Bozeman/Butte Recreation Report Bob Ward's Sports and Outdoors

Bozeman/Butte Recreation Report by Bob Ward’s Sports & Outdoors (1.15.16)
By angelamontana

Posted: January 15, 2016


The last season of waterfowl is Jan. 16th-Jan. 20th for the pacific flyway (western Montana). Come in to our hunting department to get set up for the last stretch!

Bozeman Fishing:

Gallatin River

The valley has had slush filling the river on most days. If you can get a couple warm days strung together, you can fish the valley. These couple of warmer days that we have had lately should pick the fishing up in this section. The canyon from Lava creek to the intersection at Big Sky has the most open water. It’s not worth going any further than Big Sky, other than a section from 320 Ranch to the Park boundary, the river is frozen. Guys fishing in the canyon are having success on winter stoneflies. These are small, only about a half inch in length. Caddis and mayfly nymphs have been good droppers as well as worms.

Madison River: Upper

The closer you get to Ennis the more ice you will encounter. Valley Gardens has been almost frozen solid. Going high up on the river is better. In between the lakes has been fishing very good but getting around can be tough. There is about 3 feet of snow along the river. BWO nymphs, soft hackles, caddis nymphs, midge larva and emergers as well as eggs should all be in the fly box. Switch through these while trailing behind a good sized stonefly. The Upper is a very thin river in the winter, search for the holes and deeper runs. More than one fish will be sharing this water. More midge hatches should happen with the coming warm weather. They have been small enough that you may need to use a fly as an indicator, we’re talking size 18 to 22 midges. If you want to try some streamer fishing it’s time to let

Madison River: Lower

Conditions have stayed pretty much the same. We haven’t had enough warm weather to get rid of the ice. From Warm Springs down things are still clogged up with ice. To fish the Lower you will need to head into Beartrap or below the Dam inn Ennis. The Dam has been fishing well with the classic tail water patterns. Scuds, shrimp, Ray Charles and Zebra midges. Small eggs and Mayfly nymphs are working too. During the warmest part of the day fish are just below the surface eating. If you spot some tailing fish, lighten your rig and try some small soft hackles.

Missouri River

This week has been warmer than the last few. The fish have moved into the slower soft water to spend the winter. Look for where seam lines and feeding lanes converge with slow water. When the cold becomes too much you can head back and blast your heater, so keep the car close. Pink Scuds and Sow bugs have been two very hot flies. Some fish are starting to eat midges on the surface. The dry fly fishing will pick up towards the end of February.

Yellowstone River

From Carbella fishing access downstream there is a considerable amount of ice, both shelf and slush. You need to get above Yankee Jim canyon to fish open water. Water temps are cold so streamer fishing is not the best option right now. A nymph rig will be the best option for you at this point in time on the Yellowstone. Run a stonefly with a mayfly or midge behind. Some better sized rainbows are in some swifter current nuzzled up behind obstructions.

Butte Fishing:

Fishing has been good everywhere this week according to local reports. And weather has been very mild this week getting into the low 40’s.

Clark Canyon has been fishing fair for ling near the dam end. Trout have been plentiful on the west end as are the fishermen. Good catches are being taken on the Red Rock end in the river channel. Maggots, grubs, and nightcrawlers are good choices.

The Ruby Reservoir has been excellent fishing this past week. Suspended bait on glow hook has produced the best results. Fishing the bottom is producing suckermeat. Maggots suspended 15 to 20 feet will bring home the trout.

Delmo Reservoir is producing a few fish on nightcrawlers and marshmallows however the fish numbers are down this winter.

Georgetown has been fishing well for trout and kokanee alike. Vertical jigs, glo hooks tipped with maggots, or nightcrawler rigs are producing good catches. Cocktail shrimp works well for the kokanee.

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