Sunday, July 15, 2012


Ends. Making them meet is the motivation for my new summer gig. Well, I suppose that's not entirely true. I could have chosen to tend bar, swing a hammer, or make cold calls for a few extra bucks. Instead I've put my shingle out as a fly fishing guide this summer. It's the first time I've officially guided (ex-girlfriends don't really count), and I'm enjoying it.

I'm limiting my services to walk & wade trips on the Gallatin River and Madison River. I'm primarily working through a couple of well-established, reputable outfits: Wild Trout Outfitters in Big Sky, and Gallatin River Lodge outside of Bozeman. If you're interested in a half day, or full day of guided fly fishing with yours truly, drop me a line. I still have a few days available in July, and August is wide open.

A beautiful 19" brown from the valley reach of the Gallatin.
My home water, the lower Gallatin River, is fishing very well during the morning hours. Good numbers of shortwing (nocturnal) stoneflies are hatching, and will continue to do so into early fall. These stoneflies provide anglers in the know with opportunities for explosive dry fly fishing during the early and late hours of the day. Hoppers haven't come on strong yet, but sallies, PMDs, and caddis keep the fish looking up. Those interested in fishing the valley reaches of the Gallatin are best served by a half-day trip during the morning hours... the earlier the better. Valley water temperatures are approaching the 70° threshold during the evening hours.

The upper Gallatin is in excellent shape, and will fish well through the summer. It's still a bit early for consistent terrestrial action, particularly the infamous spruce moths, but the attractor dry fly fishing has really turned on over the past week or two. Salmonflies have come and gone, and the goldens are tapering off, but sallies, PMDs, PEDs, pink ladies, green drakes, and caddis are on the menu throughout the course of the day. During non-hatch times, larger fish are being taken on dead-drifted streamers and stonefly nymphs, as well as small nymphs such as dips and p-tails.

The wade section of the Madison is impressive, even by Montana standards.
The wade section of the Madison is in prime mid-summer form, with good numbers of caddis emerging every evening - the best of it coming well after the cocktail hour. PMDs and pink ladies provide opportunities to match the hatch during the day. Prospecting with a beetle or ant pattern can be productive at times when active risers are few and far between.

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