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MtskibumJanuary 16th, 2008, 9:14 am

Posts: 26
I am from Bozeman, Montana. I mainly fish small streams. I hardly ever hit the big 3, the yellowstone, the gallatin, or the madison. This year i fished 25-35 new streams in southwest Montana, and 2 in north central Wyoming. I already have 10 new streams marked on google earth for the opening of fishing season.
However, thankfully, when montana fishing season closes, they leave open about 10% of the water threwout the state.
Thankfully the small stream i am fishing now, and is in a drainage that has every tributary open. This stream is around 10 miles long, these pictures are from the lower 3 miles. The upper 1/3 of the stream i have access from a landowner, and you can go there and easily catch double digit 10-15" browns. The middle section i lost access to fairly recently, because a developer bought out the rancher, and I had caught browns to 22" in that section.
The lower section i believe has large browns in it as well, however i have spent 2 days on it, and was skunked both days. I think the fish concentration is less due to the cattle finally taking their toll after abusing 6-7 miles of the stream. However if there are browns to 22"+ on it i will try and learn what it takes to catch the fish.

Here are some pictures

Here are some springs that feed the stream, these 2 are in series and some of these springs dump a fair bit of water into the spring as seen here.

MartinlfJanuary 16th, 2008, 1:57 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
Welcome to the site. Love those photos.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
SmallstreamJanuary 16th, 2008, 4:35 pm
State College, PA

Posts: 103
wow, beautiful water, with only the sky to obstruct your cast. Looks like paradise. Even though Im in a pretty good spot troutwise, ill always envy you guys out west.
MtskibumJanuary 16th, 2008, 9:24 pm

Posts: 26
Smallstream, the first trout i ever caught was out of a tributary of the bald eagle. Living back east had its advantage, because in all the time we fished that stream we caught browns, rainbows, smallmouths, pickeral, and eels. More species of fish than i have ever caught out of one stream.

MartinlfJanuary 17th, 2008, 4:56 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
Small world, Mtskibum. Originally a Southerner, I was offered jobs in both Bozemon and in Pennsylvania. sometimes I wish I'd taken the Bozemon job just for the fishing. Still, it's not so bad here, as you note.

One more link. I love small stream fishing.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
SofthackleJanuary 17th, 2008, 6:50 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Your area is beautiful. I'm sure you'll find some very nice people, here, who will be most interested in your fishing and input.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
DanoJanuary 17th, 2008, 7:17 am
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Welcome to the forum, Jay. Thanks for sharing the pics, very nice.


...ill always envy you guys out west.

Back in the early 80s (when I lived in Michigan) my buddy and I took a trip to Pennsylvania. We planned this trip for nearly a year. I had made contact with the head ranger of the Alleghany National Forest, traded letters, met him up in Warren, took him out to dinner, and got more info.

Any who, it rained the entire week we were there so the fishing was less than stellar. We didn't see one wild trout and those that we did catch were hatchery raised. Upon our return, Fly Fisherman had an article about acid rain. Naturally, the area we were in was smack dab in the middle of the worst of it......

We concluded that if we fished every day for the rest of our lives in Michigan, we'd never run out of "new water" to fish.

So, I guess the moral to the story is that the grass isn't always greener in the other pasture...

Now that I am "out west" (Oregon) I find myself missing fishing at night and the almost total lack of Brookies. In ODFW's wisdon, fishing for trout at night is prohibited and since the Brook Trout is not native (neither is the Brown) there is no size or creel limit...

But, I'm not complaining; I get to fish with eagles and ospreys, and only rarely will I see another angler on the river I've adopted as my "home stream"...


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
MartinlfJanuary 17th, 2008, 12:15 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157

On your next trip to PA, shoot me a PM. I can guarantee that you won't see a hatchery fish anywhere we wet a line.

All best,
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
DanoJanuary 17th, 2008, 12:45 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101

You are a gentleman and a scholar!....(Damn few of us left).

And if you ever find yourself coming out to my neck o' the woods, I'll take you to a place where the Browns average over 5 lbs and the 'Bows are nearly the same size.


