Statewide MT Fishing Report Compilation 4.24.24
By angelamontana

Posted: April 25, 2024

Before diving into the fishing report, check out this article that explains the difference between anglers and fishermen.

Please check the fishing regulations before fishing.


Jefferson River Fishing info by Fins and Feathers (April 2024)

Jefferson River Fly Fishing in April

As the icy cover melts away, the Jefferson River, which is fed by springs, wakes up from its slumber.

The Jefferson drains a huge region of Southwest Montana, so the early season water conditions change quickly with upstream moisture and snow melt. Cold water temperatures and fluctuating river flows keep the Montana fish unsettled, making for inconsistent trout fishing throughout the spring.

Jefferson River Hatches in April

With April water temperatures still quite cold, consistent insect activity proves sparse on the Jefferson. Yet observant anglers note intermittent midge clustering, small blue-winged olive, and March Brown mayflies present on warmer afternoons.

April Skwala hatches are sporadic but will provide a few days, each year, of solid early-season dry fly action for anglers floating the Jefferson River

Hell Creek General Recreation Information (April 24, 2024)

Click here:  CLICK HERE for Hell Creek webcam.

Gallatin River Fishing Report via Fins and Feathers (April 18, 2024)

Fly fishing Montana’s Gallatin River is one of the best options throughout the spring season. Being the closest blue-ribbon stream to Bozeman, MT, the Gallatin River offers many Montana anglers year-long fishing opportunities.

The river has increased nearly double over the last few days, this week’s cooler weather should slow the effects of runoff, and the flows will drop, keep your eye on the USGS graphs for optimal angling opportunities.

Fly fishing has been best from Cameron Bridge FAS to Big Sky, MT, and the Canyon stretch provides good protection from windy conditions. Wild Montana fish are most actively feeding mid-day, when the Sun is at its highest points so no need to get up too early. It is a good idea to contact a local Bozeman fly shop for the most current info regarding stream conditions.

Using nymph imitations throughout the Gallatin Canyon towards Big Sky, MT is the most effective method of angling. Anglers are finding success using Montana staples like the Prince Nymph, Pat’s Rubberleg, or Copper Johns. Drive south out of Gallatin Gateway, MT, and look for turnouts that provide easy access to water that is deep and moves slowly, these areas are stacked with wild Rainbow and Brown Trout right now. Be extra careful when wading around these large boulders especially when there is snow. Our Bozeman, MT fly fishing guides have found that purple worm patterns and black stoneflies have been great effective.

Fly fishing with streamers has been decent, especially on low light days. Small olive or black patterns like a McCune’s Sculpin or a Crystal Bugger are getting attention.

Fly fishing Yellowstone Park is closed for the season so make sure you are outside of park boundaries if you head this way. It is always a good idea to stop by fly shops in Bozeman, MT for some info and flies before heading out on the water.

You can get an idea of the water conditions in the Big Sky area by viewing this webcam, hosted by our friends at Montana Whitewater.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Bozeman Fly Supply (April 22, 2024)

Early spring is go time on the Yellowstone but as we warm and get moisture the water has and will continue to pick up color. Streamer fishing can move some really big fish this time of the year so don’t be afraid to go big with a Sluggo, Dragon, Dungeon or a Hum Dinger. Nymph rigs are a consistent way to boat some fish as well, worms, zirdles, hares ears, and flashy euro nymphs are our spring favorites on the Yellowstone. On warmer overcast days watch for bugs and rising fish, this time of the year it will be Baetis and Midges, small parachute patterns and Buzz Balls in the 16-20 range are our go to.

Suggested Fly Patterns

  • Dry Fly

    Parachute Adams (16-20), Purple Haze (16-18), Griffiths Gnat (16-20), Buzz Ball (16-14)

  • Streamer

    Woolly Bugger (4-12), Mini Dungeon Black/ Natural/ White (6), Montana Intruder (4), Sparkle Minnow JJ’s, Silver (4-8), Double Gonga Black/Rainbow (4), Sculpzilla Black/ White/ Natural (4-8)

  • Nymph

    Pat’s Rubber Legs (6-12), Zirdle Bug (6-12), Woolly Bugger Black/ Olive (4-12), Perdigon (14-18), Pheasant Tail (10-18), Jigster Baetis (14-18), Prince Nymph (10-18), BH Hare’s Ear (12-18), Sizzlin’ Hot Spot Squirrel (14-16), Matt’s Shagadelic Mop Tan/ Brown/ Green/ Cheeto (10), Hare’s Ear (14-18), Dirty Bird (12-16)

Georgetown Lake Fishing Report by Blackfoot River Outfitters (April 2024)

The lake is closed from April 1st until the 3rd Saturday of May.

