in December, as temperatures were fairly warm the first nine days of the month. It wasn’t until the 10th that temperatures began to fall to more normal temperatures for December. No need to rush out the door to be the first angler on the river — the waters are quiet. Instead of being an early bird, let the air temperature warm-up. We recommend fishing from 10 am to 3 pm when the day is at its warmest. 

And always, location is everything. 

  • We recommend fishing on the Madison River from Hebgen Dam to Earthquake Lake, below Quake Lake at Raynolds Bridge, Three Dollar Bridge, the West Fork area, and below Ennis Lake
  • When fishing the Gallatin River, stay below Big Sky, MT, down the river around Gallatin Gateway, MT. The Ruby River below Ruby Reservoir. The Missouri River from Holter Dam to Craig, MT, will be best. 
  • If fishing the Bighorn River, we recommend staying in the first 13 miles below the Afterbay to Bighorn FAS (fishing access site). Area spring creeks are also a good option this time of year.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Zebra midge, black and red – size 16-20
    • Rainbow Warrior – size 16-20
    • Tailwater Tiny, olive – size 18-20
    • San Juan Worm, red and orange – size 2-6
    • Egg Patterns, orange– size 20-18
  • Dries 
    • Griffith Gnat – size 18-22
    • Klinkhammer – size 18-22
    • Twisted Midge– size 18-22
  • Streamers
    • Kreelex, gold/silver – size 4
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Sparkle Minnow, olive – size 4
    • Peanut Envy, Olive – size 2
    • Barely Legal, olive/white – size 4

In Closing

2020 has been a tough year for most, but 2021 will be full of new opportunities. Us guides are excited to get out and share these waters with you! There are plenty of fish to catch and memories to make. 

We are optimistic that 2020 is in our rearview mirror, and we are looking forward to 2021. Enjoy your family, friends more now than ever, get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and most importantly, make sure you get out and fish! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us. We hope to see you in 2021!

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

Mid-summer Report

Update on COVID-19 Directive for Montana.

On Wednesday, July 15th, Montana Governor Steve Bullock addressed his Directive on mandatory use of face coverings. To read the full Directive, click HERE.

COVID-19 and guide trips with T.O.T.F.: To limit the amount of time in a confined vehicle with guests, we are asking all guests to follow their guide to the boat ramp finish location. From here, we ask guests to bring and wear a mask in the guide’s vehicle for the short ride upriver to the launch location (approximately 10-minute drive). When you are finished with your trip, your vehicle and the guides vehicle will be at the take out location. On all walk and wade trips, we are asking guests to follow the guide in their vehicle to the locations where they intend to walk-n-wade fish.

Fishing Report

The good news is we have been busy on the water with guests the bad news is we have had no time to sit down and write a fishing report since May 19th.

Fishing has been good and we are not experiencing the crowds on the rivers as we have in past years during peak season. All our rivers and lakes are in great shape and fishing well. The options are endless!

Madison River –  Fishing continues to be good to great on the Madison River from Earthquake Lake to Ennis Lake. We are seeing some Midnight Stones, aka Nocturnal Stones, around Ennis, and fish are eating both the nymph and the adult stages. Start your morning off with a cream or purple Chubby with a silver lighting bug or a $3 dip dropped off the Chubby (Hopper Dropper technique). Around 11 am-noon, convert over to a hopper and ant pattern and enjoy the afternoon fishing on the surface! We are seeing some great fish coming to the net dead drifting a sculpin pattern under a strike indicator; drop a small nymph off the back of your sculpin such as a size 18 green Psycho Prince and hold on! The lower Madison from Ennis Lake to the Headwaters of the Missouri River is experiencing its annual warm waters with the bikini hatch in full swing. We would highly recommend avoiding this section of the river until mid-September when water temps decline to a more suitable temperature for the trout.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black with olive legs – size 8-4
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, olive with brown legs – size 12-8
    • Psycho Prince in green, purple and yellow – size 16-14
    • Prince Albert– size 16-12
    • Lightning Bug, silver– size 14-12
    • $3 Dip, brown – size 16-14
    • BH Serendipity, olive and brown – size 14-12
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
  • Dries
    • Adams & Parachute Adams – size 18-14
    • M’s Hopper, yellow, pink and tan – size 12-8
    • Thunder Thighs, pink, yellow and brown – size 12-8
    • Ant Acid – size 16-14
    • Chubby Chernobyl, cream, purple – size 10-6
  • Streamers
    • Double Screamer, black/olive, and silver – size 4
    • Tips-up, white – size 4
    • Bow River Bugger, olive – size 8-4

Missouri River – Either the jet boat section below Hauser Dam near Beaver Creek or the drift boat section from below Holter Lake is starting to moss up. Don’t let this discourage you from fishing these two sections of the river. These rainbows are feisty, acrobatic, and are putting on a good show. Caddis, PMD, Sow Bugs and Scuds are the nymphs of choice on the Mighty Mo. We are seeing the PMD’s starting to fade out for the season; however, some days surprise us with a mix of PMD’s in with the Trico’s. Crawfish patterns are picking up some nice fish on the dead drift under a strike indicator too. The dry fly game is becoming more challenging where long accurate casts are required to be successful. Some fish are starting to eat terrestrials in the afternoon when it warms up, and every day is getting better with the terrestrial bite – keep trying them!

