Bozeman/Butte Recreation Report by Bob Ward’s Sports & Outdoors 4.14.17
By angelamontana

Posted: April 14, 2017

Bozeman fishing and recreation:

Gallatin River- the river is slightly high but the water clarity and color is good. Reports of stoneflies eggs and worms have been most common. Fish are still eating midges though so a small mayfly pattern is a good idea. The rainbows have started to move into the riffles and many fish are going to be feeding right along the banks as well. The browns have begun eating streamers more. Try small sizes in natural colors swung very slowly, and throw into the slow pockets stripping slightly faster than the water speed.

Flies: Brown pats rubber leg #10-14 hot head power worm #8, zebra midge black/green #16-20, copper john red/purple/green #12-16 Rainbow Warrior #14/16 Griffiths gnat #14-18 black/olive/red wooly bugger

Lower Madison river- with the rain and the bump in flows at the dam a week ago the water is starting to clear up and the fish are beginning to eat pretty steadily and water clarity should continue to improve.  Worm patterns and crawfish are effective with your dropper fly 14-18 inches below your top fly. Small natural streamers swung slow have been picking up some fish as well. With sunny days around the corner try and stay above cherry creek as that brings in most of the dirty water from runoff.

Flies: Crawdad #6-10, Peach egg #10-12, Pats rubber leg #10-14, hot head power worm#12, zebra midge #16-20 Copper john Green/Red/Purple #14-18

Upper Madison river-  this river has been fishing the best over the3 past few weeks but due to that it has seen a lot of pressure. Many fish are stacked up at the very bottom and very top of the rivers as these are both spawning zones. Try fishing less pressured areas and you’ll see there are just as many fish. Worms and eggs are the go to patterns with stoneflies and small natural streamers coming in second. Most fish on the banks, looking into the faster water.

Flies: Brow pats rubber leg #10-14, zebra midge black/green #16-20, copper john red #12-16, Griffiths gnat #16-20 orange egg #10 san juan worm #8-12

Yellowstone River-  Rains have been consistently hitting the park causing the Yellowstone to dirty up. There is good fishable water along the banks where you are likely to find fish feeding. The water is a brown olive color but most of the back channels are clearer. Focus on eddies and slow seams where fish can be found eating mayflies, stoneflies, worms and sometimes midges on top. The streamer bite is good with big articulated patterns.

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

Butte Fishing:

With the spring weather the spring fishing is really improving. The river is in great shape but there is still ice on the banks and the Town Access and Valley Garden are closed but people have been walking in. Pallisades still has some snow drift issues but that will be cleared up shortly. The rest of the river is game on. We have been doing best with stone fly stuff as well as worms, eggs, and very large copper johns. The fish are still concentrated in the deeper slower water and need the fly right in their face. This means a bunch of lead. Once you find the right combo of bugs and weight you should be good to go all day. The rainbows are starting to get colored up but no spawing activity reported yet. It will happen shortly. Guide trips out daily and new gear arriving each day. Stop in for the best bugs on the Madison.

Fly Patterns

DRIES Para midge 16, Buzz Ball 16, Renegade 16, Para Adams 16

NYMPHS Pats rubber legg in tan, olive or black 8-12, Hurless Stone 8-12, San juan worm red 10, San juan worm pink 10, Lazer Worm Pink 10, Crystal Meth Egg Pink 10, Copper John 8-10,

STREAMERS Buggers Black, sculpzilla 8, shelia 4, Sculpin the one 4,

For spin fishing adventurers, the Missouri River & Canyon Ferry are the places to be now for early season spawners. Bottom bouncer spawn bugs or leach patterns with a blood dot egg are ideal choices.

The Jefferson River’s fishing fair to stripped streamers. Black & yellow are good colors. The Big Hole is running cloudy this week, you might try a few bright colors. Blue Winged Olives or March Browns with a Zebra Midge or Pink Ray Charles. We should see a few hatches appear on warmer days.

The Beaverhead has been fishing fair below Pipe Organ Bridge. Fishing streamers or BWO’s on warmer days are a good bet. Small new bugs on North Eastern end of the Beaverhead are a good choice.

Above all exercise caution on the ice.