Stillwater and Yellowstone in Good Shape!

The Stillwater is about perfect for float fishing above Absarokee. Good flow, gin clear water and willing trout. Not much on the dry fly, but a girdle bug or dark bead head dropper was gettin’ it done yesterday. I look for the dry fly action to heat up in the next few days. Below Absarokee, the water is off color but fishable. Wade fishing is difficult. Crossing the river on foot is not an option.

The Yellowstone is more green than brown. Flows are high, but it’s definitely fishable. Fish big stonefly nymphs like the girdle bug, Montana stone, or any big rubber legged nymph under a bobber (sorry, I mean “indicator”) with lead to get it deep in the big holes.

Rock Creek is fishing well, but wade fishing is difficult. Crossing the creek will be very challenging. Try the same flies as listed for the Stillwater.

The west fork of Rock Creek, West Rosebud, East Rosebud and other small streams are clear and fast. Fish the pockets behind rocks and structure, or deep holes. Use a girdle bug with a little split shot, bouncing along the bottom. Keep the rod tip high and a tight line to the fly.

The high mountain lakes are ice free and fishing well on parachute Adams, ants, bead heads under an indicator and streamers.

Low country lakes are getting a bit warm, but fish are being taken on damsel and dragon fly nymphs and adults.

We don’t often get the opportunity to fish area rivers and streams before the first week in July, so get out there and enjoy it!

Craig Beam

Montana Trout Scout

4068553058

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Water Dropping Fast!

The Stillwater and other local streams are dropping fast. Wade fishing is still out, but float fishing is definitely an option. It will be fast and furious. Clarity is good above Absarokee. Good time for a combo white water/fly fishing trip. Try a big stonefly pattern on top with a beadhead dropper right on the bank. (Not two feet out, as close as you can get it!) Another good bet is a stonefly nymph about three feet under an indicator. Fish this rig a couple of feet off the bank.

Try a Jack Cabe, Stimulator and any foam rubber leg in brown or tan for the dry fly. Large half backs, girdle bugs, Montana stones or just a brown wooly bugger will work for the stonefly nymph. Rubber leg Hare’s Ears, and the Montana Prince are good choices for a bead head dropper.

Craig Beam

Montana Trout Scout

406 855 3058

Beautiful spring day on the upper Stilly. Remember this, Moira?

Beautiful spring day on the upper Stilly. Remember this, Moira?

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Montana Bass on the Fly

When the rivers are high, we can still have a great time fly fishing! Here are a couple of nice bass from a secret location near Red Lodge this morning. The bass wanted a big bugger, the trout were all about the beadhead. Duh.

Father and son trips are always fun!

Father and son trips are always fun!

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Lakes and Tailwaters the Best Option

Nice bow are the ant!

Nice bow are the ant!

Browns were cruising the shallows.

Browns were cruising the shallows.

All area streams and rivers are officially blown out. Run off is in full swing. That means fun on the area lakes (and the Bighorn at Ft. Smith). The Horn is running a bit high, but the fishing is good. It’s back to the worm/scud combo with the higher flow. Still quite a bit of moss, but well worth the trip.

The Bighorn at Thermopolis is high and dirty. Rock slides in the canyon from torrential rains last week will continue to have a negative effect for quite a while. If you fish it, bring your best dirty water game: big black buggers, worms (try purple), and dark leech patterns.

The lakes in Wyoming are fishing well on callibaetis imitations, ants, midge larvae and leeches pulled and twitched through the weed beds. Some damsel flies are around, but are not a real factor yet. (Newton Lakes, Luce and Hogan).

The Shoshone is high and dirty in Cody.

Here are a couple of fish taken on Newton today.

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Last Hurrah on the Stillwater?

Well, the Stillwater and other area streams are rising steadily. I floated the Stilly the last three days. Thursday was good, Friday was excellent and Saturday was also very good. Saturday, it rose about 4 inches while I was fishing it. The water was still clear and we even got into a short baetis hatch with some rising fish. A yellow Stimulator with any beadhead dropper killed it. Fish ate the Stimulator sporadically all day, even during the baetis hatch. The river below Absarokee is very dirty, but upstream was still clear Saturday evening. If you fish below Absarokee, use a black streamer or big nymphs, such as the Yuk Bug, Montana Nymph or any dark colored stonefly nymph.

Nancy was a real trooper on a very wet day. It paid off in a big way!

