May 6, 2021
The Madison below Quake continues to fish well, particularly with nymphs. Baetis activity has been a bit hit or miss, with solid action on most of the cloudier afternoons, and not much activity to speak of on the sunnier days. We've mainly been fishing dry-dropper rigs with a bushy attractor like an Ausable or Adams Cripple followed by a variety of nymph patterns like #16-18 brown and crystal $3 Dips, #16 brown Montana Bullets, #18 Half Pints, and #16 Micro Mayflies. When fish do decide to rise, try #18-20 Baetis Kinkhammers, Black-Wing Cripples, and Sparkle Duns.
Hebgen Lake has really started to open up over the last few days, with plenty of shoreline now fishable along highway 287. Fish have been caught slowly stripping leech patterns like black Boufaces, olive Super Squirrels, and black Seal Buggers, and Chironomid action should keep getting better and better every day. Be sure to have #12-14 Ice Cream Cones, #12 Driskill's Midges, and #14 Perdigonomids for this type of fishing. Depending on weather, we are probably looking at about a week to 10 days for some good dry fly fishing on the main lake. We anticipate most of the remaining ice will be gone within a few days, but in the meantime be mindful that winds can push loose ice around during the day, so if you decide to put in a float tube or pontoon, pay close attention to make sure you don't get stuck out there!
The Gallatin has been quite high and off-color the last few days with warmer air temperatures picking up the runoff out of the Taylor Fork. If you give it a try, fish the calmest water near the banks with a #6 black Rubberlegs, #10-12 Prince Nymphs, and San Juan Worms.
The Madison between the Lakes has fished well lately, and the road down to the parking lot is now clear. Try nymphing with a #10 black Rubberlegs, #16-18 brown or crystal $3 Dip, #16-18 Micro Mayfly, or #16 brown Montana Bullet, and please watch out for redds as some rainbows are still finishing up their spawn in this area.
April 29, 2021
The Madison below Quake has fished well lately, with good Baetis activity on the cloudier afternoons and solid nymph action on the brighter days. Make sure to have #18-20 Baetis Klinkhammers and Black-Wing Cripples for dry flies, and #10 black Rubberlegs, #16-18 brown $3 Bridge Serendipities, #18 Micro Madison Baetis, #18 Half Pints, #20 JuJu Baetis, #16 Twisted Mayflies and #16 Micro Mayflies.
The Madison between the Lakes is fishing well also, mainly with subsurface flies. Try #16 Montana Bullets, #10 black Rubberlegs, #16 Twisted Mayflies, and #16-18 crystal $3 Dips here, and please tread carefully, as plenty of fish are still spawning in this area.
The Gallatin has begun to muddy up below the Taylor Fork with the recent warm weather, and conditions on this river often change daily this time of year depending on weather. Warm weather will get the runoff going, while cooler temperatures will slow it down and lead to clearer water, so be sure to check on conditions before you head out. Keep an eye out for Baetis on cloudier afternoons, but most of the action here has been subsurface. Make sure to have #8-10 black Rubberlegs, #14-16 Prince Nymphs, #16 olive Jig Napoleons, and #14-16 crystal $3 Dips.
The Ruby and Beaverhead have both seen good Baetis hatches on cloudier days as well. Try #18-20 Baetis Klinkhammers and Almost There Baetis if you find rising fish, and then try brown #16 Montana Bullets, #16-18 crystal $3 Bridge Serendipities, #16-18 Red Necks, and #16 Twisted Mayflies if no fish are feeding on top.
April 22, 2021
We've had some very good fishing in the area this past week, and Baetis on both the Madison and Gallatin Rivers have made for some good dry fly fishing. We fished the Gallatin in the canyon below Big Sky last week and didn't arrive until about 2:00pm, and the fish were feeding hard on the surface to a combination of Baetis as well as midges. It was a more than welcome sight as we pulled into the parking area! Our best fly was a #18 Baetis Sparkle Dun, and when the wind actually allowed us to get a drift the fish were more than willing to eat. When the bugs haven't been around, the fishing on the Gallatin has also been strong using subsurface flies like #10 Black Rubberlegs, #12-16 Prince Nymphs, #16-20 Pheasant Tails and #16-20 Zebra Midges.
The Madison has also seen good Baetis emergences, and with the weather forecasted to stay a little cooler and cloudier, we should see the hatches get stronger in the days to come. For dry flies have #18-20 Sparkle Duns, #18 Madison Buzzers and #16-18 Adams Cripples. If you're fishing nymphs you'll want to have #10 Coffee Rubberlegs, #16-20 Zebra Midges, #18-20 Juju Baetis or Darth Baetis and #16-20 Micro Mayflies.