Mark your calendars. The elk and deer special permits are due March 15th. Regulations are on line at fwp.mt.gov.
The Gallatin is producing the best fishing with its clear and lower waters. The fish have been more active this week but cold is here now. Definitely stick to the slower deeper waters to increase your opportunity. The Yellowstone has had a lot of ice which is preventing anglers from getting to the fish. The Upper Madison has been very windy with the warmer weather, if the wind dies down there has been better success. The Lower Madison has been fantastic if the weather is warmer otherwise the slush makes it all but impossible to land anything.
Nymph fishing is still your best bet. Focus on using larger patterns and use smaller midges and nymphs as a dropper. Focus on using Pats stones, Red spot shrimp, bh rainbow Czech nymph, copper bob greens, pheasant tail flashbacks, bh purple prince flashback, and hot head ray charles pink.
Hyalite is best in the late afternoon or evening, the fishing has been dramatically better at those times than earlier in the day. It is best to have your jig and bait a few cranks up from the bottom. Use maggots and powerbaits with glow in the dark jigs.
Bozeman Pond is considered a park and closes at 10pm. That said, the fishing has been good any time. Use pink and chartreuse colored tear drop jigs with maggots or crawlers.
Ice conditions have been questionable in a few locations in SW Montana with warmer temperatures. The ice around the shoreline of the Ruby have been slushy and you’ll find 8 to 10 feet of open water between the shore and ice in other spots. A plank or ladder can be used to bridge the gap as the ice is thick enough to support fishermen once on the ice. Be careful!
Fishing has steadily improved since the last full moon phase. Nightcrawlers, grubs, and maggots are the preferred live baits at the present. Chartruse powerbait imitation maggots have been yielding good results at Georgetown Lake when fished on a chartreuse glo hook.
Despite the warmer temps, die hard ice fishermen are still scoring on Delmo Reservoir, Clark Canyon Reservoir, and the Ruby Reservoir. Vertical jigging Rapalas in rainbow patterns or brown and gold have been productive. Smaller moon jigs when scented or tipped with a maggot also land their fair share.
Fly fishermen are casting whitefish hooks at Dickey Bridge and catching whitefish with the occasional brook trout. Deerlodge has been active on sunny days with fish rising to beadheads and darker streamers. A few browns are being taken on the Jefferson River above Waterloo in open water with fishermen drifting crawlers.
(Report by Ryan Corwin-Bob Ward and Sons)