Montana Fly Fishing Report 3/8/16

by Jake Schilling March 08, 2016

Upper Gallatin in Montana

As many of you have probably heard by now, the Gallatin recently had 35 million gallons of treated wastewater entered the system after a holding pond in Big Sky starting spilling.  The spilling stopped today according to the Montana DEQ and Yellowstone Club.  Thankfully the spilt water was treated and is reported to have no human health effects, the effects on the aquatic species remains to be seen.  If you are looking for more information on this, I would recommend this article from the Upper Missouri Waterkeeper.  
In terms of the fishing, we haven't fished below Big Sky in a week, those fish are going through enough at the moment.  But upstream of Big Sky, the fishing has been solid.  Rising fish are sporadic and require a good chunk of time on the water to find, but they're around eating #18-20 midges.  Nymphing has been great, especially once the day warms up in the afternoon.  Stoneflies and pupas have been the most reliable patterns; #10 Black Sili Leg Stone, #14 Biot Stone, #16 Rockworm Caddis, and #16 Shop Vac.  

Upper Madison in Montana

It's been a great week of fishing on the Upper Madison.  Weather has varied from 50 degrees and sunny, to mid-20's and snowing.  Fish have certainly been gobbling up midges as the dry fly fishing has been pretty consistent late morning/early afternoon when the winds are down.  The #18-20 Stillborn Midge is still our go-to, but eager fish are being had on #18 Purple Parachutes, #16-20 Griffiths, and #18 Sprout.  
Nymphing has been stellar, as advised last week, keep it simple and fish the good water hard.  Finding plenty of fish in the mid-river slicks, don't be afraid to get off the bank!  Top flies are the #12 Olive Hare's Ear, #14 Shop Vac, #18 Brown Zebra Midge, and #10 Biot Stonefly.  
With the warm weather and occasional rain shower, access is becoming easier as the river-side snow is melting.  The Madison's snowpack is currently at 90% of normal, if we can get a decent March/May snowfall, we'll be right on pace for an average water year.  That combined with Hebgen Dam now realasing water out of the lower gate, we should be expecting a great season.  

Jake Schilling
Jake Schilling


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