The spring creeks are a great winter option. The water that percolates from the springs are always at Montana’s mean annual temperature of 48 degrees which is much warmer than surrounding freestone rivers. This produces a higher metabolism in spring creek fish than trout in other waters and gives anglers a better chance to hook up. The more active nature of spring creek trout in the winter combined with high trout concentrations makes them a top choice in the cold weather months. You can almost always find a rising fish or two if you hunt hard enough that are looking for midges but on most days expect to nymph fish. The slower slots with will concentrate trout but they won’t move far to take flies so expect takes to be subtle. As a rule I always use yarn indicators on spring creeks – generally custom cut to be just big enough to not sink. These indicators allow you to detect very subtle disturbances resulting in more hookups. Fly selection doesn’t have to be very sophisticated this time of year and a scud trailed by your favorite size 22 midge larva should be good enough. Where you fish and your presentation is much more important than changing out lots of flies. Rod fees are just $40 in the winter on the Livingston Creeks.
The Month Ahead:
The report described above will be identical for the duration of the winter.
Long Term Fishing Forecast:
The Livingston creeks will see some extra fish starting in March when rainbows move in from the Yellowstone prior to spawning. Baetis mayflies will also become a target of the trout in mid April.