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Spring fly fishing is here

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By Ennion Williams Fishing Expert

Southwest Montana’s trout streams have produced some great fly fishing conditions this spring. Last year at this time we were still buried in snow, this year all the snow has melted out at my house at 7,000 feet.

The result of all this nice weather has been better hatches of insects and higher water levels. We all know the weather will change quickly and winter can return before you know it. With the early spring, the Gallatin River really fished well with midge and blue winged olives. The warm weather has started the runoff a little early but this should result in the rivers clearing up earlier in June.

Fishing now will be reduced to the rivers with dams and lakes. The Gallatin, Yellowstone, Stillwater and Boulder will all be high and off color. If winter returns and the flows settle down look for hatches of Caddis and Blue Winged olives to occur and provide great catching opportunities.

The Missouri River near Craig has been fishing as well as ever this year, producing some very large fish on small flies. Traveling east to the Bighorn has been very good as well, and will continue throughout the spring.

The Madison River will open below Earthquake Lake on May 19, and the rivers in Yellowstone National Park will open on May 26. Look for the Firehole River and Madison to fish very well on opening day. The best bet for action between now and then will be the lower Madison River and the emergence of the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch that has already started. Many area lakes are also fishing well now, such as Hebgen Lake, Earthquake Lake and Ennis Lake. For up to date information stop into your local fly shop and find out what is the best option for you.

Ennion Williams owns Big Sky Trout, a local guide service. He can be reached at (406) 579-7094 or at

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