I made a trout trek to Hyalite lake yesterday. The lake is higher than I have ever seen it. You can launch a boat from the top of the boat ramp. No unforested shoreline is exposed. That’s a full lake.
Hyalite Lake is part of the Bozeman water supply created by a dam built in 1940. The dam was later upgraded and enlarged in 1993. The name comes from a form of clear, glassy opal that is common in the area.
You can catch cutthroat and brook trout in the lake. Grayling are also common in the reservoir and must be released when caught. The brook trout are considered an invasive fish and the daily limit is 20. “Cutties” have a limit of 5 trout per day.
The trout are rising along the shoreline taking tiny midges and small nymphs. Many fly fishermen were catching and releasing trout while sitting on the picnic tables near the pavilion parking lot. Several drift boats were working the shorelines casting small midge larva, callebaetis, and Pheasant tail nymphs. These fish were 6-12 inches.
Since I was looking for some bigger fish for dinner, I hiked up the shore to a point and started fishing. Fly fishing is great fun, but I also enjoy ultra-light spin tackle. Using 2 lb. test line and small 5-foot rods makes fishing fun and challenging. I can also cast jig flies and other flies using a bubble float. My arsenal of gear and bait included corn, worms, and Powerbait. Usually, a small floating Powerbait ball with a tag of worm does the trick. Some days a bobber works well, and a bottom rig is also consistent. Today was a different story. No bites on bait!
My go to spinner is a silver Panther Martin in size 2. The vibrating blade and variety of color and blade styles makes this a keeper. I cast out along the deep shorelines and allowed a 5-count sink before retrieving slowly. Wham, the spinner was the ticket. “Brookies and Cutties” could not resist. I hooked a trout about every 4-5 casts for the next 3 hours.
Brookies and Cutties upward of 18 inches are common in the lake. Many smaller “Dinks” are also fun and anxious to get on your hook. All my pan sized keepers were 12-18 inches on this day. I kept them cold in a hole I dug in a nearby snow bank. The Brookies were beautifully colored and their filets were bright orange.
Hyalite lake was clear and wonderful to fish. A raven, mallard duck, and a deer stopped by to say Howdy. What a way to end the day!
Head to the Hyalite for some peace, quiet, and dinner!
For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.