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Soft Hackle Sow Bug, pink and tan – size 16-12
    • Lighting Bug, pink & purple – size 16-14
    • Firebead Ray Charles, grey, pink & tan – size 16-14
    • Pyscho Prince, green – size 18-16
    • RS2, grey – size 20-18
    • Tung Dart – size 16-14
    • Split-back PMD – size 16-14
  • Dries
    • Parachute Trico – size 18-22
    • Parachute Trico Emerger – size 18-22
    • Trico Sparkle Dun – size 18-22
    • Thunder Thighs, pink, yellow and tan – size 12-8
    • M’s Hopoer, pink yellow and tan – size 12-8
    • Ant Acid – size 16-14
    • Elk Hair Caddis, olive & brown – size 18-14
  • Streamers
    • Kreelex, gold/silver – size 4
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Sparkle Minnow, olive – size 4
    • Zirdle Bug, olive – size 8 (dead drift as a crawfish pattern)

Yellowstone River – The Stone is in great shape with good flows, clarity, and water temperatures! Nocturnal stones and terrestrials are the bugs needed. This is our favorite time of the year to fish on the Yellowstone as big fish are willing to come up and eat a larger dry fly such as a hopper or Midnight Stone. If you must fish a strike indicator set up, we recommend a Pats Stone, Zirdle Bugs, or sculpin pattern on a dead drift. Drop a small Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle off the back of the big bug. This time of year, if we experience a heavy rainstorm in the back-country of the Lamar drainage in Yellowstone National Park; this will wash muddy water into the Yellowstone River and can make it unfishable for a few hours or a couple of days. If you are scheduled to fish with us on the Yellowstone River, and this happens, we will take you to the Madison River as a backup.

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black, olive, tan – size 8-4
    • Zirdle Bug, olive – size 8
    • BH Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle – size 14-12
    • Hares Ear Soft Hackle – size 14-12
  • Dries
    • Thunder Thighs, pink, yellow and tan – size 12-8
    • M’s Hopper, pink, yellow and tan – size 12-8
    • Daves Hopper, Yellow and olive – size 12-8
  • Streamers
    • Copper Zonker – size 8-4
    • Sparkle Minnow, olive – size 8-4
    • Bow River Bugger, olive – size 8-4

Jefferson River – The Jefferson River is starting to fill the pain of low water and high water temperatures due to irrigation and hot summer days. If fishing the Jefferson, we recommend getting on the river early and off early, fish from 6 am to 2 pm. We also recommend fishing higher up on the river where the water temps will be a little cooler, such as Twin Bridge to Silver Star. Terrestrials with a nymph dropper are your best options. Fish a San Juan Worm under a Hopper.

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • San Juan Worm, red or orange– size 8-2
    • Squirmy Worm, red, orange or purple – size 8-2
    • BH Lighting Bug – size 14-12
  • Dries
    • Thunder Thighs, pink, yellow and tan – size 12-8
    • M’s Hopper, pink, yellow and tan – size 12-8
    • Daves Hopper, Yellow and olive – size 12-8
    • Chubby Chernobyl, tan, purple or pink – size 10-6
  • Streamers
    • Double Screamer, black/olive, and silver – size 4
    • Sparkle Minnow, olive – size 8-4
    • Peanut Envy, olive – size 4

Hebgen Lake Hebgen is starting to get good with our annual still water mayfly – Callibeatis. Get on the lake early before the winds decide to pick up. If the winds do pick up, move your location to one of several protected bays on the lake. Start your day fishing under a strike indicator with a black leech and a Callibeatis nymph. Have a dry fly rod ready! Once you start to see fish working the surface, you don’t want to take the time to change your rod. Look for the fish that is feeding more consistently, as you will have a better shot at catching him/her. The fish that feeds more sporadically will be a difficult target. We are seeing some flying ants, spruce moths, and hoppers as well on Hebgen. A great strategy when you have a lot of competition with natural Callibaetis on the water, put on an ant pattern or Hopper on and watch Mr. Fish opt for your fly over a Callibatis!

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • BH Hares Ear, grey – size 16-12
    • Feather Duster Callibaetis – size 16-12
  • Dries
    • Nyman’s DOA Cripple Callibaetis – size 16-12
    • Organza Callibaetis Spinner – size 16-12
    • Thunder Thighs, pink, yellow and tan – size 12-8
    • Ant Acid – size 16-14
    • Elk Hair Caddis, tan size 14
  • Streamers
    • Space Invader, black/olive and Yellow/tan – size 6
    • BH Semi Seal Leech, olive or Black/red – size 10

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is open and fishing well. When fishing the Park this time of year, we always recommend the Northeast corner on the Lamar, Slough Creek, Soda Butte, and Yellowstone Rivers. These rivers will have cooler water temperatures, which is better for the fish. Some of the waters on the west side of the Park have higher water temperatures due to the hot thermal water flowing into rivers like the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison. If fishing these rivers, concentrate your efforts above any thermal features and fish earlier in the day when water temperatures are best. Look for and fish the cooler tributaries to these rivers.