Southwest Montana Fishing Overview by Montana Angler (April 19, 2024)

Spring is finally here in Montana…even with the small dose of winter that just passed. The mountains are still covered with snow, the valleys are greening up, and the trout rivers are coming into pre-runoff mode very nicely. Freestones rivers will have some color on any given day and our tailwaters and spring creeks should remain clear. Streamflows on freestones and tailwaters might fluctuate a little here and there but in general the next few weeks are an exciting, yet under-the-radar time for fly fishing Montana.

Water temperatures are ticking upward and hatches increase in frequency and diversity, trout will follow suit and become more active. Over the course of an angling day a trout may start in a deep, winter holding lie but migrate to a feeding lane or actively pursue hatching insects. This time of year a trout’s behavior is directly related to water temperature and hatches. Frigid cold fronts moving in have ceased for the season and if a cold snap does pass through, it is often short lived. The days are noticeably longer and the hours in a day a trout may actively be feeding often increases each day.

This is also a good time of year for targeting fish with streamers. As trout become more active feeding on more abundant hatches, they can also be more willing to chase baitfish as well. This time of year, fish that are willing to chase baitfish tend to be decent sized as well. Finding these larger fish on streamers requires patience and the willingness to sacrifice quality over quantity.

Anglers need to also be aware of rainbow and cutthroat trout spawning in area streams. For the next few months always be aware of wading on or around redds. Redds may be easily spotted as areas of cleaner/grayer gravel. Fish may or may not be spotted on or near a redd. If you are in doubt if a redd exists, stay clear.


A typical early spring day on a Montana stream or river can feature a smorgasbord of hatches. The most exciting hatch that signals spring is the Blue Winged Olive mayfly. These are prevalent in nearly every trout river in Montana and will hatch when water temperatures rise into the 40s. Blue Winged Olives also are more likely to hatch in rainy or snowy weather which can be common in spring.

Rounding out the list of hatches for early spring includes midges, March Browns, skwala stoneflies, and possibly some early season caddis.

Specific to individual rivers, the Gallatin River near Bozeman and Big Sky has notable hatches of Blue Winged Olives and skwala stoneflies. The tailwater fisheries on the Missouri and Madison Rivers can have exceptional hatches of Blue Winged Olives on a cloudy rainy or snowy day. The Yellowstone River near Livingston and through Paradise Valley will see a variety of hatches including March Browns, Blue Winged Olives, and possibly some early caddis.

Fly Selection

Even with all the talk of prolific hatches right now subsurface nymphing is still the most effective way to fish. Because trout may be feeding on a variety of insects on any given day, for any tandem nymph rig be sure to include one or both of the following patterns:

Pat’s Rubber Leg’s in sizes 8-16

Zirdles in sizes 8-16

Any beadhead rubber legged stonefly pattern in size 8-16

Beadhead PTs in sizes 14-18

Beadhead Hare’s Ear in size 14-18

Beadhead Rainbow Warrior in size 14-18

Any favorite scud, sowbug, or firebead in size 14-20

For dry flies a selection of Parachute patterns will work well for BWOs, including a Parachute Purple Haze in size 14-18 or a Hi-Vis Sprout’s in size 14-18. For March Browns choose similar patterns but bump up in sizes to 10 or 12. You can also try a Brindle Chute or your favorite March Brown pattern. For any early season stoneflies an olive or grey Chubby Chernobyl, Stimulator, or Bugmeister in size 10 or 12 is a good choice. Midges can also hatch right now and size 18 to 20 Paliminos or Griffiths gnats are good choices.

Streamers, whether stripped or dragged through deeper holes, can produce fish. Go with your favorite choice. Or, if you haven’t yet fished a Circus Peanut, Sparkle Minnow, or Sculpzilla, those are all good choices for this time of year.

