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May 2020 Montana Fly Fishing Forecast

Angler fly fishing on the Gallatin River in Bozeman, MT

May Fly Fishing Overview

A lot has changed in Montana over the last month. The fallout of the coronavirus has completely changed the outlook for small businesses, like our own, for the 2020. With so much uncertainty, at least we have some great fly fishing to look forward to in May in Bozeman, MT and on the Missouri River.

Montana governor Steve Bullock has rolled out a re-opening plan for the state. Phase one starts 4/27 and will allow us to be open for business and guiding fly fishing trips. What will this look like? Different for sure. Near-term we will be running Local Trip Specials from 4/27-5/17. We will be offering these guided fly fishing trips in accordance with the mandated social distancing guidelines, best sanitation practices, and pre-trip screening requirements. These trips will be offered at a significant discount as anglers will be expected to adhere to adjusted trip expectations including providing their own transportation, lunches, and beverages. Not back to normal, but a step in the right direction.

As for the fly fishing in Montana, there are a few things we can count on. In Bozeman, MT the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch is set to kick-off on the Madison River and Yellowstone River as soon as this weekend. Day time temperatures have been on the rise, and with them flows, but we are holding out hope that the bugs will hatch before runoff begins. Flows have spiked on the Jefferson River and Gallatin River, but anglers will still find good fishing on the Madison River and Yellowstone River for the time being.

May marks the beginning of what we consider to be the prime fly fishing season in Montana. Anglers will find great dry fly fishing on a daily basis after the first of May. Between hatches of caddisflies, blue winged olives (BWOs), midges, and march browns, the dry fly fishing in May can be some of the best of the year. The small bugs, BWOs and midges will rule on the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks and the Missouri River through the end of the month. Caddis will be king on the Yellowstone and Madison River. Last year, our anglers and Montana fly fishing guides were treated to thick hatches of March Browns on the Missouri River. Hoping to see more of the same this year.

The third Saturday in May falls on the 23rd this year, and will mark the full kick-off of the Montana fly fishing season. Most small streams will open as will the fly fishing season in Yellowstone National Park. As of 4/24/20 Yellowstone has no official timetable for opening. We are hopeful to be fishing the Firehole, Madison, and Gibbon Rivers as soon as it is safe to.

While our guides had a “false-start” in 2020, our Montana fly fishing guides are all geared up and ready to go as soon as safety and health can be responsibly managed. Anglers interested in booking Montana fly fishing trips are encouraged to contact us today to start planning for summer and fall dates. Many of our anglers with trips scheduled for April, May, and early June have rescheduled for August, September, and October. Fall dates may be in short supply in 2020.

As always, we hope everyone and their loved ones are doing well and staying safe during these uncertain times. Stay safe, be well, and we look forward to seeing you in Montana soon. In the meantime, please contact us today with any questions about trip bookings or just to talk fishing.

Notes From Downstream

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May 2021 Montana Fly Fishing Forecast

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