A reminder: All of your guided fishing trips on the Northeast corner of YNP are two-day minimum. This means your guide will meet you at a convenient location for you and the guide. Because of COVID-19, we will have you follow your guide to each location to fish. You and the guide will repeat this on day two of your trip. Any trips on the West side of YNP, we will accommodate single day trips.

Three Anglers In A Boat 

We have been receiving a lot of inquirers about fishing three anglers in a boat. We often frown upon having three anglers in the boat for several reasons.

  1. This becomes a liability. Our drift boats and jet boats have U.S. Coast Guard max weight limit for each vessel. If we exceed this weight limit and have an accident we would be at fault. Yours and the guides safety comes first.
  2.  If we were to allow three anglers in one boat, only two anglers could fish at any given time. This means one angler is not fishing. The best scenario for allowing three anglers in a boat is if it happens to be a mom, dad and a child that is young and needs to be with their parent. We would still observe the max weight limit.
  3. 3 persons or 750 lbs – this includes the weight of the guide.
  4. Most guides are not willing to take on three anglers in their boat. It is back breaking-work, and the boat is not as responsive to get you into position when needed.
  5. Everyone will have a more enjoyable and productive day if we can keep the boat to a max of two anglers for each boat/guide.
  6. If we agree on letting you have three people in the boat (plus the guide) the cost is an additional $200.00 on top of the daily rate.

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

14 Day Self-Quarantine Lifted in Montana

Update on Travel to Montana

We were hit with some good news on May 19th, 2020. Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced phase II of the reopening of Montana starting on June 1st.

  1. The most important for our industry and Montana’s economy is the removal of the 14 day self-quarantine period for people traveling into Montana. For all anglers itching to come out and fish with us, you now can do so without waiting in your place of lodging for 14 days first (starting June 1st)!
  2. Capacities increase to 75% for restaurants, bars, and breweries – when you are visiting; you will be able to dine out and enjoy the local restaurants after a long day on the water with us.
  3. Groups of up to 50 people will be allowed.
  4. Social distancing will still be advised.
  5. Montana entrances into Yellowstone National Park may receive the green light on June 1st to open as well.

While this encouraging for us and our industry, we will continue sanitizing and disinfecting our rental gear, boats, and vehicles before and after each trip to keep you and our guides safe. We will continue to practice social distancing per the CDC guidelines.

At Trout On The Fly, our goal is to make your fishing trip with us as safe and comfortable as possible. We have put in place protocols that will help us protect you and our guides from the spread of COVID-19. You will receive the below question before your trip with us.

 In the last two weeks, have you experienced?

  • Fever > 100.0 F
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Sinus Congestion, Nasal Discharge, or Runny Nose
  • Body Aches
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Ear Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Itchy eyes, eye discharge, or “pink eye”
  • Sick people in your household
  • Exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 individual

If you answer “yes” to one or more of the listed questions, your trip will be canceled or rescheduled unless cleared by your healthcare provider that you do not have COVID-19.

Our pre-trip protocol for cleaning and decontamination of loaner equipment, boats, and vehicles.

 Cleaning/Decontamination type

  • Sanitizing wipes approved for COVID-19, alcohol (70% or greater), or soapy water before each trip.

Frequency

  • Before and after the vehicle has been shuttled
  • After clients have exited the vehicle at day’s end
  • Each time clients change seats in the boat

Vehicle:

  • Keys & fobs
  • Exterior and interior door handles
  • Steering wheel
  • Ignition button
  • Window switches
  • Radio, GPS, and other buttons and dials
  • Seat belts & buckles
  • Air vents
  • Cup holders
  • Grab handles
  • Headrests
  • Seats
  • Seat Pockets

Boats:

  • Seats
  • Cup holder trays
  • Coolers
  • Boat bags and gear that is exposed to guests
  • All interior surfaces

Equipment:

  • Rods and reels
  • Waders and boots

Social Distancing

  • We may ask you to drive/follow your guide to the boat ramp in your vehicle. If you must ride with your guide, we will require each person in the vehicle to wear a face-mask.
  • We may recommend a walk-n-wade trip versus a boat trip.
  • We will do our best to maintain the 6′ distance between each other at all times.

Food and Beverage Handling

All food and beverages will be purchased and packed from a certified restaurant or store.

Please do not share anything with anyone.

Each guide will provide hand sanitizer, and we recommend each person uses it, especially before lunch.

All materials from lunch will be cleaned up as contaminated and package appropriately.

Fishing Report

Fishing on our waters continues to be great! We have had cooler temperatures that have slowed down runoff and allowed rivers like the Yellowstone and Gallatin to clear up enough to be fishable again. On the Madison, and Yellowstone Rivers, crowds are minimal at best since out of state anglers are not willing to self-quarantine for the 14 days before fishing in our state (understandably).