Reading Water

Because snowmelt runoff has not yet commenced, streamflows often remain relatively consistent. There may be small daily fluctuations, but that doesn’t effect where trout will be found. Trout will migrate on a daily basis to locations in a river or stream based on the most available food source. Before any hatch occurs expect to find trout in deeper runs or holes, awaiting the hatch or feeding on insects that are staging. As a hatch progresses trout may move higher into the water column or towards bankside structure, so be prepared to adjust the depth at which your flies are being presented. If midges or Blue Winged Olives are abundant, hatching adults will collect in slower currents near structure or in slow pools or pockets.

In general focus on slower and deeper water unless a hatch is occurring, then target areas where bugs will collect such as pools and pockets of slower water or along or behind bankside structure.

Cooney State Park Information via FWP (April 24, 2024)

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report by Yellowdog Fly Fishing (April 24, 2024)

Flow Data: Missouri River below Holter Dam near Wolf Creek, MT

The fishing on the Missouri has been excellent. Weather looks pretty good this week too. Midges and BWO’s are hatching in good numbers daily and fish have been willing to eat them on the surface. Fish have been eating midges more than baetis recently. A Peacock Cluster or Griffith’s Gnat will get the job done. A BWO Last chance cripple is tough to beat when targeting fish that are keyed in on BWO’s. Nymphing has been great. Scuds, sowbugs, and midges are the aquatic bug imitations to use throughout the spring. Tailwater Sowbugs, Pill Poppers, Manhattan Midges, and Amex are a few of our favorite Spring Missouri Nymphs. A worm in wine or red will also trick MO fish this time of the year. If the tailwater classics are not getting it done, switch over to a BWO nymph or a Caddis. Swinging can be a good option all winter long with small buggers or streamers. The streamer fishing has been picking up as well. Kreelex, Sparkle Minnows and Skiddish Smolts produce well in the Spring. Keep an eye out for, and try to avoid spawning trout and their redds.

Chancy and Dave’s Fish Camp Fishing Report (April 17, 2024)

🎣🎣 Chancy and Dave’s Fishing Report 🎣🎣
🔹 Rodgers lake- good grayling, action, try small jigs under a bobber or small black flies. Spinners work well also in dark colors.
🔹 Echo Lake- bass hitting swim bats 12 to 15 feet of water, also up shallow water. Temps are mid 50s already.
🔹 Flathead Lake- (East bay)- good perch action on the tail end of spawn, but still some fish hitting.
🔹 Swan Lake- good numbers of pike on dead bait or casting big jerk baits.
🔹 Mcgregor Lake- rainbows hitting trolling plugs, along shore, also a few lake trout.
🔹 Loon Lake- (Bigfork) good trout action on flies, also power bait off shore.
🔹 Koocanusa- good trout action, trolling flies or plugs behind planter boards. Try Rexford area or Libby dam end.
🔹 Blanchard – few bass and crappie.
🔹Smith Lake- good numbers of pike using dead bait.
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Flathead Valley Fishing Report by Snappy’s Sport Senter (April 11, 2024)

  • Flathead Lake – The mud line is pushing out. Try trolling Rapala Scatter Raps paired with Spin Doctor flashers in 20′-40′. You can also try jigging deep at 160-200ft using tubes and hair jigs.
  • East Bay (Flathead Lake) – The Perch bite is still going strong! Use Gitzit jigs or beetle spins in shallow water to get those fish.
  • Lake Koocanusa – Trolling flies and plugs off planer boards have been producing good rainbows. Also, a good bull trout bite using flatfish around points in 30′-50′. (Be sure to have your catch card)
  • Church Slough – Open to boating now. Try rolling weedless spoons around structure to get a nibble. Hearing that stripping flies have been picking up a few fish as well.
  • McGregor Lake – Rainbow fishing has been steady. Try using shallow cranks in craw patterns or flies offshore for best results.
  • Thompson River – Good river flows have browns and rainbows biting. Use some golden stones and Ray Charles flies for bites.
  • Flathead River – Flowing near 6000 cfs and slightly green. There has been some good fishing from a drift boat using nymphs.
  • Swan Lake – Good lake trout bite in 40′-60′. Try using white tubes and cutbait deadsticking along with slow jigging to encourage that bite.

Jefferson River Fishing Report by Fins and Feathers (April 18, 2024)

The Jefferson River in Montana is a beautiful, Cottonwood-lined stream that is often overlooked due to lower fish populations. Only a half hour from Bozeman, MT, and home to some of the larger trout in the area, this river has certain windows through the year where the angling can be good, typically spring and fall. The Jefferson River is a good option during the spring as long as it isn’t too dirty.

