Spring Runoff- where to go?

Now that the muddy season is here and Spring runoff is underway, many anglers will hang up the fly rod and proceed with other springtime activities.  Amongst the favorites here in southwest Montana are: hiking, biking, rafting/kayaking, and relaxing at one of your favorite watering holes.  While any and all of these fine sports may deserve attention, there is no need to give up fishing entirely.  Many of the rivers in our region are "freestones".  In other words they are rivers void of any dams or reservoirs.

Spring Hatches

For many of us the month of March marks the beginning of an emergence from the cold, dark days of winter.  Here in Montana there is little exception to that.  In March, Montanans will gain almost 2 hours of daylight.  In other words, the days will be close to 2 hours longer at the end of the month, than at the beginning. Most of us will notice this seasonal change, as will the trout and the insects they consume.

Latest on the Lower

Spring guiding has been busy this year, and last week was no exception.  I was able to find a few fishable days on the Yellowstone river.  Wooley buggers near the banks seemed to be the most consistent option.  Wrapping up the Memorial weekend with a trip on the Lower Madison yesterday, we found steady fishing throughout most of the day using Crawfish and Caddis.  They released more water from the resevoir at some point during the day, which made for a  more challenging finish.

Spring in MT

Bighole River

The trees are budding and the hillsides are turning from a faint tan to a vibrant green.  The days are getting longer and the trout eager.  Spring has definately sprung in Montana.  After a mild winter, the recent rains and sometimes snow have allowed us to catch up on some late season snowpack we missed earlier.  We're not getting soaked here, but getting a steady mix of sunshine and precipitation.  This weather pattern has also helped keep waters from rising and river conditions have been a little back and forth but mostly great.  What a fine time of year to be in Montana!

Baetis on the Madison

Check out this video!  Ben Pierce of Brickhouse Creative joined me for a day of fishing and filming on the Lower Madison river.  Perfect conditions allowed the Baetis to come off in droves, and Ben was able to capture some pretty incredible close-up's of fish feeding on the suface.  You can't replace experiencing this kind of day in person, but this video will bring you pretty close!


With more than 6 inches of snow on the ground this morning and temperatures hovering in the low teens, its hard to beleive that Spring is here!  Today should be getting back to a more seasonal feel, and the next week promises beautiful early season conditions.  The baetis have been hatching on many of our local rivers, so fishing recently has been great!  I will be out on the Lower Madison in the next few days trying to record some of the action, so stay tuned.