Madison River – The Madison River continues to fish very well from Earthquake Lake downriver near Bozeman. We are still seeing a few Skwalla’s around, and the fish are opportunists if they see one float by.  Baetis (BWO), March Browns, and Caddis are bringing fish to the surface for the dry fly anglers. Nymphing is still the best technique to bring numbers of fish to the net. The streamer bite remains hit or miss.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black with olive legs – size 8-4
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, olive with brown legs – size 12-8
    • Gold rib tan Hares Ear soft hackle – size 14-12
    • BH gold rib tan Hares Ear – size 14-12
    • Lightning Bug, purple – size 18-16
    • $3 Dip, brown – size 16-14
    • PT (pheasant tail) Beadhead Soft Hackle – size 14-12
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
    • Egg patterns – orange – size 18-14
  • Dries
    • Adams & Parachute Adams – size 18-14
    • BWO CDC Thorax Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Elk Hair Caddis, olive and brown – size 16-14
    • Purple Haze – size 16-14
    • Carnage Western March Brown – size 14-12
    • Parachute Hare’s Ear – size 14-12
    • Amy’s Ant, olive – size 14-12
    • Chubby Chernobyl, olive – size 14-12
  • Streamers
    • Peanut Envy, olive – size 4
    • Kreelex fly, silver and copper – size 8-4
    • Tips Up, white – size 4

Missouri River – Either the jet boat section below Hauser Dam near Beaver Creek or the drift boat section from below Holter Lake to the Dearborn River continues to fish very well. Nymphing is the most productive approach for the anglers wanting to catch several fish. A reminder that the Missouri River will have clean, clear fishable water during runoff (late-May early-June). The dry fly bite is hit or miss with BWO’s. Having a “ready rod” available with a dry fly is advantageous if or when you see heads start feeding on the surface. Overcast, low wind days are best for the dry fly angler. The streamer fishing has been more miss than hit lately, but if you keep at it, it will pay dividends on quality!

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Soft Hackle Sow Bug, pink and tan – size 16-12
    • Lighting Bug, pink & purple – size 16-14
    • Tailwater Sow Bug – size 16-14
    • Green Machine, olive or PT (pheasant tail) – size 18-16
    • RS2, olive or grey – size 18-16
    • Transitional Dun, pink – size 16
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
    • Egg patterns – orange & pink – size 18-14
  • Dries
    • Adams & Parachute Adams – size 18-14
    • BWO CDC Thorax Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Sparkle Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Purple Haze – size 16-14
  • Streamers
    • Kreelex, gold/silver – size 4
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Sparkle Minnow, olive – size 4

Yellowstone River – The Yellowstone leveled off from May 2nd until May 17th, which allowed the river to clear up considerably. The Water temperatures also sparked the Caddis to hatch in good numbers with some good dry fly fishing in the late afternoons into the evening hours. This river is very fickle day to day this time of year with the water clarity. If fishing the Yellowstone, we would make a last-minute decision based on water conditions.

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black/olive legs – size 8-4
    • Morsh’s Super Pupa, green – size 16-14
    • KGB Caddis Emerger, olive – size 16-14
    • Deep Sparkle Pupa – size 16-14
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
    • Egg patterns – orange – size 18-14
  • Dries
    • Elk Hair Caddis, olive – size 16-14
    • Snowshoe Caddis, olive – size 16-14
    • Carnage Western March Brown – size 14-12
    • Chubby Chernobyl, olive – size 14-12
  • Streamers
    • Sparkle Minnow, color – JJ Special – size 4
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Morrish Sculpin, light & dark olive – size 8-4

Yellowstone National Park

Great news, Yellowstone National Park has opened through the south and east entrances in Wyoming only. Montana has plans to open its entrances through West Yellowstone, Gardiner, and Cook City on Monday, June 1st. We will keep you posted if the Montana entrances indeed open up on June 1st.  Fishing will be permitted as usually starting on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (May 23rd, 2020). You must purchase a Yellowstone National Park fishing license when fishing in the Park, your Montana or Wyoming state fishing license does not allow you to fish in YNP. Park fishing licenses cannot be purchased online, you must purchase from a licensing agent located in the Park or in a entrance towns such as West Yellowstone, Gardiner, or Cook City.

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

Travel Update to Montana

Update on COVID-19 Directive for Montana.

On Wednesday, April 22nd, Montana Governor Steve Bullock addressed his phase one and two Directives for reopening our state. To read the full Directive, click HERE.

Governor Bullock has lifted our stay at home orders starting on Sunday, April 26th. Beginning April 27th, we will be able to start offering guided fishing trips again. While this is excellent news, this first phase still has restrictions; if you are traveling to Montana from another state, you will need to self-quarantine for 14 days before we will be able to take you out on our waters. If you meet the requirements and are scheduled to fish with us during phase one, we will still need to follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines until we receive updated Directives from Governor Bullock.

Once anglers are able and willing to start traveling to Montana, we recommend contacting the local health department in the county which you will be lodging at before your arrival. Each county may have Directives that may differ from the state of Montana.

  • Madison County (Ennis, Cameron, Big Sky) – Click HERE
  • Gallatin County (Bozeman, Big Sky, West Yellowstone) – Click HERE
  • Park County (Livingston) – Click HERE
  • Lewis & Clark County (Helena) – Click HERE
  • Bighorn County (Fort Smith, Hardin) – Click HERE
  • Cascade County (Great Falls) – Click HERE

We will keep you posted on these topics as they evolve. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more prompt updates.

Fishing Report

We know this report will be painful for many of our readers to read as they sit at home and are unable to join us for some of the years best fishing during the spring. But hang in there. By doing your part will only help all anglers have the opportunity to come out to Montana sooner rather than later.