The river is a bit off-color currently but should clear up throughout the cooler weather this week.

It is pretty typical to only hook into a handful of trout on the Jefferson and anglers can normally expect it to be pretty tough as the river is deep and the fish can be spread out. The fish here hold deep and become lethargic, not moving far for their food. When the weather warms, you can find some decent fishing, it is normally due to being in the right place at the right time. The Lewis & Clark Canyon near Cardwell, MT, provides some of the better fishing with the Boulder and South Boulder rivers entering on this stretch. If you are in the area, it is worth fly fishing with nymphs or streamers. Effective patterns include San Juan worms, Zebra Midge Larvae, and Zirdles, fished under an indicator.

The river is open of ice and slush at the moment but is a bit off-color from all of the low-elevation snow melting. Look at some of our other Montana Fishing Reports to see how other areas are producing.

Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting (April 23, 2024)

This Kootenai River Montana fishing report is being brought to you by Orvis Endorsed Linehan Outfitting.  This report will be updated weekly to provide current conditions, weather, hatches, patterns, and flows to our local waters and across the state.

Flows from Libby Dam:  4000cfs

Water temperature at Libby Dam: 42 degrees

Hatches: midge, baetis

patterns:  zebra midge, parachute Adams, parachute pmd, Rosenbauer’s olive rabbit foot emerger, purple haze, purple chubby, red chubby, olive sparkle dun,bh prince, soft SJ worm, bh pheasant tail, bh rubber legged stonefly, big streamers in white, pink and olive, circus peanut, black conehead buggers

It’s not quite spring up here in Kootenai River country but we have good news.  Flows from Libby Dam have been reduced and will be stable at 4000cfs through the end of March for now.  That means there’s some great early season fishing available right now.

Expect more clammy cloudy weather through the weekend and into next week.  March continues to come in like a lion and we’ve yet to see the lamb.  Rain and snow mix will dominate forecast.  Fortunately daytime temps will ooch into the forties which is at least a small sign of spring around here.

At the moment the river is clear and in good shape.  Don’t expect much in the way of dry fly fishing and insect activity until we get some substantially warmer daytime temperatures.  The water is still cold but trout will start to feed a bit in the coming weeks.

This is always a good time of year for nymphing.  With low flows you don’t need a heavy rig.  You just need to get the flies down in softer runs and pools where trout are most likely to be holding this time of year.  Don’t spend a ton of time fishing fast riffles.

Streamer fishing is also productive this time of year especially since bigger fish will be hungry after laying low for a couple months during the dead of winter.  Keep in mind they will not necessarily want to move too fast or too far to get a meal.  Get your streamers down and fish them slowly and erratically.  Nothing like a wounded minnow to get a big rainbow interested in at least a sniff.

In Boston Red Sox news, it’s PLAY BALL!  After several weeks of a lockout the players union owners have finally come to an agreement.  Spring training will start immediately and while opening day was and remains delayed until April 7, the season will still be 162 games.  For now the Sox have managed to keep essentially the same playoff roster they had last season.  Infielders Dalbec, Arroyo, Bogaerts, and Devers are key players.  In the outfield Jackie Bradley Jr. has returned to Boston and Kike Hernandez and Verdugo will anchor the deep green.  Ace Chris Sale will hopefully be healthy and other starters from last year will hopefully pick up where they left off in October.  Go Sox!!!

Give a call anytime if you need more Kootenai River details or information on any of our hunting or fishing adventures.  And please check out our e-commerce site for all Linehan Outfitting branded swag and Orvis gear.

We look forward to hearing from you.  406-295-4872

There has been some good dry fly fishing recently on the Paradise Valley spring creeks. Good midge hatches in the mornings and afternoons. Baetis don’t start to pop until early-mid afternoons. A great dry dropper rig for us has been a midge cluster (16-18) with a PT 6-12′ below. Nymphing has also been productive with sowbugs, leeches, and midges.


