Nice fish, Jack!
Cold and wet, but still fishing!
Well, it’s that time of year. Streams and rivers are high and brown. Good thing we have plenty of still water options! Luce, Hogan and Newton lakes are all fishing well.
Jack and Jack endured a morning of cold, wind and rain to catch some bass on their first day of fly fishing. (Dad caught some, too.) The fishing was slow, but these boys hung in there to the very end. My kind of kids!
Streamer fishing is good on area lakes. Black is working best, but olive is also taking fish. Not much insect activity yet, but look for damsel and dragon flies to start hatching as the weather warms. Chironomids are active, so fishing a big midge nymph under an indicator is also a good way to go.
Area streams and rivers are rising fast! Stephanie and Noah from Billings via Houston wade fished Rock Creek with me yesterday. Stephanie hammered this 22 inch rainbow on her first day with a fly rod! Yeah, I said 22 inches. On the tape. From Rock Creek. Stephanie is my hero.
With the start of run-off, fishing our streams and rivers will be challenging to say the least. As you can see from the photo above, Rock Creek was off color and it’s worse today. Fishing in dirty water means stripping or dead drifting something big and black. This fish ate a black wooly bugger.
Stay tuned for lake fishing reports. Just because the streams blow out is no reason not to fish!
Snowing hard. Huge flakes like snowballs. It’s 33 degrees. The flakes are falling straight down. Good news, no wind! We sit in the truck a few minutes, just to see which way things might go. There’s a hint of blue above the clouds. Perfect dry fly day on the Stillwater.
Baetis are back with the cold, wet weather. Look for the hatch about 1:30. We got lucky last Wednesday. The Baetis hatch turned into a March Brown hatch. Wound up the evening with a Caddis hatch. Fish were rising for a good four hours. We did get rained on and snowed on. That was the best part!
Try a #16 BWO parachute, #14 brown parachute (a trailing shuck on it will kill) and a #14 elk hair caddis, black body and light wing. A Hare’s Ear with a soft hackle and the Prince Nymph are winners subsurface.
Nice fish on a cold spring day, George!
Christina’s first trout. On a #16 BWO, no less. Born to fish the dry.
Ate the brown parachute.
Took the BWO.
Perfect spring day for a hatch!
The baetis (BWO) have finally showed up! And so have the March Browns! Double whammy on the Stillwater right now. Nymphing has slowed down and the streamer bite if off (38 degree water on Wednesday). But the dry fly fishing is great in the afternoon. Soft hackles also worked well under the hatch.
Sure sign of spring in Red Lodge!
The Stillwater and Rock Creek are in early spring mode! Rainbows are running up the Stillwater for the spawn. Caught several nice ‘bows around Absarokee today. A couple were definitely Yellowstone fish in spawn color.
Baetis nymphs are starting to darken up before the hatch. The Stillwater is crawling with them! Should have a good hatch this season. They could start hatching soon, judging from the change in color over the last week.
Little black stoneflies. That’s my scientific name for, well… the little black stonefly that comes out on area streams this time of year. There were quite a few out today. Every once in a while, a fish or three would rise, once. Once. Not in the foam lines, out in flat water. I associate that with the stoneflies. There tends to be one here, one there. Hard to dry fly fish that kind of action. Nymphing, on the other hand, can be really good. It was good today. I fished a baetis nymph and some stonefly looking stuff. The stonefly stuff killed it. Try a Montana Prince in size 14. Regular Princes work very well, too.
Streamer fishing has been up and down. Stripping a black and blue wooly bugger worked great last week, not so great this week.
Here’s hoping for March Browns and Caddis in a couple of weeks!
The Yellowstone really gave up it’s treasures this week! A 24 inch brown and a 20 inch rainbow came out to play, both on the same day. We caught the brown nymphing, the rainbow on the streamer AND had a great baetis hatch in the afternoon. Cline and Lewis tagged lots of trout on size 18 dries to close out a fantastic day of fishing.
The Yellowstone, Stillwater, Rock Creek and other area streams are responding well to the cooler weather. We started seeing some of the fall hatches on the Yellowstone last week during the snow and rain. Baetis are already hatching on those cool, cloudy days. The big yellow duns are also starting to make their presence known. On the warm and sunny days, nymphing is the key. The standard girdle bug/prince nymph combo is producing. Don’t forget about a nice dry dropper combo as well. A yellow Madam X with a prince dropper is working well on Rock Creek. As the weather continues to cool down, expect the fishing to heat up!
Still fishing the Yellowstone and lovin’ it! Where else can you go and catch fish on little drys, hoppers, nymphs and streamers? Oh, I forgot. Saw three boats yesterday and one today (Saturday and Sunday). Also destroying trout on the Shoshone with one or two boats per day. You go fish the Horn, I’m doing just fine!
While the closure of the majority of the Yellowstone and it’s tributaries is an unprecedented event, it does not mean the end of fishing as we know it! Rock Creek and the Clark’s Fork remain open. That means we have the only fishable trout water from Gardiner to Billings! Montana Trout Scout will be running walk and wade trips on Rock Creek and the Clark’s Fork. We will be floating the Yellowstone below Laurel, the Shoshone at Cody, and the Big Horn. We have been fishing these waters for over 20 years. All of our readers from the Yellowstone region can rest assured that we are among the most experienced guides on these waters. If your outfitter has cancelled your fishing trip, give us a call! We are still going strong!
Fish are eating the hopper on the Stone! Good action on the hopper from about 11 am right up until the closure at 2pm. FYI, Hoot Owl restrictions apply on the Stone and Stillwater. No fishing from 2 pm till midnight due to high water temps. A double nymph rig is the best bet early. A big stonefly nymph on top with a #14 prince, pheasant tail or other standard freestone attractor below. Best action by far is from 10:30 or so until 2 pm.