Big Sky and Southwestern Montana Fly Fishing Reports

Gallatin RiverClick Here for Current Stream Flow


Gallatin River Fishing Report

An unexpected cold day Saturday followed by a chilly night. Highs are predicted to stay in the high 30s to low 40s in the canyon near Big Sky through about Thursday. After that looks like we have another winter storm moving in with some snow predicted and only slightly cooler temps. Fishing coditions still look good through that storm!

Nymphing has been quite good as long as you find where the fish are. Slow water is certainly important, but it doesn't necessarily have to be deep. Stonefly nymphs have been the number one producer with a variety of dropper nymphs picking up fish as well. We haven't heard any streamer reports, but with water temps as warm as they are swinging low and slow will likely produce some fish.

You may notice the aftermath of an ice jam that pushed through in mid December leaving ice junks littered on various banks and islands. Be careful when walking on or near them as they may not all be stable and they're made of ice and compressed snow. 

The water that tends to hold the most fish in our experience is slow water with a small amount of current that is 3-5' deep on average. There is usually a faster current nearby that moves food through constantly.  

In the event you find some risers it's always good to have a small midge pattern nearby. Better yet, have a dry fly rod pre-rigged so you don't have to change your rig in the cold and you don't miss out on the often fleeting moments of fish rising in winter. 

A good weather station to check the weather near the fly shop here.

Winter Fishing On the Gallatin.  The Gallatin Canyon is one of the best winter fisheries in the area.  An abundance of natural springs keeps the majority of the Gallatin free of ice and fishing well.  Need a break from skiing at Big Sky?  We have fly fishing guides available all year long.  Winter Safety Tips

Check out our "YouTube Channel" for up to date video fishing reports, fly tying and other information. 

Our Fly Fishing Guide School has helped lots of anglers achieve their dream of being a fishing guide.  With monthly schools throughout the spring, summer and fall, there is likely a week of fishing that will fit your schedule. 2019 Guide School dates and info can be found here.    

Even the NY Times has caught wind of the growth of women in the fly fishing industry.  Gain the skills to fish confidently on your own in our Montana Women’s Fly Fishing School

Updated reports for the Gallatin River coming to you from our backyard in beautiful Big Sky, Montana.

FLY OF THE WEEK

The most popular midge dry patterns tend to be midge cluster imitations, but sometimes fish are looking for single hatching midges. This fly takes the ever-popular Zebra Midge and converts it into a single hatching midge. Not as easy to see as a midge cluster, but can also be tied with white or black cdc to maximize visibility in different situations.

Hook: Firehole 410 sizes 18-20 (or your favorite small dry fly or emerger hook)

Thread/Body: Black 8/0 or 70 denier

Rib: Extra Small Ultra Wire Silver

Wing: CDC (cul de canard) Natural dun, black and white all good options.

Check out our new fly tying how-to videos on our blog or Follow us on YouTube.

Upper Madison RiverClick Here for Current Stream Flow


Upper Madison River Fishing Report

Looks like highs between Ennis and Raynolds are going to remain above freezing through Thursday when a winter storm starts to move in. Highs will then hover around 30 degrees and snow is expected into the weekend. 

Great weather forecast still for the foreseeable future and nymph fishing has been good. In between Hebgen and Quake have been the most popular destinations as of late. If you want the chance at a little more privacy consider a hike into $3 Bridge or head down the Pine Butte/West Fork area. 

We have not yet heard of or experienced good dry fly fishing this winter, but maybe soon? Nymphing has been quite good. Some people are seeing some lulls throughout the day, but if you put in a good effort you should have good opportunities intermittently. Shorten your indicator depth to 3-4 feet and enjoy the solitude of winter fishing.  Recent reports from Trey have been a midge game.  Fish in popular areas have become wise to the zebra midge, so play around with different midge patterns and downsize to a size 20.  

This part of the world is isolated, so best to fish with a buddy and have a plan if somebody falls in the water. Hypothermia can set in very fast in sub-freezing conditions and you are often a long ways from help on the upper. Staying close to the vehicle and making sure you have a way to shed wet clothes and warm up are important this time of year. 

Flies.  Harrops Cluster Midge, Pheasant Tails, Zebra Midge, Green Machine, Pat's Rubberlegs.   

Winter Fishing On The Madison.  One of our favorite rivers in the winter.  Minimal pressure and great fishing.  Our Madison River guides are ready to show you what the river has to offer all winter long.  Winter Fishing Tips.  If winter isn't your thing, we're booking 2019 madison river guides right now.    

New to the Madison?  We have guides with 25 plus years experience fishing the Madison ready to share their knowledge with you.  We offer full day float and walk-wade trips on the Madison River. Don’t need a guide? We have the flies and info to help you be successful on a DIY mission.     

Check out our "YouTube Channel" for up to date video fishing reports, fly tying and other information. 

Our Fly Fishing Guide School has helped lots of anglers achieve their dream of being a fishing guide.  With monthly schools throughout the spring, summer and fall, there is likely a week of fishing that will fit your schedule. Learn more here.    