– CDC Para Spinner BWO #18
– RS2 Emerger Olive #18
– Morgan’s Midge #20
– Hale Bopp Leech Black #10
– UV Yum Yum Pink #16

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (April 24, 2024)

Flow Data: Bighorn River near St. Xaiver, MT

The Bighorn is fishing decently well right now. Flows are up a bit and there is some drifting algae lower on the river. There have been a few BWO’s and midges hatching and the occasional fish slurping them down on the surface. Flies to use to trick these risers include but are not limited to the Quill Gordon BWO and BWO CDC Biot Comparadun. In the event that you find fish rising to midges a Peacock Cluster or Griffith’s Gnat will fool a consistently rising fish with a good cast and presentation. Nymphing has been the best strategy to catch fish so far this winter. Scuds, sowbugs, worms, and midges are Bighorn winter fare to imitate. Ray Charles, Pill Poppers, Tailwater sowbugs are great choices followed by a Manhattan midge or Zebra Midge. BWO nymphs have been working when the aforementioned flies have not been getting it done. You can nearly always count on a Wire Worm or a Squirmy Worm to trick a few trout. Small streamers swung or fished deep and slow can pick up fish as well.

Upper Madison River Fishing Report by River’s Edge (April 22, 2024)

909 CFS @ Kirby – The Upper Madison has been fishing well recently. Dry flies, bobbers, streamers, all have been productive so choose your poison. As for dries, fish have been willing to eat smaller chubbies, as well as midge clusters/parachutes (14-18). For nymphs, a stonefly/worm trailed by a small perdigon or prince nymph will do the trick.


– $3 Dip Brown #16
– Redneck Gasolina #16
– Jig Wonky Worm Red #10
– Barely Legal Olive/White #1/0
– Micro Waterwalker Royal #14

Headhunters Fly Shop Missouri River Fishing Forecast (April 22, 2024)

Pretty killer out there on the river right now. Flows are good, temps are good, fishing is good.

Water Temps: 44F. Rising.

Water Flows: 3560cfs. Stable.

Nymphers: Lots up at the dam and WC nymphing. The primary region with lots of rowing around. Firebeads, sows, scuds, midge pupa, worms, and BWO nymph patterns. Fish in winter waters, and medium speed winter/spring waters. Water temps increasing daily and you will find the fish spreading out into more common spring lies. Canyon nymphers looking for BWO nymphs and caddis nymphs, brown or dark, larger March Brown nymphs too. Try our Euro selections for a killer combo. Headhunters is the education source on the Mighty Mo. Or a large t-Headed PT. Soon PMD nymphs subsurface will be all the rage, but not yet.

Streamer Strippers: Black or White, buttony on the Olive Train. Thin Mint and traditional Buggers working well. Articulated patterns going out of the shop at an alarming rate. If that tells you anything. Still slow stripping and essentially keeping tight and keeping the flies in the ZONE for a long period of time.

Do Not Step or romp around on REDDS. Clean, super clean, larger than average gravel beds with trout acting “funny” on them. If you like to beat up on spawning fish…well?

Consequently lots of Brown Trout coming to the net as the Rainbow population is busy producing more rainbow trout.

Swingers: Enjoying the spring. Weeds not an issue, wide open lower water flats available for the trout spey contingent, and the option for wither the Skagit or Scandinavian system lines. Enough fish rising in the pm for the Scandi Set-Up! Soft Hackles and Wet Flies in the Fly Bins at House of Headhunters. The small fly shop owned locally and operated by the friendly fly shop staff in Craig. Truly your info stop on the way to the river.

Loomis IMX-PRO Short Spey Rod Demo this weekend at Headhunters 9-5 Saturday, 9-2 Sunday. Come by and see us for a demo of this staff favorite trout spey rod at HH, this weekend!

Dry Fly Flickers: Very good spring being witnessed currently in 2024. Midge action in the afternoons into the evening very good. Yes, quite good. Some dumb ones out there too. Midge Clusters galore, Buzzballs, Harrops’s, Quigley’s, Stalcup’s, Hanging Midge, CDC Emergent Midge, Reneball.  Try a small black soft hackle off the back if you wish. But the bite has been terrific and we generally have not had to add the dropper as of late. The afternoon into evening sesh is good. 2-3pm til dark. Have the river to yourself, and lots of rising trout to join you!

Enjoy the spring goodness on the Mo. The fish have spread a bit as the spring will do that. Sometimes it is hard to find them nymphing as the water temps and season creates indecision and wandering of our trout populations. Just a reminder that this is trout fishing, and even on the Mo, it can be difficult for the wet fly gang. Keep your head high and keep on, keepin’ on!

