Hello everyone and welcome back. Apologies for the interruption to our regularly scheduled program - it’s been almost 2 weeks since our last fishing report! Things have been cold, windy, and icy out there. But now it’s March and the promise of spring is on the horizon! The forecast has some high 40s in it and midges are on everyone’s mind.
First, a look at snowpack. We are sitting so much better than we were at this point last year. All of our local waterways are up over 100%, some not by much but still! We’ll take it. This snowy pattern we’ve been in lately has certainly helped a lot. As we said last time, it’s still way too early to make a call on the summer water, however there is cause for hope!
Now onto the important stuff.
Yellowstone River Fly Fishing Report
We’ve been getting more and more people in the shop every week asking how the fishing is here locally. There are actually some options, and if you don’t mind getting blown around a bit in the wind you can have some decent days. Mid-valley remains pretty iced up and we would recommend exercising caution and good judgment when looking at access.
The river below town is more ice-free and has been fishing reasonably well on some of these nicer sunny days. If you feel up for more of a drive, the river above Yankee Jim to Gardiner is also looking pretty darn good right now. Regardless of where you go - if you’re floating be sure to check in advance that both your put in and take out are accessible and ice free. You never know until you check this time of year!
Midges are the primary hatch at the moment, and you can find them midday with the hatch being strongest on warmer, calmer, cloudy days. Not seeing fish eating adults? Tie a pupa on behind something larger like a Perdigon or Rubberlegs and fish the deep, slow stuff. Water temps are still quite cold, so the fish are sluggish. Work the good water well and see what happens!
Madison River Fly Fishing Report
We’ve heard from several reliable people that the Upper Madison from the lake to above 8 Mile is an icy mess. As in, complete lockup. As things warm all this ice is going to be moving around too. Going higher up on the Upper can yield you some open water and good fishing, but be mindful of ice.
The Lower Madison is doing a lot better in regards to ice. The bulk of Bear Trap is open, and it’s basically 100% ice free from Warm Springs to Black’s Ford. There are midges out in the midday, and nymphing can produce some really good fish. For those who want a great half day (or less honestly) float, this is a great choice.
Gallatin River Fly Fishing Report
Things are very icy on the Gallatin River right now in the valley. Lots of jamming and complete coverage on the lower river. The lowest we would recommend is Cameron Bridge, but going up into the canyon will yield more productive fishing. Fish the deep and slow water, and keep an eye out for ice chunks!
The Gallatin River is a great winter fishery, and it just gets better as we move into spring. Look for midges right now. Adults on top in the midday timeframe, and fish pupa all day long. Rubberlegs, Perdigons, big Princes and Hare’s Ears are all good options for a point fly.
Spring Creek Fly Fishing Report
The spring creeks in Paradise Valley are where it’s at if you want a solid day of fishing around here these days. Winter rates are still in effect and things are fishing well. LIke everywhere, midges are the name of the game. Warm, cloudy days are your go to and it’s just going to get better. Mind the wind, bide your time and pick the right day. You’ll be rewarded for it.
Livingston and the Shop
Spring is just a few days away, and town is feeling it. As much as we all love winter, I think most of Livingston is ready for spring. Spring fishing, events and activities will be here soon!
Our shop is starting to get spring merchandise in, and we’ll be putting that out over the next few weeks. We’re in the middle of our End of Winter Sale - save up to 50% on all winter merchandise! There is still at least a month of time to get out and enjoy winter in the mountains, do it with the gear you want.
Tight lines this week!