Even the NY Times has caught wind of the growth of women in the fly fishing industry.  Gain the skills to fish confidently on your own in our Montana Women’s Fly Fishing School

Thanks for checking out our Madison River Fishing Report brought to you from Big Sky, MT.

Lower Madison RiverClick Here for Current Stream Flow


Lower Madison River Fishing Report

Balmy weather for January will make this a great option for the foreseeable future according to the current forecast. Keep an eye on the wind report before heading out, but fish will be feeding well with these temps. Expect some decent shots at dry fly fishing as well.  

As with most rivers location is critical to success in winter. Trout tend to pod up in slow and sometime deeper water in winter. Once you find one of those spots try to remember it for future reference as spots that hold fish remain pretty consistent over time. 

Fish rely mostly on smaller foods like midge larvae and mayfly nymphs. That being said brighter colored flies tend to be quite productive in winter as well, such as pinks, oranges and purples. Fish can occasionally be caught on streamers and dries in the winter, but you have to be patient and manage your expectations. 

The section of the Madison downstream of Ennis Lake is what most people refer to as the Lower Madison. This can be a really good option for winter fly fishing in SW Montana. It's a bit of a hike from Big Sky, but a really quick trip for those in Bozeman, Belgrade or Ennis. 

Always good to check the weather before you go, including the wind forecast. Best fishing tends to be in the afternoon, so no need to get an early start.  

Have you been hearing about two-handed spey rods or know a fishing buddy that fish’s a spey rod for trout and want to learn more? Check out this article written by GRG’s Assistant Manager Shane Stalling that aims at demystifying this rapidly growing fly fishing niche.

Winter fishing the Lower Madison. 

One of the best options during winter months.  Floatable if weather permits, but plenty of walk wade access to great water.  Give us a call for more information or to have one of our guides show you the ropes.  (406)995-2290    

Check out our "YouTube Channel" for up to date video fishing reports, fly tying and other information. 

Our Fly Fishing Guide School has helped lots of anglers achieve their dream of being a fishing guide.  With monthly schools throughout the spring, summer and fall, there is likely a week of fishing that will fit your schedule. Learn more here.    

Even the NY Times has caught wind of the growth of women in the fly fishing industry.  Gain the skills to fish confidently on your own in our Montana Women’s Fly Fishing School

Thanks for checking out our Lower Madison River Fishing Report brought to you from beautiful Big Sky, Montana. Also serving Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman, the Missouri River, and locations in between.

Yellowstone RiverClick Here for Current Stream Flow


Yellowstone River Fishing Report

Definitely some good opportunities to be had in the valley. Still quite a bit of shelf ice, which makes access more challenging and more risky in some cases. Take your time and don't put yourself in a situation you don't know how to get out of.

If the Stone isn't fishable, the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks are usually your best choice in the winter.  The warming huts at Depuy's and Armstrongs will certainly make for more enjoyable fishing, as will the inexpensive rod fees.   

New to the Yellowstone?  Winter fishing trips on one of the Paradise Valley Spring creeks are a favorite of our guides in the winter.  With decent dry fly fishing and warming huts, either Depuy's, Armstrongs or Nelson Spring Creeks are hard to beat. 

Want to fish the Yellowstone summer 2019?  We're ready to book trips for 2019, just give us a call at the shop.      

Check out our "YouTube Channel" for up to date video fishing reports, fly tying and other information. 

Our Fly Fishing Guide School has helped lots of anglers achieve their dream of being a fishing guide.  With monthly schools throughout the spring, summer and fall, there is likely a week of fishing that will fit your schedule. Learn more here.    

Even the NY Times has caught wind of the growth of women in the fly fishing industry.  Gain the skills to fish confidently on your own in our Montana Women’s Fly Fishing School

Thanks for checking out our Montana fly fishing report for the Yellowstone River Fishing Report brought to you from beautiful Big Sky, Montana. Also serving Bozeman, Ennis, West Yellowstone, Belgrade and Livingston, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park


Yellowstone National Park Fishing Report

Closed until Spring 2019! 

We had a great season in Yellowstone National Park.  Early season caddis on the Firehole, terrestrials and Drakes in the Lamar Valley for eager cutties,  and bruiser browns on the Madison.  If fishing in Yellowstone is on your bucket list, give us a call and book Yellowstone Fly Fishing Trip for 2019.    

Looking for a Bozeman based Montana fly fishing adventure? You’ve come to the right place! Our fly shop located one hour south of the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and a great many of our guides live within minutes of the airport we are an easy choice. Check out our guided fly fishing trips or if you’re looking for a lodging and fishing package. Feel free to email us at [email protected] or drop us a line at 406-995-2290. Open 7 days a week!   

Check out our "YouTube Channel" for up to date video fishing reports, fly tying and other information. 

Our Fly Fishing Guide School has helped lots of anglers achieve their dream of being a fishing guide.  With monthly schools throughout the spring, summer and fall, there is likely a week of fishing that will fit your schedule. Learn more here.    

Even the NY Times has caught wind of the growth of women in the fly fishing industry.  Gain the skills to fish confidently on your own in our Montana Women’s Fly Fishing School