Bozeman/Butte Recreation Report by Bob Ward’s Sports and Outdoors 3.17.17
By angelamontana

Posted: March 17, 2017

Gallatin River- The Gallatin has been picking up lately with the warmer weather we have been having as of late. The water has also received a little color. The rainbows are getting active and you  can find fish feeding  in most of the river. The browns have slowly started to respond more and more to streamers. When nymphing  try focusing on the tail out of the runs where current is less dramatic. Stoneflies mayflies and midges have been the fly of choice in this river. Try a pats rubber leg with a shiny dropper below. If using a streamer try swinging it through buckets slow, and get it as low in the column as possible. During calm sunny days some fish can be seen rising for emerges. Try a Griffiths gnat in this scenario.

Flies: Brown pats rubber leg #10-14, zebra midge black/green #16-20, copper john red #12-16 griffiths gnat #14-18 black or olive wooly bugger

Lower Madison river-flows have increased over the past week turning some fish off. Streamers have started picking uyp now cthe aggressive male rainbows are starting to spawn.. For nymphing  try some craw fish and eggs. These have been the go to pattern as of late especially as the rainbows start to spawn.. Stoneflies and midges also have been working effectively. You can still float this section but there are no shuttles running as of yet.

Flies: McCrawdad #6-10, Peach egg #10-12, Pats rubber leg #10-14, zebra midge #16-20

Upper Madison river- This section is still somewhat iced in places, but still fishable while wading. Nymphing has been effective in bringing fish to the net. Try a stonefly with a midge or lightning bug dropper. On less windy days you might try a midge dry or giffiths nat. Valley garden and areas around Ennis have been fishing the most productively. The tsremer bite has picked up and white bright colors are working

Flies: Brow pats rubber leg #10-14, zebra midge black/green #16-20, copper john red #12-16, Griffiths nat #16-20

Yellowstone River-  Getting more and more clear by the day. Wade fishing is going to be the way to approach this river for now because most of the put in’s are still frozen. The rainbows are getting ready for their spawn and the males are beginning to feed heavily. Nymphing is going to be the method of choice when wade fishing. Try a stonefly with a midge or mayfly dropper. This has been the most effective set up. For best results fish the tailout of a riffle where the current slows.

Flies:  Brown pats rubber leg #10-14, zebra midge black/green #16-20, copper john red #12-16

Hyalite reservoir- ice is about 8-10 inches thick. Fishing has been best early in the morning and when the sun goes down. Try jigging a maggot or worm about 10 feet deep or very shallow on the weeds. Grayling may be caught in shallow water in the far back and cutthroat have been fishing well in front on the deeper sections.

Ennis- Ice is about 6-8 inches thick. fishing has been good in the mornings close to the dam but be careful because ice strength can vary closer to a dam. Jigs tipped with maggots and worms seem to do well as well as tip ups with small minnows. Trout generally stick close to the ice so start shallow and work down the water column.

Ponds in town- Bozeman beach has been popular for trout and seems to fish well in the morning. The Bozeman pond fishes well mostly during night hours. A jig with a grub attached will usually pull some fish up. Try a spoon or Swedish pimple for some larger fish.

Holter lake- ice is about 12 inches thick. Fishing has been good for perch on the back end of the lake jigging wax worms on the bottom.



Georgetown is still frozen but watch for thinning as the temperature increases. Flies will work under the ice! Use hot bead scuds and sowbugs, prince nymphs and other small beadheads or leaches.

The Clark is probably your best bet to find fish rising consistently in the winter below Missoula. On warmer afternoons, look to the slicks and inside eddy line for fish up feeding on them.  But the best bet will be to nymph, and perhaps streamer fish. As for what nymphs to use, try a San Juan Worm with a prince to start (or any of your favorite nymphs).

Look for soft seams and back eddies and don’t count out dead water. We’ve noticed some days they want pink bling, other days it’s a brown, black, or tan rubber legs.

Above all exercise caution on the ice.

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