See you in Craig this week at Headhunters Fly Shop. Open daily 8am.

Gallatin River Fishing Report by Montana Angler (April 19, 2024)

Current Conditions:

The Gallatin River near Big Sky and Bozeman came up a good bit for this time of year but it has dropped and will most likely clear. Fishing prerunoff on the Gallatin River is ideal right now for wading anglers wanting a little DIY action. Hatches could be thick for Blue Winged Olives but caddis are a ways out. Midges will come off but if Blue Winged Olives pop trout will be keying on the larger mayflies compared to the tiny midges. For flies go with our list of Montana Angler fly shop staff picks. A tiny secret on the Gallatin River right now is how good the micro trout spey fishing can be. Pick a run, try out your cast, and see if you can swing up some fish.

It is unlikely it will get dirty in the next week or so, but trout in the Gallatin River still feed in dirty water, just be sure it still has some green or olive color to it. If it gets brown then perhaps consider the Lower Madison, but unless runoff begins in earnest–which is still unlikely because the night time temps are still cold–the Gallatin’s trout will still feed in rising and dirty water. The warmer weather will melt some low elevation snow but anglers should still have plenty of legit weeks for this freestone.

Trout are still going to be in slower, deeper runs but will also be holding closer to current seams and feeding lanes as water temps rise and feeding activity increases. On rainy and snowy overcast days hatches of Blue Winged Olives (BWO) can be strong, midges can hatch un abundance as well, but the subsurface nymph game is where it is at on the Gallatin River right now. For anglers willing to kick over some stones and actively seek them out, a few skwala stoneflies can be found.

For nymphs a standard Gallatin River rig is a stonefly pattern in size 10 or 12–Pat’s Rubber Legs is a top choice of local anglers. Follow the stonefly nymph with smaller beadhead mayfly or midge nymph. If Blue Winged Olives hatch look for fish to rise in a slow pool or slower current next to faster water.

An important component of fishing the Gallatin River right now is timing your day. Things start later on the Gallatin–give time for the water to warm up. If a BWO hatch occurs, bugs likely won’t pop until between Noon and 2 PM. Midges can hatch earlier, but there is no need to be on the water any earlier than 10 or 11 am.

Our Fly Staff Picks for the Weekend:

Pat’s Rubberlegs in brown/black in size 10 or 12

Beadhead FKA Prince in size 10

Hares Ear in size 14—if water isn’t too dirty

Olive McCune’s Scuplin size 8

Little Green Machine in pheasant tail in size 12—if not too dirty

Black Blowtorch in pheasant tail in size 12-16

Sparkle Dun in size 14 or 16

Sculpzilla in black in size 4 or 6

The Month Ahead:

The Gallatin River should remain a very legit option for fishing near Bozeman and Big Sky. Even as daytime high temperatures climb, the majority of the mountain snowpack that can cause the Gallatin River to start runoff is in elevations high enough to stay frozen. Hatches of BWOs and midges will dominate a trout’s diet and the dry fly fishing and nymph fishing action should increase in duration throughout the angling day. A special thing to consider on the Gallatin is water color and clarity. Trout on the Gallatin River will feed in water that contains more color/sediment than many other rivers.

Bighorn River Fishing Report via Fins and Feathers (April 18, 2024)


The Big Horn River near Fort Smith, MT, is some of the best fly fishing in the state. The tailwater provides an extremely healthy trout population that offers Montana anglers opportunities throughout the year and is a prime option during spring, as temperatures here are typically much milder versus the Bozeman area.

The forecast for the next couple of days looks like some typical spring weather with rain, overcast, and light wind, this should be a bit more mild compared to the Bozeman MT area. Fishing has been fair with flows around 4,500 CFS, this is typical for this time of year but the increase has brought some floating debris which poses a bit of a challenge. Nymphing deep with Scuds, Sowbugs, Midge Larvae, and Aquatic worms continues to be the program.  Floating or wading between Afterbay FAS and Bighorn FAS is the best water right now and fish are holding in large seams off into the slower water and in deep pools. Once you figure out what the wild trout here are focused on during their feeding, high numbers can be caught in these localized areas.

Fly fishing with streamers has been hit or miss, mainly depending on the conditions. Some anglers are finding success with white or two-tone flies like a Barley Legal. Our Bozeman fly fishing guides have found that using a sinking tip line and making medium-length strips has been best.

