The weather has been up and down as per usual for June in Montana. From bright warm sunshine to chilly afternoon downpour this month has given us good reason to pack some rain gear along with some suncreen. Ken Stock was guiding client John doing some walk wading on the Upper Madison and getting it done. The fishing has been awesome and consistent with rubberlegs and lightning bugs underneath with a few good caddis and stonefly dries.
The Bozeman Angler has been managing a number of private water lakes and reservoirs for the last 9 years. The trout have been eating very well and growing to monster size by now. This is one of the best times of the year to fish them as they are fresh and ravenous after the spring thaw. We had a couple of anglers up there the other day and it looks like the trout are doing just fine if not better than we've ever seen them. Nothing cooler than seeing a ten plus pound rainbow tailwalk across the surface of the water as you wonder if your 1x tippet will hold!
Yes the big bugs are out on the big hole river right now and the fishing has been stellar. Plenty of big pterenarcys adults on the water and fluttering in the willows making more Salmon flies. We really like doing a dry dropper rig with a orange bodied stonefly nymph as a trailer on a 0x leader with 2x to the dropper, really helps turn em over. Found a few dry patterns this year that have worked quite nicely for us those being the Morrish fluttering stone and Quigley's bedhead stone.
Had a two boat trip on the Upper Madison go out yesterday with guides Ken and Travis. They all caught some nice fish and had a blast floating down one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. This nice young lady Brooke enjoyed putting the wood to some big brown trout as Ken so graciously rowed her down river. Both Ken and Travis's boats of anglers did well getting some nice eats on the twisted wire soft hackle nymph. Ken likes this fly a lot but he likes to pull the rubberlegs off them?
Monday we hit the Missouri and caught nice really hot rainbows on baetis nymphs, emergers, and adults and had a blast. Spent most of Tuesday running errands but got away for a few hours in the afternoon to bring the Tenkara rods up to Hyalite creek. Tenkara is an ancient Japanese style of fishing with no reel and a longer soft action rod with the line attached to the end of the rod. So simple and so fun & effective on small streams. I have never had so much fun catching 5 inch fish on dry flies in my life!
Fished the lower Madison yesterday for a few hours after work and found some great trout feeding on sculpins and nymphs. Had a few fish eat caddis and stonefly dries but not a lot of heads coming up in the rainy weather. One thing that i find myself doing every Spring is reorganizing my fishing gear in an effort to make my life easier. This year I decided i was tired of wasting time rigging rods at the boat ramp and sprung for a Rod Mount storage bracket for my truck. Now i can leave up to six different rods fully rigged and ready safely stored in the truck.
Fished some more private lakes yesterday and found some bruiser rainbows and browns happy to eat a stripped leech. Had an awesome callibaetis hatch with some rising trout going after size 14 mayfly duns and emergers. Not a bad way to spend the day and to make things even better we headed over to the Rib n' Chop house in Livingston for the annual dirty water guide bash. Every year the fine folks at the RnC put on a party for guides/outfitters and fly shop employees.
Well yesterday i headed over the hill to see what the Yellowstone looked like and if i had checked the flows before i made the drive i would've seen that it had jumped 1,000cfs the day before. There is a few inches of visibilty but it looks pretty chocolate in color and not a ton of caddis, at least not as much as the Madison right now. So i decided to check out some private lakes. When the rivers get muddy i switch to a lot of stillwater fishing which is always a blast but especially when the lake fish cruise the surface for midges and callibaetis.
Hit up the lower Madison yesterday and was greated by millions of caddis flying around. The fish weren't up on them until late afternoon but from about 4pm-8pm was lights out awesome dry fly fishing. Most fish we found were up near the banks, as were the caddis. Darker colored caddis worked the best but the fish get pretty silly when this hatch gets in full swing and will eat just about anything. Gonna float the Yellowstone today and enjoy the fluttering bugs before things get warm this weekend and start to bring the river up.
There has been some great dry fly activity on our local waters lately with the big brown mayflies. We're talking about march browns and it is a very fun hatch to be a part of after months of fishing size 20 midge and baetis patterns to pitch a size 12 or 14 mayfly at rising trout. Also been some good activity subsurface with brown trout eating streamers and nymphs. With this cooler weather steadily holding back the runoff for now it is a great time to take advantage of some fishing before we start throwing flourescent bugs in the chocolate water.