Winter and Fall are having their usual November exchange in Bozeman for the past few weeks and its looking like Winter is finally taking over. The snow has started to stack up in the high mountains and smaller freestone rivers near Bozeman have started to freeze up. What is an angler to do when the seasons start to change? Go fly fishing of course. Still lots of good fly fishing to be had in Bozeman. The Paradise Valley Spring Creeks will be your best bet from here on out. Winter rod fees are just $40. The top destinations for our anglers coming on their Bozeman fly fishing trips with our guides over the next few months. The Gallatin River is a close second. The Missouri River, Madison River, and Yellowstone River will continue to fish well as long as you can still launch a boat. Nymphing and streamer fishing will be the name of the game from here on out. Dry fly hatches will be limited to midges and a rogue BWO or two. If there bugs are there, go for it, but results will be inconsistent. Nymphing in deeper pools and stripping streamers low and slow will be more reliable. Read on for more.
Madison River Fly Fishing Report
Fly fishing on the Madison River has and will continue to be good until the river gets slushy. Smaller nymphs #18-20 have produced good numbers while larger #8-12 attractors including stoneflies, worms, and large princes/hares ears will turn up the bigger Madison River trout. Great time of year to get out of the boat and wade fish or just leave the boat at home. The Madison River trout have started to stack up in deeper, slower drop-offs in good numbers, and usually where you find one, there are more. Streamer fishing continues to be good with buggers and bunny strip patterns. Still lots of spawning beds out there, tread lightly and be mindful of redds.
Yellowstone River Fly Fishing Report
Good fly fishing on the Yellowstone River through the end of the month as long as the wind plays along. The river is low and cold, so look for trout to be predictably holding in deeper water, well off the edge of the main current. Nymphing with larger attractor nymphs including stoneflies, hares ears, lightning bugs, and prince nymphs, will be your best bet from here on out. A well fished large parachute-style dry fly will get strikes, but there will be some water staring in between. Streamer fishing reports have been decent, larger buggers stripped low and slow on sinking lines will be your best bet.
Missouri River Fly Fishing Report
The main show for float fly fishing right now. The nymphing below Holter Dam continues to be solid. Streamer fishing ok. Sow bugs, firebeads, zebra midges, scuds, Czech nymphs, worms, and lightning bugs will be your best bets from now through mid-March. Winter holding water on the Missouri River is similar to spring, look for slower, deeper drop-offs, inside or below the main current. And set on anything: once things get cold, takes are often subtle.
Paradise Valley Spring Creek
If you are coming on a Bozeman fly fishing trip this winter, count on the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks being your best bet for good fly fishing. Our anglers and Bozeman fly fishing guides are treated to great fly fishing year round on DePuy’s, Armstrong, and Nelson’s Spring Creeks. Winter 2018/19 will be no exception. Good numbers of fish have started to push into DePuys Spring Creek and the nymphing has been excellent. Dry fly fishing has been limited, but localized midge hatches will bring fish to the surface. Great time of year to keep your feet moving, body warm, and explore new water on the creeks if you haven’t walked it all yet. Lots of interesting water out there.
Here’s a secret: want to know where most Bozeman fly fishing guides go on their off days over the winter to fish? The answer isn’t the Keys, or Mexico, or Belize, the Bighorn, the Missouri, or any of the other big name places. They go fish the Gallatin River. Close to home and solid fly fishing as long as it isn’t too slushy. The Gallatin River has and will fish well from Big Sky down through Four Corners all winter long. Nymphing and streamer fishing will be the top producers. No need to get too technical, large attractor nymphs should do the trick. Flows are perfect right now to effectively wade fish long lengths of water. As fun as fly fishing gets.
Yellowstone National Park
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