Dry fly fishing has slowed a bit with a slight bump in flows and drop in water temperatures but this should get good again this week as thick hatches of Midges and BWOs should continue to take effect. If you see some trout rising to the surface, a Midge Cluster #18-16 / Parachute Adams #18-16 paired with a good cast typically fools them.

Make sure you stop by some of the fly shops in Fort Smith, MT like the Bighorn Angler and the Bighorn Trout Shop to get the latest information and conditions regarding the river.

Spring Creeks Fishing Report via Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (April 24, 2024)

The Spring creeks have been fishing well and will continue to do so with the warm weather this week. The wet and rain that is expected this weekend could make for excellent dry fly fishing. If the wind is low, expect to see fish rising to midges and BWO’s. Conditions this week could provide some good dry fly action. If you find risers they will likely take a Peacock Cluster, Miracle Midge, or Griffith’s Gnat with a good drift and presentation. If these patterns are not working a Slick Midge or Smoke Jumper will be the answer. There are a few BWO’s on the water in the afternoons and a few fish rising to them. A 401k Baetis or Stealth Link have successfully tricked these picky Spring Creek trout. Small scuds, sowbugs, and midges work well under a dry fly or under an indicator this time of the year. Any midge nymph with a white or flashy wing such as the Manhattan Midge seems to get a but more attention than other patterns. BWO nymphs and emergers will be in play once again. Nymphing will be pretty consistent in the event that the trout do not want to cooperate and eat bugs from the surface.

Bozeman Fishing Report via Montana Angler (April 18, 2024)

The fishing around Bozeman, MT has been good, some options are better than others right now with certain areas experiencing change of flows and decreased visibility. The Gallatin was fairly off-color the last couple days, the Yellowstone has been good but expect some color to ensue after the last couple of water days. The forecast for the week is overcast, cool, and some rain. Expect this weather to reset the rivers back to prime conditions as this will force flows to drop and water to clear.

The Madison River fishing has been solid near Three Dollar Bridge and Raynolds Bridge FAS, about 40 minutes south of Ennis, MT. Using nymphs like Pat’s Rubberlegs, San Juan Worms, Spanish Bullets, and Zebra Midges have been hot sub-surface. The dry fly fishing has been very good as of late with Midge adults and BWO’s, expect this to continue until we start to see some snow melt.

Missouri River fishing has been good near Holter Dam, near Craig, MT. This area provides a healthy population of Rainbow and Brown trout that feed on sowbugs, scuds, midges, and small mayflies. Our Bozeman fly fishing guides say that pink and red are the best colors.

The Gallatin River fly fishing has been good through the Canyon, north of Big Sky, MT. This national forest area provides a lot of access to deep holes and slow-moving runs where trout will hold. Stoneflies, worms, and Midges are the golden ticket when fishing the Gallatin River. The river had some sediment turning the river off color but this plug should move through the system quickly.

Yellowstone River fishing is getting better every day as temperatures warm. The flows spiked up a bit after some snow and rain this last week but the river looks to be on the drop and the fishing could be good. Find a day with low wind and head over to the Yellowstone River near Livingston, MT. Fishing with nymphs that imitate Stoneflies, Midge Larvae, and Caddis are effective. This is a good time to fish with streamers as well, smaller sculpin imitations can catch some larger trout.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report by Yellow Dog Fly Fishing (April 24, 2024)

*Flow Data: Yellowstone River near Livingston, MT

Caddis have started east of town, so now we wait for the fish to start locking in on these bugs. Once they do an Elk Hair caddis in peacock or a missing link caddis will be tough to beat. The river is slightly off color but hopefully will not get any worse in the next few days. Stonefly nymphs, perdigons and other attractor nymphs will be some of the best flies to use to catch fish on the Stone. A dead drifted sculpin can trick a few fish here and there as well. Lightning bugs or Prince nymphs are a few go-to patterns in the early spring. They can keep an angler busy with whitey’s when the trout are not on them. If everything else seems to falls short a San Juan worm is a pretty safe bet all the way into runoff. If you feel the need to fish streamers, something small low and slow will be the ticket. Streamer fishing has been pretty good with both small natural colored streamers and flashy flies. The wind is always a factor on the Stone so be sure to check the forecast before heading out.

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