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
MartinlfJanuary 17th, 2008, 1:53 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
Just bought my ticket.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
SmallstreamJanuary 17th, 2008, 6:47 pm
State College, PA

Posts: 103

I know the grass isnt always greener on the other side. Pa has a multitude of trout fishing opportunities, wild and hatchery as do other states east of the missippi. But come on, the west has less people, more cold water fisheries, a multitude of stillwater trout ponds and lakes, and those little things called the rocky mountains. I dont really think you can compare the two areas in terms of trout population, because it comes down to geography and habitat. your being too humble, you know its better out there lol. you guys definetely have bragging rights.
DanoJanuary 17th, 2008, 7:31 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101

I don't know if the fishing out here is "better", too subjective a word.

Even when back East I avoided crowds as much as feasable with the exception of Opening Day on the Au Sable (tradition). The Little Manistee was my "home stream" and where I fished I could go an entire season without seeing an angler. It held Brook Trout, Brown Trout, and Rainbows...Then there were the Steelhead and Salmon runs. For the most part, my buddy and I would pack in to the rivers we fished and that's how we avoided other folk.

I will say, though, that the trout are much bigger at least in the waters I fish most of the time. This is a good thing to be sure, I rarely tie on anything smaller than a #14 (big trout=big lures), since my vision isn't acute as it used to be....Sure hope Jay chimes in, don't want him to think his thread has been hijacked.


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
MtskibumJanuary 17th, 2008, 8:15 pm

Posts: 26
I can post pictures of where i fished 2 weeks ago. They are 2 spring creeks that are 100 feet to 200 yards or so apart, and intertwined with irrigation ditches. The one spring creek is named, and i have caught my largest brown out of this stream, a 24" This stream is strange for southwest montana because it has large wild rainbows, and a 60/40 brown/rainbow ratio(browns still are top dogs even against healthy bows). It hasnt been devestated by the whirling disease like lots of other fisheries.

Here is the named of the spring creeks

The unnamed spring creek has smaller fish and also frustrated me the first couple times, because stretches 100-200 yards long of prime looking water go the entire year without holding trout. Then there are pockets that also contain double digit trout in the 12-16" range. I dont know if maybe some springs that are feeding it are coming up with funky stuff in them periodically or what. But it recieves no fishing pressure and based on the 4 other creeks within 10 miles of this spot it should be a superb fishery. Maybe the fish move to the other stream, and i would buy that for the bows, but i have read that browns are an extremely sedentary species in the river.

Here is a picture of it.

They are connected by irrigation ditches, which like most irrigation also go stretches without containing any trout, but thats something i would expect out of them.

Here is the nicest fish on the day, a skinny 20" brown, too bad i caught him on a my spinning rod instead of my 4 weight. I spin fish as well as flyfish still. I enjoy both.

This saturday i am going to fish a different spot, undecided on where i am going to go, but probably be chasing down brownies again.
WbranchJanuary 30th, 2008, 1:36 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2722
Those two springs wouldn't be near Belgrade or Manhattan would they? If not there then how about on the outskirts of Dillon? They look very familar.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MooseakkFebruary 4th, 2008, 5:59 pm
Posts: 1hey nice looking trout new to montana was a rmy man how do i go by finding some of these holes never causght anything besides grayling and rainbows on my rod org from ak love mt and would like to find spots such as yours
WbranchFebruary 6th, 2008, 5:47 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2722
Hey Moose,

Your kidding right? Your in Montana and asking where to go fishing? Montana is one of the most popular destinations for fly fishers. Just about any moving water is going to have trout swimming there. Here is a list of well known waters.

Big Horn River
Rock Creek
Clarks Fork
Blackfoot River
Flathead River
Kootenai River
Yaak River
Jefferson River
Yellowstone River
Boulder River in Big Timber
Shields River
Gallatin River
Ruby River
Madison River
Beaverhead River
Big Hole River
Wise River

Start on those and you'll have a lifetime of fishing. Then there are all of the little tributaries that feed many of the rivers that I listed. Half of the fun of fishing is finding those special spots for yourself. I doubt if anyone is going to tell you specifically where to park your car and what section to fish.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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