Bozeman/Butte Recreation Report by Bob Ward’s Sports & Recreation 7.7.17
By angelamontana

Posted: July 7, 2017

Bozeman Fishing:

Run off season is in full swing – stay safe on the water!

Gallatin River: Salmon flies have begun coming off recently, and Golden Stones have begun to hatch.  Fishing adult patterns up top has been effective – throw a dry with a stonefly dropper from the banks for success. If you are in the canyons, drop a Mega Prince during mid-day.

Lower Madison River: Early mornings and evenings are best due to floaters and boaters fishing heavily during the day. Nymph rigs and/or Caddis have been the most consistent; Goldens and PMDs have been reported as well as some salmon flies. Brown Drake hatches have started in the evening but taper off on cloudy and rainy nights.

Upper Madison River: Caddis are being seen all over, with PMD’s and Yellow Sally’s flying around as well. Bigger fish are staying down on nymphs and sipping the surface late in the evening. Zurdle bugs have been used as a dropper effectively underneath any sort of dry.

Yellowstone River: Now fishable, the Yellowstone has low visibility and is dark but can be floated. Work droppers near the banks, and go dark and heavy.

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.

Fly fishing hatches in order of importance are  Damsel Flies, Caddis, callibaetis. Recommended fly fishing leader: 9 Foot Leader, recommended fly fishing tippet: 3X Tippet, the best fly fishing rod: 9′ 5 Weight Fly Rod, the best floating fly line: WF Trout Fly Line.

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.

Clark Fork is looking at about normal levels for this time of year. The Lake is still cold, some fish will still be spawning along the shore. But most fish will be down deep (15-20ft). With these fish you will want to row around and search for schools. When you find them throw Black Buggers, and strip in slowwww! If you do see any dries out go to shallow water and look for cruising trout.

Its cold on there still, fish won’t be on top quite yet, you may find a few but its not great. Just stick to buggers and nymph patterns. The hatch are Scuds, leaches, damsel nymphs, sedge nymphs. Fly patterns are Seal Buggers, damsel nymphs, scuds.

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.

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