We experienced some more than welcome springtime temperatures hovering in the high 50’s to low 60s this past week. The beautiful weather started to melt some of our mountain snow, and as a result, some rivers became off-color. The Gallatin, Jefferson, Yellowstone were off-color but fishable during this warm spell. The lower Madison River between Bozeman and Norris Montana had water temperatures that reached 50 degrees, almost warm enough to encourage the Caddis to start hatching. The Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch needs water temperatures to hit that happy 52 degrees to get things started. This hatch is challenging to hit perfectly due to the fact that the warmer air temperatures needed to get the water temps up also triggers snow to melt and creates some dirty water, thus leaving us with a very short window to capitalize on the hatch. To have the best success with this hatch, we recommend fishing from midday until dusk. This allows the water temperature to get up to that happy 52 degrees when the Caddis will start hatching or returning to the river to lay their eggs.

Madison River – Of all the rivers we offer trips on, the Madison has been on fire lately! We are still seeing Skwalla’s, Baetis (BWO), and some March Browns hatching. For best fishing and the opportunity to fish a dry fly we recommend fishing from Raynolds Bridge access down to Ennis Lake in the Madison Valley. The afternoons (once the water temps are up) have been best to see some fish feeding on the surface. Nymphing has been VERY productive until we find rising fish. The streamer bite has been hit or miss.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black with olive legs – size 8-4
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, olive with brown legs – size 12-8
    • Green Machine, olive or PT (pheasant tail) – size 18-16
    • RS2, olive or grey – size 18-16
    • Lightning Bug, purple – size 18-16
    • $3 Dip, brown – size 16-14
    • PT (pheasant tail) Beadhead Soft Hackle – size 14-12
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
    • Egg patterns – orange – size 18-14
  • Dries
    • Adams & Parachute Adams – size 18-14
    • BWO CDC Thorax Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Sparkle Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Purple Haze – size 16-14
    • Carnage Western March Brown – size 14-12
    • Parachute Hare’s Ear – size 14-12
    • Amy’s Ant, olive – size 14-12
    • Chubby Chernobyl, olive – size 14-12
  • Streamers
    • Peanut Envy, olive – size 4
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Morrish Sculpin, light & dark olive – size 8-4

Missouri River – Either the jet boat section below Hauser Dam near Beaver Creek or the drift boat section from below Holter Lake to the Dearborn River have and will continue to fish very well through runoff (late-May, early-June). Mostly a nymphing a game right now. However, we are seeing some fish feeding to Baetis adults on overcast days when the wind is calm. The streamer guys are seeing some quality browns come to the net but not in quantities.

Recommended Patterns

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Soft Hackle Sow Bug, pink and tan – size 16-12
    • Lighting Bug, pink & purple – size 16-14
    • Firebead Ray Charles, grey, pink & tan – size 16-14
    • Green Machine, olive or PT (pheasant tail) – size 18-16
    • RS2, olive or grey – size 18-16
    • Transitional Dun, pink – size 16
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
    • Egg patterns – orange & pink – size 18-14
  • Dries
    • Adams & Parachute Adams – size 18-14
    • BWO CDC Thorax Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Sparkle Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Purple Haze – size 16-14
  • Streamers
    • Kreelex, gold/silver – size 4
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Sparkle Minnow, olive – size 4

Yellowstone River – Leading up to the warmer weather we received last week, the Yellowstone was in great shape and fishing well. The water clarity diminished to 6”-8” by Wednesday, April 22nd. This will still fish during these conditions but mostly a nymph and streamer game with patterns that have some color to them, such as San Juan Worms, Stonefly nymphs, and white streamers. Blue Winged Olives are the fly of choice for the dry fly anglers if you happen upon rising fish. Like the lower Madison River we anticipate seeing some Caddis and March Browns in the next week or two. We would recommend fishing anywhere from Carbellas to Highway 89 fishing access site. Once you float below 89 Bridge you will encounter the Sheilds River pushing some muddy water into the Yellowstone.

  • Nymphs/Emergers
    • Pats Stonefly nymph, black/olive legs – size 8-4
    • Green Machine, olive or PT (pheasant tail) – size 18-16
    • RS2, olive or grey – size 18-16
    • Lightning Bug, purple – size 18-16
    • PT (pheasant tail) Beadhead Soft Hackle – size 14-12
    • San Juan Worms, red & orange – size 6-2
    • Egg patterns – orange – size 18-14
  • Dries
    • Adams & Parachute Adams – size 18-14
    • BWO CDC Thorax Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Sparkle Dun, olive – size 18-14
    • Purple Haze – size 16-14
  • Streamers
    • JJ Special – size 4
    • BH (bead head) Wooly Bugger, black – size 8-4
    • Morrish Sculpin, light & dark olive – size 8-4

Jefferson River – Our favorite time to fish the Jefferson is in the spring before runoff starts. That window of opportunity has faded in the rearview mirror unless we receive multiple days of colder weather to slow the snowmelt, and based on the ten-day forecast, that is highly unlikely. The Jefferson will start to see runoff conditions earlier than the Madison, Gallatin, or Yellowstone Rivers (late-April). The ideal time is late-March through mid-April. Once the river starts dropping and we see 6”-8“ water clarity, then we are ready to get back on this river, this will occur around mid-June.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park always opens to fishing on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Opening day is May 23rd this year. The Park is closed to all visitors, and we have no new information on if or when they will reopen. Hopefully, by May 23rd. We will keep you posted once we receive some information on this. Cross our fingers.

