Gallatin River Lodge Blog

Fall Fishing in Montana

Montana is home to very large Brown Trout. These big fish are often hard to catch and many anglers that fish our waters do not know the best tactics to have success fishing for these brutes. One of the best strategies is to fish during the fall months of September and October. Browns spawn in late fall and are much more aggressive prior to this activity. These big fish are most active late in the day. We fish very large streamer patterns and target areas near reservoirs and lakes where the largest browns spend part of the year. Join us this fall for a chance to catch big Montana Brown Trout!

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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.

July 28 Fly Fishing Report

It's mid-summer, and that means hopper fishing! Hoppers, nocturnal stoneflies, and other small terrestrials that is. We have been doing very well lately with small hopper patterns, as well as, ants and beetles. Fish are also coming up to small trico imitations and mayfly patterns that imitate some larger drakes. Nymphing a small streamer or stonefly followed by beadhead nymph is always an option and can be very productive when fished deep through pools after a riffle. We are all waiting for the next dark days when the streamer bite will really take off again. We had a few of these days during early July when the surrounding mountains received snow which is always great to see here in the summer.

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The rivers have dropped since runoff and are all running clear as of now. There is always a chance for the Yellowstone River to get a little muddy from an afternoon rain shower in the Park, and there is potential for rain all this week. This is not a bad thing, fishing after a plug of mud can be great and seems to recharge the river. Luckily we are close to the Upper Madison tailwater which is not effected by these events.

There are closures around the state but we have been fortunate not to have any restrictions on the Upper Madison or Yellowstone River. These fisheries are usually a couple of the most resilient rivers in the state. We have been getting out early, and with our overnight temperatures being quite cool, we have been starting the day with an extra layer.

The days are getting a little shorter now, about 2 minutes a day, and you can feel that fall is just around the corner. We are all looking forward to fall fishing as the browns get ready for spawn and the leaves start to change. Then, we will see the fish get a bit more aggressive, and it will be one of our favorite hatches of the year, Baetis! 

2016 Summer Fly Fishing Outlook

Our winter provided a good snowpack this year and this spring has been cool and wet. We expect a typical Montana summer with excellent conditions through July and early August. The past few years, we've had cooler weather in August than July, which has kept our river water temperatures in the comfortable range for trout. We've seen improvement in trout populations the past few years, especially on the Madison River. See this recent article on the Madison that appeared in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

IMG 3761Late August through early September is the "hopper fishing" timeframe and angling guests enjoy catching large fish on big hopper patterns on the Gallatin and Yellowstone. Late September and early October offers great angling as our fall mayfly hatches can be very prolific. Streamer fishing for large aggressive Brown Trout improves into October. Give us a call to schedule your fishing trip to southwest Montana!



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