Montana fly fishing information

A place of fishing wonders near Big Sky: Yellowstone National Park July 20 2014

If you throw a dart, blindfolded, at a map of Yellowstone Park and draw a circle in a five mile radius from wherever it landed, you’ll find some places to wet a line. Extend that radius ten miles and even more places. Come-out ten more miles and there is arguably a lifetime of fishable waters. The Firehole, Slough Creek, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and plenty of smaller creeks and...

The Endless Drift: Summertime is dry fly time June 29 2014

Be ready for  rising trout with these helpful tips   I’ll freely admit my addiction to dry fly fishing. Fly fishing is visual—a reason for its appeal and intrigue. A question often asked of me is “where is your favorite place to fish?” My candid answer is “wherever I am fishing.” And, that is very true. However, being raised in the Gallatin Valley and spending countless hours casting to the...

Big Sky Montana Fly Fishing Guides and Super Sale June 27 2014

Row v. Wade: A very personal decision June 19 2014

It wasn’t until during college did I become a float-fishing fiend. During those years I gravitated to fly fishing our local waters out of a drift boat. You might think the obvious: cover more water and fish it more effectively from a boat. Those reasons make sense, however, my love of float fishing also bloomed the same time I was of legal drinking age—more beer can be carried in a...

Keeping it local: fish closer to home with these options June 13 2014

As a teenager and then college-student, my fishing in late May meant opportunity—the potential to discover an out-of-the-box fishing location. Things never came easy, because the major rivers were blown-out and I never had enough gas money for road trips to Craig or Fort Smith. In those days I had to prioritize my budget: materials for tying rubberleg nymphs, cash for beers and Top Ramen, and just enough spare change...

Bank-Robbing: Your best place to make a trout withdrawl: near bankside structure June 07 2014

The next few weeks are a happy time for most area fly shops. Phones are ringing, summer inventory arrives daily, and folks out-fishing tend to buy more flies than in high-summer. Clarification: folks tend to “lose” more flies! The Gallatin is priming for the salmon fly hatch—the river’s largest aquatic insect and a trout’s time to gorge themselves post-runoff. The salmon fly, aka Pteronarcys californica for those with overly-refined palletes...

What piece of my gear should I improve immediately? June 06 2014

  Cold and wet weather.   Sustained winds. Unrelenting tropical sun. Saltwater. Big fish. These are the kind of conditions that put your wits and gear to the test. But above all else: Clients often ask me: What piece of gear should I improve on before all others? A good rod is essential, and a good line on a serviceable reel is important as well, but my answer may be...

Fishing during runoff: Inevitable but beat-able May 31 2014

Extra-effort and elbow grease a must   It’s going to get messy out there—muddy rivers, high water, and the possibility of limited fishing options.  Yet, this happens every year as the snow we’ve been carving all winter finally comes down in the form of cold, muddy water. Runoff and highwater are essential to healthy trout rivers and this is a big reason we enjoy skiing so much because the more...

Runoff? No problem. The Upper Madison is the place to be May 24 2014

A rare sight existed the other day on the Upper Madison River: a fly shop owner actually fishing for fun. As shops, guides, and outfitters ready their inventory, boats, and guide crews for the summer season personal fishing time is precious—it comes as rare as a Winnebago on 191 in January. But sometimes responsibility and better judgment deserve a backseat and one must go fishing. The sooner duties are put-off,...

One fly for the rest of your angling life May 24 2014

The April of my existence is cause for envy: I’m on the water more than I’m not, guiding anglers whom I’ve been fishing with for more than a decade. The waters on which I spend my time are as varied as the conditions we face each day.From the oh-so-easy consistency of the Bighorn to the scratch-your-head mystery of the Yellowstone, to everyone’s favorite trout river, the Missouri below Holter Dam,...

Madison River reopens May 17th May 24 2014

Every spring the sections of the Upper Madison between Earthquake Lake and McAtee Bridge and Ennis Bridge and Ennis Lake close for a few months to protect vital trout spawning habitat.  Well…it’s about to reopen for the season! Between Quake Lake and Lyons Bridge is extra special due to regulations making it a catch and release only stretch and fishing out of a boat/vessel is prohibited. Expect some company though...

One fly for the rest of your angling life May 17 2014

Is there one fly that could work for now and forever?   The April of my existence is cause for envy: I’m on the water more than I am not guiding anglers whom I’ve been fishing with for more than a decade, if not longer. The waters on which I spend my time is as varied as the conditions in which we face each day. From the oh-so-easy consistency of...

Mother's Day Caddis Hatch May 05 2014

Come and get you some of the Mother's Day caddis hatch again near Bozeman and Big Sky, Montana.    These insects only hatch during a certain timeframe in early May...and the trout love 'em. The Mother’s Day caddis hatch on the Madison, Gallatin, and Yellowstone Rivers can be that of epic proportions bringing to the surface some of the rivers biggest fish. But if the caddis are not full force the willow-lined...