Stay safe and always enjoy the time you have with family!

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

Spring Fishing & COVID-19 in Montana

During this unprecedented time in our world, we would like to take this free time we have to update you on our status here in Montana. As most of you already know, Montana has a relatively small population for the size of our state, 1 million 52 thousand residents in the fourth largest state. However, these numbers do not make us immune to the Coronavirus, but we can all do our part and follow the CDC guidelines to help stop the spread.

On March 26th Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued a statewide stay at home directive that goes into effect at 12:01 am on Saturday, March 28th through Friday, April 10th. Under the directive, people may leave their homes for essential activities, including health and safety reasons, for necessary supplies and services, to take care of others, and for outdoor activity.

“To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing, as defined below, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, including public lands in Montana provided they remain open to recreation. Montanans are discouraged from outdoor recreation activities that pose enhanced risks of injury or could otherwise stress the ability of local first responders to address the COVID-19 emergency (e.g., backcountry skiing in a manner inconsistent with avalanche recommendations or in closed terrain).”

On March 29th social distancing guidelines have been extended through April 30th. Keeping a minimum 6′ distance between you and another person. Avoid crowds of 10 or more people.

On March 30th, Governor Bullock issued a directive for travelers entering Montana to self quarantine for 14 days. Ordered through April 10th.

“The Directive applies both to Montana residents and non-residents entering the state for non-work-related purposes. It requires a self-quarantine for 14 days, or the duration of a non-work trip to Montana—whichever is shorter. The Directive also instructs the Montana Department of Commerce to advise vacation listing and rental sites that they must notify potential out-of-state renters about the quarantine requirement. Health care workers are excluded from the Directive.

Further, the Directive authorizes the Montana National Guard to conduct temperature checks at Montana airports and rail stations and screen for potential exposure history for travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country.”

Guiding anglers is not considered essential, so we will not be taking anglers out through April 10th and most likely through April 30th. We do encourage anglers to get outside and enjoy being on the water so long as we are staying at least six feet away from others while fishing. We believe we should all take it to the next step and fish solo or only with those in your immediate household through April 30th.

In This Newsletter:

Staying Safe on Fishing Trips, Fishing report, Travel Insurance & Snowpack.

Staying Safe on Fishing Trips

Safety is our number one priority for you and us. With that said, all April trips have been canceled. For the month of May, we will keep you informed on any restrictions that will effect your trip(s) with us.  We are cautiously optimistic that the curve will straighten by June, and hopefully we can get back to showing anglers a great time on the water. Given the current circumstances, we want to reassure you that we will follow the necessary guidelines to keep you and our guides safe during your fishing trip while in Montana. Here are a few steps that we are adopting to ensure your safety with us.

  1. All our guides will carry and use hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes often. We ask that you bring sanitizer and disinfectant wipes as well.
  2. Regularly disinfect common areas such as fishing rods, car door handles, and areas of common use in our boats.
  3. To limit extended times in our vehicles near each other in a confined area, we may ask clients to follow their guide to the boat ramp/fishing access sites.
  4. If anglers or our guides have any symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, feeling tired or worn down. We would ask that you stay at home. We will work with you on rescheduling or canceling your trip(s).
  5. We may encourage a walk-n-wade trip versus a float trip to limit the distance near each other.

Fishing Report

Fishing has been good and continues to be good in all our area waters. We are seeing a higher volume of local anglers out fishing for this time of year. This is due to the nicer weather we have been receiving, but also because of all the business closures throughout our state. Naturally, unemployed anglers are taken to the rivers to consume their downtime. Currently, we are seeing no guide trips out on the water since our industry is not considered essential. The trout are mostly hanging in the deeper, slower-moving water (walking speed). We have not had any reports of rainbows sitting in the shallow water on their spawning beds yet, but keep an eye out as these rainbows will soon start making their beds for the spring spawn. Please don’t bother them if you do see them on their beds.

The Gallatin River near Bozeman, MT, is in good shape with good water clarity. Nymphing is the primary game on the Gallatin River using Palomino Midges, Baetis nymphs such as a Hogan’s S&M size 16, stonefly nymphs like a Pats Stone in black with olive legs size 4-6, red San Juan Worms and egg patterns are also catching some fish. We are seeing some fish feeding on adult Midges on the warmer days during midday from 12 to 3, so keep an eye out for rising fish.

The Madison River is fishing very well from Earthquake Lake down towards Bozeman. Most of the boat ramps are accessible now, which allows us to access a majority of the River. Like the Gallatin River, the nymphing game on the Madison River is best with the same patterns as on the Gallatin River. Consider fishing a size 6-8 olive stonefly nymph. This will mimic the Skwalla Stones that we should start to see in the upcoming month of April.

This is a great time of year to be on the Ruby River. Because the flows are lower, it’s easy to navigate without trespassing, which is always a big concern when fishing the Ruby River. There have been fewer anglers fishing the Ruby, and the fishing has been equally as good as the Gallatin and Madison Rivers. Keep your eye out for fish working the surface between one – three o’clock on midges.