Nancy was a real trooper on a very wet day. It paid off in a big way!

This chunky rainbow wasn't the biggest Scott caught, but it looks like a Big Horn fish!

This chunky rainbow wasn’t the biggest Scott caught, but it sure has some muscle on it!

Only saw three other boats in three days. I love this place!

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Local Rivers Fishable, But For How Long?

The Stillwater, Rock Creek and the Clark’s Fork have all come down and cleared up. The cold nights have slowed snow melt for the time being. We are supposed to remain cold for the foreseeable future. The monkey wrench here is that we are supposed to get substantial snow and rain as well. So, as usual, spring fishing in southern Montana is a mixed bag. Rain means dirty water, which means black streamers and big nymphs. Stoneflies and worms will be the best bet.

Area lakes are fishing well. This will be the most consistent option through June. Look for sporadic mayfly hatches, but streamers and suspended midge larvae will be the most consistent producers. As the weather warms up, look for damsels and dragonfly nymphs to become more active. Try an Adams for your mayfly pattern, bead head blood worms or zebra midges in larger sizes (16 – 12). Most any bead head nymph, especially a red copper John will work on all but the most selective fish. Your midge larvae and nymphs should be suspended under an indicator. When the damsels and dragons become active, small olive or brown wooly buggers stripped in short bursts should produce.

Put on your rain gear and get fishing!

Craig Beam

Montana Trout Scout

4068553058

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Midges on the Big Horn

rps20150212_173913rps20150212_174006_300Early Febuary on the Horn. Nymphs, streamers and dry flies, the trifecta!

Chris Fleck and I had a great time on the Horn last week. Got a nice cabin and stayed the night in comfort. Monday, we caught fish on midge larvae and scuds. Tuesday it was streamers and dry flies in a snowstorm. The temperature dropped to 34, wind started blowing, and fish got on midges on the surface. The takes were very subtle, so you had to really stop and look. Fishing a size 22 paramidge emerger in bad light to sipping fish was a real challenge. You had to tune in to changes in the quantum continuum and just set the hook! Needless to say, more fish were missed or lost after a couple of seconds than were caught, but that’s what keeps us going back for more.

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Calm Before the Storm

In light of the weather forecast, “Major Winter Storm” or “Polar Vortex” or “Snowpocalypse”, I made one last trip over to the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone. The weather was absolutely perfect. Warm, partly cloudy  and NO WIND!! I started off stripping the Grinch with no result. I like the streamer on the Clark’s Fork for big brown trout this time of year, but they were not chasing. Luckily, midges started popping and fish got on them. It wasn’t pandemonium, but there were a few pods rising here and there. I pulled out the four weight and tied on a single parachute midge. The fish were extra spooky. When I stuck one, the rest went down and did not come back. I moved up the river and found more risers. After

Wyoming sunset over the Clark's Fork

Wyoming sunset over the Clark’s Fork

Heart Mountain, winter on the way.

Heart Mountain, winter on the way.

sticking the first fish in each pod, the rest vanished. Walking back downstream, I put on a double nymph rig. The nicest rainbow of the day ate a red midge larvae right below the truck. Great finish to a great fall of fishing!

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Fall on the Yellowstone River

The 'Stone is on fire, both color and fishing!

The ‘Stone is on fire, both color and fishing!

We are having one of the most beautiful fall color seasons I can remember. It’s rare that we get an extended color season with nice weather to boot. And the fishing is AWESOME! The fish are bulking up in anticipation of winter. Both drys and nymphs are getting eaten most of the day. Big mayfly patterns are producing big fish and a #18 – #14 nymph dropped about 30 inches off will double your action. Fish are nosed up in the riffles to get first dibbs on any food coming their way. Don’t miss this. It may be a long time until we get another combo of great fall colors and great fall fishing!

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Rock Creek Fall Dry Fly Fishing

Great day on Rock Creek! Fish were on the caddis until baetis starting hatching mid-afternoon. Several 12-14 inch trout ate a size 16 BWO parachute in the hot afternoon sun. One pushing 16 inches hammered the little dry fly. I haven’t seen fall fishing this good in years. Strong flows and cold water make all the difference. It’s still difficult to cross Rock Creek, which is unheard of this late in the season for at least 15 years. Take advantage of the great fishing on all our area rivers and streams this fall, before the snow flies (again).

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