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Montana Warmwater Fly Fishing Opportunities During Runoff

Montana Warmwater Fly Fishing Opportunities During Runoff

The Yellowstone River is now in runoff and will probably remain so until about June 25. We’ll be doing some fishing on area warmwater lakes until Yellowstone Park opens to fishing (probably early-mid June this year due to the virus). This fishing will be “food gathering” of bluegill and crappie, but also fun fishing for bass and pike.

Here’s Walter’s favorite bass and pike fly. Check out his blog for a written recipe.

Good area warmwater options include the following, based on distance from Gardiner:

Dailey Lake: Dailey is really a “cool” water option. It holds rainbow trout, perch, and walleye. The walleye usually require going deep with conventional tackle, but the perch will eat nymphs and small streamers. The perch fishing gets better late in May and in June, while the trout fishing, for fish that can often be big, declines as the water warms.

Bozeman-Area Ponds: Numerous small ponds around Bozeman hold good populations of bass and bluegill. There’s even a pond right behind the mall! These are wade-fishing options. Walk the banks, casting dry-dropper combos or stripping small wet flies for the bluegill, or suspend bigger Buggers and the like over weedbeds for bass.

Three Forks Ponds: Three much larger ponds within the city of Three Forks provide the best warmwater fishing within a couple hours of Gardiner. The middle pond is commonly regarded as the best. These are good ponds for a belly boat or similar craft, but they’re small enough to fish from shore too. Large bluegill and some surprising bass up to five pounds are the draws here.

Castle Rock Lake: Numerous large reservoirs in central and eastern Montana provide good fishing for the whole gamut of warmwater fish, but most are too large to fish from shore. Castle Rock near Colstrip is the exception. This lake holds pike, walleye, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, and bluegill. The lake is encircled by a walking trail offering good access, but also allows boats with electric motors. Walter has a motor mount on his drift boat for just this reason. The only bummer is that this lake is a solid 5-hour drive from Gardiner.

Season Streamflow and Fishing Forecast – May 2 Update (Along with some Corona News)

Season Streamflow and Fishing Forecast – May 2 Update (Along with some Corona News)

Walter made a thorough post about likely summer streamflow and fishing conditions over at his blog. Rather than reposting it and hurting the SEO for both our sits, I’ll just send you over there.

A note on shop ops right now: the shop is open on normal off-season hours of 9-5 daily and 10-4 on Sundays, with occasional unannounced closures. Please follow social distancing guidelines by limiting the shop to one group traveling together at a time. We are available for mail-order business as well as booking guided trips for the high season.

New Fly Tying Video: Gray CDC Emerging Dun

New Fly Tying Video: Gray CDC Emerging Dun

Here’s Walter’s latest fly tying video, the CDC Emerging Dun. This gray version is my most productive fly when guiding in the Lamar Drainage. It’s an excellent imitation of emerging Green Drakes (as well as a variety of smaller gray-olive “drake” mayflies). You can also tie it much smaller to match BWO, or change colors to match whatever insect you are seeing.

The video is below. The recipe is available at Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing.

Fly Tying Video: Jack Gartside’s Soft Hackle Streamer (Chickabou Version)

Fly Tying Video: Jack Gartside’s Soft Hackle Streamer (Chickabou Version)

The Gartside Soft Hackle Streamer is a classic marabou and soft hackle streamer developed by Jack Gartside. This version is made using chickabou feathers, which allows for the pattern to be tied in much smaller sizes.

The same tying procedure used here also works on the large Alaskabou series and similar marabou steelhead and coho salmon flies. Just use large (#2/0 to #2) steelhead hooks, swap the chickabou for much larger marabou plumes, and add more flash.