Montana Spring Fishing Predictions May 02 2014

As I stare into my crystal ball I see fish sipping baetis dries and chowing Pat's Rubberlegs in the Gallatin, blanket Grannom (a.k.a. Mother's Day Caddis) hatches on the lower Madison and Yellowstone and consistent and productive days of nymphing on the upper Madison. Bottom line...lots of fishing! The Gallatin will continue to fish very well as long as temperatures remain mild and the rain holds back, which will quickly...

Dry fly time yet? For mayflies and early season stoneflies, it sure is April 14 2014

It’s been a long, snowy winter but dry flies are coming any day   Fly fishing is a pastime in which one gets better with age. But the more you learn, the more you realize how much more there is to learn. That’s one reason I’ve always enjoyed fishing with older, more experienced anglers. Cut to the scene: spring of 1998. I was slimmer, had more hair on my head,...

March Madness: Streamer Junky Alert! March 22 2014

Spring streamer fishing requires adjustments, but the rewards can be worth it Streamer junkies, bugger bandits, Zonker zombies…the nicknames are as clever as the personalities of the anglers fishing them. Even the names of the flies are bodacious: the Wooly Bugger, Home Invader, Sculpzilla, and more. But the angler dedicated to using streamers and baitfish imitations is committed to one thing—finding big trout. Even though we’ve got another month of...

March is here. Fish on! March 02 2014

Getting Ready for Spring Season? As winter is slowly unleashing its grasp on most of us and our thoughts change from skiing to fishing, it is important to take a few moments, gather our wits, and ease into our spring fishing. Here are some tips—some oldies, but some newbies—that will jump-start your angling curve this spring. Make sure you are properly lubed: At least once a season lube all the moving...

We're hiring at our fly shop in Big Sky Montana. February 17 2014

We're looking for an assistant manager and summer shop help. Both postings are below. Store Assistant Manager. Location: Big Sky, Montana. Do you live to fish? Do you want to be part of a dynamic fly fishing business in southwest Montana? Are you excited to work your tail-off during the season? Do you understand fly fishing culture (you know of MoldyChum and Hank Patterson, right?), then we’d love to learn...

Winter Angling in Big Sky is Back February 12 2014

After the painfully cold temps of last week, we are back to normal winter weather. Here's some advice to help! Sleep in a little and wait for the sun to show itself and warm the river up. Normally I would be racing out the door to get on the river, but not in the winter. The coffee has been brewed and I am sitting around thinking about breakfast. I know...

Crash Course in Entomology for fishing Montana's Yellowstone, Madison, Missouri Rivers near Bozeman and Big Sky, Montana February 07 2014

Most anglers need a basic understanding of insects when fly fishing for trout. You do not need to spout out Latin names or describe detailed lifecycles. However, it is important to know the differences between a nymph, an emerger, an adult, a terrestrial, and the various other types of foods trout may eat. A nymph isthe larval or pupa stage of an insect’s life. Nymphs live in a river year-round...

Even in winter...we long for winter fly fishing February 05 2014

Damn it's cold! I am craving for "winter" to come back. What we have now is nothing like winter. Winter means powder days and great fishing from noon to three. But...we'll back there soon, when it does...be ready...To get the best out of your winter fishing, here are some tips. A quality pair of waders and boots. Waders keep you dry and provide a layer of warmth. A pair of boots...

Leader of the Pack: Understanding Leaders and Tippets February 01 2014

Know what to use and when to use and the difference between monofilament and fluorocarbon Montana fly fishing tips and tactics.   As most folks who fish with me will attest, I do not approach fly fishing in an overly-technical. I am not concerned with are the fish eating a size 26 half-emerging-yet-still-larval-crippled-not-so-yet-spent mayflies, but more concerned with is a good drift being attained with your size 18 Parachute Adams....

Fly Fishing Into 2014 January 27 2014

As if you need another list of things you’ll do better…at least this one has to do with fishing   The start of my 2014 started like any other normal day in our house: my wife and I, in our bed, jockeying for position with our nine-year-old Labrador Retriever; the flat light of a slow sunrise over the Gallatin Range; and the thump-thump of our toddler sliding down the stairs...

The Fly Fisher’s Holiday Wish List December 18 2013

What the angler in your life truly wants for the Holidays   The season of gift-giving is upon us. Amongst Christmas Strolls, tree cuttings, office holiday parties, occasional early season powder days, and a few hours here-and-there on the stream, ample time should be committed to finding gifts for the important people in our lives. As fly fishers, we should be thankful gift-giving occurs in winter, because in warmer months...