The Missouri River in both the jet boat section and the drift boat section is fishing very well. Egg patterns, San Juan worms, Soft hackle Sowbugs, Pink lightning bugs, Disco midge, Hogan’s S&M, Green Machine are all great nymphs to have in your box while on the Mighty Mo.

Travel Insurance

When booking a fishing trip with us, we have and continue to recommend purchasing trip insurance. Trip insurance can cover the cost of your guided fishing trip as well as flights, car rental, lodging and more. Having insurance is important now more than ever. As a partner with Global Rescue we highly recommend them for your travel insurance needs. We recommend looking into your trip insurance before you send us a deposit, or immediately after you have sent us a deposit.

Snowpack

We have solid numbers heading into our spring. It should be another season with plenty of water!

Getting out on the water is a great way to pass the time, all while social distancing yourself from other people. Montana is a large state, and we have plenty of water to fish, there is no reason you should be fishing within 100 yards of another angler. Get outside and enjoy the time you have off while you can. Give your loved ones a hug and stay safe out there.

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

Leap Year Fishing News From the Big Sky State

We want to thank everyone who stopped by our booth at The Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and Edison, New Jersey, this past January. It was great to see a lot of our frequent guests and talk fishing with future guests. At the show in Marlborough, I had John and Paul Bunker helping out in the booth, thank you Bunker brothers for all your hospitality and help, I couldn’t have done it without you! At the show in Edison, NJ, I had Chris Kirkwood in the booth helping me. Chris’s knowledge of travel from the east coast to Montana is invaluable! Chris has put all three of his kids through college at Montana State University in Bozeman, with this came a lot of commuting from New Jersey to Bozeman and back. If you need any information about what east coast hub to fly out of, what airlines to use, and where to rent a car to avoid inflation during peak tourist season – Chirs is your guy. If you need any travel advice, let me know, and I will put you in contact with Chris Kirkwood or John Bunker.

In This Newsletter:

2020 Fishing License, Final Trade Show, Snowpack, and Fishing Report.

Time to Renew Your Annual Fishing License

Because it is a leap year, Montana anglers get one extra day on their 2019 season fishing license, February 29th. Starting on March 1st, 2020, you will need to renew your Montana fishing license. There is one new change that is beneficial to nonresident anglers beginning on Sunday, March 1st. The one-time annual cost of a nonresident Angler AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) Prevention Pass (AISPP) has declined from $15.00 to $7.50! You can purchase your Montana fishing license online HERE.

Owners of motorboats, sailboats, or personal watercraft need to get new, free 2020-2023 validation decals for their watercraft. The current green decals will expire on February 29. You can order these online HERE.

Our Final Trade Show of 2020

The 45th Annual Houston Fishing Show in Houston, Texas March 4-8 at the George R. Brown Convention Center

  • 1001 Avenida De Las Americas (Located in downtown Houston) Exhibit Hall A,
    Houston Texas, 77010
  • Show Times
    • Wednesday March 4th: 12 noon to 9pm
    • Thursday March 5th: 12 noon to 9pm
    • Friday March 6th: 12 noon to 9pm
    • Saturday March 7th: 10am to 7pm
    • Sunday March 8th: 10am to 6pm
  • Our booth number is 544.

Current Snowpack

Snowpack is looking great for all of our rivers!

When booking a trip with us, keep in mind our runoff in southwest Montana is historically mid-May through the first week in June on a ten-year average. However, rivers can get high and off-color earlier or last longer. During runoff, we have plenty of fishable water; sections of the Madison River will fish well, and a majority of the Missouri River will be in good shape. Of these two rivers, the Missouri River will see more angler pressure than the Madison River.

Fishing Report

February started as it should with snow and cold temperatures. However, this final week of this leap year month has daytime temperatures hitting the high 30’s to low 40’s in the Gallatin Valley. These temperatures have anglers trading in their skies for their fly rods, and I can’t seem to blame them! Currently, we have plenty of accessible fishing access sites on our waters that are free of snow. Several boat ramps on the Madison and Missouri Rivers are accessible, which is early for some of the sites. If you plan to float, make sure you can launch your boat at both your access points. Just because you can get your boat in at point “A” doesn’t mean you can get your boat out at point “B.” Wade fishing on both the Gallatin River and Ruby River are in prime shape with easy access, and I highly recommend spending a half-day on either when the daytime temperatures are at their peak, from 11-2.

I was at the Gates of the Mountain Marina last week, where we launch our jet boats for the Land of Giants trip on the Missouri River. They had open water at the boat ramp two weeks ago; however, a cold snap that followed locked it back in with ice. The warm weather forecasted for this week should melt that ice at the boat ramp again and allow us to launch our jet boats on the Missouri River hopefully by the first week of March. The water temperatures are still bitter cold – while out fishing, target the slower deeper moving water. With this week’s favorable temperatures, we will see fish feeding on midges, both the emerger stage and adult. Take caution when approaching the water not to spook any rising fish near the banks. Be careful when wade fishing, there are still ice shelves present (see photo below), and they are slippery. Also, watch for these ice shelves breaking free and washing down the river; they are large enough to take out an angler in the water.

