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SW Montana Fly Fishing Report 4/19/2016

by Jake Schilling April 19, 2016


The Gal' has leveled out at 630cfs after rising to 1,000 last week.  It's that time of year for the Gallatin, expect flows and water color to change quickly.  Once the Taylor Fork really gets going, everything below will probably be relatively dirty until at least June.  Still good fishing to be had!  Don't let dirty water scare you away, fish will move towards deeper banks and deep/slow runs.  Great for spring pattern (Sili Leg Stone, San Juan, #14 MT Prince, #12 Hares Ear) nymphing and always a chance to move a few on streamers.  

Everyone has their own thoughts on dirty water streamer fishing, here's mine;  fish darker patterns as they will outline better in dirty water, slow down the retrieve as you can pull it out of their sight-line pretty quickly, and don't pass on high-sticking them through deep pockets as you would czech nymphing.  Last but not least, small patterns work too, pop in and grab a few of Rick Welle's #6 Black Flash-A-Buggers.  


Flows bumped to 1,250cfs at Kirby 4/14, back down to normal (1,100) as nighttime temps have kept the snowpack at bay for the moment.  Soon the feeder creeks will be pouring in more and more sediment, turning the Madison a milky green that is the signal for excellent spring nymph fishing.  Dirty water this time of year tends to push the fish closer to the banks where they feel a little safer.  Make sure to get a drift right off the bank before hopping in, especially islands. 

There are still some stellar midge days to be had.  But yes, the overall hatches are shrinking and becoming a little inconsistent.  But keep eyes open for our upcoming baetis, march brown, and BWOs, won't be long folks!

For now, stick with nymphing the bank and mid-river slicks with heavier stoneflies and a bevy of caddis/mayfly patterns.  Top MRO picks this week are the #8 Cone Stone, #10 Brown Biot Stone, #14 Hotwire Caddis, #16 Lightning Bug, and #14 Rockworm Caddis.  Fish are spreading out more, but nowhere we can't still fish effectively.  Spring is a great time to learn standard and Euro/Czech nymphing techniques, give us a call at 406-646-9644 for a spring guide trip!

Jake Schilling
Jake Schilling


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