March 2017 Fly Fishing

Spring is here!  It’s been a fairly cold Montana winter, with a good amount of snow.  It's not over though, and we will continue to get more snow, especially up high, which will continue to build on an already substantial snowpack.  As of now, all of our major river drainages are above average for snowpack levels with the Yellowstone at 128% of average.

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A common question asked from folks is: when does our fishing season start?  The answer is: it's always fishing season!  Rivers in Montana are open all year.  There may be a seasonal closure on some rivers and smaller creeks, but for the most part, the big rivers around here including the Madison, Yellowstone, and Gallatin are open all year to fishing.  We can and do fish all winter, picking and choosing our spots based on the weather and where we find open water.  Those places are usually somewhere where there is a thermal influence that keeps the water ice free such as a Tailwater like the Upper and Lower Madison, or where warmer water from a spring creek joins a river or the spring creek itself.  The spring creeks around Livingston are great year round option.  I have included some photos from a guide trip in February where we fished the Gallatin behind the lodge from our private access.  The fishing was great and we even had fish rising to midges.
-Ryan Eisfeldt, lead guide

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Another question I get asked is, when is the best time to come and fish.  That's a tough one but the answer is whenever you can!  Summer is great and definitely the most popular time for many.  I think that our spring, pre-runoff fishing, is the most underutilized and can be some of the best fishing of the year. As the temperatures rise, the fish become a bit more active. The insect activity also increases in the spring and we start to see our first hatches of mayflies and stoneflies in March.  After a steady diet of midges, the fish are really looking for something different to bulk up after a long winter.  When fishing late in the season, the fish can get a bit educated. This is not the case in the spring after having been left alone for the most part all winter. And, if you are looking to get away from other anglers, this is a great time to possibly have the rivers to yourself. If you haven't fished around here in the spring, give it a try.

Written by : PJ Wirchansky

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