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!

Out With 2019, In With 2020

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! We want to thank everyone who supported us in 2019!

In This Newsletter:

2019 in a nutshell, Madison River scoping update, upcoming trade show schedule , Madison River presentation, snowpack, and fishing report.

A Look Back on 2019

2019 was filled with lots of great people, great fishing, and great memories.

Spring 2019, our first prolific hatch on the Madison River, the Mother’s Day caddis hatch came off, well, on Mother’s Day! We have not seen this for several years. Typically this hatch has been coming off in late April or the first few days in May before Mother’s Day. Fishing the Mothers Day caddis hatch can be frustrating and rewarding. One of the issues with this hatch is that the fish seem to key in on the adult caddis later in the afternoon until dusk when most guide trips are pulling off of the water. Consider a drift boat trip with us where we begin around mid-day and fish up to dark during this hatch.

Our next major hatch on the Madison River was the famous Pteronarcys Californica, aka the salmon fly hatch! Like clockwork, annually this hatch starts in late-June and can extends into the second week of July. In 2019 the fish didn’t seem to be keyed in on the “big bug” throughout this hatch. However, the fish that were eating them on the surface were quality. If you are willing to stick with the big dry fly, you will be rewarded with a quality brown or rainbow trout.

Late July through the middle of September, we experienced one of the best terrestrial seasons in 20 years. Not just on the Madison River, but a majority of our waters!

October was colder than usual, with wind chills hitting sub-zero on multiple days. Our walk and wade trips in Yellowstone National Park on the Madison River was hit or miss. The overcast days produced more trout than the sunny days. The better fishing on the Madison in YNP for these fall run-up trout got good around the 20th of October and stayed good until the last day we could fish in the Park, which is always through the first Sunday in November. The weather was a little too cold to commit to being in the drift boat all day. On those cold October days when we were scheduled to float, or if Yellowstone National Parks roads were closed due to poor road conditions, we would walk and wade fish around Raynolds Bridge, $3 Bridge, Pine Butte, and Lyons Bridge. Using our vehicles to warm up in between fishing spots made those trips possible.

Madison River Update

The public comment period ends at midnight on Monday, January 6th for the Madison River Recreations Scoping Process. If you have not done so already, take the time to voice your thoughts and concerns. The opportunity to comment on this issue could shape the future of public water access in Montana.  To take the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RDWKFXW. In addition to taking the survey, you can submit written comments to madisonrivercom@mt.gov.

Upcoming Trade Shows (2 of 3)

1 of 3)  The Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, MA January 17, 18, & 19 at the Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center.

  • 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough, MA 01752
  • Show Times
    • Friday: 10am – 6pm
    • Saturday: 9am – 5:30pm
    • Sunday: 9am – 4:30pm
  • Our booth number has not been announced. We will announce it on our Facebook page once we know.

I will be giving a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation each day of the show: WHEN & WHERE TO FISH THE MADISON RIVER

  • Talk time and location
    • Friday: 1pm room B
    • Saturday: 1pm room B
    • Sunday: 1pm room B

To purchase tickets for the Marlborough show, click HERE.

2 of 3) The Fly Fishing Show in Edison, NJ January 24, 25, & 26 at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center.

  • 97 Sunfield Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837
  • Show Times
    • Friday: 9am – 6pm
    • Saturday: 8:30am – 6pm
    • Sunday: 9am – 4:30pm
  • Our booth number has not been announced. We will announce it on our Facebook page once we know.

I will be giving a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation each day of the show: WHEN & WHERE TO FISH THE MADISON RIVER

  • Talk time and location
    • Friday: 1pm room B-100
    • Saturday: 1pm room C-75
    • Sunday: 1pm room B-100

To purchase tickets for the Edison Show, click HERE.

Presentation in Stratham, NH – all are invited, its free!

Thanks to our good friends John Bunker and brother Paul Bunker for setting up this event!

I will be giving a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation on When & Where to Fish the Madison River. John Bunker will be giving a brief presentation on Angling in Yellowstone National Park, , and Paul Bunker will provide a brief overview of the Yellowstone Volunteer Fly Fishing Program.  Paul has spent over 200 days in Yellowstone and is working to restart the Volunteer Program in 2020.

Where: Wiggin Memorial Library – 10 Bunker Hill Ave, Stratham, NH 03885

When: Thursday, January 16th, from 6 to 7:15pm.

Current Snowpack

Fishing Report

Unfortunately, we do not have a current fishing report for you. We have been busy in the office getting ready for trade shows and getting ready for the 2020 season. We do know that the warmer weather lately had anglers getting out to wet a line. Take advantage of those warmer days in the winter months.  The best time to fish during our winter season is from 11am to 2pm when the air temperatures are at their peak. This time of year, you should be ready with midge patterns, both larvae, and adults, for when you see heads up feeding. If fishing the Madison River, we recommend fishing near Raynolds Bridge, between Hebgen & Quake Lake, and below Ennis Lake. These sections historically will be accessible and ice-free. Make sure you have plenty of fuel in your vehicle when venturing outside during the winter months, bring spare clothing, extra food, and let family or friends know where you plan to fish.

Thank you for staying connected with us on current conditions, reports, and news!