Bozeman/Butte Fishing Report by Bob Ward’s Sports & Outdoors 6.29.17
By angelamontana

Posted: June 30, 2017

Bozeman fishing and recreation


Run off season is in full swing. Some decent fishing can still be found, but be safe on the water!

Gallatin River- Salmon flies have begun coming off recently. They have been seen from house rock to big sky. Try going more south of these areas and let the hatch find you. Fishing adult patterns up top has been effective on the banks because of the size of the river.

Lower Madison river- The lower is getting warmer, flows are looking good and water is looking more regular. Nymph rigs have been the most consistent. Zurdle bugs and pmds have been reported as well as some salmon flies. Morning and late afternoon fishing has been more productive than mid day trips. Some drakes and pmds have been coming to the top later in the days as well as some caddis.

Upper Madison river- Salmon flies are out and about but surface feeding is minimal at best. They are moving up river quickly, above palisades by later today. Caddis has been reported in abundance in all shapes and sizes, yellow sallies have been seen too here and there. While there are plenty of adult hatches the subsurface hatches have been much more prolific. Zurdle bugs have been used as a dropper effectively underneath any sort of dry.

Yellowstone River-Still at 12,500 cfs and big. Be careful floating and wading.

Butte Fishing:

All of George Town Lake is now opened with all access points open. Visibility at 60in with clear water conditions.  Fishing is good all day.

Flows have dropped a bit over the week but it’s still running around, 4,500 CFS. Water clarity has been decent at 2+ft & the Big Hole doesn’t typically get as muddy as other rivers in the area, it usually just gets a darker tanic tea color. We’ve had some good reports of streamer fishing in the upper stretches. Big & flashy has been tricking fish which is pretty typical in high water conditions. If you’d like to nymph the trout have been feeding heavily on worms that are washed into the river system so definitely bring some San Juan variations. Big stonefly nymphs & caddis pupa should also produce some fish for you. As of now the dry fly fishing has been pretty poor but if we get some warm weather & the flows hang steady that could change. As always be careful floating this river at these flows, if you’re a novice on the oars stick to the upper stretch.

The dry fly action is finally kicking in on the Clark Fork with various stone flies and mayflies getting a few fish looking up. We suggest starting Double down under an indicator with a hot bead or bling pink worm followed up by a tung prince or double bead stone but when you see bugs in the air or crawling around on the boat try the dry flies or dry dropper rigs.

Look for soft seams and back eddies but don’t count out dead water. We’ve noticed some days they want pink bling, other days its a brown, black, or tan rubber legs. The river is double high for this time of year so side channels and back waters deserve your attention there. Also bows and cuts have sex on their minds about now so concentrate banks below tribs too.

We expect the Clark to get better with the warmer weather especially for the dry action. Watch the flows and and long as they stay stable the river will fish. The Bitterroot continues to be busy so this might be a good option to avoid a bunch of fishers. Conditions are good. River is running high, but steady and reasonably clear.

There are multiple access points all along river. The entire river is in good shape – upper reaches above Missoula and just below Rock Creek or on up near Warm Springs seem to be fishing better than just below Missoula…BUT TAKE NOTE: the south side road below Harpers bridge and above Petty is closed due to a wash out – don’t know when it’ll reopen.